Natural Water Storage in Montana

Natural Water Storage in Montana

Think of natural water storage as “soaking the sponge.” In this case, the sponge is the ground —especially wetlands along rivers and streams. Healthy streams and wetlands help saturate and replenish groundwater—holding it for leaner times, like money in the bank. Traditionally, beaver dams helped slow stream flow, allowing water to pool into wetlands and floodplains where it could percolate into the groundwater. As they disappeared and as people hemmed streams into narrow channels and stripped banks of vegetation, channels became deeply incised and water rushed through them, rather than soaking the sponge. In the face of climate change, the Conservancy’s goal is to restore and protect natural storage. We’re planting willows to stabilize stripped banks and create food for beavers and building structures to mimic their work on streams where they are missing.


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