Montana Resources and Atlantic Richfield Co. jointly operate a comprehensive waterfowl observation and hazing program at the Berkeley Pit, under the direction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Montana. This program is designed to minimize contact of waterfowl with the water of the pit.
The observation and hazing program provides a framework of actions. Beginning in 1995, mine personnel have used various tools including boats, spotlights, shotgun and rifle noises, fireworks and electronic devices that emit noises intended to scare birds away.
On November 28, an unprecedented number of late-season migrating snow geese, estimated to be in the tens of thousands, were in the Butte area. Mine personnel immediately implemented the steps specified in the plan to prevent birds from landing.
As a result of these mitigation measures, many thousands of snow geese were deterred from landing and continued their southerly migration. Despite around-the-clock efforts to haze the geese off the pit, snow geese landed in the pit and several thousand birds that remained have not survived.
MR and ARCO are working closely with federal and state agencies to evaluate the conditions and circumstances that contributed to this event and evaluate and assess other or additional measures that are appropriate and can be added to the program to protect migratory waterfowl in the future.
Inquiries can be directed to Mike McGivern, Vice President of Human Resources at Montana Resources. (406) 496-3207 | firstname.lastname@example.org