DOJ: News Release

Applications Available for Clark Fork Restoration Grants

HELENA – Applications for $7.5 million in 2006 grant funds for projects to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are now available, Kathleen Coleman, Program Specialist for the Natural Resource Damage Program announced Tuesday.

“We are starting the seventh year of the grant program aimed at returning the Basin to a healthy ecosystem,” Coleman said. Applicants seeking more than $25,000 must submit their applications by March 3, 2006. Grant applications for $25,000 or less may be submitted on a continuous basis throughout the year. There is a long-form application for applicants requesting more than $25,000 and a short form for applicants requesting $25,000 or less.

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, research and education activities 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, with some limited exceptions.

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 2006. The Trustee Restoration Council makes final funding decisions on proposals of $25,000 or less.

The NRDP will hold two workshops for those interested in applying for restoration grants. “We strongly encourage prospective applicants to attend a workshop,” Coleman said. “We will cover the basics of the application process, plus focus on new changes this year.”

Workshops are:

  • Tuesday, January 31
    10 a.m.-3 p.m.
    Butte Red Lion Inn, 2100 Cornell
  • Thursday, February 2
    10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Holiday Inn Express Riverside, 1021 E. Broadway, Missoula

Registration is required. To register for a workshop, contact Kathy Coleman at 444-0229 or via e-mail her at nrdp@mt.gov.

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 $38 million has been awarded to 50 projects that will improve the Basin’s fish and wildlife habitat and populations, public recreation opportunities, and public drinking water supplies.

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