Revett Minerals has recently completed the first phase of funding to enhance grizzly bear recovery efforts in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (CYE) in Northwest Montana, USA. “While others talk about recovery efforts, Revett is stepping up to the plate to provide much-needed funding for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to help carry out the overall grizzly bear recovery programme,” said Bill Orchow, President and CEO of Revett, adding, “the $250,000 provided by Revett will allow FWP to hire a wildlife conflict specialist now and a law enforcement officer later.”
This funding is part of a long-term commitment by the company in conjunction with the planned development of the Rock Creek mMine in Sanders County. “This is just the beginning of what we hope is a long-term relationship with state and federal agencies that will protect grizzly bears and enhance their habitat in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, which encompasses 1.6 million acres in northwestern Montana, a portion of north Idaho and includes the area around our Troy Mine,” Orchow continued. The primary agencies involved in the cooperative effort are Montana FWP, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service.
In another critical step toward grizzly recovery, Orchow reported Revett has also purchased 273 acres of property that wildlife agencies’ experts determined is prime grizzly bear habitat. That land, near the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, will be permanently set aside from development once the mining project begins. Over the life of the mine, Revett will acquire a total 2,450 of acres of land to enhance grizzly populations.
According to Orchow the $250,000 provided by Revett is only the first phase of a 30-year commitment by the company to fund in excess of $20 million in today’s dollars. Orchow noted that amount – specifically to benefit the estimated 30 to 40 grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem – is on par with what has been spent by all parties to date on grizzly recovery in the entire lower 48 states. He also noted that monitoring by biologists of two grizzly bears recently relocated into the ecosystem near the Troy mine, has shown that the existing underground operation does not appear to affect the bears.
Continued funding of the recovery efforts by the company is, of course, dependent on the Rock Creek mine project moving forward. In addition to grizzly bears, the protection of bull trout and the enhancement of their habitat have been given special attention as Revett moves forward with permitting Rock Creek, which will employ 300 workers for more than 20 years.
“It’s time to move forward with this project in the spirit of cooperation to protect the wildlife and the environment, not only with government agencies, but also the local communities,” Orchow concluded.