The Mission Valley of western Montana is one of the premier waterfowl migration hotspots in the state. Hundreds of pothole wetlands, several large reservoirs and the wide and winding Flathead River serve as critical stopover habitat for a host of waterfowl species that migrate each fall through the valleys of western Montana. The area also provides high-quality breeding habitat for a wide variety of duck species.

The Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area is a cornerstone for the valley's waterfowl migration. The 3,000-acre WMA is also one of the area's more popular destinations for duck hunting and bird watching.

Ducks Unlimited and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have a long history of wetlands conservation efforts here, including numerous pothole wetland restorations and several large wetland creation projects. Most recently, DU and MT FWP teamed up to restore more than 100 acres of shallow, seasonally flooded wetlands that will provide valuable breeding and migration habitat, as well as some fantastic waterfowl hunting opportunities.

The Ninepipe restoration project is unique with its very shallow wetlands, averaging about 1 foot in depth. These shallow wetlands will be flooded seasonally and should grow wetland vegetation that will attract plenty of birds.

DU surveyed, designed and constructed the project. Work included improvements on water delivery infrastructure, construction of three levees and installation of water-control structures.

This project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.

Partners: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks migratory bird stamp program, North American Wetlands Conservation Council and Ducks Unlimited