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Bill would transfer Bison Range to tribes, settle CSKT water dispute

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Rockies Today

December 12 · Issue #50 · View online
The big stories up and down the Rocky Mountains, curated by Mountain West News

Water rights, historic wrongs
Montana U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester on Wednesday announced the introduction of a long-awaited bill that would settle a century-old dispute over water rights between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the state and federal governments. The bill would also return control of the National Bison Range to the tribes. John S. Adams of Montana Free Press reports on the historic compromise:
Daines and Tester co-sponsor CSKT water rights settlement bill
Bill would return National Bison Range to Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
This Q&A with Adams further explains the significance of the bill:
Bill would transfer Bison Range to tribes, settle CSKT water rights claims
Cates-Carney: And were the tribes a part of the negotiations to wrap the bison range into the water compact settlement?
Adams: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. The tribe was very much involved. In fact, the negotiation primarily was between Senator Daines and the tribe. This compact process in the federal settlement, these are things that have been happening for years and years and years, both at the state and the federal level. This wasn’t something that was just arrived at overnight. By the time it became a proposal for legislation, there had been a tremendous amount of negotiation between the Department of Interior, the state DNRC, the tribes, etc. And so we’re now at a point where it’s passed at the state level. It’s now being introduced at the federal level. And this should be, we should be seeing the end of the last Montana Indian Water Rights Compact here in the next year.
It’s a good time to revisit the CSKT’s 2018 documentary recounting the tribal origins of the National Bison Range:
In the Spirit of Atatice
Goats lose their cool
Glacier National Park's iconic mountain goats are being threatened by melting ice and snow Glacier National Park's iconic mountain goats are being threatened by melting ice and snow
There’s nothing like the feeling of sweet relief after walking into an air-conditioned room in the middle of a heatwave. Mountain goats, an iconic species that thrives in alpine habitats such as Montana’s Glacier National Park, feel the same way on hot summer days, only they cool off using glaciers and snow patches instead of AC units or central air.
Unfortunately, glaciers and snow patches are rapidly declining around the world, due to human-driven climate change. The loss of these important environments is increasing the odds of heat stress and hyperthermia in mountain goats, according to a study published on Wednesday in PLOS One.
“Mountain goats need cooling,” said study co-author Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and a professor in wildlife biology at Colorado State University, in a call. “They just don’t seem to have the thermal flexibility that we see in some of these other large mammals.”
While scientists have been aware of the vulnerability of goats to climate change for years, there hasn’t been much observational research about the specific benefits of their snowy havens to their overall health. Berger and his colleagues aimed to fill this gap with their study, which is based on GPS satellite tracking of collared mountain goats in Glacier National Park, as well as onsite observations of the animals during the summers of 2013 to 2016.
More on the study:
Mountain goats' air conditioning is failing, study says
More wildlife news:
Wing data indicates sage grouse population slide will continue
Lawsuit over logging road closures in grizzly habitat could impact timber projects
At the windshield, waiting for the elk
Coeur d’Alene bald eagle numbers down, low-hanging clouds possibly stymieing count
Idaho joins battle between states over ESA
Brain drain at the BLM
80% of D.C. staffers could leave BLM 80% of D.C. staffers could leave BLM
The vast majority of staffers at the Bureau of Land Management’s Washington, D.C., headquarters do not intend to move out West as part of a planned reorganization, according to multiple sources.
As many as 80% of the 159 BLM staffers in D.C. who are being moved to the new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo., or to other state offices from Alaska to Arizona, plan to reject the reassignment orders and either retire or find another job at the Interior Department or other agency in Washington, the sources told E&E News.
BLM handed out formal relocation notices to almost all of the 159 employees on Nov. 12, giving them 30 days to decide whether to move to the bureau’s new headquarters and other state offices.
That means the 30-day deadline for most ends today.
Meanwhile…
Government watchdog to probe movement of land management bureau out of D.C.
More on the controversy surrounding BLM’s planned relocation:
Today is the deadline for employees to tell the BLM they’ll move to Grand Junction
Democrats, former BLM staff slam relocation plans as deadline looms
Opinion: The stealth plan to erode public control of public lands
Alberta launches energy 'war room'
War room officially opens; Canadian Energy Centre ready to target 'lies' and 'misinformation' War room officially opens; Canadian Energy Centre ready to target 'lies' and 'misinformation'
New details revealed as Alberta officially launches ‘war room’ to counter anti-oil messaging
Its first video:
Canadian Energy Makes the World a Better Place
Meanwhile…
Alberta school lesson on oil sands prompts threats from parents amid sensitivity over industry’s image
Demonstrators sing protest carols as Alberta opens its energy war room
Kenney calls for approval of massive open-pit oilsands mine
Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion foes demand updated project cost
A short ton of energy and climate news
Puget Sound Energy sale in Montana to reduce reliance on coal-fired electricity Puget Sound Energy sale in Montana to reduce reliance on coal-fired electricity
NorthWestern to make Colstrip pitch to PSC in 2020 after avoiding Montana regulators this year
U.S. coal production employment has fallen 42% since 2011
Judge hands climate analysis back to BLM
Federal government collects $10.8 million for lease sales in Wyoming
It’s a vast, invisible climate menace. We made it visible.
North Dakota ethanol company advances carbon storage project
Idaho Power's solar energy buyback credit in jeopardy
What else we're reading today
90% of northern Utah’s dust comes from shrinking lakes, BYU study finds
Study finds grazing results in more flammable grass, not less
'It changed our lives': Banished women fight Ute tribal leaders in federal court
National journalism initiative selects WyoFile as grant winner
Why REI swapped its catalog for a magazine—and what that means for print media
Rockies Today is edited by Matthew Frank, Fellow in Regional Journalism at the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana.
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O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 59812