At noon, the governor issued the order, "Let 'er run!"
And Milltown Dam, a 100-year-old landmark at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers east of Missoula, came down.
At Gov. Brian Schweitzer's command, a heavy equipment operator dug out the last of a temporary earthen dike, letting the rivers flow freely.
Hundreds of people gathered to watch from the riverbanks and a bluff above Milltown Reservoir, which marked one end of the largest Superfund site in the nation. The reservoir quickly drained, as the rivers sought new courses.
"We all know Montana is perfect, and today we are making it more perfect," U.S. Sen. Max Baucus told the assemblage.
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