Upper Clark Fork River Basin
In December 2011, Governor Schweitzer approved a Final Upper Clark Fork River Basin Long Range Priorities and Fund Allocation Guidance Plan that allocated about $110 million in natural resource damage settlement funds for the restoration of groundwater, aquatic, and terrestrial resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). That approval triggered the development of a Final Upper Clark Fork River Basin Interim Restoration Process Plan that describes the process the State of Montana used to develop restoration plans and fund restoration projects in the UCFRB using these allocated funds. This Process Plan is also summarized in a Fact Sheet issued May 2012. Pursuant to this Process Plan, the State finalized the groundwater, aquatic, and terrestrial restoration plans at the end of 2012 and revised the restoration plans in 2016.
The Governor makes all final decisions on all restoration plans and associated funding. Prior to a final decision, draft restoration plans are subject of a 30-day public comment period. In addition to public comment, the Governor considers recommendations from the Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP), the UCFRB Advisory Council, and the Trustee Restoration Council.
Aquatic and Terrestrial Restoration Plans – Section 5 of Process Plan:
An estimated $65.5 million is initially available for funding of projects that will improve aquatic and terrestrial resources, respectively, and related public recreational services. In September 2012, the State produced draft aquatic and terrestrial plans. These draft plans, which were developed in consultation with fish and wildlife biologists, were subsequently the subject of public comment and consideration of the Advisory Council and Trustee Restoration Council prior to final approval by the Governor in January 2013.
In 2016 the State reviewed and revised the 2012 Aquatic and Terrestrial Restoration Plans two years after the Governor’s approval. These revisions also involved additional solicitations from the public of restoration concept proposals for potential inclusion in revised restoration plans.
To assist with the development of restoration alternatives for these draft restoration plans, the State solicited restoration concept proposals from the public, in recognition of the wealth of knowledge and relationships that other entities can bring to the restoration planning process. Through this solicitation process, which was first introduced in a February 2012 draft version of the Process Plan, the State requested that interested individuals and entities submit abstracts outlining their ideas for projects that would protect or enhance fishery or wildlife resources in Priority 1 and 2 areas or in the aquatic and terrestrial injured resource areas for which the State made restoration claims, or enhance recreational services associated with these resources, such as fishing, floating, hunting, wildlife viewing, and hiking. In most cases, those proposals submitted by the public that fit with the State’s guidance in the 2012 Process Plan on encouraged types of projects were incorporated, either partially or fully, into the State’s proposed restoration actions covered in this document.
The restoration plans describe how and when the proposed restoration actions will be implemented or further developed and what additional review and approval steps, if any, are needed. Some actions will be developed and implemented by the State and other actions will be developed and implemented by other entities in partnership with the State in a manner consistent with State procurement requirements.
- Final Upper Clark Fork River Basin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Restoration Plans (Updated 2016)
The following describes the process and schedule the State of Montana will use to update and revise the 2016 Final Upper Clark Fork River Basin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Restoration Plans. The 2018 Restoration Plans update is based on the natural resource damage (NRD) provisions in state and federal superfund law and the requirements of the Final Upper Clark Fork River Basin Interim Restoration Process Plan, May 2012 , the 2012 Restoration Plans approved by Governor Schweitzer in May 2012 and January 2013, respectively, and the 2016 Restoration Plans approved by Governor Bullock in January 2016.