Rockies Today, October 19

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Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News:

U.S. maps a future for cold-water trout in headwaters of the West

Cutthroat and bull trout survive in cold waters that non-native species like brown trout and brook trout, and federal scientists have created a Cold Water Climate Shield, which is essentially a map of those colder waters in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Wyoming that will provide a safe, and natural, haven for those cold-water species.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Oct. 19

Semiannual dam flush has W. Colorado river running orange
The owners of the Ouray Hydroelectric Power Plant flush the reservoir, sending sediment down the Uncompahgre River in Western Colorado, and the flush done in September turned the river orange, prompting calls from a number of residents, but the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, which monitors the river's water quality, said there's no reason for alarm, as the river is not a source for drinking water, fish and insect life was long ago affected by the heavy metals that naturally occur upstream and flow into the river, and given that "uncompahgre" means "red water" in Ute.
Durango Herald; Oct. 19

Montana review board sends coal mine's expansion permit back to DEQ
The Montana Environmental Review Board rescinded a permit issued by the state Department of Environmental Quality to Signal Peak Energy allowing a 7,100-acre expansion of its Bull Mountain Mine near Roundup due to concerns about how the expansion could affect groundwater resources.
Missoulian (AP); Oct. 19

USDA offers grants in 6 states to improve life of bees
Montana is second only to North Dakota in honey production, and both of those states are among the six states where private landowners may apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a slice of $4 million in grants to improve food sources. The other states are Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Missoulian; Oct. 19

Montana PSC ends decade-old rate increase for NorthWestern Energy
In 2005, the Montana Public Service Commission approved allowing NorthWestern Energy to raise rates to account for loss of revenue associated with state-mandated energy efficiency programs, but the market has changed since then and last week the PSC voted to end the program.
Billings Gazette (AP); Oct. 19

Black-footed ferrets struggle to keep a foothold in Wyoming
New month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to announce that the entire state of Wyoming will be considered for a special listing under the Endangered Species Act, a 10J, which means private landowners who accept black-footed ferrets onto their lands without concerns that incidental deaths will affect their operations, a big step in a state where the prairie dog predators have been struggling to maintain a presence.
Casper Star-Tribune; Oct. 19

End of U.S. ban on exporting oil would provide indirect benefit to Wyoming
The U.S. House passed a bill last week that would lift the 40-year ban on the export of crude oil, which representatives claim would result in a new oil boom and send prices higher, but in Wyoming, executives of oil companies are less optimistic about a direct benefit to Cowboy State producers, as they believe any boon to the state would be indirect and not likely to result in a new boom.
Casper Star-Tribune; Oct. 19

Mountain West News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.

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