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Volume XXIV, Number 26

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

State asserts ownership of bed and banks of Mitchell Slough

Landowners have cut wintertime water flows in the channel in half

By Michael Howell

The State Trust Land Management Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has recently notified the Bitterroot Conservation District that the State of Montana owns the bed and banks of Mitchell Slough. A recent Supreme Court ruling established that Mitchell Slough was subject to 310 Permitting and public access under the state’s Stream Access Law because it is a channel of the Bitterroot River. Subsequently, DNRC officials have also determined that the state owns the bed and banks of Mitchell Slough under the Equal Footing Doctrine. That determination was made at the request of a consultant working for a local landowner who plans to place a siphon pipeline under the slough. Since the state owns the bed of the river channel, the landowner will have to purchase an easement or pay for a license for the use of the land. More...

Water flow through the Tucker Headgate, located at the top of Mithcell Slough, has been completely shut off this winter for the first time. Although the gates have been shut in the past there was a significant leak (of about 13 to 15 cfs) that always continued unabated throught the wintertime. Once that leak was fixed about the same amount of water was allowed to flow through the headgate to supply livestock watering rights and a wintertime fish and wildlife right for the Double Fork Ranch. This winter, however, the Double Fork Ranch has not called for its water and the flow has been shut off. This, and other developments related to the "Bobby Smythe Spill," have significantly reduced the water flow in the river channel this winter, posing a potential threat to the fishery. Michael Howell photo.

Subdivision regulation review a top priority

By Michael Howell

Following the repeal of the Growth Policy at the polls last November, the Ravalli County Commissioners have had to reconsider their priorities. One of their top priorities, which was formulating zoning regulations, is no longer feasible since no zoning can be enacted without a growth policy. Still under pressure due to fast growth and development in the valley, however, the Commissioners decided that one of their main priorities now should be to review and update the county’s subdivision regulations. More...

Wolf delisting on hold

The Obama administration has taken steps to place on hold the removal of the Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List. A portion of the Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region were first removed from the Endangered Species List in February of 2008 because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had determined that recovery goals in the area had been met. But following a lawsuit filed by conservation groups a federal judge re-instated the listing, deciding that the Fish & Wildlife Service had acted arbitrarily in delisting the wolf. Then on January 14, 2009 the Bush administration announced that the wolves would once again be delisted since the USFWS had addressed the judge’s objections. The delisting was to take place 30 days after publishing the regulation in the Federal Register. But before the delisting was actually published, the new administration put a hold on things. More...

Corvallis superintendent resigns, four being considered

By Michael Howell

After serving as Corvallis School Superintendent for the past eleven years, Daniel Sybrant has resigned. But he is not just headed off to go camping, hunting, fishing, songwriting, or practicing martial arts, all activities that he’s known to enjoy. Instead, he has accepted a graduate teaching assistantship at Montana State University in Educational Leadership. The new job begins July 1 and he will be teaching a finance and facilities class. His aim is to eventually become a college professor. More...

The Sybrant School was founded by Daniel Sybrant's great-grandfather in 1887 in North Central Nebraska near the former town of Sybrant, Nebraska. Sybrant attended kindergarten-8th grade in this school.

FAA official to visit Hamilton Airport

By Michael Howell

Regional Director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s District Office in Helena, Dave Stelling, will be visiting the Ravalli County Airport in Hamilton on February 4 to discuss planned improvements at the airport with the County Commissioners. More...

New Deputy Forest Supervisor for Bitterroot National Forest, temporary change in Forest Supervisors

The Bitterroot National Forest has a new Deputy Forest Supervisor, and temporarily, a new acting Forest Supervisor. More...


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