MTPR

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Montana Fire Suppression Costs.
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

A new state report says 2017 was likely the the most expensive fire season in Montana history.

That report by state legislative analysts said the state spent $74 million on fire suppression. The next closest year was 2012, when the state spent less than $60 million.

DNRC Not Hearing Testimony From Water Company Owner

Oct 5, 2017
A section reserved for objectors at the September 19, 2017 public hearing on the proposed Creston water bottling plant in Kalispell. This past January the plant was granted a water right permit by the state.
Olga Kreimer

The owner of a company proposing a much-contested water bottling plant in Creston in the Flathead Valley won't be compelled to testify before the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Boat propeller encrusted with invasive mussels.
National Parks Service (PD)

A new group that aims to harmonize Montana’s response to invasive mussels, and prevent the economic and environmental damage they can cause, met for the first time Wednesday in Missoula.

Divers with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Montana FWP prepare to dive at Tiber Dam to look for adult zebra and/or quagga mussels, August 7, 2017.
Beth Saboe - MontanaPBS

Montana’s Environmental Quality Council is starting two days of meetings tomorrow, where lawmakers and other council members will hear the latest on the battle against aquatic invasive species.

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

 UPDATE: Friday, September 22: The public hearing record remains open pending closing briefs from counsel and Montana Artesian Water Company owner Lew Weaver's testimony. Weaver's testimony is optional to the proceedings.

 

The DNRC's 90-day decision period will not commence until the record closes. Hearing examiner David Vogler will meet on a conference call with the parties' counsel on Wednesday, Sept. 27 to determine next steps in this matter.

Water bottle.
(PD)

The second day of testimony in Kalispell today regarding a permit for a proposed water bottling plant in the Flathead Valley saw mostly expert witnesses.

Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is holding the hearings, and will determine whether to allow Lew Weaver’s Montana Artesian Water Company to draw up to 710 acre feet of water a year.

Decision On Swan Forest Initiative Due Thursday

Sep 13, 2017
A map of lands in the Swan Forest Initiative
Lake County Conservation District

There’s a decision coming up on a proposal to have the state of Montana take over management of some federal lands.

The Lake County Conservation District board will decide tomorrow whether to move forward with state management of some Flathead National Forest land in the Swan Valley.

People in Swan Lake heard a proposal to transfer management of some National Forest land to the state in a question-and-answer session Dec. 7, 2016, in Swan Lake, MT.
Nicky Ouellet

There’s a deadline for public comments coming up on a proposal to have the state take over management of a section of National Forest land. The comment period ends Thursday.

The Lake County Conservation District wants the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to manage a 60,000-acre swath of the Flathead National Forest, and use timber sales on it to help fund local conservation efforts.

This massive Black Hawk chopper is on loan from the Montana National Guard as part of the resource-sharing enabled by a state of fire emergency declared by Governor Steve Bullock last month.
Nicky Ouellet

In the past week alone, firefighters in northwest Montana attacked more than 40 small wildfires, and there’s no end in sight for this summer’s active fire season. But, firefighters are about to get some big help.

"That is the Black Hawk coming in right there," says Wyatt Frampton.

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“This has been a difficult year," Democratic Governor Steve Bullock says. "By some estimates our fire seasons are now about 78 days longer than they were two decades ago.”
Credit Nate Hegyi / YPR

State climatologist Kelsey Jencso says what folks are seeing this summer -- extreme fires, sudden droughts, snowpacks melting quickly -- may be a vision of Montana’s future.

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