Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Grant Hokit

Second Advisor

Murphy Fox

Third Advisor

Jeff Kuhn


Due to the immediate incentives for mining in Montana, specifically in Silver Bow County, there was little foresight into proper disposal of the mine waste. These problems were only exacerbated by the steep fall of copper prices which undercut the ability for these companies to provide proper cleanup measures to ensure safety for the future. The Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana is potentially an ecological disaster; one that must be understood properly from an environmental and ecological position. The focus of this paper is to examine the potential effects on a variety of representative biota in the Silver Bow Valley, as well as to provide discussion as to how to deal with the problem proactively, citing specific examples, so as to avoid catastrophe in the coming years.