EARTHWORKS

It's a big win for Montana's bull trout and Rock Creek

Bonnie Gestring's avatar
By Bonnie Gestring

July 25, 2011

It s a victory for Montana s Rock Creek and threatened native bull trout.  Last week, the State District Court blocked a permit for the proposed Rock Creek mine, a copper silver mine which plans to tunnel under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana.

Earthworks and our co-plaintiffs, the Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance and Trout Unlimited, challenged the permit because it ignored the huge amount of sediment the mine would dump into Rock Creek, an important stronghold for threatened bull trout. Permitting studies for the mine showed the construction would cause a 38% increase in sediment pollution to Rock Creek, where existing sediment levels are already so high that any increase would impair bull trout spawning.

Biologists for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have identified Rock Creek as a crucial tributary for the recovery of bull trout in the lower Clark Fork River. We re heartened that the judge recognized Rock Creek as an area of "unique ecological significance" under Montana law.

Here s the story in the Missoulian

Tagged with: rock creek mine, cabinet mountain wilderness, bull trout

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