Jun 23 2016

Federal judge blocks BLM fracking rules

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Oil and gas development at Colorado's Roan Plateau. Photo by Ecoflight.

Things are not going well for Bureau of Land Management fracking regulation . . .

A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration’s regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn’t have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight.

Skavdahl made it clear what he was — and wasn’t — considering in his ruling.

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Jun 23 2016

How Reddit helped find woman who defaced national parks

Published by under News

St. Mary Lake

St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park

Happily, this ‘artist’ didn’t get up to this corner of Montana . . .

Colorful acrylic paintings on red and gray rock formations and profiles of people smoking cigarettes, signed with a repetitive “Creepytings,” caused an uproar on Reddit more than a year ago. Now, the uproar is calming.

After spending a month drawing and painting on the rocks in seven national parks, Casey Nocket, 23, of San Diego, was banned this month from national parks and other federally administered lands, according to the National Park Service.

The conviction is owed largely to a band of Reddit users faithful to keeping natural spaces free from what the NPS called vandalism…

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Jun 18 2016

Flathead Forest holds open house to discuss draft revised management plan

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

From a Headwaters Montana bulletin . . .

The Flathead National Forest has released its long-anticipated “Draft Revised Management Plan” for the 2.3 million-acre forest. This revised plan will set the course for forest management for the next 15-20 years. Because of the anticipated longevity, it’s very important that folks who enjoy and appreciate our local national treasure to show up and participate in the revision process.

You have two opportunities to attend an open house hosted by the Flathead Forest to learn more about the proposed plan and demonstrate your interest.

Kalispell
When: Monday, June 20, from 2-6pm
Where: The Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 650 Wolfpack Way

Missoula
When: June 22, from 2-6pm
Where:
Hilton Garden Inn, 3720 N. Reserve Street


Want to read up on the Forest Plan before you get there? Go here. (Hint: Start with the maps and Appendix G.)

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Jun 18 2016

Partnership works to keep collaborative efforts in final forest plan

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Round 2 begins . . .

As the revised Flathead National Forest Plan enters the most recent phase of public comment, members of a diverse coalition of stakeholders who collaborated on the draft document are regrouping to weave a spirit of collaboration into the final plan.

Formed in 2012, the Whitefish Range Partnership is a coalition of longtime adversaries who banded together to help inform management of public lands on the Flathead National Forest.

After nearly three years of meetings and analysis, the Flathead National Forest released the draft version of its revised forest plan last month, unveiling a proposed blueprint for all aspects of management on the Flathead National Forest, from recreational opportunities to designated wilderness, timber production, wildlife and habitat.

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Want to read up on the Forest Plan? Go here. (Hint: Start with the maps and Appendix G.)

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Jun 18 2016

Glacier Lake Ecology BioBlitz students study in North Fork

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

An interesting item from the Daily Inter Lake . . .

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center in Glacier National Park hosted 45 students for the Glacier Lake Ecology BioBlitz on May 25 and 26.

The students were from Flathead and Columbia Falls high schools in Northwest Montana, De La Salle Collegiate High School from Warren, Michigan, and Luther College from Decorah, Iowa.

Students observed loons nesting, feeding, calling and interacting on lakes in the North Fork area of Glacier National Park.

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Jun 16 2016

MWA: Zinke flip-flops on public lands transfer

Published by under Commentary,Environmental Issues

Three Types of Public Lands

Three types of public lands: Flathead National Forest is in the foreground, left and right; Montana’s Coal Creek State Forest, including Cyclone Lake, is in the middle distance; Glacier National Park stretches across the background.

Rep. Ryan Zinke Voted in favor of an ill-considered public lands-related bill and the MWA is pretty annoyed. Election year posturing is such a pain . . .

In a recent op-ed, Congressman Ryan Zinke called himself a “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” He based that self-characterization on a few votes he made against the transfer and sale of public lands and for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But his vote today in the House Natural Resources Committee in favor of H.R 2316 (the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act) is far from Rooseveltian. In fact, it’s a direct attack on the legacy Teddy left us – our National Forest lands.

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Jun 13 2016

Lisa Bate receives Jack Potter Glacier National Park Stewardship Award for work with birds and bats

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Biologist Lisa Bate counts birds during the annual Christmas bird count in Glacier in 2010.

Biologist Lisa Bate counts birds during the annual Christmas bird count in Glacier in 2010.

Lisa Bate recently got some well-deserved recognition for her work with Glacier Park’s birds and bats . . .

While Glacier National Park is known for the grizzlies and goats, Lisa Bate has long been more interested in its birds and bats.

“It’s fun to bring attention to something that’s not a large carnivore,” she said last week. Bate has done groundbreaking work in the Park, most notably studying its harlequin ducks and its diverse, though seldom seen, bat population.

While those two species might not grab headlines, they face just as many threats due to climate change and other factors as the mega fauna species.

“I like the underdogs and I try to give them a voice,” she said.

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Jun 13 2016

Lawsuit challenges Wyoming grizzly delisting plan

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS

Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Yet another challenge to Wyoming’s grizzly delisting plans . . .

Groups are challenging the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission over its recently adopted grizzly bear management rules.

The Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity and Jackson, Wyoming-based filmmaker James Laybourn filed a lawsuit against the commission Friday in state court in Cheyenne.

The lawsuit claims the commission failed to follow public notice and comment requirements before adopting grizzly management rules earlier this year.

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Jun 13 2016

Home Ground Radio interviews Headwaters Montana and Stoltze Lumber

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

From Dave Hadden at Headwaters Montana . . .

If you’re a regular listener and donor to Montana Public Radio, then you’re familiar with the voice of Brian Kahn, the host and producer of “Home Ground Radio.”  Brian sat down with Paul McKenzie and me to discuss the challenges and successes of finding common ground on national forest management issues.

The interview aired on MTPR last Sunday, May 29, but is available for your listening pleasure anytime by clicking here.

In typical Home Ground Radio style, Brian led the conversation from introductions to a ‘take home message.’

Paul McKenzie works for Stoltze Land and Lumber Company in Columbia Falls, Montana, as the land and resource manager.  It’s been my pleasure to get to know Paul as a sincere, intelligent and committed individual who cares deeply about the forest resources he manages and the people employed at Stoltze’s lumber mill.

Paul and I have sat across the table from one another for several years now as part of the Whitefish Range Partnership, and Kootenai Forest Stakeholder Coalition’s Common Ground” committee.

These conversations have been joined by many other individuals representing other constituencies.  The conversations haven’t always been easy.  However, they have been necessary. Continue Reading »

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Jun 13 2016

Gov. Bullock unveils public lands agenda; opposes public lands transfers

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Some upbeat news from the Montana Wilderness Association . . .

Today [June 9] was a good day for Montana.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock today unveiled a pro-public lands agenda that not only doubles down on rejecting the transfer of federal lands to the state, but also creates opportunities to expand conservation and recreation on our public lands.

“This is an issue that transcends party politics in Montana,” he said at a public lands event held at Riverfront Park in Billings. “It isn’t about what Democrats or Republicans or Independents want. It’s about doing what’s right for Montanans.”

The agenda includes four major initiatives aimed at increasing access, building Montana’s outdoor recreation economy, and supporting collaborative solutions for natural resource management. They include:

  • Rejecting all effort to transfer our national public lands to individual states or private interests
  • Creating of an Office of Outdoor Recreation
  • Creating a state “public access specialist” position
  • Calling on the legislature to unfreeze and fully restore Habitat Montana

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