June 18, 2008

Spillway work on June 18

The Missoulian recently featured an article on the spillway removal work at the Milltown Dam that’s continued despite the recent cold snap. For a more detailed account and a historical look back at the flood of 1908, see the June monthly Milltown update (PDF) from Peter Nielsen of the Missoula Valley Water Quality District. And then there’s this week’s EPA update (PDF) on the site, which reports that one million tons of sediment have been excavated and shipped thus far.

June 18, 2008

CFRTAC coordinator Michael Kustudia recounts the 1908 flood on the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers for Montana Public Radio listeners. That flood, by far the largest in recorded history, led to the contamination by mine wastes of the Clark Fork River from its headwaters to the the Milltown Dam site, and thus today’s Superfund effort. Read it here (PDF).

June 11, 2008

Just how and where the state of Montana should spend its restoration dollars in the upper Clark Fork River basin over the next couple of decades will be the subject of four public meetings from Butte to Bonner later this month. The Natural Resource Damage Program, which oversees a restoration trust worth tens of millions of dollars from lawsuits against ARCO, has drafted a conceptual framework, or road map for allocating the funds. Have a look at the draft here (PDF) and check out CFRTAC’s comments to NRDP (PDF).

The draft proposal is the subject of a 60-day public comment period, which ends August 15, 2008.


The NRDP will hold four public hearings on this draft proposal at the following locations:

* Butte: Thursday, June 19, 2008 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Butte War Bonnet Inn located at 2100 Cornell Avenue
* Missoula/Bonner: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Bonner Middle School Community Room
* Anaconda: Thursday, June 26, 2008 starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Hearst Free Library (2nd Floor) located at 401 Main Street
* Deer Lodge: Monday, June 30, 2008, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Deer Lodge Community Center located at 146 Cottonwood Ave.

The NRDP will provide a summary of this proposal and answer questions about it prior to taking public comment at these hearings. The NRDP is also available to meet with interested parties about this proposal upon request. To request a meeting or for more information on this proposal, contact Kathy Coleman of the NRDP at 406-444-0205 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Written comments may be mailed to the following address or they may be e-mailed to the State of Montana at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP)
Montana Department of Justice
P.O. Box 201425
Helena, MT 59620-1425

June 11, 2008

Milltown Eagle
Milltown Eagle

This week’s EPA Milltown update reports that work on the spillway removal continues and restoration weed control efforts will soon be under way. The update also features wildlife photos at the Milltown project site, including the one above, from consultant, Larry Dears. Read the update here (PDF).

June 9, 2008

1908 Flood
1908 flood

The Missoulian’s Kim Briggeman wrote a pair of articles on the 100th anniversary of largest flood the Clark Fork River had seen since perhaps the Ice Ages. It was that flood that ultimately caused the contamination of the Milltown aquifer and Superfund cleanup today. Read one article on whether similar floods are still possible and another looking back on the historic event. (Photo courtesy of the Bonner School’s Jack L. Demmons Collection.)

June 9, 2008

Despite the relative successes thus far at the Milltown Reservoir Superfund site, the Missoula Independent takes a critical look at the Superfund program in Montana, with particular emphasis on Butte and Libby. Beyond the cheapshot headline, “Superfraud,” the article does highlight problems faced by the EPA program, chief among them a now-bankrupt fund for orphaned environmental cleanups.

Spillway Removal06/04/08 - Work on removing the Milltown Dam’s spillway began this week and is expected to be completed this fall. Check out the EPA’s weekly update for the latest and some project photos from this week’s Design Review Team tour.

Read more ...

Milltown Park06/02/08- The Draft Milltown/Two Rivers Park Conceptual Design Plan is the result of a community design workshop and public process held last summer and fall.

Read more ...

June 2, 2008

The combined flows of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers recently topped 17,000 cubic feet per second, according to the most recent EPA weekly update. And so far, the bypass channel and flood berms have withstood the high flows and performed as designed. Read more here (PDF).

June 2, 2008

The Clark Fork Watershed Education Project is organizing an educational event to mark the the centennial of the great flood of 1908, which heavily impacted the Clark Fork River, including Milltown Dam. The event will be held at the Clark Fork River Market on Saturday, June 21st from 8am-1pm in downtown Missoula next to Caras Park. Contact Justin Ringsak at (406) 496-4897 for more information.
June 2, 2008

The Spring 2008 Pitwatch looks at the history and cleanup of the Berkeley Pit Superfund site in Butte. More than 25 years ago, the pumps stopped and the pit began to fill with acidic and metals-laden water.
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