MTPR

logging

The Libby eagle sits above downtown Libby, Montana.
Nicky Ouellet

In about a year, the Environmental Protection Agency will leave Libby, where it’s worked for the last two decades to clean up asbestos contamination, a lethal byproduct leftover from W.R. Grace’s vermiculite mine. But locals in Lincoln County say the EPA packing up doesn’t necessarily mean cleanup work is done.

A map of vegetation treatments planned for the Betty Baptiste Project on the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir in Montana.
Flathead National Forest

A logging and forest restoration project on the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir has been OK'd by the Flathead National Forest.

The draft decision kicks off a 45-day objection period, during which people or groups who have previously commented on the project can file an objection.

Nicky Ouellet

Representative Greg Gianforte toured areas affected by the Howe Ridge Fire in Glacier National Park Wednesday morning.

Hungry Lion planning area and general vicinity.
U.S. Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest said Thursday it will move ahead with a commercial logging and hazardous fuels reduction project just north of Hungry Horse Reservoir.

Megan Fylling and William Blake try to identify a bird flitting through the trees in a part of the Rice Ridge burn area near Seeley Lake.
Rosie Costain

Salvage logging on a portion of the Rice Ridge Fire burn area near Seeley Lake is set to begin soon. The U.S. Forest Service is finalizing plans to log about 5,600 acres on the 160,000 acres that burned in the biggest wildfire Montana saw last summer.

I recently visited the salvage logging site, about half a mile drive outside Seeley Lake, with Megan Fylling and Willaim Blake. They’re avian biologists, Fylling is with the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab and Blake at MPG Ranch.

A stack of logs.
(PD)

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of an environmental group challenging a timber and forest thinning project in the Kootenai National Forest.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that that Forest Service, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously,” by failing to determine whether the East Reservoir Project will result in new roads that will exceed a cap on them meant to preserve grizzly bear habitat.

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

The Kootenai National Forest is slated to start five salvage timber sales in areas that burned last year, and one more is pending.

The Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest released its new draft forest plan last week. It's a significant milestone. Montanans can now weigh-in on the master plan that will guide the forest's land use decisions for the next 15 years.

The Helena - Lewis and Clark is currently governed by a pair of 32-year-old forest plans.

Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest has approved 2,600 acres of commercial logging just north of Hungry Horse reservoir.

It's part of the Hungry Lion Resource Management Project, and the Forest Service says about half of the timber sale is within the wildland-urban interface, with the goal of reducing risks to residents and firefighters should a wildfire occur.

Congressman Greg Gianforte addresses a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula Tuesday, May 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Congressman Greg Gianforte says some changes to public lands management he’s been pushing for have made it into the draft of the Farm Bill Congress is expected to take up in couple of weeks.

The Farm Bill helps direct the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture.

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