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Libby Surround Stewardship

The Libby Surround Stewardship Project will treat hazardous fuels on 4,605 acres of land surrounding Libby, Montana.

The Libby Surround Stewardship Project will treat hazardous fuels on 4,605 acres of land surrounding Libby, Montana. This project is part of an ongoing cross-boundary effort to connect past, present, and future activities in a large project area of 263,026 acres.

Over time and in part due to fire suppression, fuels have increased creating conditions that promote uncharacteristically severe wildfires within these mixed conifer forests. As a result, there is a need to treat lands adjacent to approximately 70,000 acres of past and future treatments, expanding the continuity of fuel treatments across ownerships and the landscape.

This project is designed to reduce and mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners. These critical 4,605 acres of treatment are identified as a priority by the Montana Forest Action Plan (MFAP) and the Lincoln County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) within the Libby Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Lincoln County, the Kootenai National Forest (KNF), and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) further supports these areas to reduce hazardous fuels in the Lincoln County WUI. This work aligns with Federal and State Agencies' objectives and priorities along with the Lincoln County CWPP and the NRCS Local Working Group which acknowledge the need to improve forest resiliency in an effort to reduce the potential of wildfire impacts to public health and safety.

This cross-boundary project area includes forest health hazards and values at risk from wildfire such as the municipal watershed with a newly constructed $11.5 million-dollar replacement dam and reservoir in the Flower Creek drainage, that supplies domestic water to 1,800 households.

The project area also includes multiple operating units (OU) of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site, most importantly OU3, which is 9,200 acres and includes the now defunct vermiculite mine and surrounding forested area contaminated with asbestos. The EPA has defined a human health risk within OU3 for firefighters, loggers, and rockhounders.

Activities in this Joint Chiefs' proposal include pre-commercial thinning and fuels reduction on 3,105 acres of federal land on the KNF and 1500 acres of forest stand improvement and fuels reduction on non-industrial private forest lands (NIPF) through the NRCS' EQIP program.

Implementation of this project will serve to strengthen community involvement and education, provide jobs, and help reduce wildfire threats to the local community.

Partners: Lincoln County, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), Kootenai Forests to Rivers Initiative (KFRI), Stimson Lumber Company, Lincoln County Firesafe Council, and Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition (KFSC)

  • FY 2022
  • FY 2022 Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Project
  • Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,283,544
Montana: Kootenai National Forest, Lincoln County
Filed under: Wildland Fire, Research