Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Montana's Fish & Wildlife Commission is seeking comment on three rules that would temporarily close sections of the Big Hole, Clark Fork, and Blackfoot rivers. The rules address public safety concerns during construction or would allow vegetation to reestablish where work is planned this year.
Upon approval by the Fish & Wildlife Commission and local authorities, the temporary closure rules would be in effect in the following areas:
- the Powerhouse Fishing Access Site—and a portion of the Big Hole River 1,000 feet above and below the Powerhouse FAS—near Divide during reconstruction of Silver Bridge by the Montana Department of Transportation this summer and fall. The contractor will be required to maintain float passage through the construction area, with exceptions allowing short-term closures of the river or FAS to protect public safety.
- sections of the Clark Fork River and a portion of the Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area near Warm Springs at the request of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality during various phases of the Clark Fork Superfund cleanup and restoration project, ongoing through 2016.
- the Blackfoot River near Bonner to floating and swimming May 1-June 30 from Weigh Station FAS to the downstream side of the I-90 Bridge piers. This section of the river has been closed year-round since 2006 due to public safety concerns, including clean-up of sawmill debris that emerged after the removal of Milltown Dam and hazardous conditions at the bridge piers during high flows. The new rule would continue the closure during periods of high flows but allow recreation to occur the remainder of the year.
For more information, or to comment on the proposed rules online, visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Public Notices."
Comments, due by April 18, can be emailed to: BigHoleRiverClosureRuleComments@mt.gov for the Big Hole River closure rule; ClarkforkRiverClosureRuleComments@mt.gov for the Clark Fork River closure rule; or BlackfootRiverClosureRuleComments@mt.gov for the Blackfoot River closure rule.
Comments can be mailed to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.