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Conservation groups follow through with suit against Flathead NF Plan

Posted at 9:32 AM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 11:32:34-04

MISSOULA – Two Montana conservation groups are following through with their suit challenging the recently-enacted Flathead National Forest Plan, saying the new rules don’t do enough to protect habitat for grizzly bears and bull trout.

The plan was approved in February, culminating a four-year effort to come up with new land use approach for the millions of acres that cover the forest, including amendments to protect grizzlies of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem.

But a few weeks ago the Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan indicated they were going to file suit challenging the plan, saying it didn’t do enough to protect habitat for grizzlies, and the endangered bull trout, which is found in waters along the Divide.

Earthjustice filed suit in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Monday, saying the finished plan violates the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Earthjustice attorneys say the US Forest Service should be “removing old roads in the Flathead, not building new ones that threaten grizzlies.”