MTPR

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

FWP has inspected more than 23,000 watercraft as part of its effort to keep the mussels, which can cause millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams and irrigation systems, out of Montana’s waterways.
Katrin Frye

Agencies responding to the discovery of invasive mussels in two Montana reservoirs east of the continental divide last year are working to better align their prevention programs.

The Kootenai Bridge over Lake Koocanusa from the east bank.
David M. Carson (CC-BY-SA-4)

 Editor's note: We've corrected part of this story. Read below.

Coal mines in Canada have been sending a harmful heavy metal downstream to northwest Montana for years, but state, tribal, federal and Canadian agencies all have different standards for how much is too much. Those agencies are meeting this week, and speaking with the public to try to come up with common standards.

Hydroelectric dams like the Salish Ksanka Qlispe Dam in Polson worry invasive mussels could clog up energy production.
Corin Cates-Carney

Hydropower is a big resource in Montana. It accounted for almost a third of the state’s net electricity generation in 2015. Floods and droughts are always on dam managers’ minds, but lately, energy producers are also worried about tiny, non-native mollusks that could wreak havoc on Montana’s hydropower facilities.


A sign at the National Bison Range in northwest Montana.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they are reopening the public comment period on the future of the National Bison Range. That’s in response to feedback the agency got earlier.

Service officials will hold a public meeting in Missoula next week.

InciWeb

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.

The Mineral County Sheriff's Office has issued a Stage 3 evacuation order for residents along Verde Creek Road 450 due to the Sunrise Fire. This is the time to leave the area immediately and in an orderly fashion. The Red Cross Shelter at the Superior High School will be open if a need exists. People in Sunrise Creek, Quartz Flats, Quartz Creek and Verde Creek are now under an evacuation order. Residents of the Rivulet Area should be on the alert for fire activity.

Boat inspections are mandatory at City Beach and Whitefish Lake State Park this season
Nicky Ouellet

As the state ramps up its efforts this year to screen boats for invasive species, some local groups have taken inspections into their own hands.

The City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Lake Institute, for example, have been running two city-funded mandatory check stations since Memorial Day at the only public boat launches on Whitefish Lake. The Whitefish Lake Institute, a local nonprofit that monitors water quality on the lake, also runs a decontamination station.

The Service is drafting comprehensive conservation plans, or CCPs, and accompanying environmental analyses for two areas: one for the National Bison Range, and a separate CCP for the rest of the units within the refuge complex.
Mike Albans

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in Polson and Kalispell this week, seeking public input on a pair of management plans for wildlife refuges in northwest Montana.

Bison at the National Bison Range
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting two public meetings tonight and tomorrow night about planning efforts for the National Bison Range.

Stakes High For Tribes In Republican Health Bills

May 30, 2017
Kevin Howlett is director of the Confederated Salish and Kootenia Tribes' Health and Human Services Department
Eric Whitney

As one of the states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, more than 77,000 Montanans now have access to healthcare, and more than 11,000 of those with coverage are Native American.

Bison
(PD)

Two federal scoping meetings are scheduled to help shape future management options for the National Bison Range at Moiese. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement. 

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