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Environment

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

White-tailed deer.
(PD)

Montana wildlife managers say 91 cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been found statewide so far this year. The Libby area accounts for nearly half of those detections and that number is expected to grow with results still rolling in from this year’s big game season.

State, federal and tribal representatives tasked with managing bison in and around Yellowstone National Park voted again Tuesday to reduce the herd size as animals migrate out of the park this winter. 

The Trump administration reauthorized a controversial device used to kill livestock predators Thursday, despite strong opposition. 

Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Struggles With ‘Herculean’ Challenge In Missoula

Dec 6, 2019
Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council members Caroline Byrd, left, and Trina Jo Bradley, right, listen as council member Chad Bauer addresses Gov. Steve Bullock at an advisory council meeting in Missoula Dec. 5.
Alex Sakariassen / Montana Free Press

MISSOULA — Chad Bauer, a member of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council, expressed a sense of urgency and unease on the second morning of the council’s Dec. 4-5 meeting in Missoula. Bauer and Bullock sat across from each other in a crowded conference room on the University of Montana campus. Bullock had recently announced the end of his presidential campaign, and Bauer, who works as a municipal market manager for Missoula waste hauler Republic Services, was three months into his role on the council. Bullock has given the council the task of delivering recommendations on the future of state grizzly bear management by the end of next summer.

A slide showing grizzly bear morality rates shown during Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Dec. 3, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The last two years have been the deadliest on record for grizzlies in and around Glacier National Park. There have been at least 48 grizzly mortalities this year in the area, called the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). As grizzly mortalities mount, bear managers in northwest Montana are trying to tackle the sources of rising deaths.

Grizzly bear recovery zones, distributions, and distinct population segments.
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Tuesday that it’s crafting a new statewide management plan for grizzly bears.

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

A young male grizzly that made his way into the national Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness near the Montana-Idaho border this year has made the trek back to the Libby area to den for the winter. The journey showed that grizzly bear movement into the unpopulated Bitterroot ecosystem is possible.

Big Arm State Park.
Big Arm State Park.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is one step closer to purchasing the land that makes up Big Arm State Park on Flathead Lake. Officials says the deal is critical to maintaining the important public access point on the lake. 

Close to 100 rural Montanans are taking on one of the largest corporations in the world Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Residents of Opportunity and Crackerville, Mont., say the Atlantic Richfield Co. — owned by BP — needs to go beyond what federal Superfund law requires and clean up arsenic pollution left over from a century of mining.

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.

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