Montana Public Radio

Kevin Trevellyan

Kevin is a UM Journalism graduate student and reporter for Yellowstone Public Radio.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock today said the state’s finances are in a “historically strong position” heading further into the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials are still working with incomplete information about the pandemic’s economic impacts.

Lack Of Money Could Close Montana Warming Shelters
iStock

An organization that runs warming centers for people experiencing homelessness in Bozeman and Livingston says it needs thousands of dollars in community donations, or they may have to close their doors during winter.

Resource conservation student Jared Smith (left) builds a beaver dam analog on Fish Creek in western Montana, along with another undergraduate and Ph.D. ecology student Andrew Lahr (right), Oct. 19, 2019.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

University of Montana ecologists are researching human-made beaver dams as a potential habitat restoration tool. Early case studies show the dams could dull the impacts of climate change seen in rivers and streams. The U.S. Forest Service is looking to use the simple structures on new sites in the state, but first, officials want to better understand the science behind simulated rodent engineering.

Northeast Montana farmer Dean Nelson bales a field of teff grass during an August 2019 visit.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

Montana farmers planted 22,000 acres of hemp last year — the most of any U.S. state. Many are turning to the recently legalized option because trade wars continue to hurt profits on traditional crops like wheat and barley. But now many Montana hemp farmers allege they weren’t paid what they were promised. The result is a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the company they partnered with. 

Montana livestock officials worry that feral pigs from Canada are poised to invade the state. Department of Livestock says the invasive animal species could pose significant problems for Montana’s agriculture sector.
iStock

Crop land, golf courses, lawns: none are safe from feral hogs that Montana livestock officials say are poised to invade the state. Officials received reports several months ago that wild Canadian pigs were merely 6 miles from the Montana border.

A report released by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health says just over 26 percent of Montana residents are obese, compared to the nationwide average of about 30 percent.
(PD)

Montana has the country’s sixth lowest obesity rate. That’s according to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, which says just over 26 percent of Montana residents are obese, compared to the nationwide average of about 30 percent.

Montana State University nutrition expert Carmen Byker Shanks says that’s a testament to state programs promoting nutritious, unprocessed foods in schools and hospitals.

InciWeb

Yesterday’s hot, windy red flag weather spurred the McClusky Fire east of Butte to nearly triple in size.

Fire team spokesperson Kristin Sleeper says today’s weather has been more forgiving. But the 2,887-acre blaze in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is expected to continue growing into the evening.

Firefighters are keeping track of further weather changes tonight heading into tomorrow, including potential gusty winds.

A firefighter carries a drip-torch during a previous controlled burn in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Bitterroot National Forest

Fall is here, and the Bitterroot National Forest’s first seasonal prescribed burns could begin Saturday in the Lake Como/Lost Horse area. The planned blazes allow managers to remove excess forest fuels and downed timber.

Though few relish the smoke, Bitterroot Forest spokesman Tod McKay said prescribed burns are critical in preparing for the next fire season.

Crews are trying to finish digging control lines around the 20 acre Welcome 1002 Fire burning a few miles southwest of the town of Hot Springs on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

C.T. Camel, fire management specialist for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, says firefighters are working quick to preempt high projected temperatures the rest of the week.

Mosquito.
PD

Montana health officials are reporting this season’s first human cases of West Nile Virus. Reported in Custer and Lewis and Clark counties, both occurred in people over the age of 60, who are typically at greater disease risk.

State epidemiologist Stacey Anderson says it’s a common time of year to see West Nile cases.

Pages