Restoration Milltown Reservoir

  • 'Clark Fork 320' Float Celebrates the Length of a River's Rebound

     

    A board member of the Clark Fork Coalition and his guide are floating nearly the entire length of the Clark Fork River, from the Deer Lodge Valley to Lake Pend Oreille, to highlight a river on the mend.

  • A Bird's Eye View of the Milltown Superfund Cleanup Progress

    After three years of cleanup work at the Milltown Reservoir Superfund site, the project has passed several major milestones. These aerial photos highlight some of that progress.

  • Agencies Host Milltown Superfund Update Meeting October 20

    The EPA and  State of Montana will hold a public meeting to give an update on the Milltown

  • Clark Fork - Blackfoot Restoration Planning Documents Online

    July 18, 2007

    The Natural Resource Damage Program has posted design documents for the restoration plan for the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers at Milltown at a FTP site. They are available at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it../">ftp://This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The user name is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the password is public. Included on the site is the draft performance critieria (also available here )(PDF) data summary reports for geomorphology and revegetation, a weed management plan and more.

  • Clark Fork and Blackfoot River Weed Pull Set for August 13

    August 7, 2008

    Join representatives of the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program and local residents to help out with restoration work — weed pulling — along the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers on August 13 at 6:30 p.m.

    Weeds pose a challenge to any restoration project but fortunately lend themselves to a community effort. Volunteers will meet on the east side of the Town Pump parking lot in Bonner overlooking the Blackfoot River (just off I-90 on Hwy 200). NRD representatives will be there to coordinate this effort and answer questions about the restoration work.

    Volunteers will pull weeds within the restoration area along the Blackfoot River in Milltown and along the Clark Fork above the Envirocon remediation area. The weed pull will last about 2 hours with water, garbage bags, and some tools provided. (If you have your own weed pulling tools please bring them). Also please bring your own work gloves and boots. For more information, call 258-6335.

  • Clark Fork Cleanups Help Quantify Montana's Restoration Economy

    A new study from the Governor's Office seeking to quantify the Restoration Economy in Montana

  • Conferences Focus on Law and Science of Clark Fork River Restoration

    September 21, 2006

    Two conferences next week (Sept. 25-29) will look at the law behind the Natural Resource Damage Program and the science of river restoration. The first is The Law of Ecosystem Restoration: National Policy Implications of the Clark Fork River Basin Natural Resource Damage Program. This conference will examine current NRD law and policy developments, as well as how this has played out in the Clark Fork River Basin.

    The second conference, Assessing Stream Restoration Success: Developing Sustainable Ecological and Physical Systems, is hosted by the University of Montana’s Center for Riverine Science and Stream Re-naturalization. The two-day meeting will include daylong fieldtrips, four invited keynote presentations that address the physical, geochemical, and biological aspects of assessing stream restoration projects,
    and a general poster session.

  • Data Gathering for Clark Fork-Blackfoot River Restoration Planning Advances

    December 8, 2006

    The state’s Natural Resource Damage Program continues its data gathering for the development of the restoration plan for the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers near the Milltown Dam. The NRD program recently released data summaries for the revegetation component (PDF) and the geomorphological studies (PDF).

  • Deer Lodge and its Bum Bridge gets cleanup

    Fall 2012 - Summertime along the banks of the Clark Fork River in Deer Lodge finds children enjoying the cool water in the sunshine. This area is called “Bum Bridge” by local folks as it was once home to railroad vagabonds who would enjoy the park-like setting of the area where the railroad crossed the river.

  • FWP Announces Proposed River Closures; Seeks Cooperation on Fish Cages

    July 24, 2006

    The Monday Missoulian features a couple of articles relating to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Dept. and the Milltown cleanup. In the first one, the FWP plans to close portions of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers for the duration of the remediation and restoration efforts at the Milltown Reservoir, likely to be five years. The move, part of the Site Access and Control Plan for reservoir cleanup, would close the Blackfoot for a mile and half above the dam and the Clark Fork from a half-mile below the dam to three miles above it beginning September 1. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will decide on the issue at its meeting in Missoula, August 3.

    The second article reports that the FWP Dept. is calling on the public to help it by simply not disturbing its monitoring fish cages. Recently, vandals destroyed one of the fish cages below the Milltown Dam. The cages are essential to the department’s effort to monitor the effects of the cleanup work on fish populations in the lower Clark Fork. “We just need people to leave our cages alone,” said David Schmetterling, a FWP biologist.

  • FWP Reminder: Milltown Confluence Area Still Closed to Public


    The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has issued a reminder that while the Milltown Dam is gone, small sections

  • Governor Announces Cleanup of Stimson Cooling Pond on the Blackfoot River

    August 7, 2008

    At a press conference in Bonner on Tuesday, Gov. Brian Schweitzer called for a cleanup and removal of a contaminated cooling pond built on the bank of the Blackfoot River at the Stimson Mill. The pond, in use for generations, contains roughly 87,000 cubic yards of sediments contaminated with carcinogenic PCBs and other toxic compounds.

    The governor, and DEQ director Richard Opper, discussed the state’s preliminary cleanup plan, which is out for public comment until Sept. 12. The sediments would be removed and shipped, depending on the degree of toxicity, to either the local landfill or a special facility in Idaho. The berm that encloses the pond would be removed and the banks included in the state’s restoration plan for the Milltown Superfund site at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers. The berm of the cooling pond had to be reinforced before beginning work at the Milltown Superfund site.

    The project, which could begin as early as next spring and take three to four months to complete, carries an estimated price tag of more than $5 million. For additional coverage, see the Missoulian’s article.

  • Governor Approves Funding for Bonner Hybrid Bridge

    May 18, 2007

    Hybrid bridge

    Gov. Brian Schweitzer recently signed off on Missoula County’s amended proposal to the state Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Program to develop a hybrid bridge over the Blackfoot River in the Bonner-Milltown area.

    The bridge was originally approved by the state in December 2006 but in the months since, the Montana Department of Transportation has decided to replace the Highway 200 Bridge in Milltown and its preliminary design includes a five-foot pedestrian walkway, prompting the NRD program to reconsider the project. In addition, the county submitted a revised design that incorporated historic elements from the existing bridge, which dates back to the early 1920s. Read more about it in the Missoulian here and here.

  • Governor Approves Milltown Land Acquisition and 10 Other NRD Projects

    December 23, 2008

    Merry Christmas Montana: the state now owns the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers and the land currently occupied by the Milltown Superfund site.

    Today, Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed off on a $13 million slate of Natural Resource Damage Program projects, including a $586,000 proposal to facilitate the state’s acquisition of more than 400 acres from the Northwestern Energy Company. The land transfer includes the confluence area and the Clark Fork flood plain above it and also the narrow strip along the Blackfoot River up to the pedestrian bridge in Milltown.

    The proposal was submitted jointly by the Clark Fork Coalition and the Milltown Superfund Redevelopment Working Group, a community stakeholder body appointed by the Missoula County Commissioners to look at the Superfund site’s future. The Working Group has long advocated the creation of public park at the site once the cleanup and restoration work is complete. Earlier this year, the group developed a conceptual design plan for a state park. For more on other approved projects, see the NRDP’s press release (PDF).

  • How to Remove a Powerhouse

    December 14, 2007

    Milltown Dam and Powerhouse
    Dam & Powerhouse

    The goings-on at Milltown Dam are about to get more dramatic this winter. If everything goes as expected between now and April, we’ll witness demolition of the powerhouse, a 12 – 14 foot drop in the reservoir level, and the first time the Clark Fork River has flowed free at the confluence since 1907.

    ARCO contractor Envirocon details how all of this will take place in their recent draft final design report “Stage 2A – Powerhouse and Right Abutment Removal and Stage 2 Drawdown" (PDF). This document is 90% of the way to the final plan, so while there may yet be a few changes and tweaks to incorporate – in fact we hope there are – the report gives us a good idea of how the work will proceed. Check out CFRTAC’s comments here (PDF).

    In a nutshell, here’s how it would go:
    • The right abutment – the part of the dam adjacent to the powerhouse on the north side – would be removed to an elevation below the existing ground surface
    • The shop on the north side of the powerhouse would be demolished and removed, followed by the brick north wall and part of the roof of the powerhouse.
    • The generators, weighing 19-24 tons each, would be lifted from the powerhouse by crane. The Milltown Redevelopment Working Group will save one of these for future display.
    • A horse-shoe shaped earthen cofferdam would be constructed just upstream of the powerhouse, in the same location where the Montana Power Company built one in 1988 for powerhouse repairs
    • A work pad and three-foot berm would be constructed just downstream of the powerhouse
    • The remaining walls, floor and roof of the powerhouse would be demolished, working south, and filling the tailrace voids with rubble from the powerhouse and right abutment as the work proceeds.
    • Concrete rubble, bricks and timbers from the dam and abutment would be put into an on-site repository located in the park area to the north. We are encouraging the agencies and Envirocon to look for ways to recycle the concrete and usable timbers in order to decrease the size of the repository. All steel would be recycled. The lead-based paint has already been stripped from the powerhouse walls and will be shipped to the landfill in Missoula. Asbestos in the roof will also be removed and disposed of in the Missoula landfill.
    • Work pads would then be removed, and the powerhouse footprint would be armored and re-graded to create the Stage 2 channel configuration. This is a temporary channel for the river since the final river channel will eventually be constructed where the spillway currently sits.
    • The Clark Fork River upstream of the dam will be redirected into the newly completed bypass channel next to I-90.
    • A breach channel will be constructed from the powerhouse/abutment area toward the Blackfoot River to channel and direct river flow toward the temporary Stage 2 channel.
    • The cofferdam will be removed.
    • The new powerhouse channel will be breached, either by raising the level of the reservoir with the radial gate, or by allowing natural high flows to overtop the wedge of sediment separating the channel from the reservoir. At this point, the reservoir will drain by another 12-14 feet, and the combined flows of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers will run into a temporary channel through the powerhouse footprint.

    The channel breach and subsequent erosion as the reservoir level drops will cause the river to be a lot muddier than usual this spring. The good news is that since the Clark Fork will be in the bypass channel, all the eroded sediment will come from the Blackfoot River, which is clean. The muddy water conditions may last for several months until the Blackfoot River erodes to an elevation that is in equilibrium with the new lower level at the dam. There’s no doubt that this stage of the project will have the biggest impact to the river, but it will be short-lived.

    Looking forward, the next step will be to construct a cofferdam to isolate the spillway this summer, and spillway demolition will occur in fall 2008. The new permanent channel will be created in this location, and the river will be routed into it in late winter of 2009.

    The text, figures and appendices of this report are available to the public on Envirocon’s ftp site (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./" target="_blank">ftp://public:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./). Look for the folder “Stage 2A DFDR.” Open the folders until you find the files, then drag the files to your desktop and allow them to download. Do not try to open files directly from the ftp window.

  • Log Removal Planned for Blackfoot River

    October 3, 2006

    More than three hundred logs will be removed the Blackfoot River bed and banks this fall, according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation. Long submerged by the Bonner Dam, the logs began to appear after that dam was removed last fall and the subsequent drawdown of the Milltown Reservoir. “The logs pose a threat to the Milltown Dam radial gate and spillway if they were to float downstream next spring during the run-off and plug the radial gate creating both safety and operational control problems,” said Tony Liane, a DNRC spokesman. For more details, see the DNRC press release or the Missoulian’s coverage.

  • May Day at Milltown

    May 1, 2007

    Milltown work site

    May 1st is May Day. For pagans, it’s a day to mark the renewal of nature and for much of the industrial world outside North America, it’s a day to recognize workers. At the Milltown Reservoir Superfund site, there’s good cause to celebrate both.

  • Milltown Cleanup Begins Shift from Remediation to Restoration

    With the dam and the majority of the sediments removed, remediation at the Milltown Superfund site winds down, while restoration work continues to gear up along the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers.

  • Milltown Divider Block Removed

    Former Milltown Dam Site With the removal this week of the concrete divider block, the last visible remains of the Milltown Dam are now gone. Next week, the breach of the cofferdam will lower the river two to three feet and allow the Clark Fork to be diverted into its future (and possibly one-time) channel at the base of the Milltown Bluff

  • Milltown Divider Block Removed

    With the removal this week of the concrete divider block, the last visible remains of the Milltown Dam are now gone.

  • 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 Sediments Get a Final Treatment

    October 2012 - The final treatment of the Milltown sediments began this year at the BP- ARCO Waste Repository and will continue through 2013. The Milltown sediments came from the cleanup of the Milltown Reservoir Superfund site and cover about 660 acres of the repository. . It was originally thought that the sediments contained enough organic material to work as a cover soil, but failure to grow adequate vegetation led to dust storms and public frustration. BP was still on the hook to develop a solution, so after a series of greenhouse studies, they proposed a new design to deal with the sediments. Lime will be applied and tilled into the top 6-inches of the sediments, then a 12-inch clean soil cap will be installed and re-vegetated with the help of compost and fertilizer.

  • Milltown State Park is On-track to Open in Late 2013

    Fall 2012 - Now that excavators and dump trucks are gone, and grasses, willows, and trees are slowly taking root, the Milltown Superfund site is looking less like a construction zone, and more like the park it’s about to become.  For one hundred years, Milltown Dam straddled the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers, blocking fish and holding back a century’s worth of polluted mining waste.  The 180-acre reservoir behind the dam was full of contaminated sediment—6.6 million cubic yards of it—that washed down from Butte’s copper mines during the record flood of 1908 and stacked up behind the dam. The contaminated sediment, laden with arsenic and copper, poisoned local wells and killed off fish and other aquatic life during high flows and ice jams.  Now, thanks to Superfund cleanup, the worst of that is gone.  In place of a dam and reservoir, the Clark Fork River meanders naturally across a wide floodplain.  What a difference six years has made.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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:

  • Restoring a River at Milltown

    Restoration work along the Clark Fork River at the Milltown Superfund site proceeds at a brisk pace. Check out this slideshow for a look at river restoration at work.

  • State Agencies Share Cleanup Plans for Upper Clark Fork River


    The Montana Standard reports that a public meeting last week drew more than 50 people  who came to learn about the cleanup plans for the Clark Fork River in the Deer Lodge Valley.

  • State Plan: New River Channel and Native Plant Revegetation

    By the end of this year, the Superfund cleanup at Milltown will be mostly finished and restoration activities will take center stage.

  • State Releases Draft Phase 3 Scope of Work for Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers Restoration Plan

    February 15, 2006

    The State of Montana has released the draft Scope of Work for Phase III (SOW) data collection and analyses (PDF 1.1 MB) necessary to complete the Final Restoration Plan for the Clark Fork River and Blackfoot River Near Milltown Dam. See CFRTAC’s one-page summary .

    As a member of the restoration design review team, CFRTAC is helping to coordinate public comment. Submit your written comments on the Phase 3 Draft SOW to the State NRDP by February 24, 2006. Comments can be sent directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail to:

    Montana NRDP/DOJ
    P.O. Box 201425
    Helena, MT 59620-1425

    Follow this link to the state’s October 2005 Restoration Plan for the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers near the Milltown Dam. Have a look at the table of contents (PDF) and the plan ((PDF, 714KB).

  • State Releases Final Restoration Design for Milltown

    January 17, 2008

    The Montana Natural Resource Damage Program’s newly finished restoration design plan for the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers near the Milltown Dam site is now available online. The state’s effort dovetails with the dam and sediment removal and seeks to return the rivers to a naturally functioning condition, to protect water quality and wildlife habitat and to offer safe recreational opportunities.

    Click for a direct link to the design summary and implementation plan (PDF, 2Mb) or follow this link to the NRD program’s FTP site to find the complete plan and all its appendices. Details on accessing the documents follow the jump.The NRDP FTP site contains the Milltown Restoration Design 2008. This design package is titled, “Design Summary and Implementation Plan.” Included in this package is the draft construction plan set, materials list, revegetation plan, restoration schedule, and riverine structure summary. The documents are numbered 1 through 10 for easier downloading. The Design Summary and Implementation Plan and Appendices B, C, D, and E are relatively small in size. Appendix A is the construction plan set that includes a series of larger figures.

    To download the Milltown Restoration Plan from the NRDP FTP, follow the path outlined below. Note: you should not open documents while in the ftp site as it may really mess up your computer.
    Download documents to your computer, then open them.

    Visit http://www.nrdp.info/

    click: FTPPublic

    click: Incoming Documents

    click: Milltown Restoration

    click: Final Documents – supporting documents are also listed at this location

    click: Design Summary – includes Design Summary and Implementation Plan along with appendices

  • State Releases Response to Comments on October Milltown Restoration Plan

    June 15, 2006

    The State of Montana has released its response to the comments (PDF) received during the public comment period on the October 2005 version of the Restoration Plan for the Clark Fork River and Blackfoot River Near Milltown Dam. The October 2005 restoration plan will be revised throughout 2006, with a final plan to be completed in March 2007. Questions can be directed to Doug Martin at 406-444-0234 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Summer CFRTAC Newsletter Online

    July 23, 2007

    Warm Springs Ponds

    The Summer CFRTAC Newsletter is at the printers but is also available here (PDF, 1.7 MB) for a sneak preview. Headlines include:

    * New Planning Effort Looks at Future of Warm Springs Ponds
    * Milltown Work Still on Track
    * Opportunity Update
    * Three Years On: Still Awaiting Final Word on the Clark Fork River
    * EPA Field Studies Gather Info on Site Specific Cleanup Options
    * Milltown Park Planning Begins
    * Dam News Takes a Big Picture Look at Milltown Cleanup

  • The Milltown Superfund Recap

    In 1908 a massive flood washed millions of cubic yards of toxic mine wastes into the Clark Fork River system. Generations later, in 1983, the Milltown Reservoir was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site after the discovery that several million cubic yards of heavy metal contaminated sediments had piled up behind the dam, polluting the groundwater beneath with high concentrations of arsenic.

     

  • The State’s Restoration Plan

    August 15, 2003

    Summer 2003 saw the release of the state’s restoration plan for the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers. Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Natural Resource Damage Program developed the broad-scale conceptual plan that provides restoration concepts, draft design information and restoration cost estimates. The plan builds on the EPA/DEQ proposed clean-up plan and proposes to restore the confluence of the two rivers to a more naturally functioning and self-maintaining state, to improve water quality and to provide high quality fish and wildife habitat. A fact sheet on the plan is also available.

  • The Three R's of the Milltown Reservoir Superfund Project

    thumb_dam-news-08-smallThe project now underway at the Milltown Reservoir is one of the nation's most challenging and ambitious environmental cleanups. It is an effort that integrates what's known as the Three Rs, remediation, restoration and redevelopment.

  • Twelve Step Program for the Milltown Cleanup

    April 05, 2006

    The Great Falls Tribune website features a gallery, titled A River Reborn: Removing a dam in 12 difficult steps, that illustrates the step-by-step process required for the remediation and restoration of the Milltown Superfund site.

  • Warm Springs Ponds 2011 Water Quality Update

    June 2012 - Atlantic Richfield hosted their annual public meeting in June, 2012 to present information to the community related to Warm Springs Ponds (WSPs). Presentations at the meeting were mainly related to water quality – other topics discussed included community education opportunities, recreational and wildlife values of the WSPs, and an evaluation of new modeling tools and treatment alternatives to ensure the ability to meet water quality standards after treatment through the ponds.

  • ‘Dam News’ Takes a Big Picture Look at Milltown Cleanup

    May 25, 2007

    Dam News 2007

    Hot off the press is the first issue of the Dam News (PDF), a new CFRTAC publication that looks at the basics of the Milltown Reservoir Superfund cleanup. Articles offer an overview of remediation, restoration and redevelopment, as well as the monitoring effort and work on bridge mitigation. The centerpiece graphic offers a visual explanation of the first stage of the cleanup now underway. Future issues will focus on dam removal and the state’s river restoration effort. For hard copies of the Dam News, call CFRTAC at 541-8099.

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