Clark Fork River cleanup crawls forward

DUNCAN ADAMS

Not even close.

The EPA master plan published in1990 predicted Superfund cleanup of the Clark Fork River would be done by 1998.

In 2004, the EPA estimated remediation of the wounded river upstream of Garrison would require 10 construction seasons, with multiple crews working on properties concurrently.

The latest and recently disclosed target date for completion is 2038. That means the earliest projection missed by 40 years.

And it’s not clear where the money will come from for remediating more than a dozen river stretches still needing cleanup between Galen and Garrison.

“There are legitimate questions about the ability to complete the cleanup with currently available funds, but DEQ is committed to finding the needed solutions to fulfilling our responsibilities,” said Kevin Stone, a spokesman for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

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The DEQ and the state’s Natural Resource Damage Program say they are poised to pool funds to tackle both remedy and restoration in an integrated approach.

Doug Martin, restoration program chief for the NRDP, said a new Clark Fork River Strategic Plan will disclose details about this integration. DEQ says the Clark Fork River Strategic Plan “will serve

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