Montana Active Forest Management Case Prevails in Appeals Court
By Jackalope Jordan

Posted: May 30, 2018

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont.—The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied claims by several environmental groups and ruled in favor of a habitat management project in southwestern Montana.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and several other partners filed an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Forest Service and several other federal agencies.

“We have seen environmental groups file frivolous litigation time and time again seeking to thwart efforts designed at improving wildlife habitat and overall forest health. That is the case here,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We appreciate the court’s ruling and look forward to the implementation of this needed habitat stewardship work.”

The East Deer Lodge Valley Landscape Restoration Management project is a landscape project in the Pintler Ranger District on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest designed to improve forest health and reduce sedimentation in the headwaters of the Clark Fork River.

The vast majority of lodgepole pine trees in this immediate area are dead. Many of them are already on the ground. Without forest management treatment in the near future, the forest floor will be covered with combustible material that will also impede the growth of shrubs and grasses needed by elk, deer and other wildlife.

The project calls for the removal of pine beetle-killed timber, forest thinning to reduce conifer encroachment and other treatments on riparian areas to protect and improve watersheds that will enhance both fish and wildlife habitat.

“RMEF maintains litigation reform is necessary in order to allow agencies tasked with managing our forests the ability to implement active forest management that is so badly needed all across elk country,” added Henning.

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