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, Natural Resource Damage Program specialist Kathleen Coleman said today. The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has recommended that 12 grant proposals receive funding totaling up to $19,303,562, subject to certain funding conditions on some of the projects.

“The Trustee Restoration Council voted to increase the 2008 grant funding limit to $20 million this year compared to $8 million to $9 million in previous years,” Coleman said. The 12 proposals are:

Project Title
Draft Funding Recommendation
Anaconda Waterline – Year 7 $1,742,169
Stucky Ridge/Jamison Property Acquisition $265,335
Big Hole Diversion Dam Replacement Project $3,714,833
Big Hole Transmission Line Replacement: Year 2 $1,650,542
Butte Waterline – Year 8 $2,414,424
Butte Water Metering and Public Awareness Project $273,600
State of Georgetown Lake Study $109,463
Silver Bow Creek Greenway $2,173,444
Milltown Land Acquisition $586,200
Vanisko Ranch Conservation Easement Up to $5,655,000
Montana Tech Native Plant Diversity Nursery Project $628,175
Cottonwood Creek Project Development Grant $90,377
Total $19,303,562

The 30-day public comment period on these draft recommendations, detailed in the Draft 2008 Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Work Plan, runs through October 31.

The public may submit written comments or provide oral comments at the public hearing to be held at the Butte War Bonnet, 2100 Cornell, on Tuesday October 21 at 6:30 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.

“It is important that the public have the opportunity to comment on these proposals and funding recommendations before the Governor makes his final decision,” Coleman said.

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.

The state sued the Atlantic Richfield Co. in 1983 and settled several portions of the lawsuit in 1999, receiving $215 million. About $130 million from that settlement is earmarked to restore or replace the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown Dam near Missoula. In 2008, the State concluded its lawsuit receiving an additional $68 million dedicated to restoration in the Basin.

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 draft funding recommendations that are now subject to public comment. To date, 75 projects have been approved for a total of $66 million.

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