Not satisfied with changes made, three conservation groups appealed to the Northern Region forester Tuesday to halt a proposed logging project south of Bozeman.
It is the fifth time the work has been challenged.
“We feel that this is a very solid, well-analyzed project,” said Marna Daley, public affairs officer for the Gallatin National Forest.
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Montana Ecosystem Defense Council and Native Ecosystems Council have successfully challenged the Gallatin National Forest’s Bozeman Municipal Watershed work in the past.
The forest has proposed the work, in conjunction with the city of Bozeman, to reduce the chances of a large wildfire south of the college town.
To do that, the Gallatin has suggested logging more than 3,000 acres, setting prescribed fires across more than 1,500 acres and building seven miles of new road to facilitate the work across the 50,000-acre area of the project.
According to the conservation groups, changes made by the Forest Service following lawsuits and previous appeals have not addressed concerns about logging in lynx and grizzly bear habitat next to a roadless area and possible sediment release into two creeks that supply about 80 percent of Bozeman’s drinking water.
“This is the fifth time the Forest Service has tried to push this same timber sale,” said Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, in a statement.
“It’s been successfully challenged four times since the ‘90s, including our successful appeal last April. Simply stated, the agency’s proposal breaks a number of laws and this time around is no different.”
The groups also say that the Forest Service “illegally changed the management designation of the entire watershed to a Wildland Urban Interface to allow commercial logging of the watershed.” Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, claims that amends the forest plan without proper analysis or public review.