Forest Service in ‘paradigm shift’ to use logging, controlled burns to prevent wildfires

BY: - January 18, 2022

The Biden administration will use $3 billion from last year’s infrastructure law to revamp the federal approach to wildfire management, introducing a 10-year plan to deal with the large swaths of the West scientists consider most at risk of destructive blazes. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, announced the new strategy in Phoenix, […]

BLM has a chance to increase land protections and push back against climate change

BY: - January 17, 2022

The largest piece of America’s incredible wealth of public lands is the 250 million acres overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In fact, the BLM manages 1 in 10 acres of surface area in the U.S., and 30% of the minerals. Now, the Biden administration has an unprecedented opportunity to increase BLM protections for […]

Conservation group: EPA failing to protect Montana’s ‘world-class waterways’

BY: - January 13, 2022

A Montana environmental organization is ratcheting up its effort to halt the repeal of numeric nutrient water quality standards for streams and rivers in the state, filing a notice this week that it intends to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the federal government’s inaction on the changes. The EPA has not met its […]

Glacier National Park’s telecommunications plan approved

BY: - January 10, 2022

If you’re wondering about road closures while visiting Glacier National Parking, chances are, you’ll check your cellphone for information. Currently, service is spotty at best, or nonexistent, and in many places, that’s part of the point. But a newly approved telecommunications plan for Glacier National Park means four developed areas of the park could be […]

State to increase firefighter pay for 2022 fire season

BY: - January 10, 2022

Wages for Montana’s firefighters will increase by $1.70 per hour starting with the 2022 fire season, the state announced Monday. The bump in pay will bring the minimum base pay for seasonal firefighters to $15.50 per hour — making Montana more competitive in recruiting and retaining firefighters, according to a press release from Gov. Greg […]

Hughes Creek Road blocked again

BY: - January 8, 2022

Two court rulings, two gates and years of fighting appeared to be coming to a close this December when Ravalli County officials told property owners living near Hughes Creek Road that a gate blocking the county road would need to be removed or officials there would remove it. The landowners, which for decades have disputed […]

Calls to relist continue after 20 Yellowstone wolves killed in first part of season

BY: - January 7, 2022

A coalition of Western environmental organizations is calling for the U.S. Department of the Interior to relist gray wolves in the northern Rockies on an emergency basis following reports that hunters had killed 20 wolves from Yellowstone National Park that wandered from the park’s boundary into surrounding states since the back half of 2021. Fifteen […]

Water groups file federal complaint over Hebgen Dam failure

BY: - January 5, 2022

A group of Montana environmental organizations is calling for an outside, independent investigation into the ecological impacts of a gate failure at Hebgen Dam in November that resulted in plummeting water levels in a stretch of the upper Madison River, stranding some fish to die and dewatering spawning areas. Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, the Montana Environmental […]

Residents grill DEQ for possible mining permit at Zortman Landusky

BY: - January 4, 2022

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality wanted public comment on a small mining exploration permit at the site of one of the state’s worst environmental disasters near Zortman. It got its wish and then some as tribal members from nearby Fort Belknap Indian Community and environmental advocates sharply criticized the plan, questioning the analysis, accusing […]

Yellowstone National Park — the Year 2021 in review

BY: - January 3, 2022

It was business as usual in 2021 at Yellowstone—earthquakes, ground deformation, geyser eruptions, and lots of field work! As is tradition, this first Caldera Chronicles of the new year takes a look back at what happened in Yellowstone during the previous 12 months. Yellowstone is a very active place in terms of seismicity.  Typically the University […]

The ‘burn scars’ of wildfires threaten West’s drinking water

BY: - January 3, 2022

Colorado saw its worst fire season last year, with the three largest fires in state history and more than 600,000 acres burned. But some of the effects didn’t appear until this July, when heavy rain pushed sediment from damaged forests down mountainsides, causing mudslides that shut down sections of Interstate 70 for almost two weeks. […]

Study: Melting glaciers temporarily open new salmon habitat

BY: - December 31, 2021

Scientists have found a silver lining for salmon in the retreat of glaciers in Alaska and British Columbia — although it might be short-lived. A new study with a University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station researcher found shrinking glaciers in the Pacific mountains could produce more than 6,000 kilometers of new salmon habitat by […]