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FWP Approves Church Slough Boat Ramp

Fishing - Region 1

Mon Jul 22 14:21:00 MDT 2013

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), Region One, has completed a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) for a permit application from Flathead County for boat ramp construction on Church Slough (T28N, R21W, S36).

After reviewing public comments and additional information, FWP has decided to uphold the previous decision to provide a permit to Flathead County for the construction of a concrete boat ramp on Church Slough. The decision based on the EA concludes that the approval of the county’s plans to install the boat ramp at the slough does not conflict with any local, state, or federal laws. The EA attracted a large number of comments; the great majority of the 150 comments supported the county’s proposal.

In October 2009, Flathead County submitted an application for a 124 permit pursuant to the Montana Stream Protection Act to FWP in preparation for the development of a boat ramp at Church Slough. In response to the application, FWP prepared an EA pursuant to the Montana Environmental Policy Act and Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM). FWP’s review of the county’s design plan was to determine if the plan was technically sufficient and if the project would adversely affect any fish or wildlife habitat in accordance with the Stream Protection Act. In February 2010 FWP distributed the EA for public review, in April 2010 FWP published the decision notice, in June 2010 a lawsuit was filed to challenge FWP's decision, in June 2012 the county boat ramp was closed by court order, and in January 2013 FWP was remanded to District Court to complete a supplemental MEPA Analysis document.

In compliance with the court’s order, FWP prepared a draft supplemental EA and circulated it for a 30-day public comment from June 3 through July 4, 2013. This draft focused on the directions set forth in the remand order by Flathead District Court, which required FWP to analyze a new alternative that was not included in the 2010 EA and complete a more comprehensive analysis of secondary and cumulative impacts of the proposed action.

FWP received 150 comments via email, regular mail, phone, and a comment drop box at the project site. The questions and comments with FWP responses are contained in the Decision Notice for the Permit Application from Flathead County for Boat Ramp Construction on Church Slough Supplemental EA. Copies of the decision notice are available at the FWP office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Avenue, Helena; local libraries; and the FWP website at under Public Notices.

Contact person: FWP Fisheries Biologist Mark Deleray, (406) 751-4543 or e-mail to