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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Wildlife habitat, connectivity, key to Lolo National Forest management plan

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Monday, April 1, 2024   

Today is the deadline for public comment on Montana's Lolo National Forest management plan. Advocates say the input will shape how the land is used for decades, but others say it could go further.

This is the first time the Lolo management plan has been revised since the late 1980s, said Montana Wildlife Federation board member and retired U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist Skip Kowalski.

It will shape how the forest is managed for the next 30 years - affecting everything from recreational use and wildlife protections, to logging rules and grizzly bear habitat connectivity.

"Its location, in the area of Missoula," said Kowalski, "is equidistant between the north Continental Divide grizzly bear recovery area, and the Cabinet-Yaak recovery area - which is in northwestern Montana - and the recovery area for grizzly bears in the Selway Bitterroot."

Some sporting and conservation groups want the plan to make wildlife habitat connectivity a bigger priority. Today is the last day for public comment.

Kowalski said the proposed management plan is a good first step in managing the Lolo - but he called it a "work in progress" that needs to consider Montana's growth, which is why public input is so critical.

"We have a lot of increased recreation use," said Kowalski. "There's a lot more people moving into western Montana, and this will give the Lolo and opportunity to be able to manage the National Forest in concert with all of these other development pressures that are occurring."

The proposal designates the entire Montana portion of the Great Burn as Wilderness, which is a critical step in safeguarding vital wildlife corridors in the face of climate change.

But Kowalski argued it should consider more roadless areas there, too.



Disclosure: Montana Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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