By Warren Coyler
Hard rock mining for gold and other valuable minerals played an important role in our country's history, but it also left behind a legacy of pollution and degradation in wild places like Montana's Ninemile Creek, a tributary to the Clark Fork River that supports native westlope cutthroat and bull trout, among other species. Over the past 10 years TU has been working with a diverse group of partners to rebuild the tributaries to Ninemile Creek that were buried under mine waste and re-routed by dredge ponds. This year we're breaking ground on our largest project to date--we're rebuilding floodplains and stream channels on the main stem of Ninemile Creek, itself, to restore stream function and fish habitat. Last Monday TU's project manager in charge of this work, Paul Parson, lead a "before and after tour" of the project area. Stakeholders visited project areas where streams have been fixed, and other areas where streams are still broken but where restoration projects are planned. Read more about how we are replacing a mining legacy with a restoration legacy in Montana's Clark Fork watershed in The Missoulian..