Federal limits on state parks being reviewed
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials are trying to come up with a guide to determine where recreation and timber harvesting and other uses can occur on nearly 3 million acres of the newly combined Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.
According to the Billings Gazette , the goal is to separate regulation by Montana State Parks and the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The Montana State Parks and Recreation Board is asking Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Jeff Hagener to put together a committee to explore what to do with 16 state parks that have limits on them because they were purchased in part with federal dollars. The money came with strings attached, and it could jeopardize future funding.
Feds deciding if coal-export project violates tribal rights
SEATTLE (AP) — For centuries, Lummi tribal fishermen have harvested crabs, dug up clams and fished for salmon in the tidelands and waters of northwest Washington state.
Now, the tribe says a proposed $700 million project to build the nation’s largest coal-export terminal threatens that way of life. The tribe last year asked federal regulators to deny permits for the project.
The Gateway Pacific Terminal, a venture between SSA Marine and Cloud Peak Energy, would handle up to 54 million metric tons of dry bulk commodities, mostly coal, at a deep water port at Cherry Point.
Seattle-based SSA Marine says the Corps should find that project doesn’t adversely impact the tribe’s fishing rights. The company contends that the most productive fishing for the tribe does not occur near the wharf.
Wyoming, Montana holding discussions on water
SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — Officials from the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office are holding a conference call Monday with officials in Montana to discuss a solution to an ongoing conflict over water rights along the Tongue River.
The discussions were scheduled after the U.S. Supreme Court approved a recommendation by a special master finding Wyoming liable for taking Montana water in 2004 and 2006.
The Sheridan Press reports the two sides must agree how those issues will be resolved and how long it will take.
The amount of water involved is relatively small, but Montana wants guidelines that Wyoming must follow in the future when Montana calls for water to be released under provisions of the Yellowstone River Compact.
That agreement regulates the administration of water rights on rivers in the Yellowstone River tributary.
State approves land deal for Milltown park expansion
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators have approved a land deal that will help Milltown State Park in Missoula expand to the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers.
The Missoulian reports that the State Parks Commission members on Thursday formally accepted Milltown park officials’ plans to acquire a 10 acre parcel that contains the best roads leading to the rivers, where the state has planned for 10 years to put a park.
Park officials say construction on the new picnic areas and other installations could begin late this summer or fall. The master plan for Milltown State Park calls for picnic areas, an interpretative display of the now removed Milltown Dam and Native American legacy, a walk-in boat ramp and parking lot.
Treasurer says county taxpayers not at risk of data breach
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The Missoula County treasurer is assuring taxpayers their identities have not been compromised after about 1,180 people got tax notices, along with the names and email addresses of the other people who had requested to be notified when their taxes were due.
County treasurer Tyler Gernant says it was a breach of trust, and assured people there was no additional risk of a data breach.
Gernant says tax bills were sent out in October and some taxpayers were asked to provide their email addresses if they wanted to be reminded when it was time to pay second-half taxes.
According to the Missoulian , Gernant says he got several complaints and told people the emails did not allow access to any other information systems.
One of the oldest bald eagles captured in Wyoming euthanized
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — One of the oldest bald eagles captured in Wyoming has been euthanized.
Officials at the Teton Raptor Center say the eagle was not healing after being treated for injuries believed suffered when the bird hit a power line.
Wildlife officials say a band showed the bald eagle was about 34 years old.
According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide , part of the bird’s right wing had to be clipped because of its injuries.