Montana fisheries officials are seeking comment on a draft statewide fisheries management plan that would establish goals and direction for fisheries management, habitat protection and improvement, fishing access and angling opportunities for the next six years. A meeting to discuss the plan will be held at the FWP Headquarters in Kalispell on Thursday, September 13. This open house will be held from 6-8:30 p.m.
To review and comment on the draft plan, visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov and click on "Statewide Fisheries Management Plan." Public comment on the plan can be submitted from Sept. 10 through Oct. 12, 2012. A statewide plan is essentially a "road map" for managing all of the state’s fisheries, said Bruce Rich, fisheries bureau chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Helena. "The plan will provide guidance to the public and decision makers for each of Montana's river drainages," he said.
According to Rich, the key for FWP is to have a long-term plan that provides specific direction and goals but one that is also flexible enough to allow for adaptive management based on changing circumstances within agreed upon sideboards.
The draft plan was recently presented to the FWP Commission and a final plan, based on public comment and an environmental analysis, is planned for release later this year. Other public meetings to discuss and answer questions about the draft plan are scheduled this month across the state. For a complete meeting list, visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov.
"Public participation is critical to the success of the plan," Rich said. "FWP's goal is to develop a plan, with public input, that will set priorities regarding desired fishing opportunities, habitat improvement projects, and enhancement of public fishing access."
Comments can be submitted online at fwp.mt.gov from Sept. 10-Oct. 12 and can also be sent by mail to: Statewide Fisheries Management Plan, Montana FWP, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT 69620). For information, call Don Skaar at 406-444-7409.