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Does B.C. Mining Threaten the Kootenai River?

  August 31, 2017.  Join Headwaters Montana, Montana Trout Unlimited, National Parks Conservation Association on Thursday, September 21, 6-9pm, for an evening of science and solutions as we discuss the Selenium pollution of Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River by the five Teck coalmines in the Elk River Valley of southeast BC, Canada. 

Event Location: The Ponderosa Room, 952 E Spruce St. in Libby, Montana.

Water and fish tissue samples from Lake Koocanusa demonstrate that Selenium, a heavy metal, is increasing rapidly.  The Selenium originates from the coalmines in the Elk Valley of British Columbia.  The mine operators have not yet developed the technology to control the release of Selenium.  The BC government has approved the expansion of four mines and is considering three additional new mines.  Montana scientists think that Selenium levels in Lake Koocanusa and downstream in the Kootenai River will continue to increase, threatening fish, bird, and eventually human health.

Two scientists from the University of Montana and a US Commissioner for the International Joint Commission (IJC) will present information on what makes the Kootenai a good place for fish, what is the selenium problem, and how Montanans might best address this issue.

The presentations are intended to be fact-based to provide Lincoln County residents with accurate and reliable information that describes the emerging pollution problem.

Dr. Ric Hauer, UM Director of the Institute on Ecosystems, will speak about what makes the Kootenai a great place for fish and other wildlife.  Erin Sexton a research scientist at UM’s Biological Research Station on Flathead Lake will talk about the BC coal mines that are the source of the pollution, and Rich Moy, US Commissioner to the IJC, will talk about how the IJC may help address this mounting problem.

A question and answer period following the presentations will allow the public to ask questions directly of the panelists.

The event is free and open to the public.  Call 406-270-3184 for more information.  Thank You!