MTPR

Nicky Ouellet

Flathead Valley Reporter

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter. Nicky returns to the Flathead Valley after wrapping up her graduate studies at the University of Montana's environmental science journalism program.

603-568-6155 or 406-730-2264

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Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3)

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new modeling framework for collection and analysis of selenium data in Lake Koocanusa.

The framework is designed to organize data collected by different agencies using different protocols, with a long-term goal of helping managers develop a common water quality standard for selenium levels in Lake Koocanusa, which straddles the international border.

Montana Senator Steve Daines questions officials during a Senate committe hearing on power restoration in Puerto Rico, Tuesday, October 31, 2017.
Public Domain

Both of Montana’s senators questioned federal oversight of a multi-million dollar contract between Montana-based Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rican electric utility during a Senate committee hearing today.

Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines grilled administrators overseeing power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico during the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Ali Ulwelling from the Montana DNRC guides Whitefish-area homeowners through the process of assessing a home for fire preparedness.
Nicky Ouellet

At sunset, the forest west of Whitefish is more golden than green, the needles of western larches catching the last rays of sunlight. The glowing trees look like they’re on fire. Even now, with snow on the forecast, folks who live deep in this forest, like Ben Duvall, are still thinking about wildfire.

Duvall is the fire chief for Big Mountain Fire and Rescue, and last week, he hosted two-dozen neighbors, kids and dogs to talk about creating a fire adapted community; basically, making their neighborhood ready to withstand fire moving through it without much help from firefighters.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company says it’s started reimbursing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Friday for costs associated with assessing contamination at the CFAC Superfund Site.

CFAC says it sent a check to the EPA for a little more than $300,000 to cover travel costs, laboratory costs and hourly wages for government officials to review the assessment.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and other federal officials are distancing themselves from a multi-million dollar contract between a small Montana company and Puerto Rico's electric utility.

In a statement released today, Zinke said he had, “nothing to do" with the controversial $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy for power restoration work in Puerto Rico.

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