MTPR

Alliance for the Wild Rockies

Bull trout
flickr/USFWS Headquarters

Environmental groups announced yesterday that they’re suing the Department of the Interior over its bull trout recovery plan.

Sen. Daines at Chessman Reservoir with federal, state and local forest officials.
Steve Jess

Steve Jess is on the road, a few miles south of Helena, trailing a convoy carrying Senator Steve Daines and an assortment of local officials. They travel down about 20 miles of dirt road and the occasional cattle guard to a site just yards from the Chessman reservoir, where many of the surrounding hills bear the corpses of lodgepole pines killed by the mountain pine beetle.

Sen. Daines and other officials on a tour of the Tenmile watershed.
Steve Jess

Montana Senator Steve Daines toured a beetle-infested area of the Helena National Forest Tuesday, and praised a joint federal-state effort to reduce fire danger. 

F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber in Columbia Falls, MT
Eric Whitney

Montana's congressional delegation agrees on at least one issue; too many of our timber stands are sickly, overgrown, and fire-prone. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Congressman Ryan Zinke say it's time to reform how we manage our National Forests.

Michael Garrity of the Helena-based environmental group, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, doesn't trust any of them to lead that charge.

Rep. Ryan Zinke
Eric Whitney

Congressman Ryan Zinke has introduced a forest management reform bill that he says would prevent unnecessary litigation, improve forest health and help prevent wildfires.

At least one Montana environmental organization says it would instead be a waste of federal tax dollars.

Bull trout
flickr/USFWS Headquarters

A Montana environmental group working on recovery of the threatened bull trout is critical of a new federal plan to save the fish.

"I guess I just don’t see this as being a holistic plan," says Arlene Montgomery.

Reynermedia.com (CC-BY-2.0)

Officials in 33 Montana counties are keenly aware of what's not in the trillion dollar federal spending bill to keep government open: an extension of the Secure Rural Schools, or SRS program, that Montana counties have relied on since 2000.

SRS funding is stripped out of the spending bill the House has been considering this week.

The SRS program was helps pay down school bonds and also funds road maintenance projects.

Mineral County Commissioner Laurie Johnston has a blunt assessment of the situation.

Mwest85 (CC-BY-3.0)

A federal judge in Missoula has called a halt to the 1,700 acre Lonesome Wood logging sale in the Gallatin National forest.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued to stop it under the Endangered Species Act.

Mike Garrity with the Alliance says the U.S. Forest Service didn’t adequately study how logging would affect threatened lynx and grizzly bears.

Bull trout
Joel Sartore/National Geographic, and Wade Fredenberg/USFWS

The leader of a Montana conservation group says it’s prepared to file an eleventh lawsuit if the federal government doesn’t change its bull trout recovery plan.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies has successfully sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over bull trout recovery ten times in the past.

Bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48.

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