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October 29, 2010

State Solicits Comments on 2010 Draft Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB) Restoration Work Plan

HELENA – The State is seeking public comment on draft funding recommendations for projects designed to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, Kathleen Coleman, program specialist with the Natural Resource Damage Program, announced Friday.

The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has recommended nine projects for funding totaling $13,148,970, subject to certain funding conditions. These recommendations affirm those made by the Governor’s UCFRB Remediation and Restoration Advisory Council. The recommended projects and amounts are listed below.

TRC Draft Funding Recommendations for Public Comment*
Large Grant Cycle Requests Requested Restoration Funds Draft Funding Recommendations
Projects Recommended for Funding
Racetrack Creek Flow Restoration $500,000.00 $500,000.00
Maud S Canyon Trails/Open Space (Revised Request) $115,598.00 $62,040.00
Children’s Fishing Pond/Hillcrest Open Space $1,566,998.00 $1,200,000.00
Big Hole Transmission Line (Year 4) $2,760,000.00 $2,760,000.00
2010 Cottonwood Creek $289,647.00 $289,647.00
2010 Native Plant Materials $252,279.00 $252,279.00
Anaconda Metering $3,622,708.00 $3,622,708.00
Butte Waterline (Year 10) $1,817,546.00 $1,817,546.00
Anaconda Waterline (Year 9) $2,644,390.00 $2,664,390.00
Total Recommended for Funding $13,148,970.00
Projects Not Recommended for Funding
Restoration, Nutrients and Green River Bottoms $268,367.00 $0.00
Big Hole River Pump Station Replacement $3,500,000.00 $0.00
Knowledge Resource Mining in the UCFRB $376,160.00 $0.00

*These recommendations are subject to certain funding conditions that are indicated in the criteria evaluations contained in Section 2.0 of the Draft Restoration Work Plan.

The 30-day public comment period on these draft recommendations and associated funding conditions, which are detailed in the Draft 2010 Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Work Plan, begins on October 29, 2010. 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 Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30, 2010.

“It is important that the public have the opportunity to comment on these proposals and funding recommendations before the Governor makes his final decision,” Coleman said.

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

The state sued the Atlantic Richfield Company in 1983 and settled several portions of the lawsuit in 1999, receiving $215 million. About $130 million from that settlement was earmarked to restore or replace the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown Dam near Missoula. In 2008, the State concluded its lawsuit receiving an additional $68 million dedicated to restoration in the Basin.

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 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 draft funding recommendations that are now subject to public comment. To date, the State has awarded approximately $82 million for 110 grant proposals.