On Saturday, July 23, the Idaho Sierra Club and its partners Trout Unlimited, the Golden Eagle Audubon Society, and Idaho Rivers United organized a bucket brigade to water newly planted trees along Grimes Creek—part of an ongoing restoration effort for an area known as the Boise Basin that was dredge-mined a century ago. The basin is now targeted for a controversial mining project that could lead to large-scale open-pit mining.
Together, the Club and its partner groups have joined forces under the banner Idaho Families for Clean Water, a coalition of citizens and groups working together to protect the Boise River. That's Pam Elkovich of Trout Unlimited at left above, on the bucket brigade.
"With the sun hot and the temperature rising fast, more than 40 volunteers gathered at the Centerville, Idaho, community center and drove 3 miles up the dirt road to work side-by-side to water the trees we'd planted in the spring," says Boise-based Sierra Club organizer Jessica Ruehrwein.
Afterward, the group returned to Centerville—once a town of some 8,000 people, now dwindled to a few hundred residents—for a fried-chicken lunch and an afternoon of speakers, presentations, and discussion about the proposed CuMo mine project.
The CuMo Molybdenum Mining Company says the Boise Basin contains the largest deposit of molybdenum in the world, and Mosquito Consolidated Gold Mines Limited, a Canadian company that has acquired rights to CuMo's claims, is seeking to commence exploratory mining there.
After receiving more than 500 comments from concerned citizens, the Forest Service recently released its final Environmental Impact Statement for the CuMo Exploration Project, which included a Finding of No Significant Impact.
The Mores and Grimes Creek Watershed Restoration Project, a project of Trout Unlimited's Ted Trueblood Chapter for which the Sierra Club volunteers, reclaims abandoned mine sites and reestablishes fish and wildlife habitat. "The idea is both to create a restoration economy and make the area a draw for recreation and fishing by bringing fish back to the stream," says Ruehrwein.