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Grizzlies and Trout Protected from Rock Creek Mine

After a March 2005 ruling, imperiled populations of grizzly bears and bull trout in the northwest corner of Montana now have a chance at survival. The federal district court ruling rejected the US Fish & Wildlife Service's approval of a massive industrial mining operation on the edge of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. It ruled that the USFWS overlooked serious concerns that the proposed Rock Creek Mine would drive the region’s grizzly bears and bull trout to extinction.

The mine would have dumped up to three million gallons of waste water each day into the Clark Fork River, and threatened to destroy the bull trout population in Rock Creek, a tributary of the Clark Fork. The proposed mining operation would also have resulted in the loss of more than 7,000 acres of grizzly habitat and would have been devastating to the 15 or fewer grizzly bears that still survive in the Cabinet Mountains. In its ruling, the court noted that, because the grizzly population is "at least not increasing, contemplating the loss of additional bears related to the mine is not rational."