Clark Fork Superfund

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Clark Fork Superfund

Date: 08/18/2022     State: MT     Partners: Audubon Society, Clark Fork Coalition, National Wildlife Federation Airport Origin : Deer Lodge, MT    


Fly one of the largest Superfund sites in the US to educate passengers including county officials, NGOs conducting restoration, and wildlife advocates.

In Southwestern Montana, the cities of Butte and Anaconda were largely supported by mining. They bore the weight of pollution from mining, milling and smelting activities, and in 1908, a massive flood washed tons of mining waste into the Upper Clark Fork River. The incident polluted the floodplain for over 120 miles of the river, creating one of the largest superfund sites in history. The fish in the Clark Fork River faced detrimental effects, along with migratory birds. The mine tailings, including arsenic and heavy metals like cadmium, copper, zinc and lead polluted the river leading to contaminated agriculture fields and drinking water.

Our flights partners, along with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been strong leaders in the Clark Fork's restoration. Thanks to our partners, the many volunteers and the federal and state governments, massive restoration efforts have helped to heal the river. Much of the mainstem Clark Fork River has been cleaned and restored, along with some tributaries. The Milltown Dam was removed, taking with it a large deposit of waste that had settled in the Milltown Reservoir. For over a decade EcoFlight has flown groups working to restore the Clark Fork, educating and providing the full scope of this massive superfund site. More than 100 years after this environmental disaster, the hard work of our partners has, and continues to help the Clark Fork River and Clark Fork Basin make dramatic returns.

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