Oct 21 2014

Flathead National Forest Stakeholder Collaboration Final Report available

Published by under News

Those of you who have labored through all or part of the public “collaborative” phase of the Flathead National Forest Plan Revision, will be glad to know that the Flathead National Forest Stakeholder Collaboration Final Report is now available. You can obtain it by going to the Meridian Institute’s “FNFplanrevision” web page and clicking on the link near the top of the page. Given the amount of time spent on the collaborative process, the document is surprising brief — a mere 44 pages.

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Oct 21 2014

Montana lawsuit seeks federal wolverine protection

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Another volley in the battle to obtain federal protection for wolverines . . .

Another lawsuit has been filed challenging the government’s denial of federal protections for the wolverine.

Thirteen advocacy groups and an ecologist were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Montana.

It claims the government relied on “contorted” data when it declined protections for the species in August.

Read more . . .

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Oct 21 2014

Glacier Park getting on top of bull trout recovery

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Glacier Park is showing good success in recovering a depleted bull trout population . . .

Glacier National Park, historically one of the last best strongholds for native bull trout, has seen its wild populations decimated by the explosion of invasive lake trout, reducing Montana’s aquatic darling to an imperiled icon and pushing the species toward the brink of extinction.

But biologists with Glacier Park and the U.S. Geological Survey have pioneered a new effort to suppress lake trout in remote backcountry lakes and reintroduce dwindling bull trout populations, with recent results showing strong evidence of success, and indicating that the efforts could be applied to other invaded habitats and broader ranges.

“New results are promising. The park is kind of spearheading these innovative and proactive ways to save bull trout,” Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), said. “It’s been so rewarding to have our science apply to on-the-ground management and leading conservation efforts in Glacier.”

Read more . . .

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Oct 14 2014

Advocacy groups sue for wolverine protections

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the wolverine for federal protection due to climate model uncertainty has drawn the expected lawsuit . . .

A coalition of advocacy groups on Monday challenged the government’s denial of federal protections for the snow-loving wolverine, arguing in a lawsuit that officials disregarded evidence a warming climate will eliminate denning areas for the so-called “mountain devil.”

An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines survive in the Lower 48 states. The elusive but ferocious members of the weasel family give birth to their young in deep mountain snowfields that scientists say could be at risk of disappearing as the climate changes.

After proposing protections for the species last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in August abruptly reversed course. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said at the time there was too much uncertainty in computer climate change models to justify protections, an issue first raised by two members of a scientific peer-review panel.

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Oct 07 2014

John Frederick receives award from Flathead Audubon Society

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

John Frederick, NFPA President,  recently received a Flathead Audubon Society Conservation Achievement Recognition award for his years of work to protect the North Fork. This is a pretty big deal and a well-deserved honor. The formal award presentation is on October 13.

Here’s the article from this month’s “Pileated Post” newsletter announcing John’s award . . .

In the 50th anniversary year of the federal Wilderness Act, it is fitting that Flathead Audubon presents John Frederick with a Conservation Achievement Recognition to honor his 35 year long effort to keep the North Fork of the Flathead wild.

In the 1970s, John won an Ohio Achievement Award for his efforts in recycling as president of Waste Watchers, Inc. Seeking wilder country, he moved to the North Fork in 1978 and began operating the North Fork Hostel in 1979. Coalmine and road paving proposals in the North Fork sparked him to help form the North Fork Preservation Association in 1982. He still serves as president and has for 24 years of its 34 years.

During the battle over the coal mine proposal, John bought 10 shares of Rio Algam stock. He traveled to Toronto six times to protest the mine at the annual stockholders meeting. His action generated national awareness of the issue in Canada and helped in getting the International Boundary Commission involved, an action that eventually led to Rio Algam losing interest in the project.

John has also been involved in local land planning issues as Chair of the North Fork Land Use Advisory Committee and a member of the North Fork Improvement Association. North Fork subdivisions are now required to have 20-acre sized lots.

John continues to be involved in Flathead National Forest planning issues, including the current effort. As a board member of Headwaters Montana, he is involved in supporting the goals of the Whitefish Range Partnership and an expansion of Waterton National Park into the Canadian side of the North Fork, as well as new wilderness areas on the U.S. side of the border.

John sold his hostel a few years ago but continues to live in the North Fork from May to November. He winters in Costa Rica, soaking up the warmth his many winters in Polebridge failed to provide. Keeping joints limber allows John, along with others, to clear abandoned trails in the North Fork for the public’s use.

Flathead Audubon is happy to honor John’s efforts to protect the natural values of the North Fork and to hold him up as an example of what a dedicated person can accomplish.

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Oct 06 2014

Bears on the move

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North Fork bears are on the move as they work on getting fattened up prior to hibernation. As a post in today’s NFNews points out, more movement means more bear sightings.

Read the NFNews article (with pictures!) . . .

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Oct 02 2014

Coal Ridge patrol cabin-lookout gets more renovation work

Published by under News

It seems the Coal Ridge “patrol cabin” was actually the original lookout up there. Anyways, it got new siding last week to go with the roof that was installed a couple of years ago . . .

An historic lookout up the North Fork on Coal Ridge received some badly needed care last week as Forest Service crews installed new siding on the weather-beaten building.

The Coal Ridge Lookout, which has sat atop the Whitefish Range since 1928, doesn’t resemble a lookout — the current map actually calls it a cabin. It has small windows, and the Osborne Fire Finder used to pinpoint fire starts was mounted on a metal pole outside of the building.

But it was a definitely a fire lookout, Flathead National Forest lookout Leif Haugen said.

Read more . . .

For more information on this project, go to http://www.nwmt-ffla.org/#!2014-projects/c1nlq and scroll down to the “Moran Patrol Cabin” section.

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Oct 01 2014

Glacier Park announces fish conservation projects in the North Fork

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Glacier Park announced yesterday a number of fish conservation projects in the North Fork. These include a fish passage barrier to be constructed to protect Akokala Lake and lake trout suppression work at Quartz and Logging Lakes.

Here are the relevant press releases:

Fish Passage Barrier to be Constructed

Bull Trout Conservation Project Approved

 

 

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Oct 01 2014

Judge denies quick fix to Wyoming wolf management plan

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

As expected, the federal judge who invalidated Wyoming’s wolf management plan won’t allow it to go back in force with just a few minor tweaks . . .

A federal judge on Tuesday denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and pro-hunting groups to change last week’s decision that reinstated federal protections for wolves in the state.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., leaves Wyoming and the Fish and Wildlife Service with the choice of either appealing or to developing a revised management plan. The planning process can take years and require more public comment, during which time Wyoming wolves would remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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Oct 01 2014

Flathead Forest conducting recreational usage survey

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The Flathead National Forest is conducting a recreational usage survey over the next year . . .

You may see more Forest Service and contract employees working in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads on the Flathead National Forest. They will be wearing bright orange vests and be near a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead”. These folks may be out in all kinds of adverse weather conditions. The surveyors are waiting to talk to you, so please pull over for an interview. These well trained interviewers want to know about your visit to the national forest. All information you give is confidential and the survey is voluntary.

This on-going national forest survey has already been conducted once on every National Forest in the country. We are now returning five years later to update the information previously gathered as well as to look at recreation trends over time…

Read more . . .

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