DOJ: News Release

State Solicits Comments on Draft Upper Clark Fork Restoration Work Plan

HELENA – The state is seeking public comment on draft funding recommendations for projects designed to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, Restoration Program chief Carol Fox said Thursday.

The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has recommended that seven grant proposals submitted receive either full or partial funding totaling $7,409,723 in 2006 and $1,075,993 in 2007. Proposals are:

  • Silver Bow Creek Greenway – Recommended for full funding of $1,845,500 over two years.
  • German Gulch Watershed Restoration – Recommended for partial funding of $876,162.
  • Butte Waterline – Year 5 recommended for full funding of $1,539,269; Year 6 not recommended for funding.
  • Anaconda Waterline – Recommended for full funding of $1,738,700.
  • Big Butte Land Acquisition – Recommended for partial funding of $667,642.
  • Duhame Acquisition – Recommended for funding not to exceed $1,643,809, subject to a new appraisal.
  • Butte Master Plan – Recommended for full funding of $174,634.

The 30-day public comment period on these recommendations, contained in the Draft 2005 Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Work Plan [link removed on 9/7/06], will begin Thursday. The public may submit written comments or provide oral comments at the public hearing to be held at the Butte Red Lion, 2100 Cornell, on Oct. 4, 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. 7, 2005.

The Natural Resource Damage Program will also be hosting an Open House Oct. 4 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Red Lion. The gathering will allow the public to informally meet staff, ask questions and review program material about restoration activities in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin.

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, both the Advisory Council and Trustee Restoration Council will make final funding recommendations to Gov. Schweitzer, who is expected to make his funding decisions in December.

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