Governor Approves Upper Clark Fork Restoration Projects
HELENA – Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer Monday approved funding for 11 restoration projects in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin for a total of $13,648,562. A final decision on a 12th project, the Vanisko Ranch Conservation Easement project, will be deferred until early 2009 pending a second appraisal. The projects and amounts approved for funding, subject to certain conditions, are:
|Project Title||Approved Funding|
|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|
|Montana Tech Native Plant Diversity Nursery Project||$628,175|
|Cottonwood Creek Project Development Grant||$90,377|
“I’m pleased to give the final approval to these 11 restoration projects,” Schweitzer said. “This $13.6 million investment in restoring natural resources of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin from Butte to Milltown offers substantial, long-lasting improvements to fisheries, wildlife, public drinking water systems and outdoor recreation opportunities.
“In addition, this investment will provide jobs and boost Montana’s restoration economy,” he said.
Funding comes from the partial settlement of the lawsuit brought by the State in 1983 to recover damages for injuries 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 was earmarked to restore the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. In 2008, the State concluded its lawsuit, receiving an additional $68 million dedicated to restoration in the Basin.
The State has developed guidelines for spending the funds, outlining a process in which government 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 ninth year for the grant program. With this year’s approved projects, a total of 86 grant projects have been approved for about $79.8 million in restoration funding.
Successful grant recipients will enter into contracts with the 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. More information on the grant funding process and approved grant projects is available from the Program’s website.