by The Standard News Service
Helena – A federal timber sale in the Mount Fleecer area southwest of Butte should be stopped because it would violate a Forest Service plan for wildlife and trees, environmental groups say in a lawsuit against the agency and its regional forester, Tom Tidwell.
The suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Missoula by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council challenges plans for the sale. The groups say the project calls for clear-cutting 133 acres, including some old-growth trees, in violation of a forest plan.
Forest Service spokesman Ed Nesselroad said Tuesday the agency had no comment.
The project in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest would remove dead trees, or “snags,” important to birds and wildlife such as elk, said Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. Birds nest in the dead trees’ cavities, and those trees provide cover for elk, Garrity said.