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Montana Resources believes diverting water will help Butte creek

Posted at 10:37 AM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 12:37:14-05

BUTTE –  While the state is considering using Silver Lake water to augment stream flows in the Warm Springs Creek, Montana Resources in Butte believes the work can be done closer to home.

“Why augment stream flows all the way over in Warm Springs? Why don’t we augment stream flow right here in Butte?” asked Mark Thompson of Montana Resources.

MR has been in negotiations with Butte-Silver Bow to tap into its waterline that draws water from Silver Lake about 40 miles west of the Mining City near Georgetown Lake.

The mining company would divert some of that fresh, cool water right into Silver Bow Creek.

“MR believes that the water should come to Butte first. That should be a priority. That is Butte’s system,” said Thompson.

This water would help maintain water lives of Silver Bow Creek, Warm Springs, and on into the Clark Fork River Basin.

“It’s good for the bull trout, and here again, the west slope cutthroat population we’re developing here in Silver Bow is getting to be significant, so this will help that and that’s another threatened species,” said Thompson.

So why is it important to get water from this now-frozen lake into Silver Bow Creek?

“The stream flows get very low, the water temperature gets very high, which puts a lot of stress on the fisheries, so by supplementing the flow with cool water out of Silver Lake we decrease the water temperature, increase the flow and reduce that stress on the fishery,” said Thompson.

It would improve the vitality of a creek that has long struggled.

-Reported by John Emeigh/MTN News