MTPR

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

U.S. Drought Monitor Map of Montana, August 13, 2019.
Richard Tinker / CPC/NOAA/NWS/NCEP

The governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee almost cancelled its monthly meeting Thursday because there isn’t really a drought issue in Montana right now.

Rachel Cramer with Yellowstone Public Radio News reports that committee members say moisture conditions look good for most of the state, and fire activity is expected to remain moderate.

Map of "Priority Landscapes" for forest management projects on the Lolo National Forest.
Lolo National Forest

Two proposed logging projects in the Seeley Lake area are the latest in a statewide push towards more use of a collaborative federal and state timber harvest program.

The Lolo National Forest wants to partner with the State of Montana on a pair of so-called Good Neighbor Authority projects to log about 5,000 acres of Forest Service land near Seeley Lake.

Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook July 2019.
Predictive Services - National Interagency Fire Center

Gov. Steve Bullock will get a briefing on Montana’s wildfire outlook Friday from a group of interagency fire partners. The governor’s annual fire season meeting delivers predictions on wildland fire potential and updates on the readiness of agencies to respond once fire breaks out.

"Good Neighbor Authority" allows states and tribes to help the Forest Service with projects on national forest land. The Taylor Hellroaring project near Whitefish is one such project.
U.S. Forest Service

Public comment ends this week on a Forest Service project near Whitefish which proposes to use so-called “good neighbor authority” to collaborate with the State of Montana. It’s a new approach that could mark a shift in which parties get a say in managing national forests.

A state judge has revoked the water permit for a silver and copper mine proposed beneath a northwestern Montana wilderness area.

Judge Kathy Seeley said in a recent order that state officials did not adequately consider potential damage to nearby streams from Hecla Mining Company’s Rock Creek Mine.

State Budget Bill Is Flying Through The Legislature

Apr 9, 2019
Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte, speaks on the Montana Senate floor. Sesso serves as Senate Minority Leader.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- Montana’s budget will return to the House of Representatives after it was amended in the Senate last week and passed 28-21 Monday.

Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Carl Glimm, a Republican from Kila, says it’s typical for the Senate to tweak House Bill 2, the legislation that outlines the state’s $10.3 billion, two-year budget.

Site of the the proposed Montana Artesian Water Company bottling plant near Creston, MT.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

A district judge has rescinded a water right for a water bottling plant near Kalispell.

Montana Artesian Water Company was granted a permit early last year to draw 710 acre feet of water per year by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Several groups appealed the permit, and on Tuesday Judge Kathy Seeley ruled in their favor.

Greater sage-grouse.
USFWS

The Trump Administration today finalized plans that will open millions of acres in the West to oil and gas development and strip protections for a struggling greater sage-grouse.

State Agency Looks To More Logging, Improved Forest Health

Mar 8, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's forestry agency is working with federal, local and private organizations to increase logging on national forests to improve forest health and decrease the risk of disease and catastrophic fires.

State lawmakers are supporting a $2.2 million request from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to hire people to help implement the Good Neighbor Authority program.

A map showing the proposed project management areas outside of Stevensville.
Forest Service USDA


  The Bitterroot National Forest is taking comments on a proposed timber sale and vegetation management project in the Sapphire Mountains northeast of Stevensville.

The Forest is proposing to manage vegetation and reduce fuels on 238 acres in and next to the Threemile Wildlife Management Area. It says is entirely within the Wildland-Urban Interface -- the area of forest that mixes with human development and is at risk for wildfire.

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