Near Anaconda in Deer Lodge County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
Silver Bow Creek Remediation and Restoration
• Remedial cleanup covers 22 stream miles of Silver Bow Creek, extending from Butte to the Warm Springs Ponds.
This work is funded from a settlement with Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARCO) completed under federal Superfund law.
• The Silver Bow Creek remediation and restoration project is over $120 million.
More than 80 people a year have been employed during the decade plus remediation and restoration work.
• Trout have returned to portions of the creek and deer, elk and other wildlife are regularly seen on site. A mink and trumpeter swan were also seen in the remediated wetlands, indicating the ecosystem is returning.
• The remediation and restoration of Silver Bow Creek, perhaps the largest project of its type in the United States, has won local, national and international awards for environmental excellence.
• Silver Bow Creek remediation and restoration has been conducted by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, in partnership with the Natural Resources Damage Program
• Century old contamination was caused by flood events that discharged tailings and other mine wastes containing elevated concentrations of metals to Silver Bow Creek. These toxic discharges polluted the stream and floodplain, eliminating aquatic life.
(Side bar at bottom right)
Since the 1999 start of remediation and restoration of Silver Bow Creek, significant improvements have occurred in the ecosystem including :
Improved Water Quality - The water quality of both surface water and groundwater within the area has improved greatly compared to pre-cleanup levels. The cleanup of Silver Bow Creek along with upstream cleanup work in Butte is responsible for the improvement in stream quality. Sampling of Silver Bow Creek in the remediated areas found no metals concentrations above drinking water standards and metals concentrations much closer to meeting aquatic life standards than prior to cleanup.
Stabilized Stream Channel - The new stream channel constructed in Silver Bow Creek has been successful and vegetation is well established on its banks. Pools and other habitat features added by restoration funding are functioning as designed and providing increased aquatic habitat diversity.
Better Biological Diversity - Biological indicators such as aquatic insect diversity already show improvement from cleanup efforts completed at the site. Algal composition has also changed since remedial actions have begun with a greater presence of species that are sensitive to metals.
Administrative Success - The State of Montana has shown that it can manage both remedy and restoration activities as one integrated project and still maintain clear distinctions between the funding sources for accounting purposes.
Successful Revegetation - Through replacement of tailings and contaminated soils in the floodplain of upper Silver Bow Creek with clean materials and organic matter, revegetation efforts have been successful. Grasses and plants are well established through much of the remediated area, and the supplemental plantings resulting from activities funded by restoration grants have enhanced habitat. At the construction workers have revegetated the area, they have also implemented an aggressive week management program.
Erected 2010 by Montana Department of Transportation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Environment.
Location. 46° 5.558′ N, 112° 48.48′ W. Marker is near Anaconda , Montana, in Deer Lodge County. Marker can be reached from Pintler Vetrans Memorial Scenic Highway (State Highway 1) near Interstate 90 Frontage Road, on the right when traveling east. The marker is located in the Montana Department of Transportation Highway 1 Rest Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Anaconda MT 59711, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Anaconda-Pintler and Flint Creek Mountains (a few steps from this marker); Anaconda (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Smelting the Ore (approx. 6.3 miles away); Contributions of the Washoe Smelter (approx. 6.3 miles away); Organized Labor (approx. 6.3 miles away); Goosetown Historic District (approx. 6.3 miles away); Washoe Stack Facts (approx. 6.3 miles away); Marcus Daly - An Irishman with Vision (approx. 6.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Anaconda.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 12, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 12, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 105 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 12, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.