Tag Archives: Flathead Valley

A more personal view of the new B.C. law protecting the Flathead Basin

Ralph Maughan’s The Wildlife News weblog presents a refreshingly personal view of the recent B.C. legislation to protect the Flathead Basin . . .

What a turnaround in the space of 3 years!

In 2008 I took a 2 week trip to the headwaters of the famed North Fork of the Flathead River in B.C. to say goodbye to one of North America’s premier fish and wildlife areas, not to mention its incredible beauty.

Huge open pit coal mines, long in the planning, now seemed unstoppable. In addition thousands of coal bed methane wells were planned that would surely ruin the river right from its headwaters and downstream all the way to Flathead Lake in Montana.  Wildlife in Glacier National Park would be greatly harmed too. There seemed to be no hope.

Then, suddenly, everything began to change for the better…

Continue reading . . .

British Columbia passes formal law protecting Flathead Basin

British Columbia has now passed formal legislation protecting the Canadian Flathead (and the folks downstream on the U.S. side of the border) from extractive resource development. This is big news. (Albeit slightly stale — your friendly webperson got a little buried by his day job.) The Missoulian has a good write-up . . .

Canadian legislation to protect the Flathead River Basin from mining and energy development has formally passed the British Columbia Parliament.

The Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act received royal assent on Monday evening. The bill cements the Canadian half of an agreement between British Columbia and Montana to maintain the wild and scenic character of the Flathead River, the north fork of which forms the western border of Glacier National Park.

“A healthy and free-flowing Flathead river is good for people and wildlife on both sides of the border,” said Dr. Richard Jeo, a biologist and director for The Nature Conservancy’s Canada Program. “This binational effort gives hope to communities whose economies rely on the river and to iconic wildlife that represent the spirit of the West.”

Continue reading . . .

Time to fill out Waterton Park

Edwin Fields of Headwaters Montana has a significant op-ed in this week’s Hungry Horse News that is of particular interest to North Fork residents . . .

It’s late summer in Montana and thousands of locals and visitors from around the world have streamed into Glacier National Park every day. Make that Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It’s an important distinction that illustrates just how special this place is.

Glacier Park is the U.S. side of the Peace Park. Waterton Lakes is on the Canadian side. But in 1932, the local Rotary Clubs of Kalispell and Cardston, Alberta, thought it would be a good idea to give the world its first International Peace Park. And after a lot of good-hearted work, they succeeded…

…Yet the case must again be made that Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is not yet complete. Just look at a map…

Continue reading . . .

Grizzlies getting a little too close to some homes in Flathead area

It sounds like the usual late-season bear attractants are causing some problems in the valley. The Missoulian has a write-up . . .

State wildlife officials worked through the weekend to capture a trio of apple-eating grizzly bears visiting homes near Columbia Falls, but as of Monday they had succeeded in penning just two of the grizzlies.

Meanwhile, a trap set for a fourth grizzly habituating a residential area in Kalispell was pulled Monday following a week that brought an unusual amount of interface between grizzlies and humans in the Flathead Valley.

Continue reading . . .

“If there’s a message, it’s dry enough for things to burn.”

Today’s Daily Inter Lake has a pretty good report on the wildfire action in the Flathead Valley . . .

Flathead Valley residents got to take in a familiar summer spectacle Wednesday: Smoke columns towering over the Swan Mountain Range.

The smoke was pouring from two fires burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

It was the first time big smoke columns have been visible from the valley floor since summer 2007…

Continue reading . . .

Spring flooding expected with record snowpack; could see historic flood levels

The Flathead Beacon posted a good article today on the flood potential in the Flathead River Basin, including the latest forecast estimates. This one is recommended reading . . .

The National Weather Service reported last week that the snowpack in certain areas of the Flathead River Basin have reached historic levels, likely leading to flood or near-flood levels on the basin’s major rivers in May and June.

Ray Nickless, a hydrologist for NWS, said in a spring flooding report that some rivers, such as the Swan and the North Fork of the Flathead, are forecast to reach flood levels that could place them in the top five highest flood levels on record.

In the past three weeks, the Flathead has seen a significant increase in snowpack levels. The levels were at 141 percent of average on April 15, and recent data shows the Flathead now at 183 percent of average.

Continue reading . . .

Legislation, more agreements still needed to ensure protection of Flathead region

This well-written, well-researched article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian is recommended reading for anyone interested in the challenges still to come in protecting the Trans-boundary Flathead . . .

Now that the trans-boundary conference calls and Washington, D.C., hand-shaking sessions are over, a lot remains to finish in protecting the Flathead River between British Columbia and Montana.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Valentine’s Day announcement that two conservation groups were providing $9.4 million to buy out mining claims on the Canadian side of the Flathead didn’t include all the details of the deal. One significant omission was that while the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy is raising its half of the money through private donations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is dipping into a $225 million Canadian government fund for its contribution.

Continue reading . . .

B.C. legislation for Flathead only first step towards long-term protection

This article on the Sierra Club BC’s web site does a good job of putting the current actions by the B.C. government to protect the Canadian part of the Flathead valley in context.

Here’s the lead-in . . .

Legislation to prohibit mining and energy development in the Flathead River Valley is only the first of three steps the B.C. government must take to protect the Flathead permanently, said Sierra Club BC in a recent press release.

On February 15, 2011, the B.C. premier’s office issued a statement that “the Province has signed an agreement to sustain environmental values in the Flathead Valley, and will introduce legislation to support the 2010 MOU on Environmental Protection, Climate Action and Energy with the State of Montana.”

“While the legislation is an important step, it does not equate to long-term conservation for the Flathead River Valley,” said Sierra Club BC spokesperson Sarah Cox. “It’s a complete stretch to say that the Flathead is forever protected.”

Continue reading . . .

Mining ban on North Fork federal lands clears Senate committee

Posted early this morning to the Missoulian’s website . . .

A measure that would ban federal-land mining along Glacier National Park’s western edge has passed a major Senate hurdle, and has been expanded to provide water-quality protections for nearby communities…

…the bill banning future federal mine leases has been expanded from its original to include the watershed upstream of Whitefish Lake, the nearby Haskill Basin drainage, and the wild and scenic Middle Fork Flathead corridor.

Read the full article . . .