Tag Archives: dust abatement

Secure Rural Schools money restored

Secure Rural Schools funding (aka “RAC Grant” money) has been restored. Locally, this means some bucks for work on the North Fork Road, including dust abatement . . .

A federal funding program that will provide about $1.4 million for Flathead County roads and schools this year has been reauthorized.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to extend Secure Rural Schools funding for two years as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

In September 2013 the U.S. Senate passed legislation to extend Secure Rural Schools funding for an additional year. The 113th Congress, however, failed to reauthorize the act, which expired in September 2014. The Senate’s latest action retroactively restores the funding for fiscal year 2014 and assures funding through fiscal year 2015.

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Sign-up begins for dust control program; deadline is Mar. 21

It’s that time of year again. Landowners who wish to sign up for Flathead County’s gravel road dust control cost-share program can do so until March 21 . . .

Flathead County residents who own property along a county-maintained gravel road can participate in a cost-share program to have dust control on roads near their land. Letters have been sent to people who have participated in the program in past years to determine if they again want to participate. Newcomers also may sign up, county Public Works Director Dave Prunty said.

People can download an application form from the county website, http://flathead.mt.gov/roads_bridges, under the “downloads” section, under the “forms” folder.

Call the road department office at 758-5790 or stop by the office at 1249 Willow Glen Drive in Kalispell for more information.

Applications are due at 4 p.m. March 21 in the road department.

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Pro-paving letter misquotes water quality study

It seems we can’t let a month go by without saying something about the road.

Anyway, if you are going to use science to support your position, it’s best to ensure you’re using it properly or you run the risk of annoying an actual scientist. A recent letter to the editor in the Hungry Horse News promoting paving the North Fork Road drew the ire of Jack Potter for editorial misuse of an out-of-context quote. Jack, Glacier Park’s former chief of science and resource management, sent the following response . . .

Dear Editor,

A disturbing trend is the misuse of scientific information through misquoting, taking something out of context, or altering text on the internet and/or in the press.  In his letter to the editor, Ray Brown of a “pave the North Fork Road” group in the annual spring offensive, says to support his contention that road dust is polluting the North Fork, thus paving is necessary:

“In addition, according to the 2007-2008 U.S. Geological Survey of water quality in the North Fork of the Flathead River, co-author E. William Schweiger, Ph.D. ecologist, Rocky Mountain Network, National Park Service, wrote in part that nearly all of the major western tributaries of the North Fork have previously been listed on Montana’s 303d list of impaired streams for cold-water fisheries owing to sediment-loading associated with erosion of unpaved roads.”

Ray goes on to say:

“This last finding in interesting in that our own Glacier National Park superintendent, who should have had access to the survey, either never got the memo or disregarded it out of hand. Perhaps the best way for the Park to address an issue like water and air quality along their western boundary is to pretend there is no problem to begin with.”

In fact taken in context Dr. Schweiger and his coauthors say:

“Clear-cut timber harvesting activity was relatively widespread in the western tributaries of the North Fork Basin in Montana from 1960 to 2000 (Gildea and others, 2004). Currently (2011), nonintensive timber harvesting occurs throughout the Flathead National Forest on the western side of the North Fork Basin (Paul Donnellon, Operations – Timber Management Flathead National Forest, written commun., 2011). Additionally, population growth and related construction activities on private land in the western portion of the basin are of concern. Construction of access roads associated with residential development, and subsequent erosion of road material, can be a substantial source of suspended sediment to streams (Ahtiainen and Huttunen, 1999; Gildea and others, 2004). Waste material from forest harvesting and sewage effluent from residential developments can cause an increase in the concentrations of nutrients in receiving streams, resulting in a reduction in biodiversity and loss of species habitat (Harr and Fredriksen, 1988; Zampella, 1994; Carpenter and others, 1998; Hauer and others, 2007). Suspended sediment in spawning areas can cause a reduction in fish embryo survivorship (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 2004).

Nearly all of the major western tributaries of the North Fork have been previously listed on Montana’s 303(d) list as impaired for cold-water fisheries owing to sediment loading associated with erosion of unpaved roads. Adoption of “Best Management Practices” for timber harvesting and forestry roads in the North Fork Basin, as well as reclamation of clear-cut areas, has greatly reduced the associated effects on water quality (Hauer and others, 2007). As a result, many of the western tributaries have been removed from Montana’s 303(d) list (Gildea and others, 2004). Existing and potential future residential development in the North Fork valley also is of concern. The western portion of the North Fork Basin in Montana has become increasingly popular as a vacation destination, and construction of vacation homes on private land in the North Fork valley has increased by about tenfold over the past 20 years (Hauer and others, 2007). These developments could affect the water quality and aquatic biology of the North Fork.”

The study doesn’t even come close to supporting Ray’s position, nor his fatuous statement about the park Superintendent.

If you  are interested in increasing your property values, maybe developing some of those hundreds of lots, or if you are a transplanted suburbanite living in Polebridge and want a smoother, faster commute, or you have a construction company in the North Fork as Ray Brown does, it would be better to be honest about paving.  Slow down, drive less.  With the uncertainty regarding the federal (dominion) coal blocks in the North Fork that were left out of the BC/Montana energy development moratorium, paving and subsequent development would be a great message to Canada, in addition to a long-term, irreversible, negative impact.  The National Park Service is correct in opposing paving.

Full citation of the above article:

From p. 2; Mills, T.J., Schweiger, E.W., Mast, M.A., Clow, D.W., 2012, Hydrologic, water-quality, and biological characteristics of the North Fork Flathead River, Montana, water years 2007–2008: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5221, 67 p.

Jack Potter
Columbia Falls, MT

Note: Jack Potter’s letter appeared on the Hungry Horse News web site almost immediately.

County road dust control program returns

It’s time again to sign up for the county road dust control cost-share program . . .

Once again, residents living on unpaved county roads will have a chance to participate in a cost-share program to control dust from passing vehicles.

Letters were recently sent out to residents who participated in the program over the past three years to see if they want to participate again. Newcomers seeking information on the program can call the county road department at 758-5790 or visit online at http://flathead.mt.gov/roads_bridges. Deadline to sign up is March 16.

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Flathead County road department is planning ahead

Well, we can’t go too many weeks without talking about the darn road. So, here’s the latest, courtesy of the Daily Inter Lake. The item of most direct interest to North Forkers is that the county will probably start taking applications for this summer’s dust control cost-share program in February . . .

The work plan that classifies and prioritizes Flathead County road projects will be updated in the next few months, following Thursday action by the county commissioners.

County Public Works Director Dave Prunty asked commissioners to approve a $7,900 expenditure to Peccia and Associates to update that plan, which they prepared about two years ago. The document identifies which roads will be maintained and which roads will be improved each year.

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County treats 43 miles of road for dust, up from 29 last year

The month is not complete without at least one road-related post. This one is courtesy of the Daily Inter Lake . . .

The road dust control project in Flathead County has wrapped up for the season, county Public Works Director Dave Prunty recently told commissioners.

Magnesium chloride was applied to 43 miles of county-maintained gravel roads in a cooperative effort between the county and landowners. The total project cost was $244,000, with the county paying half and people who own property along the roads where the material was applied paying the other half.

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Dust control planned on 42 miles of county roads

Here’s another sign of Spring: an article about gravel road dust control. From today’s Daily Inter Lake . . .

The placement of a dust-control product on 42 miles of gravel roads in Flathead County is scheduled to begin around June 1.

County commissioners last week awarded a contract for the work to Montana Dust Control of Whitefish…

The county has budgeted $100,000 for the work; participating property owners along the involved roads share in the cost for another $100,000.

This year, for the first time, more county residents applied for the program than the county had budgeted funds for the work, county Public Works Director Dave Prunty said.

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Harsh winter hammers county roads

Here’s another one of those obligatory, periodic road pieces.

It will come as no surprise to anyone on the North Fork that winter was pretty hard on local roads. An article in today’s Daily Inter Lake discusses this. It also provides some statistics on this year’s cost-shared dust abatement program . . .

Flathead County roads are in bad shape this spring, the county’s public works director told commissioners Tuesday.

“I’ve never seen it this bad in my career,” Dave Prunty responded when Commissioner Dale Lauman asked him if there is “an extraordinary amount of road breakup this year.”

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County still has openings in road dust program; deadline is March 21

It’s that time again. Folks wishing to participate in Flathead County’s road dust control program have until Monday, March 21 to apply . . .

Flathead County residents still have an opportunity to participate in a cost-share program related to dust control on county-maintained gravel roads.

Flathead County Public Works Director Dave Prunty and Flathead County Road and Bridge Supervisor Ovila Byrd said the deadline to apply for the dust control program now is 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 21.

People can split the cost with the county to have magnesium chloride applied to roads at their properties, Prunty said.

Residents must sign up for a minimum stretch of a half-mile of roadway.

People have a few options in how they apply, Prunty said. They may call the Road Department at 758-5790, drop by the office or visit the county’s website under the road department tab where an application is available under the forms section.

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