Tree Frog Forestry News

Judge halts Bureau of Land Management project in Elkhorns

By Tom Kuglin
Helena Independent Record
March 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A federal judge has halted a Bureau of Land Management grazing, prescribed fire and juniper removal project in the Elkhorn Mountains. U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters ruled in favor of Native Ecosystems Council and Alliance for the Wild Rockies on one of their five legal challenges to BLM’s proposed management in the Iron Mask area northwest of Townsend. She ordered both the project halted and that the agency perform additional environmental analysis. BLM signed an environmental assessment for the Iron Mask Planning Area in 2015. The project included planning for a roughly 5,600-acre property the agency acquired through the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Among the plans were about 1,000 acres of prescribed burning and cutting conifer trees on about 4,200 acres. The plan also called for a “forage reserve” grazing system, which would allow livestock grazing in cases where other grazing allotments were unavailable due to circumstances such as drought or wildfire.

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