Sign up to catch a bus to Helena from Bozeman or Missoula to attend Montana DEQ Public Hearing on the Black Butte Copper Mine or tow your boat to the Capitol and join our boat procession and rally on the Capitol lawn. Learn more and sign up here.
Smith River supporters will have another opportunity to voice their concerns about Tintina Resource’s proposed copper mine on Sheep Creek. Montana DEQ has announced a fourth public meeting to be held in Helena. For more information about the scoping process or talking points for comments please visit smithriverwatch.org or refer to our October 16, 2017 post.
Public Scoping Meetings and Locations
All meetings are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Stay tuned for information on ride share and bus transport option.
Written comments may also be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to:
Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 200901
Helena, MT 5962-0901
Great Falls: Monday, October 30th from 6-9 PM, Great Falls Civic Center, 2 Park Drive South
White Sulphur Springs: Wednesday, November 1stfrom 6-9 PM, White Sulphur Springs High School Gymnasium, 405 South Central Avenue
The Wild Fishery of the Smith River Basin: DEQ should evaluate the baseline conditions of the Sheep Creek and Smith River wild and native trout fishery. The Tintina project has the potential to dewater and contaminate both surface water and groundwater connected to the Sheep Creek tributary, and then to the main Smith River. There is clear evidence that wild trout, and potentially some native fish species, use Sheep Creek extensively for spawning and as a cold water refuge during low, warm water conditions in the Smith. There is also clear evidence that during their life-cycle, trout migrate between Sheep Creek, the Smith River, and the Missouri River. In addition, during periods of low water, Sheep Creek is the largest source of clean, cold water to the mainstem river, which is vital for the health of the entire Smith River fishery all the way to its confluence with the Missouri River. Considering that impacts to water quality and quantity in Sheep Creek are a concern for the fishery all the way into the Missouri, there must be a thorough baseline study of this extensive, at-risk fishery. DEQ should include and rely upon Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Region 4 fishery biologists and managers in the EIS analysis.
On June 30 we urged folks to send us their Clean Water Stories. Below is one of those great submissions! We urge you to keep those stories coming in. We’ll send you some sweet MTU gear in exchange. Submit your stories and photos to email@example.com we’d also love to see your photos on Instagram #30daysforcleanwater. For more information on our plea for stories read our executive director, David Brooks, post on the the importance of headwater streams.
The Pursuit of Happiness By Joshua Bergan
Headwaters are important. To me, to generations before and after me, and to the fish and wildlife that live on the vital sustenance that headwaters provide.
Recently, my wife and I have spent most of our summer free-time hiking up to and fishing Montana’s mountain lakes, many of which are the headwaters for streams that feed the large rivers. These lakes have become a part of us. I thought that once our project was complete, we’d be happy to get back to floating and fishing big rivers, but that’s not the case. We cannot wait to spend more time at these headwaters.
These pristine mountain lakes are spectacular. They often sport clear teal water that you can see 20-feet into and host native cutthroat trout and arctic grayling – the same species that Silas Goodrich caught on the Corps of Discovery, and that sustained people for hundreds of years before that. These fish have only a small fraction of their original places left, where anglers like my wife and I can find them. Clean , healthy headwaters are important to us.
Aside from the well-documented significance these sanctuaries provide for native plants and animals, they provide people like us with a refuge, a reason to get exercise and get healthy, some peace, memories, photo-ops and ultimately, the pursuit of happiness.
It’s true that there is some economic opportunity up there. We need the minerals and metals that are buried near these important waterways and we all need to make a living. We need to balance these things with peoples’ right to recreation, low-impact economic opportunity, and the plants and animals that rely on these places that have the same right to exist as humans do. It is my strongly held belief that we do not need those minerals, metals, and monies enough that it’s worth destroying these headwaters.
Headwaters are too important to us all to allow protections to lapse.