Applications Available for Clark Fork Restoration Grants
HELENA — Carol Fox, Restoration Program Chief for the Natural Resource Damage Program, said Friday that applications for $6.5 million in 2004 grant funds for projects to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are now available.
“We are starting the fifth year of the Grant Program aimed at returning the basin to a healthy ecosystem,” Fox said.
Grant applications for over $25,000 must be submitted by March 1, 2004. Grant applications for $25,000 or less may be submitted on a continuous basis throughout the year. 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.
The restoration projects will be funded with interest generated from the $130 million Restoration Fund established by the state in 1999 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 $24.9 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 2004. The Trustee Restoration Council makes final funding decisions on proposals of $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 under “Montana Lands.”
A workshop for those interested in applying for Restoration Grants is Thursday Feb. 12 from 9:00a.m. to noon at the Ramada Copper King in Butte. All parties interested in submitting applications are strongly encouraged to attend.
Anyone interested in attending the workshops should contact Kathy Coleman at 444-0205 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.