MTPR

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

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.

A firefighter stands in front of flames from a wildfire.
(PD)

Wildfire training sessions for firefighters in Montana are being called off because of the government shutdown. That has state officials worried about whether they’ll be prepared for next fire season. 

Michael DeGrosky has been scheduled for months to teach a wildfire training course in Missoula next week.

A firefighter stands in front of flames from a wildfire.
(PD)

The 2018 fire season has cost the state $6.7 million as of the end of November, according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

That’s significantly under the state’s average fire bill of around $20 million over the last decade.

Katherine Stats, West Glacier Paradise. Oil on linen panel 18x24.
Hockaday Museum of Art

Like thousands of tourists, businesses and locals, wildfire altered plans for some 40 artists participating in a residency program hosted by Kalispell’s Hockaday Museum of Art last summer.

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

A proposal to ban new groundwater wells on the north end of Flathead Lake due to pollution concerns is moving forward.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation held a hearing Tuesday on a proposal to expand a ban on new groundwater wells on two additional properties near the former Somers Tie Plant.

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

A year-and-a-half after a mysterious, oily sheen was reported on the north end of Flathead Lake, a state agency is proposing a ban on new groundwater wells near Somers. It’s part of the cleanup plan for a local Superfund Site.

Lew Weaver (left) owns Montana Artesian Water Company, which has been embroiled in legal battles since announcing plans to operate a water bottling plant outside Kalispell three years ago.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

About 100 people went to a hearing in Kalispell Tuesday in a lawsuit aimed at preventing a water bottling plant from producing and distributing its product.

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

Montana Artesian Water Company.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

A contested water bottling plant outside Kalispell has begun operating and distributing as Flathead County grapples with how to interpret new zoning regulations the plant’s opponents say should shut it down.

Montana Artesian Water Company is stocking its water bottles at a local convenience store and at a few area offices and events under a private label.

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