Date of Award

Summer 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Raja Nagisetty

First Advisor

Robert Pal

Second Advisor

Jeanne Larson


Blacktail Creek (BTC) is a second order stream that joins Silver Bow Creek (SBC) within Butte’s watershed. This stream contained heavy metals since Butte’s mining boom in the 1900’s, the source of the contamination is seen today at a place known as the “BTC berm” (Tuccci, 2014). Grove Gulch is a tributary stream of Blacktail Creek and is located southwest of Butte, MT. The stream is approximately 6 miles long from its headwaters to its point of discharge into BTC. Historically, this stream discharged half a mile downstream from its current location and in the late 1800’s the stream was used for mining, industrial, and smelting waste (Bond, J. et. All, 2010). This practice continued for almost a century. These wastes introduced heavy metals such as, arsenic, lead, iron, cadmium, and mercury to the surface water of the stream. Reducing/eliminating these heavy metals within Grove Gulch are necessary due to its connect to downstream restored areas.

Evaluations and field observations of the streams longitudinal profile were conducted to determine which sections throughout the stream were most applicable to restoring the stream. Concluding this, Reach-1 was observed to contain desirable riffle-pool sequences for a restored stream. Cross-section data was collected in the field for this area using a Trimble Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. Seven cross-sections were surveyed based on their riffle-pool sequence. The first cross-section was a pool located directly below the Copper Mountain Recreation Center (CMRC). Each cross-section was measured for its water surface profile and flow. From this data, a Hydrological Engineering Center-River Analysis Software (HEC-RAS) model was built to illustrate current stream conditions. The results of this were within a 17% difference of the measured water surface profiles with one section being 60% difference. The model consistently predicted lower water surface elevations during calibration but predicted slightly higher elevations post-calibration. This data was then applied to a theoretical stream design for Grove Gulch which was conducted in Arc-Geographical Information System (ArcGIS) using a digital elevation map and HEC-Geospatial Hydrologic Modeling Extension (HEC-GEORAS).

Grove Gulch’s vegetation and stability showed signs of a physically healthy stream but samples from the streams water show elevated levels of heavy metals (Craig, 2016). Aligning the stream to its natural flow path would restore the streams water and sediment quality. A theoretical stream design was created in ArcGIS with HECGEO-RAS that contained riffle-pool sequences, average widths, depths, and flows for Grove Gulch Reach-1.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Engineering