Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking project proposals that will help maintain flows in streams and rivers in anticipation of the low water levels that may occur this summer in some parts of the state.
“Our special drought funding cycle is for projects that will both have an immediate positive impact on our fisheries and that involve lasting changes so we are better prepared in future droughts,” said Glenn Phillips, FWP habitat protection bureau chief.
“Projects that could qualify for this funding might replace a surface diversion with a well; improve the efficiency of an irrigation system with the water savings left in-stream; or dedicate water to in-stream use through a lease agreement,” Phillips said.
Projects should result in significant benefits to fisheries on a long-term basis and water must stay in-stream over a significant length of the river or stream.
FWP and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation staff will work with successful applicants to ensure that water rights dedicated to in-stream use are protected.
The deadline to apply for this funding is March 25. The Future Fisheries Review Panel will evaluate proposals on April 2. The FWP Commission will consider projects recommended for funding by the review panel for final approval on April 10.
Applicants are encouraged to coordinate a project with the FWP fisheries biologist in the area. The Future Fisheries Program application form will be used for this special drought funding cycle. Information describing the program and the Future Fisheries grant application form are available on the FWP web page at www.fwp.state.mt.us. Click on Habitat, then Fish Habitat and look under Future Fisheries Program.
The Future Fisheries Improvement Program’s regular deadlines of July 1 and Jan. 1 are additional opportunities for project funding.