Where there’s fire, there’s smoke

BY: - January 26, 2022

A severe 2021 fire season across the West yielded some of the longest stretches of diminished air quality in Montana in recent memory, officials and experts told a legislative panel Tuesday, a trend they expect to continue amid historic drought and expanding wildfire seasons. Between June and October, the state Department of Environmental Quality’s 20 […]

What California’s drought could teach other states in the West

BY: - January 22, 2022

MONTEREY, Calif. — The golden hills of California have turned green in recent weeks after a series of storms delivered much-needed rain and snow to a state suffering from two years of drought. But state officials and water policy experts are still urging caution even in these wet conditions, pushing for water-saving measures as the […]

Yellowstone National Park sets a new visitation record

BY: - January 21, 2022

Yellowstone National Park smashed its record for the busiest recreational tourist season ever in 2021, and July saw the most visitors ever, eclipsing the one million mark. Park officials reported there were 4,860,537 recreational visits during the year, an increase of 28 percent over 2020. Officials also reported that while individual vehicle counts set a […]

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 […]