The recently established City of Missoula Storm Water Utility announced over the weekend that work is now underway on the Clark Fork River levee.

Traci Campbell, Regulatory Compliance Manager for the City of Missoula Storm Water Utility described the work being done on the levee.

“We’re doing routine vegetation maintenance on the Clark Fork levee from the California Street Bridge to the Russell Street Bridge,” said Campbell. “What that means is that we’re removing large trees and non-native vegetation from the levee to encourage the growth of native shrubs. This is important so that we can keep the levee accredited by FEMA. This means that it provides flood protection for several million dollars worth of property behind the levee, so we need to maintain it per the Army Corps of Engineers guidelines.”

Campbell explained the relatively recent emergence of the Missoula Storm Water Utility.

“The Storm Water Utility is relatively new,” she said. “It started in 2016 and was established for compliance for what we call our MS 4 general permit, which is a permit issued by the Montana DEQ for storm water discharge into state waters. The state DEQ administers it on behalf of the EPA. It was originally established under a temporary rate structure to help fund a study to evaluate exactly what it would take to run the utility. After those studies were completed the consultant came and we established the rate structure that we just put into place that is now on your city water bills.”

Campbell said the work will be completed in about a week and will not cause any traffic disruption in the city, however, a trail in the area has been closed temporarily.