More than $316,000 in funding was approved recently by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park Commission in September for 16 Future Fisheries Improvement projects. The funding will be matched by more than $400,000 from outside sources.

The FWP Commission makes final decisions on funding requests based on recommendations from a 13-member citizen panel. Sponsors of approved projects enter into an agreement with FWP to maintain project improvements through responsible land-management practices.

The commission approved funding for projects in Sweet Grass, Park, Lewis and Clark, Powell, Deer Lodge, Missoula, Mineral, and Lincoln counties.

The improvements will help westslope cutthroat, bull, brown, rainbow trout and Arctic grayling. Work includes riparian fencing and channel re-vegetation; livestock water development; stream channel and spawning habitat improvements; stream bank stabilization using natural materials; fish passage improvements; and fish screens on irrigation diversions.

Applications for the next round of funding are due Dec. 31. Application forms are available from all FWP regional offices. The application is also on FWPs web page at . Click on Habitat, then Fish Habitat and look under Future Fisheries Program.

Any individual or group with a project designed to restore or enhance habitat for wild or native fish may apply for Future Fisheries Improvement Program funding. Applicants are encouraged to work with local FWP fisheries biologists. Landowners and other project partners usually share project costs, which extends Future Fisheries Improvement Program dollars.

For more information on the Future Fisheries Improvement program, call (406) 444-2449 or write to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Future Fisheries Improvement Program, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.