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Silver Bow Creek Has Life Again

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BUTTE -

 

For more than 100 years Silver Bow Creek was void of any life. Not only are there signs of life again but the native wildlife are thriving. From Butte to the Clark Fork River, Silver Bow Creek runs for more than 20 miles.

For a century it sat lifeless due to a flood that sent massive amounts of copper, led, zinc and arsenic from the early mining days that found their way into the stream.

Chief Executive Matt Vincent, who is also an avid fly fisherman, says he recalls a time when he thought it would not be possible for Silver Bow Creek to see life flourishing in its waters.

"I remember when you would go out it didn't really matter where you were at Silver Bow Creek, none of it was healthy. I mean best case scenario you were looking at one maybe two species of grass that were alive just along the banks."

But today trout native to Montana such as west slope cutthroat, brook trout and even some rainbow trout are once again swimming in the waters. Vincent says this restoration project should set an example for continuing on in the future.

"In this day in age we have to learn how to clean up the messes from the past when we didn't know so much and we have to manage the mines that we continue to rely on for our mineral resources today in a way that doesn't cause those past damages."

Although the creek is not at 100% restoration it is close with about 90% already restored. As for eating the fish you catch, there hasn't been a fish consumption advisory but you still may want to eat it at your own risk.

The next goal for Silver Bow Creek is to make it a self-sustaining wild fishery.

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