DOJ: News Release

Public Comment on Draft Aquatic and Terrestrial Restoration Plans

Public Comment on Draft Aquatic and Terrestrial Restoration Plans

The State of Montana’s Natural Resource Damage Program is seeking comments on its Draft Upper Clark Fork River Basin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Restoration Plans.

These plans were developed in consultation with fish and wildlife biologists and as set forth in the 2012 Final Upper Clark Fork River Basin Interim Restoration Process Plan. The plans propose the allocation of about $65.5 million for proposed actions that improve fishery and wildlife resources and related recreational services in priority areas of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Following public comment and consideration by the Basin Advisory Council and Trustee Restoration Council, the Governor will make a final decision on these plans.

To assist with the development of these draft restoration plans, the State solicited restoration concept proposals from the public in recognition of the wealth of knowledge and relationships that other entities can bring to the restoration planning process. Through this solicitation process, the State received 80 proposals from interested individuals and entities offering their ideas for projects that would protect or enhance fishery and wildlife resources and related recreational services in aquatic and terrestrial injured resource areas and other designated priority areas of the Basin. In most cases, those proposals submitted by the public that fit with the State’s guidance on encouraged types of projects in priority areas were incorporated, either partially or fully, into the State’s proposed restoration actions covered in these draft restoration plans.

These draft plans are available for public comment through Friday, October 26, 2012. A public hearing on these plans will be held on Wednesday, October 17th at 6:00 p.m. at the Deer Lodge Elks Club (corner of Main and Cottonwood). Copies of these plans and other related documents are available on the NRDP website at https://doj.mt.gov/lands/notices-of-public-comment/ or by contacting NRDP at 444-0205. Comments can be submitted to NRDP at nrdp@mt.gov; by fax at 406-444-0236; or mailed to P.O. Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620.

These plans are part of the State’s process to allocate monies received as part of a series of settlements of the State’s natural resource damage lawsuit against Atlantic Richfield Company for injuries to natural resource caused by hazardous substance releases from historic mining and mineral processing in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Under the federal Superfund law, the natural resource trustees must complete a restoration plan and consider public input before natural resource damage settlement funds can be spent. The Governor has approved separate restoration plans for the Milltown, Clark Fork River, and Smelter Hill injured areas. A separate draft restoration plan for the Butte Area One site will be issued for public comment in October

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