Governor Approves Seven Restoration Projects
HELENA – Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has approved funding for seven restoration projects in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin for a total of approximately $7.4 million in 2006 and $1.1 million in 2007. The seven projects approved for funding, subject to certain conditions, are:
- $1,845,500 over two years to the Greenway Service District for the Silver Bow Creek Greenway project;
- $876,162 to the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited for the German Gulch Watershed Restoration project;
- $1,539,269 to Butte-Silver Bow for Year 5 of the Butte Waterline project;
- $1,738,700 to Anaconda-Deer Lodge City/County for Year 4 of the Anaconda Waterline project;
- $667,642 to Butte-Silver Bow City/County for the Big Butte Property Acquisition;
- $1,643,809 to the Greenway Service District for the Duhame Property Acquisition, and
- $174,634 to Butte-Silver Bow City/County for the Butte Master Plan project.
“I’m pleased to give the final approval to these seven projects,” Schweitzer said. “They will improve the Silver Bow Creek fishery and the drinking water systems of the Butte and Anaconda communities; preserve open space and quality wildlife habitat; and provide excellent recreational opportunities for the public.”
“We are very thankful,” said Rep. Jon Sesso of Butte. “All these NRD projects are making a big difference in the watershed. We’re restoring natural resources and replacing lost recreational opportunities. Getting Big Butte into public ownership is great – to ensure that area stays open space for future generations is a great asset for our community.”
Funding comes from the partial settlement of a lawsuit brought by the state in 1983 to recover damages to natural resources caused by decades of mining and smelting in the Butte-Anaconda area. The state sued the Atlantic Richfield Co. in 1983 and settled several portions of the lawsuit in 1999, receiving $215 million. About $130 million of that is earmarked to restore the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown Dam near Missoula.
The state has developed guidelines for spending the funds, outlining a process in which governmental and private entities and individuals can submit grant proposals for restoration projects. The Natural Resource Damage Program, which is part of the Montana Department of Justice, administers the grant process. This is the sixth year for the grant program. With this year’s approved projects, a total of 49 projects have been approved for about $36.4 million.
Successful grant recipients will enter into contracts with the state Natural Resource Damage Program to implement the projects. Applications for next year’s grant cycle will be available in early January and are due in early March.