BUTTE - The first mile of Silver Bow Creek leaves much to be desired, but it now has some financial backing that could turn this long-dead creek into a healthy body of water.
“It was here before mining came and smelting and all that stuff, but it was a mile of creek right through the heart of Butte and we’re trying to get that re-established,” said Northey Tretheway of the Restore Our Creek Coalition.
Montana Resources in Butte recently committed $300,000 to the Restore Our Creek Coalition that will go to a study and more detailed design plan for improving the first mile of the creek bed and routing it so fresh water can flow through it again.
“We want to see a creek through the center of Butte. I mean, we feel the responsibility to make sure that isn’t forgotten, and we’re not forgetting it,” said Tretheway.
The original source for the creek was interrupted by the open-pit mining that began in the 1950s. The recently adopted consent decree outlines a plan to clean the contaminated ground along the creek corridor.
Some believe a restored creek will be good for Butte’s economy.
“We have the creek outside our doors, it’s on our walking path outside, we have many visitors that come to our visitors center asking about this and when we’re recruiting businesses, it’s one of the top questions,” said Stephanie Sorini of the Butte Chamber of Commerce.
It’s always been the goal of the coalition to make Silver Bow Creek a viable creek again, but now this organization is more confident than ever that they’re going to accomplish this goal.
“We’re still moving the ball forward as best we can. And so as long as the ball is moving forward, I feel confident eventually we will have something through the center of town we can call Silver Bow Creek,” said Tretheway.