Montana Public Radio

Environment

Montana news covering wildlife, public lands, natural resources and more.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Federal and state wildlife officials are investigating three recent grizzly bear deaths in northwestern Montana including one bear that a homeowner said had been shot and partially skinned.

Feral Swine Remain At Bay In Montana

13 hours ago

Montana remains free of invasive feral swine but the threat still looms. Montana’s Invasive Species Council heard that update on Dec. 2 on the risk of the swine entering the state.

Assistant State Veterinarian Tahnee Syzmanski said the state’s coordinated Squeal on Pigs campaign received nearly 10 reports of possible feral swine this year.

Map of whitebark pine range
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it’s proposing federal protections for whitebark pine trees.

At least one environmental group argues the protections don’t go far enough.

Grizzly bear. Stock photo.
(PD)

After two record-breaking years of grizzly bear deaths in Northwest Montana, bear mortalities have dropped back down.

Cow elk.
PD

A citizens group met for the first time Thursday to begin the process of revising the 15-year-old statewide elk management plan in Montana.

Elk numbers in Montana have rebounded from about 8,000 in the 1920s to more than 150,000 today. But agreeing on how many of those ungulates there should be — and where — is a complicated affair.

A citizen committee meeting Wednesday and Thursday put the finishing touches on a once-in-a-decade plan that will shape forest management in Montana.

Decades of aggressively putting out wildfires led to unhealthy, overgrown forests at particularly high risk for burns and disease outbreaks. At the same time, a patchwork of land ownership makes addressing management problems hard to do. That’s where the Montana Forest Action Plan comes in.

A woman stands in a stream fly fishing
PD

Critics say a U.S. Department of Interior order issued earlier this week guts a federal program that uses money from oil and gas drilling to buy land for recreation and conservation.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) received full funding of $900 million per year for the first time in its half-century history when the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law in early August.

A federal magistrate judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that alleged an irrigation project in northwest Montana harms threatened bull trout.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued the Bureau in March, alleging the Bureau was violating the Endangered Species Act in its operation and management of the St. Mary Diversion Dam and Canal of the Milk River Irrigation Project located east of Glacier National Park.

Gray wolf.
iStock

A coalition of livestock producers, tribes, nonprofits, and landowner groups that sprawls from Montana to New Mexico was awarded a federal grant of nearly $1 million to reduce conflicts between people and predators — especially grizzly bears and wolves.

An map excerpt of the Soldier-Butler Project area.
Lolo National Forest

Two conservation groups Friday sued the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a proposed logging project in the Lolo National Forest on land wildlife managers say is important for grizzly bear connectivity.

Pages