Montana/Dakotas

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Clark Fork Team Receives 
DOI Environmental Achievement Award

Clark Fork team members with Interior and Forest Service officials

 Left to right: Jim Caswell, Stephen Allred, Steve Whitesell, Anthony Schetzsle, Greg Nottingham, Willie Taylor, Lynn Scarlett, Peter Bierbach, Shawn Mulligan, Matthew Morrison, Paul Meyer, and Casey Padgett.  DOI photo 

The Clark Fork River Response and Restoration Team accepted the Department of the Interior’s 2008 Environmental Achievement Award during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18. 

Since the early 1990s, the team has been involved in settling a natural resource damages lawsuit filed by the DOI against the Atlantic Richfield Company. The lawsuit alleged that BLM and National Park Service lands along the Clark Fork River in western Montana were contaminated by heavy metals from Butte/Anaconda mining operations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

The settlement over the Clark Fork Superfund site came after more than 15 years of study and intense negotiation with ARCO. It provides funding for the NPS and BLM to restore wildlife habitat and other values on the lands affected by mine waste after any required reclamation is complete. Affected lands include the NPS’s historic Grant-Kohrs Ranch, and 15 riparian parcels along the Clark Fork managed by the BLM. The BLM will use its several hundred thousand dollar settlement in cooperation with the counties to fund weed control.

Members of the Clark Fork team are Peter Bierbach, BLM Montana State Office; Paul Meyer, BLM National Operations Center; Greg Nottingham and Shawn Mulligan, National Park Service; Casey Padgett, Department of the Interior; Henry Elsen, EPA; and Matt Morrison and Robert Homiak, Department of Justice. 
To learn more about the project, go to http://www.doi.gov/greening/awards/2008/2008_clark.html.