Riparian Restoration

Area on the park site to be restored.

Area on the park site to be restored.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Revisit Leopold
Also Promotes:
Crystal Clear
Year Accomplished:

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is located within the middle of one of the largest superfund complexes in the country.  The ranch contains approximately 2.44 miles of the Clark Fork River which flows through the middle of the ranch.   The Clark Fork River Operable Unit (CFR OU) is part of the Milltown Reservoir/Clark Fork River Superfund Site. The CFR OU includes the Clark Fork River from its headwaters near Warm Springs Creek to Milltown Reservoir, just east of Missoula. The heavy metals (Cadmium, Copper, Zinc, and Lead) and arsenic in the Clark Fork River are from historic mining, milling and smelting processes linked to the Anaconda Company operations in Butte and Anaconda. The majority of the cleanup will occur along a 43 mile stretch of the river from Warm Springs in Anaconda/Deer Lodge County downstream to Garrison in Powell County. The primary sources of contamination are tailings mixed with soil in the streambanks and historic floodplain. These sources threaten human health and animal and plant life. The 2004 Record of Decision describes the cleanup approach, or Selected Remedy. In addition to the ROD, the NRDP developed a Restoration Plan to expedite the recovery time for injured aquatic and terrestrial resources in and along the Clark Fork River (Grant-Kohrs Ranch has its own Federal Restoration Plan).

Not only will we need the best science available as we move forward, but we also need to look at how we will be managing the cultural and natural resources within the riparian area.  Long term monitoring will also be a requirement to determine if the remedy is working, and if not, what we might need to do to restore this area back as close as we can to its original baseline.  The Record of Decision for the cleanup at the ranch identified the Organic Act and associated designation legislation as an Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirement (ARAR).  This act will play an important role in forming the standards in which the park will use to clean up the riparian area along the Clark Fork River.