Terrestrial Habitat Restoration Initiative for Vegetative Enhancement

THRIVE aims to create the resilient vegetative conditions necessary to enable the full and sustainable recovery of endangered species on the Kootenai National Forest. We foster and coordinate partnerships that bring together land managers and wildlife biologists in order to further wildlife habitat research and adaptive management. Currently, THRIVE is developing active solutions for the maintenance or restoration of habitat conditions favored by grizzly bear and lynx.


Tailoring timber harvest techniques for huckleberry restoration

The Yaak Valley Forest Council coordinates the THRIVE partnership that brings together land managers and wildlife biologists from the US Forest Service, US Fish Wildlife Service, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The project initiates the research, design, implementation, and monitoring of vegetative treatments designed to create healthier, more resilient grizzly bear and lynx habitat and enable the full and sustainable recovery of these endangered species on the Kootenai National Forest.

Our THRIVE field crews monitor huckleberry production before and after treatment in harvest areas on the Three Rivers Ranger District. Monitoring plots are randomly selected within areas that will receive a variety of treatments. Some areas will be logged, others will be thinned and followed with prescribed fire, and a few will receive only prescribed fire. Over the next 5-7 years, our crews will monitor these plots and document how the huckleberry plants respond. This work will inform future management decisions within grizzly bear habitat, where huckleberry is an important food source.

The THRIVE partnership is blazing a new way forward on the Kootenai National Forest and beyond. The protocols developed for the project have already become the USFS Region One standard for huckleberry monitoring.

For over 15 years, YVFC has been working to create a restoration workforce and advocating for restorative forestry practices. The THRIVE huckleberry monitoring partnership is an extension of our work to create high quality habitat and resilient forests in northwest Montana.


Involving everyday people in huckleberry research

We are participating in the ground floor development of large-scale huckleberry research project headed up by Dr. Tabitha Graves of the US Geological Survey. The study is encouraging everyday people like you to get out in the woods and take simple observations of huckleberry bushes that will identify what influences the timing and success of huckleberry development across the inland northwest.

From 2015 – 2018, we will coordinate and train citizen scientists of all ages to visit specific huckleberry bushes several times over the growing season and record information on basic weather, presence of pollinators, and the number of berries on the bushes that are in each stage of ripening.  This information will be used to project the future range and condition of huckleberries, which is a integral part of not only the rural culture and economy of northwest Montana, but the recovery and existence of grizzly bears across the western United States.

If you are interested in volunteering as a citizen scientist, our Forest Watch Coordinator Jessie Grossman would welcome your call or email at (406) 295-9736 or