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Environment

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

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 stoneflies thrive in 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. 

When the M-44 trap is set, only the capsule holder and capsule protrude above ground level.
Guy Connely - U.S. Department of Agriculture

A lawsuit filed this week in Missoula says the federal government is illegally killing Montana’s native wildlife. The plaintiffs want a court to put a stop to it pending a full environmental review.

Bull trout
flickr/USFWS Headquarters

Three environmental groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its recovery plan for bull trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The groups say the plan doesn’t provide any way to determine if and when the species is recovered.

The Refuge E2: To Secure the Blessings of Liberty

Nov 20, 2019
Sign in Kaktovik, Alaska - the only town inside the boundaries of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Nick Mott/Threshold

For 40 years, the fight over drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been waged mostly from afar, in Washington, D.C. But what would oil development mean to the people who live closest to the proposed drilling area?

Map of the Taylor Hellroaring Project.
FS USDA – https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/105405_FSPLT3_4301037.pdf

The Flathead National Forest officially approved the Taylor Hellroaring project just north of Whitefish Monday. The project will include nearly 2,000 acres of logging, mechanical thinning and prescribed fire treatments as well as construction of 28 miles of new trails.

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