UM Students to Host Volunteer Restoration Day in Anaconda

April 26, 2017

MISSOULA – Students in the Ecosystem Science and Restoration program at the University of Montana invite volunteers to help build erosion-prevention structures on roadside slopes of the Anaconda smelting hills. The event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 29. 

Volunteers should meet at Albertsons in Anaconda and caravan to the project site alongside Highway 569.

This project will give volunteers an opportunity to learn about restoration efforts, damage by smelting and how erosion impacts plant growth. UM students will lead volunteers in building check-dam structures to prevent future erosion. Students also will educate volunteers about the history of the Anaconda smelter, ecological impacts in the area and restoration techniques.

“This event will be a great chance for community members to get involved in an active restoration project and see the impacts of human activity on this landscape,” said Jeff Cahill, one of the students organizing the project.

The Anaconda copper smelter emitted toxic fumes for a century, severely degrading the surrounding land. Heavy metal deposits killed off existing plants, and heavy logging of the surrounding hills’ timber for the smelter also caused the soil to lose stability.

Volunteers should bring water, sunscreen and work clothes, including work gloves and boots. Warm clothing layers are advised. A limited amount of gloves will be provided. Volunteers can RSVP to arrange carpools from the UM campus or meet at 9:30 a.m. in Anaconda at Albertsons. Volunteers should bring snacks to eat throughout the day, but pizza will be provided afterward at Galacano’s pizza.

Volunteers should RSVP to Jeff Cahill by calling 406-546-9535 or emailing


Contact: Jeff Cahill, UM Ecological Restoration Capstone student, 406-546-9535,; Ben Colman, UM ESR capstone professor, 406-243-6315,