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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Apr 02, 2013

 

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Brian Bartkowiak
Remediation
406-841-5043

 

DEQ Works with FWP on Clark Fork River Closure, Protecting Public Safety is Top Priority

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Brian Bartkowiak
DEQ Project Officer
406-841-5043
bbartkowiak@mt.gov

Jeni Garcin
DEQ Remediation Public Information Officer
406-841-5016
Jgarcin2@mt.gov

DEQ Works with FWP on Clark Fork River Closure, Protecting Public Safety is Top Priority

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) have coordinated with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) in issuing a closure of 1 3/4 miles of the Clark Fork River, ten acres of the Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and a road within the WMA due to Superfund construction cleanup activities. The cleanup includes removal of contaminated mine waste, rebuilding streambanks, and reconstruction and re-vegetation of the floodplain. The emergency closure is in effect for 120 days. A formal process asking FWP to extend the closure beyond the 120 days has been initiated as the project is likely to take approximately one year to complete.

DEQ and NRD requested the closure due to heavy construction equipment working along the banks of the river and on the floodplain. The closure will allow construction crews to safely perform the cleanup without the risk of potential incidents with recreationists in the river or on the streambanks or adjacent lands.

“This closure is necessary to protect public safety,” says DEQ project manager Brian Bartkowiak. “DEQ does not want to take away anyone’s favorite fishing holes or interfere with people’s recreation, but we do want to make sure the public is safe while we perform this historic cleanup.”

DEQ and NRDP met with FWP officials in late March and determined that the river, a small portion of the WMA and a short stretch of the road within the WMA needed to be closed. This project, Phase 1, covers the initial 1.6 miles of the Clark Fork River, near Warm Springs. The remaining portions of the WMA will remain open for bird watching, fishing and other activities. The entire Upper Clark Fork River cleanup is a 43-mile stretch of the river from Warm Springs in Deer Lodge County downstream to Garrison in Powell County.

“Our top priority is public safety,” says DEQ Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We want this cleanup to go as quickly and as smoothly as possible and that means keeping people out of the work zone. The sooner we finish cleaning up the river, the quicker people can begin using the area and the better it will be for the fish and wildlife.”

Closure signs have been posted notifying the public of the prohibited areas. DEQ will continue to post construction updates in the local newspapers and air ads on the local radio station.

For more information regarding the emergency closure and cleanup, contact DEQ project manager Brian Bartkowiak at 406-841-5043 or bbartkowiak@mt.gov or visit the DEQ website at www.deq.mt.gov.

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