Tag Archives: Flathead Basin Commission

The fate of the Flathead

Zebra Mussel Shells Cover a Lake Michigan Limestone Beach in Door County Wisconsin - PJ Bruno
Zebra Mussel Shells Cover a Lake Michigan Limestone Beach in Door County Wisconsin – PJ Bruno

Thompson Smith, chair of the Flathead Basin Commission, has an excellent op-ed in the Flathead Beacon discussing the importance of aggressive efforts to block further spread of invasive mussels throughout Montana’s waters . . .

In early November, state officials announced the first documented presence of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana, after positive tests at sites in the Missouri River system.

For the Flathead Basin, these devastating invasive species are now at our doorstep: just a few hours away for people hauling boats from Tiber Reservoir.

In coming days, our ability to protect Montana’s remaining non-infested waters will be determined by the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) legislation and rule-making now being finalized in Helena. What is emerging appears to be a far more robust AIS program, and it should be passed. But the devil is in the details. Experts point to a number of deficiencies that must be addressed.

First, it is important to understand that if invasive mussels do become established here, they would ravage both the aquatic environment and the economy. Tiny, razor-sharp shells would coat and clog every hard surface — rocks, boats, pipes, docks, dams. They could ultimately cause the collapse of native fisheries, a vital cultural resource and linchpin of the recreation industry. They would wreak havoc with irrigation systems, power facilities, and municipal water supply and treatment.

Once established, invasive mussels are virtually impossible to remove. The whole game is prevention.

Continue reading The fate of the Flathead

Stalemate, some success, retirement

From the Sunday, January 11, 2009 online edition of the Missoulian . . .

The coal was here, hidden by a thin skin of wilderness, long before Rich Moy arrived; and it was still here, against all odds, when he left.

That, he considers, is at least some sort of success, although much more work will be required to keep it there, buried beneath what’s wild.

“In many ways, it’s been a stalemate for 30 years,” Moy said. “We haven’t lost much ground, but we haven’t gained any, either. The Canadian Flathead and the wilderness north of Glacier National Park have been and will be a flashpoint of international controversy.”

When Moy arrived on this backcountry battlefield, nearly three decades ago, the then-new controversy centered on a proposed Canadian coal mine to be built just a few miles north of Glacier Park.

When he finally retired last month, on the last day of 2008, the now-old controversy centered on yet another coal mine proposed in the headwaters, and a second coal mine in the river bottom, and a gold mine, and a phosphate mine, and an ongoing search for coalbed methane.

“In all these decades,” he said, “the British Columbia government has never wavered in its desire to industrialize the Flathead.”

Read the entire article . . .