New Cleanup Begins on Private Ranches: Phase 2
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and their contractors have begun remediation activities this year (2015) on a couple of private ranches. Phase 2 of the Clark Fork River cleanup includes two private ranches about a mile and a half downstream of Warm Springs. This is the second major cleanup on private lands following the remediation at Phases 5 and 6 that continues on the Clark Fork Coalition's Dry Cottonwood Ranch at Galen. There are now three cleanups seeing construction at the same time: the third is the work being done at Grant Kohrs Ranch National Park in Deer Lodge.
Phase 2 consists of 1.9 river miles. It is estimated that 403,500 cubic yards of contamination will be removed. The contractor performing the work is MK Weeden Construction who was the low bidder at $ 9,256,848. The contractor operates on a 400 calendar day contract that is set to end August 2016.
DEQ has worked with the landowners to develop a plan that has minimal impact on their active cattle ranching operations. Considerations and compensations are in place to address lost agricultural production due to Superfund activities. To protect the streambank improvements and plantings in the area fencing will be installed. Off river watering will be installed for cattle that usually get their water from the river. Landowners are happy to get work done on their property that they have been anticipating for decades.
Landowners are better aware of what the cleanup will look like on their property and how it will impact their operations due to the work that has been completed on Phase 1 and the work that continues on Phase 5 and 6. Many lessons have been learned and these ranchers will benefit from this information.
Monthly river tours have been conducted on Phases 5 and 6 and will move toward also describing work being done on Phase 2.
At this time tours are the third Wednesday of the month at 1 pm. For more information regarding the river tours or specific questions and concerns regarding Phase 2 of the Clark Fork please contact Katie Garcin, DEQ, (406) 461 - 6744 or kgarcin@mtlgov.
For more information regarding the Clark Fork River Superfund cleanup please visit the CFRTAC website at http://www.cfrtac.org. Or contact: Darryl Barton, CFRTAC, 529 Main Street, Deer Lodge, 846 - 1628.