Newsline December 12, 2016

Good Luck on FINALS and Happy Holidays to ALL!!!

Questions, comments, item to add? EMAIL us! Please note deadline for posts are on Fridays.

Table of Contents

Good News Item

  1. Largest North American wind project nears final OK.

Around EVST

  1. Toughie remembered - International Remembrance Day for Lost Species, November 30.
  2. EVST alum writes on the FREE THE SNAKE effort.
  3. EVST alum invites you to Climate Smart Missoula Meetups.
  4. EVST prof gives State of the River Report, Dec 13.

Featured Events

(See the Conservation Calendar for more events)

  1. UM President Search Listening Sessions, student session is Dec 13.

Volunteer Opportunities

  1. Lolo Watershed Group is looking for new leadership on our board of directors. 
  2. Help with the Missoula Christmas Bird Count, Dec 17.
  3. Eagle Capture & Banding in the Bitterroot, Dec 20.
  4. UM Storm Water Management Working Group, Dec 16.

Educational Opportunities

  1. Using R for Biostatistics offered spring 2017. 
  2. Register for Summer 2017 Field Ecology Courses at UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station.
  3. Water conference in Alberta next June, abstracts due by Jan 15, 2017.

Jobs and Internships

(Local or summer jobs; for full time jobs around the US, see the envirojobs list serv)

  1. Naturalist Guide in Denali National Park, Alaska.
  2. Environment Montana seeks Director, Missoula based, applications now being accepted.
  3. Project Manager Position with 5th House Consulting, deadline December 23.
  4. Student Trainee positions and Recent Graduate Jobs with Idaho BLM—act now!
  5. For those graduating, job with Backcountry Hunters/Anglers.
  6. Editorial Intern, Outdoor Writer’s Association, application deadline December 26.
  7. Engineering and Science Research Opportunities, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN. 
  8. Become a part of the Higher Education Research Experiences (HERE) Program at ORNL in TN. 
  9. 2017 Graduate Environmental Health (GEH) Summer Program, apply by Feb 3. 
  10. Cool summer internship for those interested in trains, travel, and transportation!

Funding

  1. National Park Service Student Fellowship, apply by Feb 16.
  2. Western Division American Fisheries Society Small Project Grants, deadline January 5.
  3. Montana Native Plant Society Small Grants, apply by Jan 31. 
  4. Boyd Evison Student Fellowship for research in the Greater Yellowstone. 
  5. Win $10,000 for your student group! 
  6. Other funding sources for conservation projects. 

Housing

Miscellaneous - Resources

  1. Evening Program, Naturalist Trivia Night, Hosted by the Clark Fork Coalition, Dec 14.
  2. Imagine Nation Brewing Co. launches art and literature magazine, submission deadline Dec. 15.
  3. UM Flathead Lake Biological Station video on invasive mussels in Montana.
  4. Sad occurrence of Snow Geese trapped and dying in the Berkeley Pit.
  5. Nominate someone for UM’s Above & Beyond Award.

  6. UM Dining’s annual Cookie Cook-off, Dec 20. 
  7. Solar Solstice Rally, Dec 21. 
  8. Yield to the Bus and Stop at the Stop Signs – don’t get fined! 
  9. Open Country Press call for Contemporary Montana Writing, deadline December 31.
  10. Army Corps to keep Yellowstone River dam intact, build fish bypass.
  11. Negotiators release Water Resources Development Act deal; Boxer blasts 'poison pill'
  12. AREA HOLIDAY GET TOGETHERS.

Good News Item

Largest North American wind project nears final OK.

The Fish and Wildlife Service could approve as early as next month permits that clear construction of the first 500 wind turbines in a southeast Wyoming project that's expected to become the largest onshore wind farm in North America. Read the North American WindPower article “Final Environmental Analysis Completed for Wyoming Wind Giant”.

Around EVST

Toughie remembered - International Remembrance Day for Lost Species, November 30.

Amphibians are now the most endangered group of vertebrates with 41% of amphibian species threatened. The last known living Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog died in captivity September 26, 2016. For International Remembrance Day for Lost Species, November 30th, several artists made tribute to Toughie and all amphibians lost during the present, or 6th, mass species extinction. Toughie, a 2:27 minute film produced by ex·tinc·tion wit·ness, features Mourning Gown (WIP) by Sherrell Cuneo, founder and director at Sew the SEEDS quilt project for endangered and lost species, FROG SONG or DDT poem written and voiced by EVST alum Megan Hollingsworth, ex·tinc·tion wit·ness writer and creative director, and graphic ‘Lasting Impressions I’ by Gloria Gypsy. Watch Toughie at the ex·tinc·tion wit·ness website or at YouTube. Access the ex·tinc·tion wit·ness announcement for Toughie, which includes comment on mining and the recent mass death of snow geese who landed in the Berkeley Pit, at ex·tinc·tion wit·ness archives. Visit Lost Species Day for more from 2016 International Remembrance Day for Lost Species.  

EVST alum writes on the FREE THE SNAKE effort.

EVST alum Chandra Brown published a beautiful, intriguing article in National Geographic’s Water Currents blog. She joined the flotilla of kayakers & other boaters supporting the FREE THE SNAKE River effort, another Native American led protest less well publicized than Standing Rock, but just as determined. Her story of the people, prayers and thoughts swirling around the Snake River dams makes for soul searching reading. Read the National Geographic article “Red Fish / Black Snake”. 

EVST alum invites you to Climate Smart Missoula Meetups.

EVST alum Hailey Jorgensen is now working with Climate Smart Missoula and encourages you to attend their Monthly Meetups at Imagine Nation Brewing. WHEN: 5-7pm with a short presentation about 5:20pm.  Here are the topics & dates: Jan 5 - Education & Outreach; Feb 2 - Toward Zero Waste; Mar 2 - Healthy Community; April 6 - Green building/energy efficiency & conservation; May 4 - Local food & ag; June 1 - Urban & wildland forestry; (no meet up in July); Aug 3 - Water protection & conservation; Sept 7 - Renewable energy; Oct 5 - Transportation & Smart Growth; Nov 2 - Sustainable Development; Dec 7 – Celebration. For more info, contact Hailey Jorgensen.

EVST prof gives State of the River Report, Dec 13.

EVST professor Vicki Watson will give a State of the River report for the Clark Fork River. All welcome to attend. WHEN/WHERE: Dec 13, 2-3pm in Social Science 259 E (enter by 259 and proceed down the hall). 

Featured Events

UM President Search Listening Sessions, student session is Dec 13.

Montana University System Commissioner Clayton Christian will host a series of listening sessions on the UM campus, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec.13-14, to engage the campus and Missoula communities in discussions regarding the national search for the next University of Montana president. The student listening session is Dec 13 at 4pm in the UC Theater. 

Volunteer Opportunities

Lolo Watershed Group is looking for new leadership on our board of directors. 

We are seeking members to broaden our depth of knowledge, experience, and ideas. Board positions are unpaid, but very rewarding for guiding work in our watershed. Please contact our secretary Kascie Herron with any questions. 

Help with the Missoula Christmas Bird Count, Dec 17.

Grab your binoculars and join in the annual Missoula Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 17. All levels of birders are welcome to participate, either by joining a group in the field or by observing bird feeders at home. Meeting time and duration are determined by participants and group leaders. To participate in the count, contact Larry at 549-5632 or bwsgenea@gmail.com. Participants will gather that evening for a potluck and to tally results. Last year’s count totaled 82 species and over 7,000 individual birds. 

Eagle Capture & Banding in the Bitterroot, Dec 20.

Help MPG Ranch and Raptor View Research Institute by observing the live capture & helping with banding of bald and golden eagles. We will live-stream video from the capture site to a large screen in a warm house so visitors can observe the trapping process while remaining at a safe distance. Spotting scopes will be available for an alternate view from the outside deck overlooking the capture site. Researchers will bring the eagles to the house for banding. The day will include an overview of the research to date, including migratory flight data showing the extent of the eagles' range into Alaska. Contact Joshua Lisbon to register, with any questions, or at 406-396-6285. WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, 12/20, 11am - 3pm at MPG Ranch near Lolo. 

UM Storm Water Management Working Group, Dec 16. 

UM is establishing a working group to assist with developing best management practices for the campus for storm water management. EPA and Montana DEQ have implemented tighter oversight of discharges into rivers. UM has 2 points of discharge into the Clark Fork and it’s important for us to monitor and control what goes into our beloved river. If interested in being part of this group, please attend the meeting below. WHEN/WHERE: Friday, December 16, 10-11 am at University Center 215. 

Educational Opportunities

Using R for Biostatistics offered spring 2017. 

Will Janousek, a PhD student in Wildlife Biology, is offering an introductory course on programming in R for the Spring 2017 semester (typically offered by Art Woods in DBS). The course is geared towards first-year graduate students and upper division undergraduates with little to no experience using R. The course is 2 credits (CR/NCR) and offered Mondays from 1-3pm. Course number/title: BIOB 595-10 ST: Using R for Biostatistics CRN 35259. For more information or copy of syllabus, contact Will Janousek or call (785) 438-9736. 

Register for Summer 2017 Field Ecology Courses at UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station.

Spend some of or all summer on Flathead Lake and in Glacier National Park. Students are already registering online. 2 week classes include: conservation ecology, landscape ecology, stream ecology, lake ecology, alpine ecology, forest/grassland ecology, using drones in remote sensing. 4 week courses include: field ecology, Seminars in Ecology & Resource Management. Courses for grads and undergrads. See more information on the Biostation. Important Dates and Deadlines: Apply by January 15, 2017 for the $100 early registration discount. Check out the buddy discount too! Scholarship materials are due April 3, 2017. A very high percentage of scholarship applicants receive awards! Last day to apply/register for Summer Session 2017 is May 24, 2017. Fees are due May 31, 2017. Two and four week courses begin June 26, 2017 and run in 2-week blocks through August 18, 2017. 

Water conference in Alberta next June, abstracts due by Jan 15, 2017. 

Canadian Water Resources Association is currently accepting abstracts for their conference. The conference is just right across the border in Lethbridge, Alberta – June 5-7, 2017. They would love to have their neighbors to the south to attend & present! Abstracts due by Jan 15, 2017. Submit abstracts at this link.

Jobs and Internships

Naturalist Guide in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Camp Denali and North Face Lodge - private, family-owned lodges inside Denali National Park, Alaska- are looking for skilled and experienced Naturalist Guides for the summer of 2017. Our naturalist guides are teachers of experiential learning, backcountry hiking guides, and competent drivers.  Guides are responsible for: leading lodge guests into the trail-less backcountry of Denali National Park; using creative teaching techniques to expand the guests’ knowledge of Alaskan ecosystems and to encourage land stewardship; and safely transporting people over the unpaved, mountainous park road.  Current WFR and CPR certifications and a solid academic background in the natural sciences are required (MS preferred).   Experience in arctic/sub-arctic or alpine regions is desired.  This is a rewarding and challenging position, set in an unparalleled location, among an interesting, committed, and conservation-minded community of staff.  For over 60 years, Camp Denali and North Face Lodge have been family-owned and operated lodges with a reputation for excellence.  This is not your average job in Denali.  A three-season commitment is required.  Applications are due January 6, 2017.  For more information or to apply, please see the employment page at Camp Denali or Contact them directly. The Program Manager is EVST alumna Laurie Schlueb and resides in Missoula in winter. 

Environment Montana seeks Director, Missoula based, applications now being accepted.

Environment Montana is part of a national federation (Public Interest Network) of environmental groups with offices in 29 states and Washington, D.C. The State Director is responsible for helping choose issues and campaigns to prioritize in Montana, and developing strategy, approach, and local message. The State Director will also meet with decision-makers and opinion leaders in Montana, and represent the organization to allies, state media, and when needed, demonstrate grassroots and online support. State Director will help recruit staff and volunteers, fundraise, and maintain systems for tracking and building on our work. Full job description here and Application here. Direct your application to Kyle Larson, Hiring Director for The Public Interest Network. 

Project Manager Position with 5th House Consulting, deadline December 23.

5th House Consulting, a local community minded consulting firm, is looking for an innovative self-starter to manage current projects and develop new projects that help organizations understand, measure, communicate and improve their outcomes. Job Description: The Project Manager is responsible for managing existing projects to ensure that they are smoothly executed and will conduct research and do outreach to bring in additional business. This position will work collaboratively with 5th House Consulting’s founder, Rachel Gooen. Most duties are performed independently but some are performed together. This role was made for you if: You have an understanding of social justice practices, believe that people are essentially good and want to help organizations and people reach their potential. You have superior organizational skills, impeccable accuracy and attention to detail. You have experience creating workshops, writing reports and love researching best practices to make professional presentations. You can market the heck out of something and get people’s attention and attendance in a professional and inspiring manner. Qualifications: Bachelor or Master Degree in social work, environmental studies, communications, or marketing or equivalent combination of training and experience. Experience in social service, environmental and or government organizations. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Experience in marketing and outreach. Very self-motivated with an entrepreneurial spirit and ideas for how to drum up business. Can take a large undefined project and break it down into manageable tasks. Computer savvy with the ability to learn new software programs quickly. Salary: 20 hours per week, well paid professional position (dependent on experience). To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to rachel@5thhouseconsulting.com Deadline: December 23rd, 2016. Access document 5 House Consulting.

Student Trainee positions and Recent Graduate Jobs with Idaho BLM—act now!

EVST alum David Freiberg alerted us that some great opportunities are available now with the Idaho BLM. Some are student trainee positions (called the Pathways program) and others are aimed at recent graduates. Often the window to apply for these is very narrow, so if you would be interested in working for the Idaho BLM (or the BLM in other states) take a quick look at this link USAJOBS. The ones marked in the Announcement Line "DEU" are open to the public, and the ones marked "Recent Graduate" can be quickly filled by recent graduates. Veterans can also be hired more easily under certain authorities. 

For those graduating, job with Backcountry Hunters/Anglers.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a national non-profit conservation organization based in Missoula, is looking to hire--immediately--an Office Manager. This is a rapidly expanding organization that offers opportunity for professional growth. Kelly Webster of the UM Writing Center says they do really good work. If interested, contact Grant or Tawney

Editorial Intern, Outdoor Writer’s Association, application deadline December 26.

Job Number: 68950 Job Location: Missoula Employment Dates: to Work Schedule: flexible Salary: Volunteer Job Description: The Editorial Intern's main duty will be writing articles for Outdoors Unlimited magazine, a publication focused on helping outdoor communicators improve their crafts. Other duties will include copy editing and posting information on our website. Qualifications: The perfect intern will be passionate about the outdoors, knows AP style and is interested in pursuing a career in outdoor journalism or communication. Application Instructions: This internship does not pay, but school credit is available and hours are flexible. To apply, please send a letter of interest, a resume and 3 writing samples to Editor Ms. Kelsey Dayton at OWAA. Deadline: December 26, 2016. 

Engineering and Science Research Opportunities, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN. 

For spring term, apply by Dec 31 at Spring Term. For summer term, apply by Feb 28 at Summer Term. For: Current students in Environmental Science, Engineering, Earth and Geosciences, Marine Sciences, Life Health and Medical Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Nanotechnology, Chemistry, Physics, International Relations, Political Science, Government, Policy, Risk Analysis, Science Writing, Public Affairs, and Computer Sciences. Stipend based on academic status – range from $529/week to $935/week for full-time; pro-rated for part-time - Travel/Housing assistance (if eligible) - Professional development activities - Minimum GPA - 3.0/4.0 - Open to U.S. Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) and Eligible International Citizenship. Visit Oak Ridge National Laboratory or contact ORNL Education Programs for more information. 

Become a part of the Higher Education Research Experiences (HERE) Program at ORNL in TN.

Opportunities for students, alums to participate in hands-on basic or applied research in a real-world setting with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Highlights of the program. Stipend based on academic status - Open to Undergraduates, Recent-BS and AAS, MS, PhD and Faculty – in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) - Applications are accepted year-round - Full-time and part-time appointments; Appointments can start and end at any time during the year - Minimum GPA - 2.5/4.0 - U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) - Limited travel and housing allowances (if eligible) - Professional development activities. Visit Oak Ridge National Laboratory or contact ORNL Science Education Programs for more information. 

2017 Graduate Environmental Health (GEH) Summer Program, apply by Feb 3. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, Georgia, invite applications for their Graduate Environmental Health (GEH) Summer Program. Over the course of the summer, students will be exposed to a broad overview of environmental health issues at the Federal level. Students will have the opportunity to participate in weekly journal club discussions, briefings & field trips, preparing and presenting on assigned environmental health projects, participating in professional development trainings including career development, communication, leadership and inquiry and analysis. Students will be matched with a project supervisor based on their experience and skill set. Students will also have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with seasoned environmental health professionals during this internship. See examples of past GEH internship projects. Qualifications: Graduate student in environmental studies. Students who will graduate in Spring 2017 are not eligible. GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Student will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Ideal candidates would have extra-curricular activities or volunteer work related to the field of environmental health or the environment, including holding positions of leadership in these organizations or activities. Students should have a passion for the environment and an eagerness to learn about the environment's link to human health. For more info, please visit Summer Term; ORISE Posting Number:  CDC-NCEH-2017-0021. For any additional information, please contact Marilyn DuffooApplication deadline February 3, 2017

Cool summer internship for those interested in trains, travel, and transportation!

The ultimate summer internship could be yours. The National Association of Railroad Passengers is launching year two of our Summer by Rail program, and we're looking for a smart, dedicated young person to spend a month riding, biking, and hiking across a connected America! During our first Summer by Rail, we sent Elena, a George Washington University student, on a month-long train trip across 15 states and 20 cities. She explored the connections between rail and bikes, ferries, and transit along the way. On her journey across America’s transportation network, she met with mayors and transportation officials, reporters, local cyclists and advocacy groups, and hundreds of fellow travelers. NARP will be relaunching the Summer by Rail program for Summer 2017—and we want smart, dedicated college students to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Details can be found at this link.

Funding

National Park Service Student Fellowship, apply by Feb 16.

Applications are being accepted for the Jerry O'Neal Student Fellowship for work in Glacier National Park, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The fellowship aims to provide educational assistance for students seeking to understand natural and cultural resources issues and how these interact with human values. Special consideration will be given to proposals that address the following: 1. natural resource issues such as aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology, fire ecology, invasive plants, and climate change. 2. cultural resource issues, such as history and architectural studies, cultural landscape reports, archeology, and ethnographic research. 3. social science that informs resource management about a natural or cultural topic and/or that addresses visitor impacts to park resources. Competition is open to graduate students or superior upper division undergraduate students at Rocky Mountain Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit universities and colleges only.  Awards range from $1000-5000. Applications must be submitted electronically by February 16, 2017. For more information and details on the application process please read this announcement

Western Division American Fisheries Society Small Project Grants, deadline January 5.

The mission of the American Fisheries Society is to “improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals”. The Western Division currently has project funding available for Division Chapters, Subunits, and other fisheries-related groups. Grants are usually modest but can help get a project started or be used to complement other funding sources. This year, the WDAFS Executive Committee approved a budget of $5,000 to fund as many small projects as appropriate. Applications must be received by the Western Division Past President no later than January 5, 2017. Questions should be directed to WDAFS Past President Jim Bowker. Access document WDAFS.

Montana Native Plant Society Small Grants, apply by Jan 31. 

Each year MNPS offers grants up to $1500 for projects or research pertaining to Montana’s flora. These grants are intended to promote native plant conservation through better understanding and appreciation for Montana’s native plants and plant communities. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 31, 2017 and we expect to award those selected by March 15. The full “call for proposals” and submission instructions are on our website. For more information contact Betty Kuropat, Small Grants Committee Chair. 

Boyd Evison Student Fellowship for research in the Greater Yellowstone. 

The Grand Teton Association offers a graduate fellowship of up to $10,000/project for graduate studies focused on documenting the almost intangible and disappearing aspects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, and other public or private lands. Emphasis areas are lesser-known ecosystem elements such as air and water; geologic or other processes; plants, insects, reptiles, or amphibians, fungi; natural soundscapes; and social science related to public understanding of natural resources and their use or management. Graduate students pursuing either a Master’s or Doctoral degree are invited to submit proposals on the application form by February 10, 2017. Access document Evison Fellowship. 

Win $10,000 for your student group! 

One of the Sillerman Center's goals is to encourage social justice philanthropy. Generous U is a contest that helps promote that goal. Generous U awards a $10,000 Prize (and a runner-up prize) to college student groups who propose ways of increasing philanthropy on their campus. The Generous U contest spotlights student giving and its positive impact. Eligible student groups must submit an Intent to Apply. (no deadline is specified for this). Then they prepare a cover letter and video, demonstrating how their group will increase philanthropy and/or philanthropic values on their campus, by Friday, March 17, 2017 for the 2017 Generous U Prize. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with everything Generous U. Contest rules and submission guidelines,  Frequently Asked Questions., and more information here. 

Other funding sources for conservation projects.

National Fish and Wildlife Federation Grants, Due 12/15/16 – Northern Great Plains Initiative. Montana DNRC Reclamation and Development Program Planning Grants, Due 12/20/16. NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants, Due 1/9/17.

USFWS Endangered Species Conservation - Recovery Implementation Grants, Due 7/31/17.

Housing

Miscellaneous - Resources

Evening Program, Naturalist Trivia Night, Hosted by the Clark Fork Coalition, Dec 14.  

Compete in a fun evening of Naturalist Trivia, this month with a Clark Fork Watershed theme. Learn new facts about the river and its flora and fauna or show off your knowledge. Everyone is welcome! WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, December 14, 7:00 pm at Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St., Suite A. $5 donation; MNHC members free, BYOB!  More Information found at this link. 

Imagine Nation Brewing Co. launches art and literature magazine, submission deadline Dec. 15.

Imagine Nation Brewing Co. is launching an art and literature magazine that celebrates beer’s place in our lives: Beyond Beer. The magazine represents an extension of Imagine Nation’s mission to joyfully address the challenges of our time and fuel social change through celebration and dialogue. They’re inviting writers, artists, and beer lovers to submit for publication their best written and visual arts—fiction, nonfiction, photography, painting—anything that would be best enjoyed while sipping a good beverage. Submission deadline is December 15th. More information on Submission guidelines can be found on the website and you can also contact Beyond Beer's Editor, and EVST Alum, Colin May. 

UM Flathead Lake Biological Station video on invasive mussels in Montana.

The UM Flathead Lake Biological Station has produced a 2-minute video on the invasive mussels that have recently been detected here in Montana. 

Sad occurrence of Snow Geese trapped and dying in the Berkeley Pit. 

Recently a flock of thousands of migrating Snow Geese took a break, unfortunately landing in the Berkeley Pit in Butte. Read or listen to the Montana Public Radio article “Thousands Of Migrating Snow Geese Die In The Berkeley Pit”. 

Nominate someone for UM’s Above & Beyond Award. 

The new UM Above and Beyond Award recognizes campus individuals who provide excellent customer service to students and other members of the campus community. To nominate a UM employee, visit this link for the Above and Beyond Award.

UM Dining’s annual Cookie Cook-off, Dec 20. 

UM students, faculty, staff and their families are invited to join UM Dining for some tasty and charitable holiday fun at the 19th annual Great UM Christmas Cookie Cook-Off. This year’s event, themed “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” will be held from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, in the Lommasson Center’s Food Zoo dining room. Guests may bring home up to half the cookies they bake, and the remainder will be donated to local youth homes, senior homes, group shelters and other nonprofit organizations.Event sponsor Sysco Food Service of Montana will donate about 800 pounds of cookie dough ingredients and decorations this year. Participants only need to bring their holiday spirit. Every year, more than 30 campus departments participate in this event and donate about 300 dozen cookies to 16 local charities. The event also features beverages, music and a children’s play area. Read more: UM Dining to Host 19th Annual Christmas Cookie Cook-Off

Solar Solstice Rally, Dec 21. 

What: Help us make Missoula the image of solar energy! Super short words of inspiration at 5:10, photo op at 5:20. Bring lights or candles, dress in bright yellows and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies.  Sing the Solar Carol (below) Facebook event can be found here. Who: Climate Smart Missoula, 350 Missoula, AERO, Hellgate S.A.V.E., Missoula Community Foundation, MT Conservation Votes Education Fund, MREA, Sierra Club. When: Winter Solstice, Wednesday Dec 21, 5-5:30. Where: Downtown at Higgins and Banks St, site of our solar phone charger (outside of Hunter Bay) near Higgins Street Bridge. Solar Carol found here.

Yield to the Bus and Stop at the Stop Signs – don’t get fined! 

To keep everyone safe and to keep the buses running on time, Missoula has a Yield to the Bus ordinance. The City ordinance states that drivers must yield to the bus and allow it to merge into traffic when the flashing “Yield” sign on the rear of the bus is illuminated. Drivers who violate the law can face a fine of up to $500. UM has some new Stop Signs near bike lanes, and will be vigorously enforcing those signs to get folks used to stopping at these hazardous intersections. Yield and Stop – not just a good idea – it’s the law. It is good to be courteous always, especially in bad weather conditions! 

Open Country Press call for Contemporary Montana Writing, deadline December 31.

Open Country Press seeks submissions from dynamic and original voices for BRIGHT BONES: CONTEMPORARY MONTANA WRITING, an anthology of innovative literature. We are looking for fresh poems, stories, lyric essays and translations, as well as cross-genre, collaborative and experimental works. Emerging and established writers from Montana and/or those who have spent a significant amount of time in Montana are invited to submit 3-5 poems or up to 20 pages of prose or other (no previously published work, please). The Deadline is DECEMBER 31!   

Army Corps to keep Yellowstone River dam intact, build fish bypass.

The Yellowstone River has the longest stretch of undammed river in the lower 48 states. But it does have a dam near its confluence with the Missouri. That old dam has been a subject of controversy as it threatens endangered sturgeon. Wildlife advocates called for replacing the dam with pumps, but looks like the decision has been made to try a fish passage channel instead: The Obama administration today said it will build a new fish bypass channel on the Yellowstone River to help endangered pallid sturgeon get past a dam to their breeding grounds. The decision is a disappointment to environmental groups, which have urged the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to remove the river's century-old dam. Only about 125 of the prehistoric fish remain in the lower Yellowstone River, stuck behind a dam that the government acknowledges is "essentially a total barrier." Environmentalists wanted the corps and Reclamation to replace the dam with irrigation pumps. But the agencies found that such pumps would need more power than the area provides. Instead, they will build a fish bypass channel and a new concrete weir. The channel will be 15,500 feet long, improving an existing side channel that the fish rarely use. The project will cost $57 million, far cheaper than the $478 million estimate for installing pumps. Construction could begin as early as next spring. Mike Ryan, Reclamation's Great Plains regional director, said that among the alternatives considered, the plan "provides the best opportunity for fish and farms to co-exist." The Fish and Wildlife Service also threw its support behind the plan, with Mountain-Prairie Regional Director Noreen Walsh calling it "a positive outcome" after years of evaluation and planning. But Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council say it will mean the sturgeon's extinction. "Once again, the government is ignoring the science and wasting tens of millions of dollars on an 'unfounded' and 'purely theoretical' plan that's a waste of taxpayer dollars that won't help save these amazing 'dinosaur fish,'" said Matt Skoglund, director of NRDC's Northern Rockies office. "The way to ensure the pallid sturgeon's survival has been pointed out by state and federal biologists: Remove the intake dam and open up the Yellowstone River, while still providing the irrigators with all of the water they need through pumps and other measures." The dam is part of the Lower Yellowstone Project, which began in 1905 and now provides water to more than 54,000 acres in Montana and North Dakota. It is 70 miles upstream from where the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers converge. Article by Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter. 

Negotiators release Water Resources Development Act deal; Boxer blasts 'poison pill'.

House and Senate negotiators released a compromise Water Resources Development Act bill this afternoon. They plan to send it to President Obama before the end of the week. The "Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act," S. 612, authorizes $170 million for communities facing drinking water emergencies, including related to lead. The legislation also includes a provision authorizing U.S. EPA to approve state coal ash disposal programs. And another for the agency to reimburse states and tribes for costs associated with the Gold King mine spill. Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she would oppose the measure if the drought provision proposed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is included. McCarthy's proposal would clear the way for increased pumping of water from California's Bay Delta region to agricultural regions and other areas hit by drought. Environmental groups, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that would override the federal Endangered Species Act, harming salmon and other species. "This legislation will bring more water to our communities and supports critical storage projects," McCarthy said in a statement. "It also provides resources for water desalination, conservation, efficiency, and recycling projects." McCarthy worked on the provision with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Boxer, however, said the language could put WRDA in peril for this year, meaning Congress would have to start over next year. "I was stunned to see comments made by Kevin McCarthy that the outrageous poison pill that he is trying to place on WRDA is 'a little small agreement' on California drought," Boxer said in a statement. "They have taken a very bipartisan WRDA jobs bill and now have jeopardized it completely." Boxer added, "This bill won't go anywhere in the Senate if I have anything to do with it, because it will result in the loss of thousands of fishery jobs, it will roll back the Endangered Species Act which was signed by President Nixon, and it will also take away power from Congress to approve new dams all over the country." Despite the bipartisan tone of McCarthy's statement, a handful of Democratic lawmakers from California wrote to the Obama administration's Council on Environmental Quality urging the administration to oppose McCarthy's move. The lead-related funds, which would have to be appropriated, include $100 million under the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Capitalization Grants and $20 million under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. Lawmakers in favor of helping communities like Flint, Mich., are waiting for the release of spending legislation in the coming days. Article by Marc Heller, E&E News reporter. 

AREA HOLIDAY GET TOGETHERS.

  • Bitterroot Water Forum Holiday Party – a Celebration of Clean Water and Community!When/Where: Tuesday, December 13th from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at the Elks Lodge 203 State St, Hamilton, MT 59840 What: A chance to celebrate and thank you for your support of clean water in the Bitterroot.
  • Lolo Watershed Group's holiday celebration, Dec 15.Let it Snow, so Lolo Creek Flows! Holiday cheer, live music, story-telling, silent auction and Lolo Watershed Group displays. All welcome and more information found on LWG Facebook page. WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, December 15, 5:30-8pm at Travelers Rest State Park visitors center, 6717 HWY 12, a few miles west of Lolo. If you would like to carpool to this event, contact Laura. 
  • Sierra Club HOLIDAY PARTY, Dec 16. Food, Friends, Fun, Kid-Friendly! WHEN/WHERE: December 16, 5:30-9:30 pm at The Public House @ 130 E. Broadway (half a block from Post Office). For more information contact David Merrill.

This Newsline prepared by Vicki Watson and Laura Zanolli. Please send any comments to the Editor.