Submitted by: Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Implemented country: United States
Title: Remediation and Restoration of Silver Bow Creek
Reconstruction and reclamation of the Silver Bow Creek’s (Montana, USA) floodplain ecosystem after a century of devastating mine-waste contamination involves not only removal of waste material from streambed and banks but recreation of a riparian ecosystem adhering to hydrologic, geomorphic and ecological principles. The project is producing a fully functional, self-sustaining riparian system with native vegetation, fish and wildlife habitat, and related recreation. Local citizens, multiple organizations and government agencies successfully cooperated to achieve project goals. Approximately 4.3 million cubic yards of mine-waste contaminated by heavy metals are being removed from the stream channel and floodplain in the overall project, which includes a reconstructed, meandering channel duplicating a natural stream system. Stream bank reconstruction using biodegradable erosion-control fabrics along with soil and native vegetation allowed banks to alter their shape naturally and gradually as streams migrate across floodplains in undisturbed environments.