by Darcy Thomas

River Design Group (RDG), one of the leading river restoration consulting firms in the Intermountain West and Pacific Northwest, was founded in the Flathead Valley in 2003 by four individuals with a passion for rivers. Since the beginning, the company has promoted a healthy work-life balance and maintained a culture deeply rooted in restoration ethic and respect for aquatic ecosystems. Building upon a reputation as a leader in the restoration industry, in 20 years RDG has grown to be an employee-owned business of 30 professionals with offices in Montana, Oregon and Idaho.

River Design Group

Simply stated, River Design Group is committed to ecosystem and river restoration. However, their work is anything but simple. Their team of highly knowledgeable and skilled engineers, biologists, ecologists, surveyors, geologists, geomorphologists, and support staff tackle complex environmental problems to restore river ecosystems. Their services include restoration, dam removal, fish passage, wetland and river assessments, remote sensing such as wastewater risk mapping and dam monitoring and land surveys. While RDG is based in Whitefish they complete projects in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington and California. RDG is involved with a project from the initial site survey through completion of construction and oversight of the finished project.

Over the last 20 years, RDG has completed over 600 river restoration design projects, assessed or restored over 1,500 miles of river, designed and built 70 culverts and bridges for fish passage, removed or modified 47 dams, implemented 50 fish screen projects, and restored 1,800 acres of wetland or estuary. Some of the projects River Design Group has worked on near their home base include the restoration of Krause Creek in Bigfork, the Milltown Dam Restoration near Missoula, the Trail Creek fish passage in Seeley Lake, and restorations on the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge in Swan Valley and Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge near Marion.

It goes without saying that the work of the RDG team provides vast benefits for wildlife, fish, and birds. It is the pleasure of Flathead Audubon Society to acknowledge RDG with a Business Conservation Achievement Recognition. Matt Daniels, Principal Engineer, will accept the award on behalf of River Design Group at the Flathead Audubon meeting on February 13.