Alex Leone (Left), Will McDowell (Center) and Nora Saks (Right) look over a contaminated embankment on the Upper Clark Fork River near Warm Springs. Known as a “slickens” areas like this are common along unremediated stretches the river, the blue pigments are copper sulfides leaching up through the tailings.
Millions of tons of contaminated dirt was washed down the clark fork at the dawn of the 21st century. In this photo Will McDowell, Restoration Director for the Clark Fork Coalition, points to copper salts on a tailings pile left along the bank of the Upper Clark Fork over a century ago.
This excerpt from a Clark Fork Coalition report shows how dramatically the river can change course over the span of a year.