Montana Public Radio

Environment

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

Map of the Hellroaring basin project at Whitefish Mountain.
U.S. Forest Service

Whitefish Mountain Resort is planning on adding another ski lift and additional runs to a portion of the mountain next year. The Flathead National Forest issued a draft decision Monday that found the project had no significant impacts to the Hellroaring Basin.

Grizzly bear with cubs.
(PD)

A record number of grizzly bears were killed this year in and around Glacier National Park. It’s the second year in a row of record deaths for the threatened species in the area, which is home to more grizzlies than anywhere in the lower 48 states.

But there’s disagreement over whether two years of record bear deaths should raise alarm bells.

Yellowstone National Park says it’s making progress reducing the number of non-native lake trout. 

Park and contract crews caught and killed over 280,000 lake trout from Yellowstone Lake between May and October, according to a press release Friday. The total tally is less than last year and the year before that, which is a good thing.

Greenhouse gas emissions have risen steadily for the past decade despite the current and future threat posed by climate change, according to a new United Nations report.

The annual report compares how clean the world's economies are to how clean they need to be to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change — a disparity known as the "emissions gap."

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.

Grizzly bear. Stock photo.
(PD)

Montana wildlife officials recently captured a grizzly bear near Columbia Falls and moved it to a remote location in the North Fork of the Flathead River Drainage.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says the 240-pound subadult male was eating from fruit trees and garbage on private property north of U.S Highway 2.

The BLM bought 7,300 acres of former timberland in the Belmont Creek area near Missoula.
Courtesy BLM

A land conservation group says it has helped ensure that 7,300 acres of land in western Montana’s Blackfoot River corridor remains in public hands.

The Nature Conservancy says the acquisition, just east of Missoula in the Belmont Creek area, is due in large part to funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF uses royalties from offshore oil and gas development to fund outdoor projects.

One of the owners of the Colstrip power plant Thursday agreed to financially withdraw by 2025.

Western glacier stone flies depend on glacial meltwater in high-elevation alpine environments. But scientists estimate the famed ice masses and snowfields of Glacier National Park will have mostly disappeared by 2030.
Joe Giersch, Aquatic Entomologist / USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

Two stone fly species found in Glacier National Park were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act Wednesday due to the impacts of climate change, according to a rule published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The two species, the western glacier stone fly and the meltwater lednian stone fly, depend on glacial meltwater in high-elevation alpine environments. But scientists estimate the famed ice masses and snowfields of Glacier National Park will have mostly disappeared by 2030.

 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly named Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as the lead agency regarding feral swine. The Montana Department of Livestock is leading the prevention effort.  

Feral swine been in the news a lot lately. While they make for an entertaining headline, wildlife managers in Montana are increasingly concerned about the damage these invasive pigs can cause to farmers, ranchers, the environment and Montana’s outdoor recreation economy. 

Pages