Agencies release strategic plan to guide ongoing cleanup of the Clark Fork River

The EPA’s comments leaned toward blunt.

Among other things, the federal agency’s take on the draft strategic plan for the Clark Fork River by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and state’s Natural Resource Damage Program found fault with plans to leave more wastes in place along the river because of budget constraints.

“Limiting cleanup to the Channel Migration Zone may not meet the requirement of addressing contaminated soils within the 100-year floodplain and may not be fully protective,” EPA said in comments submitted in May.

River channels tend to migrate unless a stream’s movement is constrained by topography or infrastructure like railroads and highways. A channel migration zone calculated for the Clark Fork River is intended to establish boundaries for remediation and restoration of the long-beleaguered river.

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The Clark Fork River meanders through the Deer Lodge Valley.

JOSEPH SCHELLER, The Montana Standard

DEQ and NRDP released details last month regarding feedback about the agencies’ draft strategic plan for the river’s cleanup and restoration. Commenters included the EPA; Trout

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