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FWP Seeks Comment on Proposed WMA Grazing Leases in the Blackfoot Valley

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fish & Wildlife - Region 2

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking comment on its proposals to renew two and initiate one new grazing lease on its Blackfoot-Clearwater and Aunt Molly Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the Blackfoot Valley.

The proposed Aunt Molly WMA-Blackfoot River Ranch lease renewal would exchange grazing of approximately 300 acres of non-native pastures on the WMA for a rest-rotation grazing system on 640 acres of private native grasslands that provide important deer and elk winter forage.

On the Blackfoot-Clearwater WMA, FWP proposes to renew a lease with the Two Creek Ranch. In exchange for WMA grazing rights on 1,050 acres of primarily non-native pasture, the ranch would implement a rest-rotation grazing system on 1,000 acres of its native grasslands that provide important wildlife forage. Two Creek Ranch would also assist with weed treatment on the WMA.

The last proposal calls for entering into a new lease with the Vannoy Ranch on the Blackfoot-Clearwater WMA. This lease would allow the ranch to annually hay a 15-acre, non-native meadow on the WMA in exchange for annual weed treatment, fence removal, and irrigation management services on the WMA.

Public hunting access would be allowed on private lands involved in the proposed leases. The leases would be effective from May 15, 2013 to August 31, 2018. Draft environmental assessments have been prepared for these three proposals. These EA documents may be viewed on FWP’s website fwp.mt.gov under “Recent Public Notices.” The EAdocuments may also be obtained by mail from Region 2 FWP, 3201 Spurgin Rd., Missoula 59804; by phoning 406-542-5540; or by emailing shrose@mt.gov.

Comments may be made online or can be directed to Sharon Rose by mail, phone or email at these contacts and must be received by FWP no later than 5pm on May 3, 2013.