MTPR

Alliance for the Wild Rockies

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte and U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Jim Hubbard hold a forest management roundtable at  the U.S. Forest Service’s Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center in Missoula, Nov. 7, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Montana U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and U.S. Agriculture Department Undersecretary Jim Hubbard spearheaded a roundtable this week in Missoula focused on forest and wildland fire policy.

Gianforte called for greater collaboration among stakeholders. Some stakeholders, however, were noticeably absent from the event.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it officially placed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem back on the endangered species list, complying with a 2018 court order.

The Fish and Wildlife Service removed Greater Yellowstone bears from the federal endangered species list in 2017, saying the population was distinct and that it no longer needed endangered species protections.

State Agency Looks To More Logging, Improved Forest Health

Mar 8, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's forestry agency is working with federal, local and private organizations to increase logging on national forests to improve forest health and decrease the risk of disease and catastrophic fires.

State lawmakers are supporting a $2.2 million request from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to hire people to help implement the Good Neighbor Authority program.

Longtime grizzly advocate Mike Bader presents at a letter-writing meetup for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' new grizzly rule.
Nick Mott / MTPR

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says Monday’s federal ruling to put grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park back on the Endangered Species List will not affect the agency’s work on a new rule that will dictate how Montana will manage grizzlies in and around Glacier National Park if that population is removed from the Endangered Species List.

A stack of logs.
(PD)

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of an environmental group challenging a timber and forest thinning project in the Kootenai National Forest.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that that Forest Service, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously,” by failing to determine whether the East Reservoir Project will result in new roads that will exceed a cap on them meant to preserve grizzly bear habitat.

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

The Kootenai National Forest is slated to start five salvage timber sales in areas that burned last year, and one more is pending.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

A conservation group has filed a lawsuit against two federal agencies for allegedly low-balling road mileage counts in grizzly bear habitat in the Kootenai National Forest.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies’ Executive Director Mike Garrity says roads in grizzly bear habitat tend to mean more poached bears.

The Park Creek Fire perimeter overlaid on top of the Stonewall Vegetation project map.
Inciweb

The U.S. Forest Service says additional analysis is needed for a forestry project near Lincoln in the aftermath of last summer’s wildfires.

When the Park Creek and Arrastra wildfires merged into one big fire last August, it burned more than half of the Stonewall Vegetation Project-area northwest of Lincoln.

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

Congressman Greg Gianforte invited the media Friday to what he called a roundtable talk about the U.S. Forest Service Stonewall vegetation project near Lincoln.

He says that lawsuits blocking projects like Stonewall are standing in the way of healthy forests in the Montana.

Pages