Republican Stan Stephens, who will become Montana's new governor next month, will continue to have a coordinator to oversee the cleanup of the Clark Fork River Basin, a spokesman says.

Victor Bjornberg, a Stephens' press aide, said Stephens "is going to continue the state's participation" in attempts to revitalize the river, which has its headwaters in Butte."He sees it as serving a useful function," Bjornberg said.

Howard Johnson, who has held the post of coordinator of the Clark Fork Basin Project for outgoing Gov. Ted Schwinden, agrees.

Johnson pointed to a report that he and assistants unveiled in October as a blueprint he'd like to see followed. It lists 65 recommendations the Schwinden administration laid out.

Johnson said he thinks the post has benefited the Clark Fork basin's rehabilitation.

Perhaps the largest accomplishment, he said, has been to help agencies such as the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health and Environmental Sciences coordinate their work - and at the same time keep them from duplicating efforts.