The Montana Conservationist May 2

Greetings, TMC readers! We’ve got lots of great stories today in TMC:

  • Coal wrecked Belt Creek, polluting the stream with mine runoff that often turns the water orange even a century after the Anaconda Belt mine closed. Now, coal financing is paying for a water treatment plant to help clean up the creek.
  • The Feds have proposed managements plans for the National Bison Range, which has never had a plan in its history. Although the proposed plans don’t mention transferring the range to CSKT control as the tribe has requested, the preferred alternative prioritizes habitat conservation.
  • Tree rings can tell us a lot of things, and perhaps one of the most important clues they can provide is information on how a changing climate will shift weather patterns in the regions where trees are sampled, based on historical changes.
  • In the Trump administration, employees of the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Landscape Conservation Cooperatives have been reassigned, leaving the cooperatives to “wink out,” despite Congress having appropriated $12 million for LCCs in the past two years. Scientists are dismayed about the hole they’ve left behind.
  • Idaho’s governor says that a federal-state forest management partnership may help tame wildfires. The program could ultimately become a template for other states.
  • Many agriculture and natural resource groups are backing a plan for management of wild horses and burros that would make it easier for BLM to manage the populations, before BLM’s resources are completely stampeded.
  • Governor Bullock has announced a new award to recognize conservation leadership by landowners. Nominate someone!
  • The Sage Grouse Initiative has released a new manual for low-tech riparian restoration techniques. Beaver mimicry structures! Wet meadows! Collect them all!
  • A consortium of large food companies and natural resource groups are planning a new market to pay farmers for soil and water conservation. Unlike past approaches, this one is built to be efficient and easy for farmers to use, raising hopes that it may be able to take off.
  • Finally, researchers are mapping the world’s supply of poop, in hopes of encouraging phosphorous recycling in areas where manure supplies are close to cropland.

Read today’s issue of The Montana Conservationist here: TMC 2019-05-02