The Gallatin National Forest and City of Bozeman has decided on a plan to reduce the risk of wildfire to Bozeman's water supply.
The Bozeman Municipal Watershed Decision identifies 4,800 acres to be mechanically treated or treated with prescribed burns in the Hyalite and Bozeman Creek drainages.
These drainages provide over 80% of Bozeman's drinking water and officials multiple studies conclude a ash and sediment from a wildfire could have dramatic impacts on the water treatment facility, possibly even shutting it down.
"It really is a balance between what you can treat and where you can treat so that you don't cause more impacts to the water quality and those streams. And we also know that those drainages are used every day by thousands of people in the Bozeman area so, we need to be very sensitive to how people use those drainages and the work that we do there," says Bozeman District Ranger Lisa Stoeffler.
Forest officials say the final decision looks very much like the decision made earlier this year.
They say they tabled the decision to give the public more time to comment. Those comments are included in the newest decision.
Also included in the newest decision are any changes that might have occurred since that earlier decision, including species listings and things happening on surrounding private lands.
They're set to start this coming fall and will continue for five to seven years.
The Forest Service is asking for your help.
They say people who recreate in the National Forest will feel the greatest impact from the watershed projects.
They're asking people to let them know how to best provide updates to the public about what they're doing and when.
To find out more or to give your input, visit the Bozeman Ranger District website.