Opportunity, Montana: A Brief Historical Introduction to the BP-Arco Waste Repository

For grades 7-12 Opportunity, Montana: A Brief Historical Introduction to the BP-Arco Waste Repository Developed by CFWEP, this presentation includes: Current and historical photos of the Opportunity Ponds/BP-Arco Waste Repository Historical information about the Opportunity Ponds, Butte mines, Milltown Dam and Anaconda smelter A step-by-step description of the copper milling, smelting and reduction process An [...]

Blackfoot River Fish Identification

For grades 6-9 Developed by Lincoln School teacher Alyssa Daniels, this lesson covers: Blackfoot River geography, including connectivity to the Clark Fork and Columbia watersheds, with the option of using Google Earth Native and introduced fish in the Blackfoot Watershed Fish identification River field trip safety Field trip data collection and analysis Use the links [...]

1980s: Cleanup Begins

The Environmental Legacy of Over a Century of Industrial Mining In the mid-1980s, the Clark Fork Basin environment was far from healthy. In the urban center of Uptown Butte, abandoned mine dumps still covered the hill, in between houses and businesses, and with little to no natural vegetation present. Just downstream, Silver Bow Creek, after [...]

1900s: Environmental Consequences

Silver Bow Creek Becomes an Industrial Sewer The intensive mining and smelting underway in Butte and Anaconda had serious environmental consequences for the entire Upper Clark Fork Basin, consequences that have persisted for over 100 years and that will continue to require community attention and management for the foreseeable future. By the turn of the [...]


The Clark Fork River connects the largest complex of federal Superfund environmental clean-up sites in the U.S. The Basin is divided into sub-areas where various environmental reclamation and restoration projects are underway. Some of these sites are shown in the photos below. For answers to common Superfund questions, click here to download the CFWEP Superfund [...]


Clark Fork Info

Running 360 miles from the headwaters near Butte and Anaconda through western Montana across the Idaho border to Lake Pend Oreille and on into the Columbia River, the Clark Fork River drains Montana’s western front, and carries the largest volume of water of any of the state’s rivers when it crosses the border. The Clark [...]

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