State Solicits Comments on Draft Silver Bow Creek Watershed Restoration Plan
HELENA – The state is seeking public comment on a draft restoration plan for the Silver Bow Creek watershed, Restoration Program chief Carol Fox said Friday.
The Silver Bow Creek Watershed Restoration Plan [link removed on 1/24/06] identifies and prioritizes restoration needs in the Silver Bow Creek watershed. The watershed includes seven major tributary sub-watersheds and encompasses 474 square miles of lands that drain into Silver Bow Creek between Butte and Warm Springs Ponds. Public input has indicated the need for a comprehensive plan to guide restoration work in this watershed.
“Public input prompted this planning effort and played a major role in developing this draft,” Fox said. “Now we hope to have further public comment as the restoration plan moves forward.”
The plan involved extensive data collection and analysis about the existing and desired future conditions of natural resources in this watershed. A variety of individuals and groups with interest and knowledge about area resources provided valuable input to the Natural Resource Damage Program and its consultants, Fox said. The same group also contributed a consensus vision statement that helped guide the ranking process. Ultimately, 56 restoration needs were identified and ranked as very high, high, moderate or low importance.
At the same time, a proposed change to the UCFRB Restoration Plan Procedures and Criteria [link to 2005 version removed on 2/23/07] document is also open for public comment. The change involves adding the Silver Bow Creek Watershed Restoration Plan as a factor in considering grant proposals for funding, should the governor approve this plan after considering public input. This change is further described in Chapter 9 of the draft plan.
“If approved, the plan would help prospective applicants for natural resource damage grant funds and other funds determine which are the best restoration opportunities in the watershed,” Fox said. “It would also be added as one of many factors the Natural Resource Damage Program would consider in evaluating grant proposals and making funding recommendations to the governor.”
Written comments must be postmarked or received by the Natural Resource Damage Program by March 11, 2005 and can be submitted via:
•e-mail at email@example.com
•fax at (406) 444-0236
•mail at P.O. Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620-1425
The Natural Resource Damage Program also will hold a public hearing on the draft plan at the Red Lion, 2100 Cornell, Butte on February 1, 2005 at 7 p.m. Program staff will also host an open house before the public hearing between 6 and 7 p.m. at the Red Lion. Staff members will be on hand to meet citizens, answer questions and review program materials related to restoration activities in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin.
Copies of the plan (305 pages) and the stand-alone executive summary (10 pages) are available online or upon request to the Natural Resource Damage Program (406-444-0205).