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Edward O'Brien

News

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.

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Quagga mussels cover an outboard motor at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
National Parks Service (PD)

Even one confirmed detection of quagga or zebra mussels could have devastating economic and environmental consequence for the Flathead Reservation. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are mounting a campaign to prevent that from happening.

Fisheries biologists checking for adult invasive mussels.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Glacier National Park will lift restrictions on non-motorized, hand-propelled boats this season. But park superintendent Jeff Mow says mandatory invasive species inspections will simultaneously ramp up across the park.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it:

Republican Greg Gianforte won Montana’s special election May 25, 2017.
Rowebotz (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte took to the airwaves Tuesday morning to, in a way, reintroduce himself to Montana voters:

Missoula Mayor John Engen, Interim UM President Sheila Stearns, Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss, and Missoulian Editor Kathy Best at a City Club meeting in Missoula March 13, 2017
Edward O'Brien

Missoula Mayor John Engen says District Judge Karen Townsend has again ruled in favor of the city in its effort to acquire the local municipal water company.

Engen says Townsend ruled the entities that fought the city’s use of eminent domain to acquire Mountain Water Company were overcharging for legal services and fees:

The chairman of Montana’s Little Shell tribe is not fazed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s remarks to a U.S. Senate committee earlier this week.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke acknowledges that the agency he now oversees, "unfortunately, has not always stood shoulder to shoulder with the tribes and communities it represents." 

But Zinke met with the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee this week to help identify Native American-related priorities for the new Trump administration. It's a job that will likely pull him and his staff in many different directions, because as Zinke puts it, "Tribes are not monolithic":

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may not be able to provide the slam dunk for Montana’s Little Shell Tribe that some had hoped he would. At least not right away.

Montana’s Little Shell Tribe has spent nearly four decades fighting for federal recognition. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicated Wednesday they might have to wait just a bit longer than they hoped.

Montana Sub-basin Snow-Water Equivalent, March 01, 2017.
USDA NRCS

February isn't usually Montana’s biggest snow month, but this year proved to be a major exception. Substantial snow fell across the state during February's first two weeks; especially in Montana's northern and southern basins.

Lucas Zukiewicz of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service says it was a badly needed shot-in-the-arm after January's anemic snow totals:

Several hundred friends, family and Forest Service personnel attended the funeral of a man killed after surprising a bear on June 29.
Nicky Ouellet

A new report details the final moments of a career Flathead National Forest law enforcement officer killed last summer after a chance encounter with a grizzly bear.

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