MISSOULA, Mont. - Advocates describe Lolo Creek as a dynamic tributary to the Bitterroot River and spawning ground for endangered trout.
It is a delicate habitat affected by major changes in the weather -- vulnerable to flooding in the spring and severe drought in the fall.
"In the spring, Lolo Creek can really rage. It's been known to migrate and move laterally over decades. In the late summer and early fall, it really becomes a trickle. It really dies down. Low flows impact the lives of trout, the increase in temperatures," explains Lolo Watershed Group Board Member Kasie Herron.
Forest managers fear last year's Lolo Creek Complex of fires could potentially worsen flooding in the Lolo area.
Residents, however, are concerned every year, not just this one, about the effects of flooding and drought on Lolo Creek.
"I would say both are definitely on our minds. There's no ignoring the fires we experienced last year. As the threat of fire increases across the entire state of Montana, it's definitely something we want to keep in mind," adds Herron.
Community members formed the Lolo Watershed Group a decade ago to unite on ways to protect the river and educate the public.
Wednesday night, the Lolo Watershed Group held the year's first meeting at the Lolo Community Center. Forest Service experts talked about ways to mitigate invasive plants in the watershed area.
You can learn more about the Lolo Watershed Group at http://lolowatershed.org