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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Briefs: grayling conservation plan halted; Whitefish Lake water level drops

Arctic grayling
Mark Conlin, USFWS
Arctic grayling

Judge halts arctic grayling conservation plan in Red Rock Lakes

John Hooks | Montana Public Radio

A federal judge in Missoula temporarily halted work Wednesday on a government conservation plan for Arctic grayling in the Red Rock Lakes Wilderness Area in southwestern Montana.

Judge Donald Molloy said federal wildlife officials' planned pipeline for pumping oxygenated water into a lake to support spawning fish likely violates the Wilderness Act.

Wilderness conservation activists sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year to stop the project.

The judge determined the federal government did not prove the plan would actually help the grayling. The agency is barred from acting on the plan while a full judicial review continues.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they do not comment on active litigation.

Officials encourage large boat removal as Whitefish Lake water level drops

Aaron Bolton | Montana Public Radio

State and local officials say Whitefish Lake water levels are dropping. Public boat ramps at Whitefish Lake State Park and City Beach could become too shallow for larger boats.

Officials are encouraging boaters to take out larger vessels before water levels become too low.

All boaters are also encouraged to exercise caution when launching and loading boats as water levels continue to drop.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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