MTPR

Nicky Ouellet

Flathead Valley Reporter

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter. Nicky returns to the Flathead Valley after wrapping up her graduate studies at the University of Montana's environmental science journalism program.

603-568-6155 or 406-730-2264

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Dead invasive zebra mussels found on a boat passing through an AIS check station.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Some boats coming into Montana from Lake Powell will be locked to their trailers for a mandatory quarantine period of up to 30 days in response to the threat of invasive mussels.

All boats coming into Montana are already required to be inspected for invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which have caused millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams, irrigation systems and personal property in infested waters in other states.

Members Of The Chloeta crew, Nolan Buckingham, Jaime Garcia and Aaron Turner at the Highway 37 fire near Libby, MT.
Nolan Buckingham

Before firefighters entered the Modified Fire Response Zone of the asbestos-contaminated forest near Libby to suppress the Highway 37 Fire, they donned full-face respirators, and recited a poem.

"You ready? When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors …"

Firefighter safety is of particular concern on the Highway 37 Fire north of Libby because of its proximity to a patch of asbestos-contaminated forest.

Among the 50 firefighters working the blaze is a group of 10 specially trained responders. They wear respirators and undergo a full body decontamination after digging fire line in a section of forest with high levels of asbestos fibers, a harmful remnant of the old W.R. Grace vermiculite mine.

Bull trout are a threatened species.
Joel Sartore/ National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg/ USFWS / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act Thursday that it says will streamline efforts to protect species and habitat. Critics say the changes would severely erode the law.

Northern Rockies Observed Fire Danger Class: July 17 2018
National Interagency Fire Center

Fire danger bumped up to “very high” on the Kootenai National Forest  Wednesday. Crews are holding the Zulu Fire, burning about 23 miles north of Libby, to 20 acres.

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