Governor Steve Bullock today joined other Montana elected officials, Trout Unlimited, Kinross Gold, USA, Inc., and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to celebrate the dedication of mining water rights and a conservation easement to permanently protect a 549-acre land corridor used as an important elk migration route and a scenic Yellowstone National Park viewshed.
“Montana’s Yellowstone River is one of the last, great free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states,” said Governor Bullock. “And it is fitting that on the one-year anniversary of a difficult decision to close 183 miles of the river, we gather to celebrate a unique partnership between a mining company and two leading conservation groups working together to protect this national treasure and the local economy it supports.”
As part of its remediation and reclamation plans for the Mineral Hill Mine, a subsidiary of Kinross donated water rights representing approximately 3 billion gallons of water to Trout Unlimited to permanently protect vital fish habitat in tributaries of the Yellowstone River. It also reached a conservation easement agreement with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to permanently protect a 549-acre land corridor used as an important elk migration route and scenic Yellowstone National Park viewshed.
“Mining responsibly is an imperative at Kinross and guides decision-making at all of our properties,” said J. Paul Rollinson, Kinross Gold President and CEO. “We are proud to partner with Trout Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to achieve positive benefits for the environment and local community by protecting important fish and wildlife habitat in the Yellowstone area.”
“Last year’s fish kill and emergency closure of the Yellowstone River underscored the importance of making our rivers more resilient. This agreement will help keep more water in the river, providing cooler temperatures in the height of summer and better habitat for fish and wildlife. It is great to see a company such as Kinross understand that healthy fisheries are the lifeblood of the West. Trout Unlimited is excited to see such a partnership provide lasting benefits to both the river and the communities that depends on it,” said Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited President and CEO.
“This project is a win-win for elk and elk country because it permanently protects a key migration corridor as well as important habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation President and CEO. “We appreciate the work of our partners in conserving the land’s wildlife values and improving public access.”