DOJ: News Release

State Solicits Comments on Clark Fork Restoration Work Plan

HELENA — The state is seeking public comment on the latest round of funding recommendations for projects designed to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, Restoration Program chief Carol Fox said Monday.

The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has recommended that five out of the six grant proposals submitted receive either full or partial funding totaling $3,378,479. Proposals are:

  • Basin Creek Dams Rehabilitation “Basin Dams” — Recommended for full funding of $503,006.
  • Drinking Water Infrastructure Replacement Year 3 “Butte Waterline” — Recommended for full funding of $1,188,905.
  • East Fourth Street Water Main Improvements “Anaconda Waterline” — Recommended for full funding of $995,000.
  • East Valley Watershed “East Valley” — Recommended for partial funding of $408,810.
  • Upper Willow Creek Restoration Project Implementation “Upper Willow Creek” —Recommended for partial funding of $282,758.

The Thompson Park and Blacktail Creek Rehabilitation and Restoration Project was not recommended for partial funding of $525,000.

“The projects recommended for funding this year will improve the drinking water supplies and delivery systems of the Butte and Anaconda communities and improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in tributary watersheds of the Upper Clark Fork River,” Fox said. “We look forward to gathering additional public input to assist the governor in making a final funding decision on these projects.”

Fox also noted that the recommendations may change.

“Members of the public may also comment on projects that have not been recommended for funding,” she said. “In making its final recommendations, the council can reconsider any of its draft recommendations.”

The 30-day public comment period on these recommendations, contained in the Draft 2003 Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Work Plan, began September 11, 2003. The public may submit written comments or provide oral comments at the public hearing to be held at the Butte Ramada Copper King, 4655 Harrison Ave. in Butte on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 at 7 p.m. Written comments may be sent to the Natural Resource Damage Program, P.O. Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620-1425, faxed to 444-0236 or e-mailed to nrdp@mt.gov. The submission deadline is Oct. 14, 2003.

The state sued the Atlantic Richfield Co. in 1983 and settled several portions of the lawsuit in 1999, receiving $215 million. About $130 million is earmarked to restore or replace the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown Dam near Missoula.

The Natural Resource Damage Program within the Montana Department of Justice administers the grant program. Program staff and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Remediation and Restoration Education Advisory Council reviewed this year’s proposals and made recommendations to the Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council. That council — made up of the governor’s chief of staff, the attorney general, the directors of the state’s three natural resource agencies and the chairman of the advisory council — approved the funding recommendations that are now subject to public comment. Based on the comments received over the next month, the Trustee Restoration Council will make final funding recommendations to Gov. Martz, who is expected to make her funding decisions in December.

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