Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to acquire, through donation, the water rights for Nevada Spring Creek in the upper Blackfoot River drainage near Helmville.
The water rights are currently owned by Nevada Spring Creek Partners for use as irrigation and stock water. As proposed, Trout Unlimited would purchase the rights and donate them to FWP for instream flow to benefit the fishery, contingent on the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation authorization of the change.
More water in Nevada Spring Creek would help improve habitat for fish, including native cutthroat and bull trout, in the upper Blackfoot.
According to FWP fisheries biologist, Ron Pierce, an increase to instream flow would enhance the habitat restoration efforts that have already taken place on Nevada Spring Creek, and ensure improvements to the recruitment of young native trout in the Upper Blackfoot Basin.
“Coldwater streams like Nevada Spring Creek are especially important to native trout because these fish spawn and rear in tributaries before migrating to the Blackfoot River, and they need enough cold water to allow passage to these spawning areas,” Pierce says.
A draft environmental assessment has been prepared for this proposal. Find the document online at fwp.mt.gov under “Public Notices.” Or, request it by mail from FWP, ATTN: Fisheries, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701; by phoning 406-444-1229; or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments can be submitted online at fwp.mt.gov under “Public Notices,” or should be directed to Stephen Begley at the mail, phone or email addresses above. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012.