Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rockies Today, Aug. 14

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Montana, N.D. congressmen seek field hearing on sage grouse
The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of updating its management plans in areas of Montana and North Dakota to increase protections for sage grouse, which is teetering on the edge of a designation as a threatened or endangered species, and Montana U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and North Dakota U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer have asked the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee to hold field hearings in those states on the BLM's plan since they'll be most affected by any change in management policy.
Great Falls Tribune; Aug. 14

Montana FWP closes fishing on Upper Big Hole River
The Upper Big Hole River in Montana is closed to fishing from its headwaters south of Jackson to the mouth of the North Fork Big Hole due to low water.
Billings Gazette; Aug. 14

Montana landowner signs 10-year in-stream water lease with Trout Unlimited
A change in Montana's water law in 2005 that allows landowners to lease their water rights to allow the water to remain in streams and rivers paved the way for Trout Unlimited's recent deal with a Bridger Canyon landowner to keep water in Brackett Creek.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Aug. 14

USFWS to begin again on panel selection for wolf review
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will begin again on selection of an independent panel to review a proposal to remove federal protection for most wolves in the lower 48 states, a decision that may delay a final decision on the species' status due in June in 2014.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Aug. 14

Bitterroot River in Montana hits lowest level in three decades
The Bitterroot River in Montana is mostly sand bars these days, and with irrigator demand to grow over the next couple of weeks, flows are expected to hit 175 cubic-feet-per-second.
Missoulian; Aug. 14

Elk Complex Fire in Idaho destroys dozens of structures
The 111,900-acre Elk Fire Complex, one of three large wildfires burning in Idaho, has destroyed 53 structures in the Fall Creek area, but Elmore County officials have not yet identified what type of structures were burned; and the Beaver Creek Fire near Ketchum has burned across 32,000 acres.
Twin Falls Times-News; Aug. 14

Utah wildfire burns 13 homes, 1,500 acres in just hours
The lightning-caused Rockport 5 Fire was first reported at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Rockport State Park near Park City, and by Wednesday morning, the 1,500-acre wildfire had destroyed 13 homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of Utahns.
Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 14

Wyoming grudgingly OKs Chesapeake's request to continue flaring
On Tuesday, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved Chesapeake Energy's request to continue flaring natural gas from five oil wells near Douglas, but not before giving the company's representatives a bad time about not following through with its plan to build a pipeline that would have allowed it to capture and market that natural gas.
Casper Star-Tribune; Aug. 14

Federal court sets Aug. 27 hearing on megaload fight in Idaho
U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise will hear arguments on Aug. 27 in a lawsuit filed by the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United against the U.S. Forest Service for allowing massive pieces of mining equipment to be transported through Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest on the highway that moves through the Middle Fork of the Clearwater-Lochsa Wild and Scenic River corridor.
Spokane Spokesman-Review (Lewiston Tribune); Aug. 14

Wyoming Oil, Gas Commission's rules on water testing go online
On Friday, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission will put its proposed rules on baseline water testing for oil and gas operators online and will open a 45-day public comment period on those rules.
Casper Star-Tribune; Aug. 14

Mountain West News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.

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