MTPR

John Tubbs

Landlocked public land in southeastern Montana.
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX; http://www.trcp.org/unlocking-public-lands/

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX, a Montana-based land data company, analyzed land ownership patterns for a report detailing the extent of state-owned parcels that lack public access.

Montana, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming each have more than 1 million acres (0.4 million hectares) of state lands surrounded by private property, according to the report. Nevada has the least amount with less than 1,000 acres (405 hectares) landlocked.

July Max/Min Temps and Precipitation.
Coleen Haskell/Michael Richmond - National Interagency Fire Center

Average fire conditions are expected throughout most of Montana this summer, according to analysis given to Gov. Steve Bullock during his annual pre-fire-season briefing today. However, fire officials warn that climate change is continuing to lengthen fire seasons throughout the West.

Kate Vandemoer presents on the “People’s Compact,” a proposed alternative to the CSKT Water Compact in Kalispell on Dec. 10, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

Supporters of an alternative proposal to settle water rights claims on and around the Flathead Reservation have released a framework for what they would like to see in federal legislation. Meanwhile, their proposal is drawing condemnation and curiosity across the state.

Montana DNRC helicopter used to fight wildfires.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana’s wildfire season is slowing down and trending well below average in the number of fires, acres burned and cost to the state.

The forecast of the state’s 2018 fire bill is only a sliver of the cost of last year’s historic fire season, according to a report from legislative researchers published Wednesday

the 2017 Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake
Inciweb

The State’s fire fighting savings account started this month with the second lowest balance since it was created a decade ago.

There’s only about $4 million in the fund’s reserves for this fire season. That’s about a fifth of what the state needs to cover an average fire season bill.

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

A group tasked by the legislature to protect water quality in the Flathead Valley is in jeopardy after its funding was cut during Montana’s special legislative session in November and its executive director was terminated in February.

On Wednesday the Flathead Basin Commission will meet in Pablo and reassess its future.

USGS

State budget cuts mean that ranchers, recreation businesses and conservationists who rely on accurate information about water in Montana are facing new challenges.

Goat Creek and Sliderock fires, July 23, 2017.
Inciweb

The money set aside to fight wildfires in Montana is rapidly dwindling as portions of the state are in extreme drought conditions. But John Tubbs, Director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, says there’s more money available to keep up the firefighting efforts, in other pockets of state government.

“We don’t run out,” Tubbs says.

Distribution of Sage Grouse Habitat and sagebrush ecotypes in Montana.
FWP Information Services

State officials are working out the details of the landmark agreement to save the greater sage grouse without having to put the bird on the Endangered Species List.

This September the U.S. Department of Interior announced it wouldn’t put the bird on the list, because individual states had come up with their own plans to protect the bird and its habitat.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 21, 2015

Aug 21, 2015
Firefighter planning meeting on the Scotchman's Gulch Fire.
Inciweb

It was another active fire week in western Montana. Fires forced evacuations in Sanders County, closed part of Highway 2, and put the town of Essex on alert. Nowhere in western Montana escaped the choking smoke produced by dozens of fires burning in the state and in neighboring Idaho and Washington.

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