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Meetings set on draft statewide fisheries management plan

Fishing - Region 5

Tue Sep 11 14:18:00 MDT 2012

BILLINGS Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are asking for comment on a draft statewide fisheries management plan that would establish goals and direction for the state’s fisheries for the next six years. 
The plan addresses fisheries management, habitat protection and improvement, fishing access and angling opportunities.
An open-house meeting to discuss the plan is set for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 at FWP’s Region 5 headquarters, 2300 Lake Elmo Dr. in Billings Heights. Other public meetings to discuss and answer questions about the draft plan are scheduled in September across the state.  For a complete meeting list, visit the FWP website at   
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 and Parks in Helena. "The plan will provide guidance to the public and decision makers for each of Montana's river drainages."
According to Rich, FWP needs a long-term plan that provides specific direction and goals, but that is flexible enough to allow for adaptive management based on changing circumstances within agreed-upon sideboards.
The draft plan recently was presented to the FWP Commission and a final plan, based on public comment and an environmental analysis, is set for release later this year. The complete plan is available online at and click on "Statewide Fisheries Management Plan." 
"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."
The deadline for comment is Friday, Oct. 12.
Comments can be submitted online at or sent by mail to: Statewide Fisheries Management Plan, Montana FWP, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620. For additional information, call Don Skaar at 406-444-7409.