Tag Archives: transboundary Flathead

Daines introduces House version of North Fork Watershed Protection Act

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines just introduced a U.S. House version of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act that is currently slogging its way through the Senate . . .

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., on Wednesday formally introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would block mining and energy development in the North Fork Flathead River drainage on the western boundary of Glacier National Park.

The bill, H.R. 2259, is nearly identical, both in name and content, to its companion bill in the Senate, the North Fork Watershed Protect Act, which Democratic U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester introduced in February.

The public lands bills seek to furnish permanent protections on more than 400,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service parcels, placing them off limits to hard-rock mining, mountaintop-removal coal mining, and oil and gas development.

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Erin Sexton honored for efforts to protect the Flathead Valley watershed

The Hungry Horse news posted some nice, additional coverage on Erin Sexton and her well-deserved award for her work over the last decade to protect the transboundary Flathead Valley . . .

Erin Sexton, long recognized for her work in protecting rivers in Montana, likes to point out that the Flathead River is literally in her backyard.

“I can see the Middle Fork from my home in Hungry Horse,” she points out.

The research scientist at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station recently was awarded the 2012 Conservation Achievement Award by the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Organized in 1870, AFS is the oldest professional society in North America dealing with natural resources.

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Report recommends park in Canadian Flathead, other protections

The Wildlife Conservation Society Canada just issued a report making several recommendations to protect the Southern Canadian Rockies, including the Flathead Valley. Besides a new provincial park and a set of wildlife management areas, the report also encourages wilderness designations on the U.S. side of the border . . .

A new report from the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCS Canada) creates a conservation strategy that will promote wildlife resiliency in the Southern Canadian Rockies to the future impacts of climate change and road use. The report’s “safe passages and safe havens” were informed in part by an assessment of six iconic species — bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, grizzly bears, wolverines, mountain goats and bighorn sheep — five of which were ranked as highly vulnerable to projected changes.

Nestled between Glacier National Park in Montana and Banff National Park in Canada, the Southern Canadian Rockies (SCR) has been overshadowed by these towering icons of mountain splendour. Yet this southern section contains spectacular landscapes, supports one of the most diverse communities of carnivores and hoofed mammals in North America, and is a stronghold for the six vulnerable species that have been vanquished in much of their former range further south…

Weaver recommends a portfolio of conservation lands including a ‘Southern Canadian Rockies Wildlife Management Area’ (WMA) that would conserve 66% of key habitats on 54% of its land base. The WMA designation would emphasize fish and wildlife values while allowing other responsible land uses. The trans-border Flathead River basin adjacent to Waterton Lakes-Glacier National International Peace Parks also merits very strong conservation consideration, says Weaver, due to its remarkable biological diversity. He endorses a new National or Provincial Park on the B.C. side and Wilderness areas on the Montana side.

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Additional reading:

Full “Safe Haven…” report, courtesy Dr. John Weaver

Extract from report listing North Fork recommendations

Erin Sexton wins conservation award for Flathead River Basin work

Erin Sexton won an award for her work over the last decade to protect the transboundary Flathead Valley . . .

Earlier this month University of Montana Research Scientist Erin Sexton was awarded the 2012 Conservation Achievement Award for her work in developing a long-term solution in protecting the Flathead Basin ecosystem.

The Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society presented the highly coveted award to Sexton at its Feb. 7 annual meeting.

Sexton served as the transboundary coordinator for the state of Montana and is a research scientist at UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station. During the past 10 years, Sexton has been a leader in protecting the international Flathead River for generations to come.

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Transboundary Flathead still open to coal mining

Just when you think you can put your feet up and relax. The Flathead Campaign reports that the mining ban passed by British Columbia last year protecting the Canadian Flathead from development has a loophole. There are some federal coal blocks technically unaffected by this provincial legislation. The biggest sits right at the headwaters of the whole transboundary Flathead drainage.

Here’s the lead-in. Read the full article for details, including a map of the areas affected . . .

B.C.’s Flathead River Valley is still open to mountain top removal coal mining and coalbed methane development because a federal coal block is not included in a provincial ban on energy and mining development, conservation groups warned today.

“The Flathead is not protected from open pit coal mining after all,” said Wildsight Executive Director John Bergenske. “We’re calling on the federal government to make an immediate public commitment to join the ban on Flathead mining and energy development.”

The B.C. mining ban, legislated one year ago in November 2011, has no legal effect over 6,290 hectares of federally owned Dominion Coal Blocks in the headwaters of the Flathead River Valley which are being considered for development.

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Larry Wilson: A short water quality history

Larry gives a little background on the efforts over the years to reach agreement on water quality issues between British Columbia and Montana . . .

Every North Forker is painfully aware that British Columbia is vital to our lifestyle and well being. After all, the North Fork of the Flathead River flows out of British Columbia and provides us with the cold, clear, pure water that is essential to us and to Flathead Lake.

For more than 30 years, we’ve been concerned about Canadian industrial threats to water quality in the river. Most urgent threat was the development of coal mines in the upper Flathead. This was one of the main reasons the North Fork Preservation Association was organized.

At one point, NFPA president John Frederick and his then-wife Sharon bought stock in the coal company that had development plans in the Flathead. For several years, they attended stockholders meetings to raise awareness of our concerns.

Montana Gov. Ted Schwinden began negotiations with British Columbia to address water-quality issues, and since then every Montana governor continued those efforts. Although the efforts of Govs. Stan Stephens, Marc Racicot and Judy Martz seemed to make little progress, step by step the Canadians and Americans were making headway. The International Joint Commission and the Flathead Basin Commission and B.C. officials continued to meet, share concerns and move toward a solution.

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Grizzlies declared “Species of Special Concern” in Canada

Rachel Potter drew attention to this nugget. The grizzly bear is a “Species of Special Concern” in Canada, with the highest concentration of these bears being in the Canadian Flathead and, of course, points south . . .

Canada has a “major responsibility for safeguarding remaining grizzly populations,” according to a new federal government report.

Canada’s Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met at the beginning of May and assessed thirty-five Canadian wildlife species as at risk, declaring grizzly bears a “Species of Special Concern.” . . .

British Columbia’s Flathead River Valley has the greatest density of grizzly bears in the interior of North America. As part of a wildlife corridor that stretches from Yellowstone Park in the U.S. up to the Yukon, the Flathead is a crucial habitat link for grizzlies and other animals.

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Riversong Crown of the Continent Choir and the Headwaters Ensemble begin tour Friday

The following performance tour announcement was posted today on the “Flathead River Valley” web site, sponsored by a group of environmental organizations from the U.S. and Canada interested in preserving the transboundary Flathead Valley. The tour kicks off with a presentation at Lake McDonald Lodge auditorium on Friday, May 18 at 7:45pm. . .

A Celebration of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park & The Transboundary Flathead River

From soprano winds piercing alpine heights to the bass reverberations of river-rock rolling under spring runoff, the songs of the Crown of the Continent are among the purest hymns in nature – they inspire, uplift and fortify. Spilling from pristine headwaters in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, this clear chorus awakens springtime and rouses us to raise our own voices in celebration of the summer to come.

In honor of these timeless melodies that accompany the turn of the seasons, the 60-voice Crown of the Continent Choir and their select group – The Headwaters Ensemble – are embarking on a circuit around the Crown, wrapping Waterton-Glacier in song. Their voices are accompanied on this journey by the unparalleled images of Steven Gnam – a talented fine-art photographer whose scenes from Waterton-Glacier are quite simply without peer. His astonishing images, combined with soaring choral arrangements, emerge like a wonder of spring color to honor the season.

Beginning at Glacier Park’s historic Lake McDonald Lodge – then traveling through Waterton, Pincher Creek and Fernie – the presentation celebrates 100 years of international peace and goodwill across borders. It also serves as tribute to a century of transboundary conservation in this remarkable mountain intersection of Alberta, British Columbia and Montana.

The Crown of the Continent Choir is a Kalispell-based community choir, directed by Kevin Allen-Schmid. They sing in celebration of our tremendous landscapes, our protected parks, and also for the sheer fun of it. Steven Gnam is a Whitefish native who, in turning his lens to the Crown’s wonders, has presented us the gift of his unequaled artistic vision. Together, they provide a passport to Waterton-Glacier as you’ve never seen it — or heard it – before.

The performances come courtesy of the Crown Choir and Mr. Gram, with support from the National Parks Conservation Association and Wildsight.

RiverSong Performance Schedule:

Friday, May 18 7:45pm Lake McDonald Lodge auditorium, Glacier National Park

Saturday, May19 7:30pm United Church, Waterton Lakes National Park

Sunday, May 20

11am United Church, Pincher Creek, Alberta
4pm The Arts Station, Fernie, British Columbia

Superintendent discusses future challenges for Glacier National Park

Today’s Flathead Beacon has a pretty good write-up on a recent talk by Chas Cartwright, the Superintendent of Glacier National Park . . .

As the superintendent of Glacier National Park, Chas Cartwright has his eyes on the future, as well as the challenges it could hold for conservation and construction in the Crown of the Continent.

Cartwright spoke on Feb. 23 at an event hosted by the Glacier National Park Fund at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, discussing the major issues the park currently faces and how he envisions those issues playing out.

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Larry Wilson: The North Fork Road is no longer an issue

Larry does a retrospective on the big issues of last year, including the North Fork Road and successful efforts to terminate resource extraction activities in the transboundary Flathead Valley . . .

January is the month when everyone looks back on the previous year to see what the biggest news stories were and to make resolutions for the year that is just beginning. Hopefully, the resolutions will improve us in some way. We are no different on the North Fork.

For many years, the North Fork Road has been the biggest topic of controversy in the area – pave or don’t pave? Not in 2011. County improvements have reduced the road almost to a non-issue.

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