Hearings on Montana’s grizzly plan start soon (actually Sept. 11)

Here is the information from Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks on the public meetings

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will hold several public meetings around west-central Montana this month to discuss a draft management plan and programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for grizzly bears in 17 counties located in western Montana.

A meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13 in Lincoln at Lambkins Restaurant, and a Sept. 25 meeting is planned for Hamilton at the Daly-Lead Memorial Chapel, 1010 W. Main. The Missoula meeting will be held Sept. 26 at the Missoula FWP office, 3201 Spurgin Road, and the Seeley Lake meeting is planned for Sept. 27 at the Senior Citizens’ Center. All meetings will be held from 7:00-9 p.m.

The draft Grizzly Bear Management Plan for Western Montana was developed to address the future of grizzly bear management in western Montana outside of the Greater Yellowstone Area. The plan focuses on grizzly bear populations or potential populations in the Northern Continental Divide, Cabinet-Yaak, and Bitterroot Ecosystems, as well as surrounding areas.

In response to an increase in the number and distribution of bears in western Montana, FWP developed the programmatic EIS to evaluate current management programs and ensure the future success of grizzly bear conservation.

“Our goal is to find ways to fit grizzly bears in across a broader landscape as a part of Montana’s wildlife heritage and respond to the increasing number and distribution of bears,” said A. Dood, FWP Endangered Species Coordinator. “After completing the grizzly bear plan for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, we began the process of reviewing our programs for the rest of western Montana.”

The draft EIS is available for review in Bozeman at FWP’s Region 3 Headquarters (1400 South 19 th Avenue), and in Helena at the FWP Headquarters, the Montana State Library, and the Environmental Quality Council. It is also available on FWP’s website at: http://fwp.mt.gov/publicnotices/notice_1137.aspx or by calling the FWP regional headquarters in Bozeman at 406-994-4042. Please email comments by Oct. 3, 2006 to FWPGrizzlyMgtPlan@mt.gov, or mail to A. Dood, FWP, 1400 South 19 th Avenue, Bozeman 59718.

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Sonja Lee at the Great Falls Tribune has a Sept. 11 story on the upcoming hearings and the issue. Read her story.
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Sept 13. Not many people showed up at the meeting in Choteau (show toe) or Great Falls. Local response underwhelming on grizzly management plan. By Eric Newhouse. Great Falls Tribune.

Posted in Bears, public lands. Comments Off on Hearings on Montana’s grizzly plan start soon (actually Sept. 11)

WWP wins appeal of FS grazing decision on 191,000 acres in Martin Basin, Nevada

The Western Watersheds Project continues its amazing run of appeals against Forest Service and BLM condoned livestock grazing abuses. Here they planned to open up part of the Santa Rosa Wilderness in Northern Nevada to livestock grazing, but the regional office of the Forest Service (region 4–Intermountain Region) struck down the new grazing “plan” by the FS’s Santa Rosa District.

The Western Watersheds Project issued a news release today on the victory. It follows →

Western Watersheds Project
News Release
September 11, 2006

Jon Marvel: 208-788-2290
Katie Fite: 208-429-1679

Jon Marvel: 208-788-2290
Katie Fite: 208-429-1679
News Release: Western Watersheds Project

The Martin Basin Grazing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision for 8 grazing allotments totaling 191,000 acres of mountainous high desert country near McDermitt, Nevada has been overturned by the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region in Ogden, Utah.

The regional office’s decision affirmed Western Watersheds Project’s Appeal of the Forest Service Record of Decision.

The Santa Rosa Ranger District had prepared a Draft Grazing EIS that proposed modest positive changes to address ongoing cattle damage to public lands – including streams, fragile springs and seeps and sagebrush, aspen and mountain mahogany uplands. These changes included requiring modern-day and uniform standards of cattle use for all permittees. The result would have been more protective grass cover remaining on streambanks and slopes of cattle-damaged watersheds, and better aspen regeneration. Right now, aspen clones in the Santa Rosa Range are becoming extinct due to cattle browse.

Unhappy with controls on cattle abuses, politically connected public lands ranchers unwilling to heal the damaged public lands hijacked the EIS process, and pressured the Forest to insert a livestock industry “Collaboration” Alternative in the Final EIS.

Portions of that Cattleman’s Alternative were chosen by departing Forest Supervisor Robert Vaught in the project’s Record of Decision. The so-called collaboration process consisted of closed-door meetings between the Forest and the permittee – where the Forest Service would be required to consider any proposals by the livestock industry for grazing on particular allotments. This contrasts sharply with the fair and uniform standards of use originally proposed by the Forest. The Forest Decision also included opening to livestock grazing two large allotments that had been closed, including one within the Santa Rosa Wilderness.

The Martin Basin area includes large portions of the Santa Rosa Wilderness, and several occupied Lahontan cutthroat trout streams, as well as important mountain quail, sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitat.

“The Forest’s Decision was a travesty”, said Katie Fite WWP’s biodiversity director. This so-called “collaboration” left the door wide open for political arm-twisting by permittees unwilling to change harmful grazing practices. The end result would have been even more cattle-caused noxious weeds, more loss of surface water in springs and seeps, more manure in streams, and increased loss of LCT, demise of aspen clones, and loss of sage grouse habitats in this beautiful area”.

Jon Marvel, executive director of WWP said: “This Martin Basin EIS was the result of previous litigation by WWP to protect high desert springs and seeps, and the remand of the Martin Basin EIS affirms WWP’s conclusion that this was a truly bad decision.”

Posted in Grazing and livestock, public lands, public lands management, wilderness roadless. Comments Off on WWP wins appeal of FS grazing decision on 191,000 acres in Martin Basin, Nevada

Officials hope to keep Derby Fire away from Big Timber

Some residents of this town fear the fire will take their town. Personally, I doubt it because it is out on the plains. No forest connects the fire to the town. Map

The fire is now 207,000 acres. Official hope to check Derby Fire. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

Posted in Wildfires. Comments Off on Officials hope to keep Derby Fire away from Big Timber