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Study: Silver Bow Creek through Butte can be restored

Posted at 12:07 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 14:07:52-05

BUTTE — Some people in Butte dream of having a healthy creek running through the city again – and a recent study claims that dream can be a reality.

“Yes, it is doable. We have some considerations that we have to look at. We have done some rough cost on what it would cost, but it’s doable,” said Elizabeth Erickson, a hydro-geologist with Water and Environmental Technologies in Butte.

Geologists from Water and Environmental Technologies completed an EPA-funded study that determined the first mile of Silver Bow Creek could be restored at a cost of between $9 million and $15 million.

Those with Butte’s Restore Our Creek group hope this study will be considered when the Superfund cleanup is completed over the next few years.

“And that a creek running by there would actually enhance the economic condition of that area, so we’ve got a lot of people coming to Butte. We want Butte to look well, and right in the center of town is where it should start,” said Northey Tretheway with Restore Our Creek.

While the plan would change the course of Silver Bow Creek, officials with the study say change is nothing new to the waterbody.

“Silver Bow Creek has probably been the most, at least one of the most, abused creeks around. We’ve rerouted it, we’ve buried it in tailings, we’ve dammed it up. We’ve done just about everything we can do to it, and now, what we’d like to do is restore it,” said Erickson.