Tester, Baucus renew effort to protect Flathead River Basin

More good news, and just a few years ago every day seemed to bring bad news for the North Fork of the Flathead River-

Tester, Baucus renew effort to protect Flathead River Basin. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian.

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Scientists say B.C. grizzly hunt could hurt recovery efforts in Montana

Alberta’s griz population has already collapsed, B.C.’s grizzly hunt quota too high-

Pitiful Alberta now has fewer grizzly bears now than Montana does, and scientists say that B.C. is going the same direction, most directly affecting Montana in the North Fork of Flathead.

Scientists say B.C. grizzly hunt could hurt recovery efforts in Montana. By Michael Jamison of the Missoulian

Grizzly Bear hunters target B.C. provincial parks, highways

I’m not sure if this report is about all human caused mortality or legal hunting. The existence of nearby paved road access makes a big difference regardless.

Grizzly Bear hunters target B.C. provincial parks, highways. Globe and Mail. Mark Hume

British Columbia industrial development ban ends 36-year dispute over Flathead

Controversy began 1n 1974-

Well what a cause for celebration this is!  I can remember I was just starting to explore the wild country as a young man back in 1974 when Sage Creek Coal proposed a big coal mine on Cabin Creek, a tributary to the North Fork of the Flathead.  In 2008 I was standing in this incredible place and pondering how awful the giant coal pit and adjacent coalbed methane wells would be.  I never suspected the B.C. government would side with conservation on this.

B.C’s ban on industrial development in N. Fork Flathead ends a 36-year international struggle. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Details on Canadian Flathead mining ban short – for now

The devil could be in the details-

Some think the mining ban could have been to cut off growing provincial demands for a park in the area to complement Waterton NP in Alberta and Glacier in the United States.

Details on Canadian Flathead mining ban short – for now. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian.

Earlier on this blog.

Great News! British Columbia says no mining in North Fork Flathead River

After years of controversy, B.C. to ban  mining, energy development in critical headwaters of famed river near Glacier National Park-

I have been worried about this for years, and posted many articles. Every month is seemed a new, massive environmentally destructive scheme was proposed for the North Fork.

Now British Columbia Lt. Gov. Steven Point says the North Fork Flathead River drainage will be off limits to mining and energy extraction in a speech to the B.C.  Parliament. Let’s hope the details don’t have loopholes.

British Columbia declares Canadian North Fork off limits to mining, energy development. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian
New article added on 2-11-2010. British Columbia Bans Mining, Drilling in Flathead River Valley. Environment News Service. This article gives additional information efforts to further protect area, something that was raised in the comments.

Photos (with locations)
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14392571
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14315354
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14422009
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14511373
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14392898
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14393086
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14415878
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15215649
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15216233

One more British Columbia threat to Glacier National Park

Gold deposit discovered on ridge visible from Glacier in the North Fork Flathead River-

First it was coal mining, then coal bed methane, now gold; and all the pollution runs into the United States.

Canadian company claims rich gold find north of Glacier National Park, raising concerns. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian

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In B.C.’s wilderness, where the wild things aren’t

Lots of grizzly bears have been killed in B.C.’s Bella Coola River valley-

Six years ago Jackie and I took a special trip to Bella Coola to see bears. We did, but it was clear the locals didn’t appreciate their value.

Mark Hume. In B.C.’s wilderness, where the wild things aren’t. The Globe and Mail.

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Wildfires rage in British Columbia, Alaska

Pacific northwest dry and burning as rest of West has a cool and moist summer respite-

We planned to go to B.C. and Alaska this summer. Glad we didn’t. Instead we stayed in Pocatello, Idaho where a very wet late spring and cooler than normal summer has greatly reduced normal fires and given clean skies.

On the other hand much of B.C. and Alaska have been very dry. Massive forest fires burn out of control, and Oregon and Washington too have recently suffered from extreme heat. Smoke from the fires has resulted in dense air pollution to the north, while most of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming have escaped the smoke. The winds are now, however, blowing the smoke down into Montana, Northern Idaho, and across the Dakotas and Great Lakes.

Fires have broken out  in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, setting the stage for smoky skies further to the south. Some relatively small forest fires are now burning in Idaho and Montana (just updated), although this season will probably not see many large forest fires due to the still relatively wet wood.

You can follow the fires on Inciweb and the National Interagency Fire Center. Note: these web sites are always on my blogroll.

You can follow air quality in North America at U.S. Air Quality. This site has a lot of photos and graphics.

Stories: Workers overwhelmed as B.C. burns. Rod Mickleburgh.  Globe and Mail.

Out-of-state smoke rolls into Montana: Plume from British Columbia fire lingers in area. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian
Wildfires slow to start this year in south central Idaho. By Nate Poppino. Magic Valley Times-News writer

Fires burning wild across Interior Alaska. Smoke: Two expand beyond 800,000 acres; 30 cabins threatened. By  Kyle Hopkins. Well 30 threatened cabins doesn’t sound like a major event, but 800,000 acres in two fires does.

I should add that the desert southwest has suffered from extreme heat (more extreme than the usual during the summer)

United Nations Will Study Threats to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Finally some international pressure on the coal pit/coalbed methane proposals just northwest of Glacier (and Waterton) National Parks-

United Nations Will Study Threats to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. By Dan Testa, Flathead Beacon (in New West)

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UN to consider petition against the planned coal development that will endanger Glacier National Park and Waterton National Park

The massive Foisey Creek coal development in B.C. (the Lodgepole coal pit and 2000 coal bed methane wells) is becoming an international issue.

UN to hear petition. The Globe and Mail. By Mark Hume.

Earlier in this blog.

5/15/09. North Fork Flathead plight in U.N. spotlight
9/5/08. Another coal mine planned near the upper Flathead River?
6/9/08. Obama opposes B.C. coal mine near Glacier National Park
3/1/08. Bordering on Catastrophe (more on plans to industrialize the area near Glacier NP)
2/19/08. Montana leaders to get update on Canadian energy plans just north of the border
5/24/2007. Huge B.C. coal mine that would drain into Montana gets attention from Condoleeza Rice
What a coal pit mine in the Canadian Rockies looks like. This is about 20 miles NE near Sparwood, B. C.

foisey-ridge

Foisey Ridge, British Columbia. The mountain would be turned into a pit with thousands of “step out” coal bed methane wells and associated roads. The North Fork of the Flathead River rises on this ridge. You can see dust from a big logging operation on the left (clearing off the mountain for mining?). Photo taken by copyright © Ralph Maughan. Oct. 2008.
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North Fork Flathead plight in U.N. spotlight

Coal mining threat from Canada just north of Glacier NP is becoming an international issue-

I made a trip to the mine proposed area (and even worse coal bed methane wells) in British Columbia last summer. What a horrible place to do this! Other than the local fish and wildlife (and there is a lot), all the damage will be in Montana as the toxins flow over the border.

North Fork Flathead plight in U.N. spotlight. By Chris Peterson. Hungry Horse News.

Photo I took last summer. Headwaters of North Fork Flathead about a mile downstream from giant coal mine proposal

B.C. extends its no grizzly-hunt zone by 1.9 million hectares

B.C. defends reduced grizzly hunt. B.C. has extended its protected areas but will still allow a limited-entry hunt. By Tom Fletcher – BC Local News.
www.firstpeople.us

Unusual grizzly bear attack on B.C. coast

Attack on timber worker came next to an operating helicopter-

Grizzly attack on forest worker baffles experts. Bear was not deterred by helicopter at logging camp; victim is in hospital. Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist

Another coal mine planned near the upper Flathead River?

Flathead Basin Commission hears of new coal mine. By Heidi Desch. Hungry Horse News.

Link to North Fork Landowners’ Association. Photos and new information about mining in the headwaters of the Flathead.

– – – – –

Montana folks and politicians are very nervous about all this planned heavy activity (huge mountain removing mines) in and near the headwaters of the Flathead River in Canada. It could be very damaging to Glacier National Park and the Flathead River. This nearly pristine river does not reach a populated area until Montana.

It’s the open-pit Lodgepole Mine that is most controversial. The mine would be surrounded by 2000 !! coalbed methane wells in full field development.

Once it gets into the United States, bad mine pollution could damage hundreds of miles of streams and lakes in Montana and, further downstream, Idaho.

If anyone wants to see how generally rugged this country is, find Elko, BC on Google Earth, the go east to the top of Lodgepole Creek. The Logdepole Mine would be between Foisey Creek and McLatchie Creek. The mine appears to be on Elk River/Flathead boundary (divide), but the subsurface drainage is hardly worked out.

The Elk River runs into Lake Koocanusa, a long reservoir on the Kootenai (or Kootenay) River in B.C. and Montana.

I’ve been doing some research. Those interested will want to look at these maps. Maps of the transboundary Flathead.

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Record number of grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia last year

Record number of grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia last year. By Mark Hume. The Globe and Mail.

Usually about 300 grizzlies are taken. In 2007 it was 430. Is this sustainable?

Bordering on Catastrophe (more on plans to industrialize the area near Glacier NP)

British Petroleum has withdrawn their plans for massive industrialization of the area across the border, but adjacent to Glacier National Park, but B.P. other companies and the British Columbia government have lots of other awful plans for this general area.

Bordering on Catastrophe. Montana’s opposition helped kill a Canadian mining plan last week. But has the real war just begun? By Gordon Sullivan. Missoula Independent.

Link to the North Fork Landowners Association. Much more information on the fight over the Canadian Flathead River area.

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