Berkeley Pit Myth Versus Fact

This observation stand overlooking the Berkeley Pit is used by Montana Resources (MR) as part of their bird mitigation program.

This observation stand overlooking the Berkeley Pit is used by Montana Resources (MR) as part of their bird mitigation program.

PitWatch Issue Volume 9, Number 2

The community has many common misconceptions about the Berkeley Pit. This section addresses a few of those most often heard false statements.

Myth:

Migratory waterfowl are instantly killed if they land on water in the Berkeley Pit.

Fact:

Hundreds of waterfowl land on the surface of the Berkeley Pit every month during the migration season, and they fly off within a few hours, either on their own or through MR’s hazing activities. The Consent Decree recognizes that “birds exposed to Berkeley Pit water for less than 4-6 hours should not be at substantial risk.”

If a bird is observed suffering from the effects of water toxicity it is netted and brought on board the houseboat used to patrol the Berkeley Pit. The bird is placed in a 5-gallon bucket of fresh water and brought to shore. It is then transported to a veterinarian or released into fresh water at the north end of Yankee Doodle Tailings Pond.

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