Items by Mark Matthews

Facts about prairie dogs
Facts about prairie dogs
Life in the dead zone
Scientists are studying the microbes found in the Berkeley Pit at Butte, Mont., to see if their survival in water that is like battery acid can lead to a way to clean up the pit.
Low-paid service workers get squeezed in a booming Montana resort town
As the nearby Big Mountain Ski Resort booms, service workers find they can no longer afford to live in what was once the working-class town of Whitefish, Mont.
Armed with alarms
A ranch near Florence, Mont., is experimenting with a new high-tech alarm system designed to scare wolves away from livestock.
Don't trust everything you see
Montana wildlife photographer Chuck Bartlebaugh teaches people how to "safely and responsibly enjoy wildlife" - something he believes some irresponsible photographers work against, by taking photos of people dangerously close to wild animals.
Standing up for the underdog
After a century of poisoning and shooting the black-tailed prairie dog at will, ranchers are up in arms over the push by conservationists to have the animal listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Snowmobilers booted from Montana forest
Snowmobilers and locals in Superior, Mont., who are economically dependent on them, are fuming about the Lolo National Forest's decision to close 400,000 acres, including the popular Great Burn Wilderness Area, to motorized vehicles.
Conservation can pay
The "Wildlife Manager's Field Guide to the Farm Bill" is designed to help subsidize farmers and ranchers in conservation projects.
Wildlife crossings cut down on roadkill
Biologists in the Western United States and Canada are working on ways to redesign highways - adding overpasses and underpasses to reduce the number of animals killed while crossing roads.
The lynx: To list or not to list?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until next June to decide whether to list the elusive Canada lynx as threatened or endangered.
Voters to decide mining's future
Montana's Initiative I-137 would ban new open-pit heap-leach gold and silver mines and prevent the expansion of existing ones.
Tribe wins a third of a lake
A federal court rules that Idaho's Coeur d'Alene tribe owns the southern third of Lake Coeur d'Alene, as well as 20 miles of the St. Joe River.
Prairie dogs get a cease-fire
Local business owners and prairie dog shooters object to the Forest Service's decision to close South Dakota's Buffalo Gap National Grasslands to prairie dog shooting.
Glacier's road is going to the dogs
The historic Going-to-the-Sun Highway in Montana's Glacier National Park is in bad shape, and locals in the tourist trade and park officials are arguing over whether the road should be carefully restored, or modernized and rebuilt.
Bison comeback meets resistance on the ground
A plan to restore free-roaming bison to North Dakota's Little Missouri National Grassland meets unexectedly fierce resistance from local cattle ranchers.
Don't fence me in
Bison have made a remarkable recovery from near extinction a century ago, but now the animal's growing popularity as livestock raises questions about whether it can remain a "wild" animal.
A summer like no other looms ahead
El Nino has brought an early fire season with a promise of a dry summer ahead for the Northern Rockies, while the Southwest and Southeast are seeing fewer fires than usual.
Hollywood tarts up wildlife films
The 21st International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Mont., tries to showcase wildlife films that are based on good science and do not distort or exploit wildlife.
Some cattle ranchers sell out to hunting
Cattle ranchers in Montana and other Western states are earning extra money by charging hunters to hunt on private property to which they once allowed free access.
Activists 'shepherd' wayward bison
Activists seek to protect Yellowstone's bison from another slaughter by physically shepherding wandering bison back onto protected land.
Completing a prairie ecosystem
Native Americans welcome the return of endangered black-footed ferrets to the Fort Belknap Reservation.
Forest Service acts to preserve 'the Front'
Lewis and Clark National Forest Supervisor Gloria Flora decides against allowing oil and gas leasing in Montana's Rocky Mountain Front.
Heavy metals move
One hundred years of heavy metals left from mining in Idaho's Silver Valley are migrating through Lake Coeur d'Alene and entering Washington via the Spokane River.
The buffalo underground: Now it can be told
A bison which found refuge in Vickie Dyar's barn in West Yellowstone, Mont., was protected and fed by her last winter, to save it from the notorious slaughter of escaped Yellowstone bison considered at risk for brucellosis.
Wet summer a bust for firefighters
An unusually wet summer in the West has meant a very tame fire season, which is good news for taxpayers but bad news for the firefighters - many of them Native Americans - who depend on firefighting paychecks for a living.
Prairie dogs tunnel their way to a military stalemate
The Montana National Guard is stymied by prairie dogs threatening underground power lines and communications systems at Fort Harrison.
The importance of prairie dogs
The Predator Project's report, "Conserving Prairie Dog Ecosystems on the Northern Plains," defends the much-maligned rodent's importance.
We'd rather have weeds, Missoulians say
The non-native weeds covering Mount Sentinel in Missoula, Mont., prompt an emotional debate over the possible use of pesticides to eradicate them.
Agency ordered to study trout - again
A judge orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review its 1994 decision that the bull trout does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.
Ted Turner makes a deal
Media mogul Ted Turner trades school trust lands for privacy in Montana.
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