US Forest Service faces lawsuit over lynx habitat in Montana's Little Belt Mountains; Native Ecosystems Council seeks to block Blankenship timber project that would harvest 500 acres, burn 561 acres

BILLINGS, Montana , June 5, 2013 () – Opponents seek to stop timber harvest in Little Belts, citing potential threat to Canada Lynx

A Three Forks environmental group is seeking to stop a proposed timber sale in Montana's Little Belt Mountains over concerns it could harm Canada lynx.

The Native Ecosystems Council says in a May 31 lawsuit that forest managers should have consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before approving the sale.

The U.S. Forest Service's Blankenship timber project along Dry Creek in Cascade and Judith Basin Counties would harvest trees across almost 500 acres and conduct burning operations on 561 acres.

It's proposed in part to reduce the risk of mountain pine beetle infestation. But the plaintiffs say the Forest Service failed to ensure that lynx are protected from disturbances to their habitat.

Canada lynx are a threatened species believed to number in the hundreds in the continental U.S.

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