HELENA — Two conservation groups are asking a federal judge to block a planned timber project on 490 acres around the watershed that supplies most of Helena’s drinking water.
Montana Ecosystems Defense Council and Native Ecosystems Council allege the U.S. Forest Service violated environmental and endangered-species protection laws in approving the project.
The groups say in the federal lawsuit filed Thursday the project will reduce habitat for threatened Canada lynx and cover for threatened grizzly bears and big-game species. They also claim the Forest Service did not analyze the effects of future logging in adjacent areas.
The project is near the Red Mountain Flume that carries water to Chessman Reservoir about 10 miles outside Helena.
Officials say a wildfire would threaten the 4.8-mile flume and could lead to sedimentation in the reservoir.
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