Grant Funds Available for Clark Fork Restoration
HELENA – Applications for $5.5 million in 2002 grant funds for projects to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are now available, Restoration Program Chief Carol Fox announced Wednesday.
“We are starting the third year of the grant program aimed at returning the Basin to a healthy ecosystem,” Fox said.
Fox noted that this year’s applications have changes from previous years based on experience gained in the first two grant cycles. “One major change involves how small and large grant requests are handled. Grant applications for over $25,000 must submit their applications by March 1, 2002, but applications for $25,000 or less may be submitted at any time throughout the year,” she explained.
The restoration projects will be funded from interest generated from the $130 million Restoration Fund established by the state from settlement of several portions of its lawsuit against ARCO. The suit sought compensation for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin caused by decades of mining and smelting in the Butte and Anaconda areas by ARCO and its predecessors. To date, about $12.3 million has been awarded to projects that will improve the Basin’s fish and wildlife habitat and populations, public recreation opportunities and public drinking water supplies.
Government agencies, private entities and individuals may apply for grant funds for projects that will restore or replace the natural resources in the Basin. Grant funds may also be used for developing future grant proposals or for conducting monitoring and research related to restoration of natural resources in the Basin. Only projects that would be located in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are eligible for funding.
Once the applications are received, the Natural Resource Damage Program will consult with various governmental agencies and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Advisory Council to prepare draft funding recommendations. These recommendations will then be considered by the Trustee Restoration Council, which consists of the governor’s chief of staff, directors of the state’s three natural resource agencies, the attorney general, and the chairman of the advisory council. After a public comment period, the Trustee Restoration Council will make recommendations to the Governor, who is expected to make final funding decisions on proposals over $25,000 in December 2002. The Trustee Restoration Council makes final funding decisions on proposals of $25,000 or less.
Two application forms are available — a long form for applicants requesting more than $25,000 and a short form for applicants requesting $25,000 or less. Applications and guidance materials are available upon request from the Natural Resource Damage Program at 444-0205 or electronically on the Department of Justice Website.
The State will hold workshops for those interested in applying for Restoration Grants at the following times and locations:
•Beginner Workshop: Tuesday, February 5, 2002 – Ramada Copper King in Butte 9:00 a.m.- noon
•Refresher Workshop: Thursday, February 7, 2002 – Deer Lodge Community Center – 10:00 a.m. – noon
Anyone interested in attending one of the workshops should contact Kathy Coleman at 444-0205 or e-mail at email@example.com.