Save Our Smith
Paul Considine, Brian Neilsen and I recently spent our Saturday at the State Trout Unlimited Council Meeting here in Great Falls. It was great to meet all the chapter presidents and see what other groups are doing around the state. TU is alive, healthy and making a difference for our cold water fisheries. The biggest issues facing our state and our waters are streamflows, access, illegal species introductions and mining.
Tintina Resources is a small Canadian Mining Company who has partnered with a large scale Australian mining firm called Sandfire. They have submitted an application to the state of Montana to build a massive copper mine at the headwaters of the Smith River, on the banks of Sheep Creek.
Sheep Creek joins the Smith River and adds about 50% to the flow. It is critical water for Smith River streamflow. Without Sheep Creek, floating on the Smith will go away. It is also a major spawning tributary for fish throughout the Missouri River Basin. Trout and Whitefish from the Missouri River use Smith River tributaries for spawning and rearing. This water is vital to the health and vitality of our system.
I won’t go into the history of mining in our state or the massive costs and clean up woes that we’ve been left with after the mines have closed and the companies have declared bankruptcy. You probably already know the stories. Check out Save Our Smith and educate yourself on the this issue. There is a contact form for Governor Bullock and the DEQ. Join the team and add your voice to Save Our Smith.
If any of you have stories about the Smith River and what it means to you, your family, friends etc, let us know. I’d love to post your stories.