Cameron Naficy to speak at Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day, July 24

Waterton Lake
Waterton Lake

Long-time NFPA member Cameron Naficy will be speaking at Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day in Waterton Townsite on July 24, 2018. Here’s the post from the Landscapes in Motion website . . .

15th Annual Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day
Where: Falls Theatre, Waterton Townsite, Waterton Lakes National Park
When: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 — 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: Free with park entry fee and open to all

Cameron’s Talk: A multi-century, transboundary perspective on the fire ecology of the Crown of the Continent
9:45-10:15 a.m.

Cameron will present a talk about the fire ecology of the distinct forest systems on opposite sides of the Continental Divide. He will discuss how forest resilience has changed in the face of increased fire activity driven by climate change, and will present a unique view of how these ecosystems are responding to recent large fires. This is a chance to meet Cameron and learn more about the big picture of fire ecology in a changing world.

For more information about the Waterton-Glacier Science and History Day, visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/activ/evenements-events/journee-science-day

Poll indicates strong support for public land protections

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

The University of Montana ran a bi-partisan poll back in June that indicated very strong support for protecting public lands, including the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .

A University of Montana poll done last month found there’s strong support for national monument status for the Badger Two Medicine region near Glacier National Park.

The Badger-Two Medicine is a 130,000-acre wildland south of Marias Pass on the Lewis and Clark National Forest. It is known for its elk herd and is prime grizzly bear habitat. The Blackfeet Tribe consider the ground sacred.

It’s also been embroiled in controversy for decades, as oil and gas companies have sought to drill for oil and gas there. Currently, there’s a lawsuit in federal court over the matter, as the Obama Administration canceled all the existing leases in the area during the waning days of the administration, paying off the companies in the process.

The UM poll found that 76 percent of voters supported a national monument designation for the Badger-Two Med.

Read more . . .

Interior proposes reworking of Endangered Species Act

Grizzly bear sow with three cubs - NPS photo
Grizzly bear sow with three cubs – NPS photo

Here’s an excellent article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian concerning the Interior Department’s proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act. . . .

Proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act would give federal agencies much more leeway to shrink critical habitat and modify protection rules for vulnerable animals and plants.

Interior and Commerce department officials unveiled the proposals in a Thursday morning conference call with reporters. The regulation changes must go through a public comment process and could become policy by the end of 2018. Coincidentally, another set of ESA changes has been drafted into proposed legislation before Congress.

Both moves come as a new national survey shows strong support for the Endangered Species Act among four out of five Americans.

Read more . . .

Also read: Interior Department Proposes a Vast Reworking of the Endangered Species Act (NY Times)

A “not-so-hidden” gem in Augusta, Montana

Frank Vitale in 'A not-so-hidden gem in Augusta,' June 22, 2018
Frank Vitale in ‘A not-so-hidden gem in Augusta,’ June 22, 2018

NFPA board member Frank Vitale got some air time in a piece by KFBB-TV about Augusta’s role as a gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness . . .

It’s a gem that has helped put Augusta on the map, but it’s technically not even in town. And it’s not so much a gem… as 1.5 million acres of pristine public lands. We’re talking about the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the huge impact it’s had not only on Augusta, but on this entire state.

Augusta, Montana is known for many things. One of the most significant, though, is it’s location. As the trailhead to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Augusta attracts people from all over the world who are here to experience one of the most unique things Montana has to offer… public lands.

“If you leave this country, particularly the Rocky Mountain West, you’ll see there’s not a lot of public land. People are starving to be outdoors and to recreate,” says Montana Packer Frank Vitale.

Read/view more . . .

REMINDER: Summer North Fork Interlocal Meeting tomorrow, July 18

Sondreson Hall, circa 2010
Sondreson Hall, circa 2010

The Summer 2018 North Fork Interlocal Agreement Meeting is at 1:00pm, on Wednesday, July 18 at Sondreson Hall. This year’s sponsor is the North Fork Landowners Association.

Interlocal meetings are held twice each year, winter and summer. These semi-annual get-togethers are intended to encourage open discussion between North Fork landowners and neighbors and local, state and federal agencies.

In other words, it’s a big deal if you have an interest in the North Fork.

Preceding the Interlocal meeting is the annual FireWise Day Workshop at 9:30 a.m. and lunch at noon. Lunch is a community potluck, with the NFLA supplying the main course and drinks.

New advocacy group to watchdog aquatic invasive species efforts

Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake

This is interesting.

Late last year, Montana DNRC managed to kill funding for the Flathead Basin Commission. The FBC had been getting a little too pushy, especially in regards to Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) prevention efforts. Well, it appears those annoying folks popped right back up as an independent organization named Watershed Protection Advocates . . .

A new player has emerged in the fight for the protection of the region’s waters, and next month the Watershed Protection Advocates of Northwest Montana will begin filling out its own “report card” on other agencies in the region.

The new advocacy group was formed by a number of former Flathead Basin Commission board members after the Flathead Basin Protection Fund pulled its financial support of the commission.

Watershed Protection Advocates is chaired by former Flathead Basin Commission chairperson Jan Metzmaker, and former Flathead Basin Commission Executive Director Caryn Miske is the sole contractor for the new advocacy group. Miske was terminated form her position on the commission in February following a series of allegations of misconduct made by Department of Natural Resources and Conservation officials.

Read more . . .

Summer 2018 NFPA Newsletter online

NFPA T-shirt - forest green
New NFPA T-shirt – forest green

For those of you who can’t wait on the mail, the North Fork Preservation Association Summer 2018 Newsletter is now available online in the “Newsletters” section of the website. Enjoy!

Here’s a partial table of contents:

  • Announcement of NFPA Annual Meeting, July 28
  • New T-shirts on sale at Annual Meeting!
  • Victories While Under Threat (President’s letter)
  • Montana’s Wilderness Areas Are Under Attack
  • Working Group Reports:
    – Watershed Currents
    – Wonderful Wildlife
    – Wilderness Matters
  • Huckleberry Project – Team Members Needed!

Jane Goodall joins Wyoming protestors in buying up griz hunt tags

Grizzly on ranch east of Yellowstone - Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Grizzly on ranch east of Yellowstone – Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Now, here’s an interesting approach to combating Wyoming’s grizzly bear hunt. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is . . .

Jane Goodall is a global icon, perhaps the most admired living environmentalist and legendary for her research with chimpanzees. Cynthia Moss is famous for her conservation work in eastern Africa battling elephant poachers and speaking out against trophy hunting.

Within the last few days, Goodall, 84, and Moss, 78, entered a lottery hoping to win a coveted hunting license in Wyoming allowing them to sport shoot a grizzly bear in the Yellowstone region. They have no aspirations to actually kill a bruin. Their maneuver is part of a mass act of civil disobedience to protest Wyoming’s controversial hunt of up to 22 grizzlies—the first in 44 years—slated to commence only weeks from now.

Called “Shoot ‘em With A Camera, Not A Gun,” the impromptu campaign, spearheaded mainly by women, has caught hunting officials in Wyoming off guard. It has also created a groundswell among those who condemn the state’s recommencement of a trophy season on grizzlies just a year after they were removed from federal protection. In May, Wyoming’s wildlife commission approved the hunt unanimously 7-0.

Read more . . .

Golf course hazard released in North Fork

Personnel load up a grizzly bear that was darted in Conrad, MT on June 4, 2018. - photo by Donna Hepp
Personnel load up a grizzly bear that was darted in Conrad, MT on June 4, 2018. – photo by Donna Hepp

Tim Manley posted the following note to Facebook yesterday letting us know that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks had “translocated” a couple of grizzlies to the North Fork:

“Hi, I wanted to let you know that two sub-adult grizzly bears were translocated to the NFK drainage on June 5th. A 3 year old male captured in Conrad was released on the Coal Cr State Forest in Coal Cr. The second bear is a 2 year old male captured just NW of Columbia Falls. He was released on the Canadian border at Moose City. He has moved north into B.C. I will give an update at Sonderson Hall Sunday evening.”

What he didn’t mention is that the grizzly released in the Coal Creek drainage got the heave ho because he was interfering with everyone’s golf game at the Pondera Golf Course in Conrad. See “Montana golfer demands refund due to course hazard: Grizzly bear” for details.

Plan aims to preserve griz habitat

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Here’s a good article in the Hungry Horse News on the federal habitat plan intended to provide protection for grizzly bears in this corner of the country even after they are removed from the Endangered Species List . . .

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on plan May 16 that looks to maintain grizzly bear habitat and recovery along the Continental Divide even after the bear is removed from the Endangered Species List.

The Habitat Recovery Criteria for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which includes about 8 million acres of land along the Divide from Glacier National Park south to Ovando, looks to maintain road density and other standards on federal lands, though it does include some wiggle room.

Roads and bears over the years have been a controversial subject, as federal land agencies — most notably the Forest Service, have either closed or completely torn out hundreds of miles of dirt roads that once criss-crossed the Forest. Studies have found that roads and grizzlies don’t mix — not because grizzlies won’t cross roads — they will — but because open roads often result in poaching or other forms of bear deaths due to interactions with humans.

Read more . . .