YVFC  Riverbank Restoration Project

By Ashley South,

Yaak Valley Forest Council

Work on the riverbank. Photo by Anthony South.


The Yaak Valley Forest Council (YVFC) has recently partnered with Watershed Consulting, River Design Group, Kootenai River Network to successfully complete a large-scale riverbank restoration project. The severely eroded bank, spanning one hundred-and fifty-feet along the main-stem of the Yaak River, was first documented during the 2015 season, when the Yaak Valley Forest Council Field Crew surveyed and cataloged all eroding banks along the Yaak River. Using the BEHI/NBS survey method, the YVFC field crew surveyed from the United States and Canadian Border to the Yaak Falls. The banks were classified on a scale from severe to low to prioritize the banks in most need of restoration. More than 7,500 feet of severely eroding bank was identified during this time. Many of these areas were located on private land along the Yaak River. “Helping landowners restore these riparian areas is a wonderful long-term investment. This is a way of giving back to the valley that has given so much to us all,” said Anthony South, Headwaters Program Manager for YVFC.

Restoring the natural riparian areas along the Yaak River is one of the many goals of the YVFC and Headwaters Restoration Partners. Restoration recovery efforts reduce sediment delivery downstream and create healthy and properly functioning habitats for the many plant and animal species that are found within the Yaak watershed. Removing the natural river-side riparian area invites invasive species to establish, reduces rooting in the bank leading to mass failures, removes cover and nesting areas for wildlife, and even increases downstream flood peaks.

After prioritizing the eroding banks, private landowners were contacted to create a site-specific restoration plan and design. Working with the local Conservation District, FWP, Floodplain Administrator, and Army Corps of Engineers to acquire the necessary permitting. The Sleeter/McCampbell property was selected to be the first large restoration project to be implemented. The Sleeter/McCampbell site was losing up to two feet of river bank each spring during high spring runoff. A robust design was created to provide structure and native vegetation growth. Large woody material was placed, and willow has been planted. A long-term photo point documentation site has been established to document the revegetation and overall bank health over a period of time.

Implementation started Oct. 2021 with the delivery of the woody material, provided by Ekstedt Tree Service. Rock and fill were provided by Noble Excavation, as well as two excavators, used to place the material and recontour the bank. YVFC provided one thousand willow-whips and native grass seed for further bank stabilization.

The Yaak Valley Forest Council will continue the outreach and advocacy of bank restoration along the Yaak River. Working with participating landowners to secure their property while providing a healthy, functioning habitat for all plant and animal species.


CPMC RN fills Infection control position


Submitted by Paula Collins, CPMC


Cabinet Peaks Medical Center is excited to announce Lacey Poirier, RN, BSN, has been hired as the Infection Prevention and Employee Health Nurse. Lacey has been a member of the nursing team at CPMC for three years.

Originally, Lacey earned an associate degree in Business Management and worked as a Service Manager in the banking industry. After five years in that profession, she decided it wasn’t her true calling and made the decision to pursue healthcare instead.

She states, “I started my healthcare career as a floating CNA in a hospital setting while I attended nursing school. I completed the LPN program in 2015. I worked as an LPN in a surgical clinic in varying departments, including ENT, Urology, Neurosurgery, Dermatology, and Plastic Surgery. I continued my education while working full-time and completed the BSN program through Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD in 2018.” Lacey then moved to Montana after receiving her BSN and began working on the Acute Care floor at Cabinet Peaks. “I hold my BLS, ACLS, PALS, and NRP certifications. I am excited to work as the Infection Prevention and Employee Health RN and help lead employee education.”

When asked about her plans for her department at CPMC, Lacey said “COVID has been and will remain the hottest topic in education and infection control. Although, that will continue to be at the forefront I am hopeful that we can re-introduce educational opportunities outside of webinars and Zoom calls. It is important for staff to fine-tune skills and we hope to provide a renewed atmosphere for learning.”

Lacey lives in Libby with her 11 year old daughter, Hailey, who “lights up my whole world. Her personality and spirit are infectious-ask anyone who knows her.”

Photo of Lacey Poirier courtesy of Paula Collins, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center.

DPHHS responds to Federal COVID-19 Vaccine

Mandate for health care

“The State is reviewing the implications of the CMS health care worker vaccine mandate for Montana health care facilities and their employees, especially as it conflicts with Montana law. Given the CMS timeline, impacted health care facilities and their employees have time to decide how they will proceed.

It is unfortunate that CMS adopted the mandate without either first taking comment or considering the dire impact of a health care worker vaccine mandate on frontier states like Montana.

Montana already faces a tremendous health care worker shortage, and the new CMS vaccine mandate will exacerbate these immense challenges. DPHHS encourages all eligible Montanans to talk with their trusted, personal health care provider and get vaccinated. To mandate vaccination, however, conflicts with Montana law and will further strain our health care facilities which are struggling to maintain adequate levels of health care workers.”

Submitted by DPHHS Director Adam Meier