MTPR

Silver Bow Creek

David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard, speaks at a rally calling for a complete clean-up of Silver Bow Creek, Nov. 14, 2017.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A proposal would set aside some money from a Superfund cleanup settlement to build a man-made creek through the center of Butte.

This section of Silver Bow Creek that runs through Slag Canyon in Butte will be rerouted in EPA's "proposed plan" for changes to the 2006 Record of Decision.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Updated and expanded, April 11, 5:45 p.m.

I’m down in the valley at the bottom of the Butte Hill with Nikia Greene, looking at two skinny headwater streams flowing towards Silver Bow Creek and the Clark Fork River downstream.

"This is Blacktail Creek. We’re just above where the confluence of Blacktail Creek and Upper Silver Bow Creek, at the Visitor’s Center. You can see a wetland in the background," Greene says.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

After more than 30 years on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List, the federal agency has given Butte a date for finalization of a legally binding cleanup deal for the Butte Hill and the Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor.

Northey Tretheway, with the Restore Our Creek Coalition, gives outgoing EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento a plaque honoring his work in Butte on March 21, 2019.
Nora Sacks / Montana Public Radio

In Butte Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency set a date for an important milestone in the Mining City’s Superfund cleanup.

Next Friday, the agency says it will give federal court 135 days notice of filing a final consent decree laying out legally binding cleanup plans.

Butte locals took a close look at the master land use plan for the city's creek corridors at a meeting at Butte Brewing Company. November 1, 2018.
Nora Saks

When most people picture the Silver Bow Creek corridor in the middle of Butte, they think of a forgotten drainage ditch and an industrial wasteland.

But now, Atlantic Richfield, the BP-owned company in charge of cleaning it up, says they have a plan to turn it into a lush greenway, the likes of which could rival the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula. With interwoven trails and wetlands, and parks and playgrounds beckoning families to hang out. A natural paradise and a center of activity.

Cindy Perdue-Dolan (L) a field representative with Senator Daines' office looks on as Sister Mary Jo MacDonald shows pictures of the historic Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor. Members of ROCC and Montana's Board of Investments are also pictured.
Nora Saks / MTPR

At sunrise on Halloween, the Butte Archives conference room was full of dozens of people dressed not in scary costumes - but in suits.

All of the major players who are brokering Butte’s final Superfund cleanup deal were there - including elected officials, top staff and attorneys from local and state government, Atlantic Richfield Company, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Josh Bryson is the operations project manager with Atlantic Richfield Company. He's pictured outside the company headquarters in Butte. October 30, 2018.
Nora Saks / MTPR

This week, Butte residents will get an up-close look at what the city’s major creek corridors could look like in the future, once the Superfund cleanup is finished. 

This summer and fall, the parties in charge of Butte’s Superfund cleanup have been holding a series of public workshops to design what the Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors in the center of town will be used for after the cleanup is over. Now, they’re ready to unveil their comprehensive land use plan for the creek areas at a culminating workshop and presentation this week.

The Parrot Tailings removal project is underway in Butte. September 2018.
Nora Saks

Near Butte’s Civic Center, a massive construction project is going on across the street, in the heart of town. Mammoth excavators gouge out a colossal hole in the ground. Jumbo haul trucks whisk 70 ton loads of chewed-up earth away on repeat.

The viewing stand at the Berkeley Pit in September.
Nora Saks / MTPR

Construction on a long-awaited water treatment facility that will pump and treat toxic water from the Berkeley Pit officially began Monday in Butte.

Evan Barrett, a member of Butte's local Restore Our Creek Coalition, looks at plans for the creek corridors with state budget director Dan Villa. August 30, 2018.
Nora Saks

On Thursday, August 30, about 60 people huddled around tables in the backroom of the Butte Brewing Company, not drinking, but pouring over maps of the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors at the second in a series of community design workshops.

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