Montana Public Radio

Kootenai River

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

British Columbia coal mining company Teck Resources has agreed to pay a $60 million fine for polluting rivers upstream of Lake Koocanusa.

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

State environmental regulators Friday approved new standards for a heavy metal in Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River.

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana environmental regulators took the first step last week to tighten pollution rules for toxins flowing into Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River. The new rules are aimed at stemming pollution coming from British Columbia coal mines.

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

The expansion of a British Columbia coal mine upstream of Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River will undergo review from the federal Canadian government. The decision handed down Wednesday will apply more scrutiny to the project.

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A proposed land deal between the state and a nonprofit foundation could help connect an important piece of grizzly bear habitat between the Cabinet and Purcell mountains near the small town of Troy.

Sponges: These Aquatic Oddities Are At Home In Montana

Jan 5, 2020
Spongilla lacustris, a widspread freshwater sponge often found under logs and rocks in lakes.
Kirt L. Onthank (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Although many people associate these stone-like animals with the crystalline waters of the tropics, several species of sponges do occur in lakes and ponds across North America, including those of western Montana. 

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Three engines and several train cars derailed Wednesday evening along the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry, in the Idaho panhandle near the Montana border. One of the locomotives is leaking an undisclosed amount of diesel into the river, which is a tributary of the Columbia River.

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

Pollution from British Columbia coal mining operations is making its way into Montana and Idaho’s Kootenai River. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study found high levels of selenium in mountain whitefish eggs and that could be impacting the species’ reproduction.

A line of Montana legislators at the U.S. State Department-hosted town hall meeting in Kalispell on March 20, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

More than 200 people Wednesday night came to a U.S. State Department-hosted town hall meeting in Kalispell meant to inform federal negotiations that could shape the future of an international watershed roughly the size of Texas.

Sen. Mike Cuffe (R) - Eureka
Montana Legislature

As negotiators from the United States and Canada consider tweaks to a longstanding treaty about the Columbia River system, Montana legislators are pushing for local water security and compensation.

The Columbia River Treaty outlines shared management of flood risk and hydropower generation along a river system that crisscrosses the international border. The United States, Canada and tribal nations are in the process of modernizing that agreement.

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