July 27, 2006

Doug Martin of the Natural Resource Damage Program recently sent this update on planning for the restoration work at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers.

Clark Fork above Duck Bridge

Martin writes:

The restoration planning for the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers near Milltown Dam has seen significant development since the draft conceptual plan that was first taken to the public in 2003. Extensive field work and analyses of data collected in 2004, 2005, and 2006 by the design team allowed the development of the new plan that validated the design concepts and criteria. In April 2005, a panel of four national experts in river restoration and associated fields reviewed and commented on a revised version of the restoration plan. The State integrated the peer reviewers’ comments into the revised plan and submitted the Restoration Plan for the Clark Fork River and Blackfoot River near Milltown - October 2005 to the public for comment. A public meeting was held on November 10, 2005, and there was a public comment period that ended November 16, 2005. The State responded to the public comment received.

A Scope of Work outlining the all the tasks that need to be completed for the finalization of the restoration design has been developed. Currently the State is collecting and preparing to collect additional information needed to finalize the restoration design. In addition, the State is working on developing Performance Criteria for the restoration activities. These criteria will provide the basis for the restoration design as well as providing criteria upon which the successfulness of the restoration action can be measured. The final design is scheduled to be completed in winter 2007. Aspects of the final design to be integrated with the EPA remedial design may need to be completed earlier to meet EPA’s schedule.

The State will be working through the final design process in a manner similar to EPA’s remedial design process; local groups representing a wide sector of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments on the restoration design as it is being developed. The State has invited Missoula County, CFRTAC, and the Milltown Redevelopment Group to participate in the review process. In addition, EPA, and their contractor the USACE, will be involved in the review of the final design.

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