Mar 26 2015

Study: Beetle infested forests no more likely to burn than healthy ones

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

This one is a little tricky. A study was just released saying that forests with lots of beetle killed trees are no more likely to burn than other western forests. What it does not address is fire behavior, once started, in beetle-killed stands . . .

Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears that they’re more vulnerable to wildfire outbreaks, but a new study found no evidence that bug-infested forests are more likely to burn than healthy ones.

In a paper released Monday, University of Colorado researchers said weather and terrain are bigger factors in determining whether a forest will burn than beetle invasions.

The findings could provide some comfort to people who live near beetle-infested forests, if those trees are statistically no more likely to burn than healthy forests.

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Mar 26 2015

Legal battles put some Wyoming wolf research on-hold

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Lawsuits over wolf management in Wyoming are hampering some research efforts . . .

Fur piled in a mess under a fallen tree. A jawbone lay nearby. The spine was farther down the hill by some ribs. Part of a shoulder was 50 yards in another direction. They were the first signs of a female moose killed months before by a pack of wolves. Little remained of her body. But her bones told a story…

She was sick, and that may have lowered her defenses, which is what matters to wolves, said Ken Mills, wolf biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department…

Mills, 35, was gathering information in late July on how many moose, deer and elk wolves have killed in the Gros Ventre Range in northwestern Wyoming.

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Mar 26 2015

Montana FWP finds fewer mountain goats in Bitterroot

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Montana FWP found fewer mountain goats in the Bitterrroots this winter than in previous surveys . . .

A couple of times in February and once in March, Rebecca Mowry had a chance to see the Bitterroot Mountains in a way only a handful before her have ever experienced.

From the inside of a helicopter, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist explored 22 canyons from Trapper Peak to Carlton Ridge while searching for signs of mountain goats.

“It’s a fun survey to do,” Mowry said. “You get to see a lot of beautiful country, but it’s treacherous too. You’re right next to the cliffs, with no good places to land if something goes wrong.”

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Mar 26 2015

Forest Service biologist presents wolverine findings

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Here’s a pretty good article on Rick Yates’ wolverine study in Glacier Park . . .

The devil bear. The little wolf. The skunk bear.

Despite being a member of the weasel family topping out at about 40 pounds, the wolverine’s abundance of nicknames reflects its larger-than-life personality. Perhaps most telling, its scientific name, Gulo gulo, is Latin for “glutton.”

Rick Yates, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist, spent from 2002 to 2007 studying the elusive carnivore’s behavior, trapping and tracking wolverines over hundreds of square miles in Glacier National Park…

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Mar 21 2015

Global study on habitat fragmentation shows widespread problems

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Some more support for the importance of biological and botanical corridors and other efforts to reduce habitat isolation . . .

An extensive study of global habitat fragmentation — the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated patches — points to major trouble for a number of the world’s ecosystems and the plants and animals living in them.

The study shows that 70 percent of existing forest lands are within a half-mile of the forest edge, where encroaching urban, suburban or agricultural influences can cause any number of harmful effects — like the losses of plants and animals.

The study also tracks seven major experiments on five continents that examine habitat fragmentation and finds that fragmented habitats reduce the diversity of plants and animals by 13 to 75 percent, with the largest negative effects found in the smallest and most isolated fragments of habitat.

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Mar 21 2015

Park biologists say they’re getting ahead of the lake trout problem in Quartz Lake

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Looks like Glacier Park is seeing success in eliminating non-native lake trout from Quartz Lake . . .

Since 2009, biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Glacier National Park have been netting non-native lake trout from Quartz Lake to help preserve one of the Park’s last remaining strongholds for endangered bull trout. The effort, biologist Carter Fredenberg was pleased to report last week, appears to be working.

Last fall, biologists counted an historic high 66 bull trout redds in the upper stretches of drainage. Redds are spawning beds fish make in the stream bottoms. The more redds, the better the population is doing.

“That is extremely positive,” Fredenberg said during a public talk last week.

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Mar 21 2015

First open house for revised Forest Plan draws a crowd

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The first open house for the Flathead National Forest’s revised Forest Plan drew a pretty good crowd, including several North Forkers . . .

A good compromise, it’s been said, leaves everyone equally unhappy.

But despite some dismay among people at an open house Tuesday hosted by the Flathead National Forest to discuss its proposed forest plan revision, others said the agency had struck a reasonable balance between competing uses, particularly where wildlife is concerned.

“I heard from some folks tonight that this is the best plan we’ve come up with since the ’80s,” said Joe Krueger, a forest planner with the agency and the project team leader. “But I also heard concerns that it goes too far to the wilderness side.”

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Mar 21 2015

Deb Mucklow talks about overseeing the Bob

Published by under Commentary,Environmental Issues

Sounds like Deb Mucklow, the Spotted bear District Ranger, gave an interesting presentation about managing the Bob Marshall Wilderness . . .

From the remote Spotted Bear Ranger Station, District Ranger Deb Mucklow spends each summer overseeing more than one million acres within the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

The Lower 48’s third-largest wilderness complex has become a star attraction for Northwest Montana.

But as the Spotted Bear District ranger, Mucklow emphasized the difficulty in balancing human activities with the integrity of the primeval area during a recent presentation hosted by the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation.

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Mar 14 2015

Aquatic invasive species still a threat

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Zebra mussels

Zebra mussels – via Wikipedia

Montana FWP’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program is holding the line, but still worried about the introduction to the state of a number of aquatic invasive species . . .

The bad news is that inspection crews are turning up illegal live fish and nonnative species across Montana. The good news is no evidence of zebra mussels has yet been found.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s aquatic invasive species liaison, Linnaea Schroeer, reported this news in an annual message on FWP’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

FWP operated 20 seasonal watercraft inspection stations across the state, along with roving crews. More than 34,000 boats were inspected in 2014, and thousands of people were educated about the impacts of invasive species, she said.

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Mar 14 2015

Forum on Wild & Scenic Rivers to be held this summer in the North Fork – July 17

Published by under News

NFNews announced an upcoming public meeting on Wild and Scenic Rivers and related issues . . .

Montanans for Healthy Rivers will be hosting a public forum in the North Fork of the Flathead this summer and would like you to attend to provide your input on present and future river conservation efforts in the North Fork.

Montanans for Healthy Rivers is a coalition of conservation organizations, watershed groups, recreation groups, business owners and landowners from across Montana who know that clean water and free-flowing rivers are important to our economy and our way of life…

Continue reading at NFNews . . .

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