Friday, March 28, 2008

Milltown Dam Breached - Clark Fork Flows Free

From the Clark Fork Coalition

The Milltown cofferdam will be breached March 28th at 11:30 and the river will flow free for the first time in 100 years. The exact timing of the breach may change depending on conditions, and may take some time to fully occur. Click here for a map to the Milltown Bluff Overlook.

The camera is located on the north side of the confluence and aimed at the cofferdam. In preparation for the breach, an excavator will dig out a pilot channel that will direct river flow toward the cofferdam. To initiate the breach, they will raise the level of the reservoir and water will start to flow down this pilot channel toward the cofferdam. The remains of the cofferdam will wash away, and the combined flow of both rivers will flow into a temporary channel that's built where the powerhouse used to stand. The remainder of the dam (divider block, radial gate and spillway) will be demolished in late 2008 and early 2009.

Since March 21st, most of the flow of the Clark Fork is being diverted into a bypass channel (upstream of this image). The bypass routes the Clark Fork River around the contaminated sediments and prevents them from washing downstream. The river will remain in this channel until 2010, until all the contaminated sediments are removed and a new natural channel is built through the old reservoir area.

The Clark Fork Coalition is proud to host the Milltown Dam Cam. We’re grateful for partial funding from sponsors Envirocon, Montana Rail Link and Modern Machinery, but we need your help to continue to operate the camera over the life of the project.

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