This story is excerpted from the MT Lowdown, a weekly newsletter digest containing original reporting and analysis published every Friday.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public input as it dives into a rewrite of its 2003 Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. At Gov. Greg Gianforte’s request, the department is replacing the document that’s guided Montana’s management of gray wolves since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protections — at the direction of the U.S. Congress — in 2011.
“The new wolf management plan will include the latest science surrounding wolf management, better transparency on wolf management, and be easier to update in the future,” according to an FWP release. “Public input received during the scoping period will help FWP staff determine public interest, identify potential issues that would require further analysis, and may provide further insights for creating the new wolf plan.”
As part of the process, FWP is conducting virtual public scoping meetings on April 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. and on April 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.
This is the first of what will be several rounds of public comment on the matter. (There will also be comment periods when the draft Environmental Impact Statement and draft plan are released.) For this round, comments are due by April 22. They can be emailed to email@example.com.
The plan rewrite comes during a turbulent period for wolf management, with proposals seeking to reduce wolf populations garnering considerable public comment during the 2021 legislative session and in Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings. The state’s approach to wolf management also inspired an October lawsuit that’s currently before a state district court judge in Helena. The USFWS is about six months overdue to release a decision that will give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on restoring federal protections for Northern Rockies wolves due to concerns about “human-caused mortality.”
Before Tim Sheehy was the frontrunner in Montana’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate, the ex-Navy SEAL, aerial firefighter, millionaire business owner, part-time rancher and occasional political donor was a 2004 graduate of a Minneapolis-St. Paul area private high school who grew up in a lake house outside Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
Missoula author Debra Magpie Earling carried the seeds of a story about Sacajewea for years. When she walked away from teaching at the University of Montana, she finally made the mental space to bring it to fruition. The result is this year’s “The Lost Journals of Sacajewea.” Earling talks about imagination and history with MTFP contributor Anna Paige.
Most of us have had peanut brittle, a classic holiday treat. But have you ever swapped out the peanuts for pistachios? It adds a fun flavor and provides a remarkable color contrast with the amber candy. If you have a parent, sibling or friend who’s notoriously hard to buy for, it might be time to give them the gift of pistachio brittle. I’ve never known anyone to be disappointed on the receiving end.