Big Trees Storing Most Carbon!

“Many foresters have long assumed that trees gradually lose their vigour as they mature, but a new analysis suggests that the larger a tree gets, the more kilos of carbon it puts on each year.”

This new study reported in the journal Nature helps counter the Forest Service and industry argument that logging native and old forests will help sequester more carbon in the younger vegetation and help reduce global warming.

Even more work remains to be done, however, to convince the Forest Service and industry to leave dead trees in the forest to continue sequestering and recycling carbon. The Department of Agriculture recently awarded a $10 million grant to five universities and Northern Rockies research stations to figure out how to turn dead trees into biofuels. Read the Missoulian article here and our response to it here.

It is time to work with nature, not against it!

This article published on January 21, 2014 • [Permalink]

Flathead Skews Forest Plan Revision Process!

The Flathead National Forest has front-loaded its Forest Plan Revision process to reduce wildlife security while increasing motorized access and logging, playing favorites of folks willing to go along with it!

After telling its newly convened Forest Planning collaborative to use its draft 2006 Plan revision as a starting point, the Flathead has now instead distributed a Modified 2006 revision to the collaborative.

The modifications most importantly would:

1. Abandon Forest Plan Amendment 19 and its securing of grizzly bear habitat through limits on roads and motorized vehicles.

2. Greatly expand the “suitable timber base” where commercial logging is scheduled, partly by logging in areas previously set aside as grizzly bear “security core” under Amendment 19.

3. Retain and expand already extensive snowmobile areas established by Forest Plan Amendment 24, while not proposing to reduce snowmobile areas to protect grizzly bear denning, wolverine and lynx.

To make matters worse, the Flathead is playing favorites to the Whitefish Range Partnership collaborative, which has already largely agreed with the Flathead’s modifications for the North Fork Flathead.

Click here or below to read our letter to local newspaper editors, which includes links to a couple news articles demonstrating the Flathead’s unacceptable favoritism and skewing of the Forest Planning process.

We’re working hard to insure your voice can be heard during the Flathead Forest Plan revision process and will advise you of specific points when your comments will be most useful.

Meanwhile you can track or join the revision process at the Flathead National Forest’s web site and at Meridian Institute, the contractor the Flathead has hired to attempt to sidestep certain requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (the Forest Service cannot ask for collective advice during meetings that it controls, so it hires a contractor to control the meetings).

This article published on December 17, 2013 • [Permalink]

Support “No-Wake” for Echo Lake!

Please take a moment to email Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in support of its proposed “no-wake” rules for Echo Lake (and its adjoining Abbott and Peterson Lakes) when it is above flood stage - as it has been the past two summers!

Wakes from motor boats during high water is causing damage to Flathead County’s Causeway Road, its public boat launch, and to private property and shoreline around the lake.

No-wake rules during high water will still allow slow motor boating, offer unique quiet time for paddling on these otherwise busy lakes, and help protect private and public property from unnecessary erosion.

Please send a short email in support of the proposed rules to FWP’s Martha Abbrescia at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by Feb. 22!

Or attend FWP’s public hearing in the matter at 7 pm, Feb 19, at the Hampton Inn, 1140 Hwy 2 West, Kalispell.

Click here to read the Flathead Beacon article.

Click here to read FWP’s press release.

Click here to access the proposed rules and/or submit a comment via FWP’s web site.

This article published on February 14, 2013 • [Permalink]

Protected Federal Lands in Non-Metro West Increase Per Capita Income!

Headwaters Economics Graphic

A new report by Headwaters Economics finds three economic measures to be positively associated with protected public lands: per capita income, growth in per capita income, and growth in per capita investment income.

The study finds that, on average, counties with national parks, wilderness, and other forms of protected public lands benefit with increased economic performance.

Click here to read Headwaters Economics’ release of its report.

Click here to read or download the report.

This article published on January 30, 2013 • [Permalink]

Wolverine Trapping Cancelled! Protected Status Imminent?

Photo by Kallerna (Those big feet are for snow travel!)

A Montana District Court has issued an order effectively ending this winter’s wolverine trapping season, in anticipation of the imperiled wolverine being listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

“This is great news that this year’s wolverine trapping season is over,” said Swan View Coalition Chair Keith Hammer. “Hopefully, wolverine will soon gain the threatened species protections they need so desperately, including a permanent ban on the intentional killing of wolverines.”

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, however, says it will oppose ESA status for wolverine in Montana and, barring that, try to keep its trapping season in spite of federal listing. Click here to read the San Francisco Chronicle article.

Click here to read our press release.

Click here to read the Joint Motion that has now been signed as a Court Order.

Click here for more background on our lawsuit to end the trapping of imperiled wolverine.

Our thanks go out to Western Environmental Law Center and the other plaintiffs in this lawsuit for hanging tough for wolverine - and to all of you that support our work!

This article published on January 07, 2013 • [Permalink]

Griffin Creek Logging Project Withdrawn!

Flathead National Forest has withdrawn its Griffin Creek logging project in the face of appeals filed by Swan View Coalition and others.

On November 26th, 2012, the Flathead refused to modify the project during a meeting to attempt resolution of the appeals.

Already heavily logged, heavily roaded and riddled with invasive weeds, the majority of the Griffin Creek watershed is already considered by Flathead National Forest to be “functioning at risk.”

Swan View Coalition and other appellants argued more logging and road building will simply make matters worse.

They also argued the project is an irresponsible burden on the American taxpayer, building more new roads when the Flathead already receives less than one-sixth of the funds it needs to maintain its existing road system.

The project would build another 12 miles of permanent road, cut logs from 2,300 acres of forest and cut smaller trees on another 2,800 acres.

Click here to read Swan View Coalition’s appeal.

Click here to read the Flathead’s letter withdrawing the project.

This article published on December 14, 2012 • [Permalink]

Groups Sue Montana to End Trapping of Imperiled Wolverine

Four-frame photo by Chad Harder

Swan View Coalition and others in July petitioned Montana to stop trapping wolverine, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks denied the petition.

Left with no other option, the same groups today filed a lawsuit to stop the trapping.

Montana is the only lower-48 state to still allow trapping of wolverine.

“We’re lucky to see wolverine on rare occasions here in the Swan Range of northwest Montana, where they were first studied back in the 1970s, but trapping killed five times more wolverine than natural causes and killed nearly two-thirds of the wolverines being studied in just five years.” said Keith Hammer, chairman of the Swan View Coalition. “Trapping must stop if these rare and wonderful animals are to return from the brink of extinction.”

Read the Helena Independent article about the lawsuit here.

Read the full USA Today article about the petition here.

Read the lawsuit press release here.

Read the lawsuit complaint here.

Read the petition here to learn more about the habits, needs and threats to wolverine.

This article published on October 11, 2012 • [Permalink]

Eco Group Opposes Mountain Bike Race

A proposed mountain bike stage race to be held in the Tally Lake Ranger District is being met with opposition from a local environmental group.

Keith Hammer, chairman of the Swan View Coalition, submitted a four-page comment to the Forest Service contending the bike race will promote conflicts and collisions between cyclists and wildlife. . .

“Trail runners and bikers alike have been swatted, butted, mauled and killed during surprise encounters with bears, lions, wildebeests, and other wildlife,” Hammer said in his comments to the Forest Service. “While folks can get hurt hiking, wildlife and land management officials have become fully aware of and advise against the added risk of increased trail speeds involved in running and biking.” . . .

“We urge Flathead National Forest to confine speed sports to the developed Big Mountain area so the negative impacts to fish, wildlife and human safety do not spread across the forest,” he wrote.

Read the full Whitefish Pilot article here.

This article published on June 06, 2012 • [Permalink]

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