Restoration Milltown Reservoir

  • Milltown Photos: Spillway Removal Begins

    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.

  • Milltown Restoration Planners Profiled in Whitefish Newspaper

    February 15, 2008

    The Whitefish Pilot recently profiled the River Design Group, the Whitefish-based firm tasked with developing the restoration plan for the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers after the cleanup. Read it here.

  • Milltown Superfund Project Begins Shift from Remediation to Restoration

    Excavators Snow02/26/09 - News, updates and commentaries all highlight the winding down of the remediation effort and the ramping up of restoration work at the Milltown Reservoir Sediments Superfund site.

  • Milltown Superfund Updates: Summer Cleanup Work Speeds Along

    August 13, 2007

    Clark Fork River through the powerhouse window

    Things are happening at the Milltown Reservoir Sediments Superfund site. EPA and Envirocon are changing the sequence of the dam removal – powerhouse first then the spillway – while members of the Milltown Superfund Redevelopment Working Group are working to preserve historic aspects of the powerhouse and its equipment, and plan for a possible park at the site.

    Read CFRTAC’s August Montana Public Radio commentary (PDF) for a quick overview. Also see Missoula County’s August monthly update (PDF) and EPA’s weekly roundup from August 7 (PDF).

    If that’s not enough, visit the Missoulian for coverage of ongoing remediation and redevelopment work.

  • Milltown Update: Bypass Channel Work and Powerhouse Removal Planning Continues

    December 14, 2007

    Check out the EPA’s latest weekly update (PDF) and also a Milltown Superfund fact sheet (PDF) prepared for a public meeting held Dec. 11 in Bonner. For local media coverage, see the Missoulian recent article and coverage by KPAX TV.

  • Missoula County Commission

    011409 The Missoula County Commissioners received an update on the Milltown Superfund project from EPA and state officials this week. EPA officials offered highlights of the last 15 months of work on the project, which include: Construction of site infrastructure (bypass channel, berms, haul roads, etc.

  • Missoulian Coverage of Milltown Superfund Public Update

    The Missoulian highlighted the Three Rs of the Milltown Superfund project in its recent article

  • Missoulian Articles Look at Milltown Remediation and Restoration

    December 28, 2006

    The Missoulian recently featured a pair of articles on remediation and restoration work at Milltown. The first article examines the difficulties of carrying out a complex construction project that hinges significantly on the cooperation of Mother Nature, while the second piece looks at balancing restoration work with past recreation plans, including a whitewater park. For more on what’s currently happening with post-cleanup planning, visit CFRTAC’s section on Milltown Redevelopment.

  • Newsletter Focuses on State’s Restoration Work at Milltown Superfund Site

    December 18, 2008

    A recent newsletter from the Milltown-based Friends of Two Rivers features articles on the state’s restoration project at the Milltown Superfund site. Project manager Doug Martin wrote articles on this year’s activities, including weed control, plant salvage and new data collection focused on last spring’s runoff. Read the full newsletter (PDF, 1.1 MB) or visit the Friends of Two Rivers website.

  • NRD Funds Sought for Milltown Park

    Redevelopment at the Milltown Superfund site continues to move forward with the effort to raise funds for state park amenities proposed at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers.

  • NRD Grant Applications Available; Workshops Set for Butte and Missoula

    January 17, 2007

    The Montana Natural Resource Damage Program has announced the release of applications for $8.5 million in 2007 grant funds for projects to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin.

    The restoration projects will be funded with interest generated from the $130 million Restoration Fund established by the state in 1999 from settlement of several portions of its lawsuit against ARCO. The suit sought compensation for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin caused by decades of mining and smelting in the Butte and Anaconda areas by ARCO and its predecessors. To date, about $43 million has been awarded to 62 grant projects that will improve the Basin’s fish and wildlife habitat and populations, public recreation opportunities, and public drinking water supplies.

    Government agencies, private entities and individuals may apply for grant funds for projects that will restore or replace the natural resources in the basin. Grant funds may also be used for developing future grant proposals or for conducting monitoring, research and education activities related to restoration of natural resources in the basin. Only projects that would be located in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are eligible for funding, subject to limited exceptions.

    Applications and guidance materials are available upon request from the Natural Resource Damage Program at 444-0205 or on the Department of Justice website. The deadline for grant applications for more than $25,000 is Friday March 9. Grant applications for $25,000 or less may be submitted on a continuous basis throughout the year. Applicants requesting more than $25,000 must use a long-form application, and there is a short form for applicants requesting $25,000 or less.

    The NRDP will hold two workshops for those interested in applying for restoration grants. Workshops will be held:

    * Tuesday, January 30
    10 a.m.-4 p.m.
    Butte Red Lion Inn, 2100 Cornell, Butte
    * Thursday, February 1
    10 a.m.-4 p.m.
    Double Tree Hotel, 100 Madison, Missoula

    Registration is required. To register for a workshop, call (406) 444-0229 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • NRD Grant Applications Due April 4; Workshop Set For January 31 in Fairmont

    January 23, 2008

    The Montana Natural Resource Damage Program recently announced that grant applications are available for restoration projects in the upper Clark Fork River Basin. An informational workshop to help explain the process will be held January 31 at Fairmont Hot Springs. Up to $20 million is available for restoration and related projects in the next grantmaking cycle. Read the NRD press release after the jump.

    Applications Available for Clark Fork Restoration Grants

    HELENA – Applications for grant proposals to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are now available, Kathleen Coleman, Program Specialist for the Natural Resource Damage Program announced Monday.

    “We are starting the ninth year of the grant program aimed at returning the basin to a healthy ecosystem,” Coleman said. “This year, up to $20 million is available to fund grant projects approved by the governor. This year’s funding cap is significantly higher than it has been in the past.”

    Grant applications for over $25,000 must be received by Friday, April 4. Grant applications for $25,000 or less may be submitted on a continuous basis throughout the year. Applicants requesting more than $25,000 must use a long-form application, and there is a short-form application for applicants requesting $25,000 or less.

    Government agencies, private entities and individuals may apply for grant funds for projects that will restore or replace the natural resources in the Basin. Grant funds may also be used for developing future grant proposals or for conducting monitoring, research and education activities related to restoration of natural resources in the basin. Only projects that would be located in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin are eligible for funding, subject to limited exceptions.

    Applications and guidance materials are available through the Natural Resource Damage Program at (406) 444-0205 or electronically on the Department of Justice Website at www.doj.mt.gov/lands/naturalresource/grantapplications.asp

    The NRDP will hold a workshop for those interested in applying for restoration grants. “We strongly encourage all prospective applicants to attend this workshop,” Coleman said. “We will cover the basics of the application process in the morning and then provide more detailed information on the application and criteria in the afternoon.”

    This year’s workshop is Thursday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fairmont Hot Springs, 1500 Fairmont Road in Fairmont. Registration is required. To register, call (406) 444-0229 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Once the applications are received, the Natural Resource Damage Program will consult with various government agencies and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Advisory Council to prepare draft funding recommendations. These recommendations will then be considered by the Trustee Restoration Council, which consists of the governor’s chief of staff, directors of the state’s three natural resource agencies, the attorney general and the chairman of the advisory council. After a public comment period, the Advisory Council and Trustee Restoration Council will make recommendations to the governor, who is expected to make final funding decisions on proposals over $25,000 in December 2008. The Trustee Restoration Council makes final funding decisions on proposals of $25,000 or less.

    The restoration projects will be funded with interest generated from the $130 million Restoration Fund established by the state in 1999 from settlement of several portions of its lawsuit against ARCO. The suit sought compensation for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin caused by decades of mining and smelting in the Butte and Anaconda areas by ARCO and its predecessors. To date, about $55 million has been awarded to 74 grant projects that will improve the Basin’s fish and wildlife habitat and populations, public recreation opportunities, and public drinking water supplies.

  • NRD Seeks Public Comment on Restoration Roadmap by April 8

    March 20, 2008

    The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) has released a Draft Conceptual Framework for an Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Priorities Road Map (PDF). This document outlines the proposed conceptual framework for how the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB) Restoration Fund would be prioritized via earmarking after settlement of the natural resource damage litigation. The agency is seeking public comment through April 8. More information is available at the NRDP website.

  • NRD’s Clark Fork and Blackfoot Restoration Planning Update

    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.

  • NRDP Grant Proposals Open for Public Comment; Deadline Oct. 10 2006

    September 21, 2006

    The State’s Natural Resource Damage Program is seeking public comment on draft funding recommendations for restoration projects in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Check out the press release below for details.

    HELENA – The state is seeking public comment on draft funding recommendations for projects designed to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, Restoration Program chief Carol Fox announced Thursday.

    The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has recommended that five grant proposals receive either full or partial funding totaling $5,046,940. Proposals are:

    * Bonner Pedestrian Bridge Replacement – Recommended for full funding of $975,652.
    * Butte Waterline – Year 6 recommended for full funding of $1,819,581; Year 7 not recommended for funding.
    * Upper Little Blackfoot River Restoration – Recommended for partial funding of $216,044.
    * Anaconda Waterline – Recommended for full funding of $1,964,263.
    * Basin-wide Wetland/Riparian Mapping – Recommended for partial funding of $71,400.

    The 30-day public comment period on these recommendations, detailed in the Draft 2006 Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Work Plan (PDF 3.2MB), begins on September 7. The public may submit written comments or provide oral comments at the public hearing to be held at the Butte Red Lion, 2100 Cornell, on October 2 at 7 p.m. Written comments may be sent to the Natural Resource Damage Program, P.O. Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620-1425, faxed to 444-0236 or e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for comments is October 10.

    “It is important that the public have the opportunity to comment on these proposals and funding recommendations before the Governor makes his final decision,” Fox said. “In particular, we would like to hear what people think of an option for the Butte waterline project. We have the situation where all of the bids made under the competitive bidding process exceeded the available funding, so we are looking at allowing the waterline replacement work to be done in-house by Butte-Silver Bow.”

    Based on the comments received over the next month, both the Advisory Council and Trustee Restoration Council will make final funding recommendations to Gov. Schweitzer, who is expected to make his funding decisions in December.

    The state sued the Atlantic Richfield Co. in 1983 and settled several portions of the lawsuit in 1999, receiving $215 million. About $130 million is earmarked to restore or replace the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown Dam near Missoula.

    The Natural Resource Damage Program within the Montana Department of Justice administers the grant program. Program staff and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Remediation and Restoration Education Advisory Council reviewed this year’s proposals and made recommendations to the Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council. That council – made up of the governor’s chief of staff, the attorney general, the directors of the state’s three natural resource agencies and the chairman of the advisory council – approved the funding recommendations that are now subject to public comment. To date, the Governor has approved 50 projects for a total of $38 million.

    CONTACT: Judy Beck, 444-5774; Lynn Solomon, 444-0582; Kathy Coleman, 444-0229

  • NRDP Seeks Comments on Restoration Monitoring and Maintenance Plan

    March 19, 2008

    The Montana Natural Resource Damage Program is looking for feedback on its newly released draft final “State Restoration Monitoring and Maintenance Plan for the Restoration Plan for the Clark Fork River and Blackfoot River near Milltown Dam" (PDF). This draft document, under review by the EPA and DEQ, has two monitoring components: one for monitoring State activities stated in the Milltown Consent Decree and a second for monitoring “critieria” established by the State to monitor the success of the restoration activities. The State is looking for comments on this document by April 24, 2008.

    Please address all comments to Doug Martin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at the address listed below or electronically.

    NRDP/DOJ
    PO Box 2011425
    Helena, MT 59620-1425

  • Old Channel Sediments to Be Removed from the Clark Fork River

     

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    Old Channel Sediments to Be Removed from the Clark Fork River 

    September 9, 2009

    Starting this week, Envirocon will begin excavating additional contaminated sediments from Clark Fork River at the Milltown Superfund site.

    After lengthy negotiations, the state of Montana, Envirocon, and ARCO's insurer, AIG, reached an agreement in August on the price and scope of work for the removal of an additional 250,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the Milltown Reservoir site.

    In December of 2007 the Clark Fork Coalition secured grant funding from the Montana's Natural Resources Damage Program (NRDP) to pay for sediment removal, but the ultimate stay-or-go decision was dependent on negotiating a fair price.

    Known as the Area III-b sediments, this contaminated river mud lies in the former channel of the Clark Fork River, extending from the dam site about a third of a mile upstream. Without this agreement, and without grant funding from the NRDP, these sediments would have remained adjacent to the confluence as an armored repository. Since this material is just as contaminated as the reservoir sediment, removal is considered critical for permanent restoration success at Milltown.

    The sediment was left in place in the remediation plan, now nearly complete, because the EPA and state believe that location of the sediments, though toxic, had little effect on the Milltown aquifer recovery, the primary goal of the Milltown Superfund cleanup.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the state will contract with Envirocon to excavate the sediment and place it in the Tunnel Pond repository, located behind the former Milwaukee Road rail grade. This location is up and away from the river and floodplain, where the sediments will not pose a hazard to human health or the environment. Originally, it was proposed to haul sediments to BP-ARCO's repository at the Anaconda Superfund site, but the state's staff felt that the price for that was about $1 million dollars too high.

    For the project, the State of Montana will pay roughly $1.65 million dollars from the NRDP grant funds, and AIG will contribute $1.1 million dollars.

    Excavation began on August 31st and will continue until the end of October.It will take an additional month to shore up the railroad buttress, and cap and reclaim the tunnel pond repository.It should all be finished by the end of November.

    "We're glad to see these sediments go, and we're thankful for the efforts of the State NRD Program, Envirocon, and AIG, in negotiating this agreement," says Chris Brick, the coalition's science director and a CFRTAC advisor. "Ultimately, this makes an already good cleanup just that much better."

     

  • One Year at the Milltown Dam 2007-2008

    January 5, 2009

  • Public Comment Sought on NRDP Restoration Project Proposals

     

    The Natural Resource Damage Program wants to know what the public thinks about a dozen

  • Remediation Review: How to Remove a Dam

    thumb_powerhouse_demoAfter 20 years of study, debate and planning, on-the-ground work began at the Milltown Reservoir Superfund site in the summer of 2006. In just three years, the dam and most of the sediments proposed for removal are now gone. Here's how that happened:

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