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Thursday, March 31st
10:00 AM

Silver Bow Creek Cleanup and Restoration

Joel Chavez, Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Greg Mullen, Montana Natural Resource Damage Program

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The Silver Bow Creek watershed forms part of the headwaters the Clark Fork River. Decades of mining in the basin have damaged natural resources. These injuries include mild to severe contamination of water and soils and massive physical alterations to stream channels, floodplains, and surrounding landscapes, with resulting impacts to agriculture, wildlife, & recreational values.

Environmental cleanup under Superfund is being coordinated with a restoration effort directed by the Montana Natural Resource Damage program. Silver Bow Creek is presently under re-construction along mile 7 and at various sections near the end of the 22 mile Creek.

The tour will start at 10 am at the Rocker Town Pump on I-90 just west of Butte. We'll meet in the parking lot by the creek.

From there we will travel west about three miles to Ramsay and observe active tailings removal part. From there we will travel east to the first mile of SBC near Butte. We will make about 3 riparian stops on the 7 mile trip back to Butte. Then we will travel west and have lunch at the lower end of SBC (three miles south of Warm Springs Ponds) and observe and discuss cleanup activities at this location. We should be completed before 1pm with the SBC leg of the tour and then head on to the Watershed Restoration Council tour a few miles northeast of Warm Springs Ponds.

Tour led by Joel Chavez and Greg Mullen.

1:00 PM

Watershed Restoration Coalition projects: East Deer Lodge Valley Watershed Project Tour

Scott Marshall Payne, Kirk Environmental, LLC
John Hollenback, Deer Lodge Conservation District and WRC
Nancy Sweeney, Natural Resource Conservation Service
Toni Boniface, Independent Power Systems

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The East Deer Lodge Valley Watershed project is located on the east side of the Clark Fork River and extends from Deer Lodge to the Warm Spring Ponds. The 125,000 acre area includes nine tributary streams to the Clark Fork River, the riparian habitat along the main stem river and tributary streams, and the alpine headwaters along the continental divide. The project began in 1998 as a Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) priority area aimed at improving range health and aquatic resources. The Watershed Restoration Coalition of the Upper Clark Fork (WRC) partnered with NRCS in 2000 to implement watershed restoration projects on a landscape scale and cost share the restoration projects with the NRCS and others. To date, well over two million dollars have been invested in restoration projects for planning and implementation. The East Valley Watershed project tour will be led by John Hollenback of the Deer Lodge Conservation District and chairman of the WRC, Nancy Sweeney of the NRCS, Toney Boniface with Independent Power Systems, and Scott Payne of KirK Environmental LLC. The tour guides will walk the participants through the history, landscape, watershed baseline studies, and restoration projects being implemented. The attendees will visit three sites including 1) a stream reach along the Clark Fork River where Nancy Sweeny is working with landowners to enhance the riparian corridor, 2) a wind and solar powered off-stream water pipeline, and 3) an uplands bench area where water is being developed to improve livestock distribution by providing off-stream water. If time permits, the tour will also visit a reference reach for riparian health on private lands. Attendees will be provided maps, a summary of the East Valley Project, and a CD-rom containing the watershed baseline study.

Saturday, April 2nd
10:00 AM

Pattee Creek Tour

John Zelazny, Montana Trout

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Pattee Creek flows down from Pattee Canyon into the Missoula urban environment near the corner of Pattee Creek Drive and Higgins. Then it flows west towards the Bitterroot River. For 50 years, development has left little room for the creek to function naturally. What little of the creek remains on Missoula’s valley bottom has been channelized, incorporated into lawns, and is frequently dewatered. Ironically, the creek’s higher reaches still hold genetically pure Westslope cutthroat trout. A few years ago, friends of Pattee Creek were working to improve the condition of the creek when they learned that the city of Missoula was proceeding with an effort begun in the 1980's to deal with neighborhood flooding by putting long reaches of the creek into an underground storm sewer. Both of these seemingly antithetical efforts have moved forward.

In the fall of 2003, the city of Missoula diverted seasonal high flows of Pattee Creek into a storm sewer at the intersection of Pattee Creek Drive and Higgins, and all of Pattee Creek’s remaining flow downstream of Bancroft Pond into another underground storm sewer. Bancroft Pond was preserved, but several miles of the creek were lost, including a reach through Russell Park West with good restoration potential. On March 14-18, 2005, two small reaches of the remains of Pattee Creek (in Lester & Elms Parks) were enhanced with channel work, revegetation, and installation of fish habitat structures. The enhancement project was proposed and designed by Montana Trout and funded by the National Forest Foundation and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park's Future Fisheries program. Missoula Parks and Recreation and Montana Trout provided in-kind resources.

The downloadable file is video from this tour. The total run time is 1 hour. It is an .mp4 file. It is a very large file (1.63 GB) and may take several minutes to download. Symposium videos were produced by Missoula Community Access TV (MCAT).

1:00 PM

Tour of Grant Creek Flood Control and Stream Naturalization Project

Dan Harmon, HDR Engineering
Bill Bucher, Maxim

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The Grant Creek tour, led by Dan Harmon, project manager for the Grant Creek Project, and Bill Bucher, will start in its headwaters and follow the creek downstream discussing problems and potential solutions along the way.

Grant Creek flows south into the Missoula Valley from the foothills of the Rattlesnake mountains northwest of the City of Missoula. The creek’s headwaters are in national forest and private ranchlands. However, residential and commercial development has grown rapidly where the creek approaches I90. To protect this development, the creek has been confined by a berm, restricting it from much of its former floodplain. The creek flows under I90 in a culvert and then onto the floor of the valley where much of the creek’s flow is lost to infiltration into its alluvial fan. Below I-90 the creek does not flow much of the year. The creek generally follows its historic path but has been straightened and channelized. From West Broadway to the Clark Fork Floodplain, Grant Creek flows across flat agricultural land that is undergoing rapid development. The creek flows near the Mullan Trail subdivision near Mullan Road, where high groundwater from leaking irrigation ditches is thought to contribute to flooding of the subdivision. The creek passes under Mullan Road in a culvert and flows through ranchland on the Clark Fork floodplain to the Clark Fork. Culverts at W. Broadway, Mullan Trail and to a lesser extent I-90 are fish passage barriers.

Missoula County seeks to develop a project that will reduce flooding, improve fish habitat and passage, and improve recreational & aesthetic opportunities. HDR has designed a project to address these goals.

Sites that will be visited include: a bird sanctuary and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation development on upper Grant Creek, culverts at I90, W. Broadway, and Mullen Road that restrict fish passage, and the site of the lower Grant Creek flood control and habitat enhancement project.

If time permits, after the Grant Creek tour, we will visit one or two other less developed creeks that lie in the path of Missoula’s development. Here we will discuss what can be done to protect these creeks from the fate of Pattee and Grant Creeks.

The downloadable file is video from this tour. The total run time is 54 minutes, 33 seconds. It is an .mp4 file. It is a very large file (1.45 GB) and may take several minutes to download. Symposium videos were produced by Missoula Community Access TV (MCAT).