Nicky Ouellet

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.

Some boats coming into Montana from Lake Powell will be locked to their trailers for a mandatory quarantine period of up to 30 days in response to the threat of invasive mussels.

All boats coming into Montana are already required to be inspected for invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which have caused millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams, irrigation systems and personal property in infested waters in other states.

Before firefighters entered the Modified Fire Response Zone of the asbestos-contaminated forest near Libby to suppress the Highway 37 Fire, they donned full-face respirators, and recited a poem.

"You ready? When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors …"

Firefighter safety is of particular concern on the Highway 37 Fire north of Libby because of its proximity to a patch of asbestos-contaminated forest.

Among the 50 firefighters working the blaze is a group of 10 specially trained responders. They wear respirators and undergo a full body decontamination after digging fire line in a section of forest with high levels of asbestos fibers, a harmful remnant of the old W.R. Grace vermiculite mine.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act Thursday that it says will streamline efforts to protect species and habitat. Critics say the changes would severely erode the law.

Fire danger bumped up to “very high” on the Kootenai National Forest  Wednesday. Crews are holding the Zulu Fire, burning about 23 miles north of Libby, to 20 acres.

A state legislative committee is asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to work with Montana’s Congressional delegation to finalize a handful of water rights agreements.

Montana’s Water Policy Interim Committee says federal help in two key areas will lead Montana to having one of the most legally complete set of water rights agreements in the West.

An undeveloped park in Whitefish has attracted national attention because it reportedly links Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to trading favors with an oil pipeline chairman and former executive.

As President Donald Trump spoke at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls Thursday evening, a few hundred people protested his policies and general demeanor a parking lot away.

When Anson Nygaard returned to the states after two years of active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he headed straight for the Pacific Crest Trail.


Montana’s Environmental Quality Council is trying to find a fair way to raise $6.5 million a year to fund the state’s aquatic invasive species program that screens boats for potential costly invaders. 

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