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Wood's Ranch Wildlife Management Area Blowdown Salvage Project Decision Notice

03/27/2020

FWP is proposing to conduct timber salvage treatments on approximately 86 acres within the 445-acre project area on the WRWMA. FWP is also proposing to monitor bark beetle infestation within the project area and remove infested trees for up to five years (through April 2025). The purpose of this project is to: • reduce accumulations of downed timber that could restrict ungulate movement in the blowdown area; • reduce susceptibility of adjacent stands of trees to future bark beetle infestation; • reduce fuel loading and removing downed wood that may present a barrier to fire suppression in the event of a wildfire; • sell resulting merchantable timber byproducts to offset the cost of tree removal before the trees lose commercial value; and • if surplus revenue is generated from the project, use those funds to pay for future rehabilitation and forest management on the WRWMA as well as forest management work on other FWP properties across the state. The proposed treatments would include 86 acres of mechanical timber harvesting, monitoring of bark beetle infestation and removal of infested trees within the 445-acre project area for up to five years, log hauling and road maintenance on 2.0 miles of existing roads, prescribed burning (pile burning), rehabilitation of disturbed areas (such as grass seeding bare soils), noxious weed control, and tree planting (if needed). The initial timber salvage of 86 acres would occur between July 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021, in order to remove the trees before bark beetles can complete their life cycle in the downed/wind-damaged trees. Following this action, FWP anticipates that elk and deer foraging opportunities would be improved due to removal of blown down trees that restrict movement in the area. The treatment would also reduce the risk of bark beetle infestation in adjacent forested stands, reduce fuel loading, and may benefit cavity nesting species (through the retention of broken top snags). Costs to FWP for these treatments are expected to be covered by the sale of merchantable timber byproduct. Any revenue in excess of project costs would be deposited into the legislatively established FWP Forest Management Account to implement further forest management projects pursuant to the provisions of 87-1-201(9)(a)(iv), Montana Code Annotated (MCA).

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)

Hardy Creek Restoration Fill Source EA Decision Notice

03/19/2020

The proposed action allows for the use of fill from two potential sources. The two fill sources that may be used include 1) fill from the south end of the Hardy Creek channel gravel pit, and 2) fill that is present next to the Pelican Point Pond #1 on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Fishing Access Site. The fill next to the Pelican Point Pond #1 is a hill that consists of topsoil, which was likely formed during the construction of the original gravel pit (now Pelican Point Pond #1). The final selection of the fill source for the project will be dependent upon the conditions of the site when construction is able to begin (e.g., how much water is present, effectiveness of dewatering techniques), cost and effectiveness of the options, and the professional expertise of the design consultant, contractor, and FWP representatives. Approximately 3,300 cubic yards of fill is needed to construct the floodplain and channel and approximately 9,000 cubic yards of fill is available in the form of the hill next to the Pelican Point Pond #1.

(Region 4 - Decision Notices)

Thompson River Fishing Access Site Draft Environmental Assessment

03/13/2020

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) proposes to purchase 40-acres on the Thompson River to be managed as an undeveloped, walk-in Fishing Access Site (FAS) approximately five miles east of the city of Thompson Falls. This proposal would preserve intact habitat for critical fish and wildlife species, while allowing public access.

(Region 1 - Acquisitions, Trades & Leases)

Amelia Island WMA Ag Lease EA Decision Notice

03/11/2020

The 191-acre, Amelia Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was obtained by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) in 1980 using hunting license and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration funds. The management goal of this property is to protect existing riparian habitat and maintain a mosaic of native and cropland habitat for the benefit of white-tailed deer and pheasant, thereby providing recreational opportunity for sportsmen. The 48 acres of the WMA associated with the proposed agricultural lease were cultivated prior to acquisition. The proposed management action would be limited to these irrigated fields allowing the lessee to cultivate and harvest a crop in a portion (approximately 75%) of the cropland. In return, the lessee would be required to cultivate and leave standing annual habitat plots in the remaining portion (approximately 25%) of the cropland for the benefit of wildlife. In accordance with the Environmental Assessment process, a decision must be rendered by FWP which addresses the concerns and issues identified for this proposed action. We find there to be no significant impacts on the human and physical environments associated with this project. Therefore, we conclude that the Environmental Assessment is the appropriate level of analysis. After review of this proposal, it is our decision to accept the draft Environmental Assessment as supplemented by this Decision Notice and changes herein as final, and to recommend proceeding with the proposed Amelia Island WMA agricultural lease.

(Region 7 - Decision Notices)

Isaac Homestead WMA Ag Lease EA Decision Notice

03/11/2020

The 1,169-acre, Isaac Homestead Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was obtained by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) in 1969 using hunting license and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration funds with subsequent additions occurring in 1970 and 1973. The management goal of this property is to protect existing riparian habitat and maintain a mosaic of native and cropland habitat for the benefit of white-tailed deer and pheasant, thereby providing recreational opportunity for sportsmen. The 345 acres of the WMA associated with the proposed agricultural lease were cultivated prior to acquisition. The proposed management action would be limited to these irrigated fields allowing the lessee to cultivate and harvest a crop in a portion (approximately 75%) of the cropland. In return, the lessee would be required to cultivate and leave standing annual habitat plots in the remaining portion (approximately 25%) of the cropland for the benefit of wildlife. In accordance with the Environmental Assessment process, a decision must be rendered by FWP which addresses the concerns and issues identified for this proposed action. We find there to be no significant impacts on the human and physical environments associated with this project. Therefore, we conclude that the Environmental Assessment is the appropriate level of analysis. After review of this proposal, it is our decision to accept the draft Environmental Assessment as supplemented by this Decision Notice and changes herein as final, and to recommend proceeding with the proposed Isaac Homestead WMA agricultural lease.

(Region 7 - Decision Notices)

Mt. Haggin WMA-German Gulch Grazing Lease Decision Notice

03/09/2020

The Decision Notice has been prepared to renew the Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area-South grazing lease for a 5-year term to extend from June 16, 2021 through October 5, 2025. It would continue the current fee grazing usage of 321 Animal Units/1,188 Animal Unit Months (AU/AUM) for three local livestock producers (Thompson Ranch, Bacon Ranch and Ralston Ranch) plus an additional 178 AU/658 AUM through an exchange of use agreement with the Ralston Ranch. This would bring the total livestock use on the Mount Haggin WMA-South grazing system to 499 Animal Units/1,846 Animal Unit Months. The annual period of use would continue to be June 15 through October 5.

(Region 3 - Decision Notices)

Mt. Haggin WMA-South Grazing Lease Renewal Decision Notice

03/09/2020

The Decision Notice has been prepared to renew the Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area-German Gulch grazing lease for a 10-year term to extend June 2021 through October 2030. The grazing lease is part of a cooperative grazing program with the U.S. Forest Service on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest which began in 1989. It consists of a rest-rotation grazing system for 436 Animal Unit Months with the Peterson Fairmont Ranch. The proposed grazing program would encompass approximately 9,287 acres owned by FWP and approximately 10,829 acres administered by the USFS. Total acreage involved would be approximately 20,106 acres. This cooperative grazing system allows for landscape level management of elk winter range, along with wildlife habitat in general, across ownerships and has demonstrated the compatibility of livestock production and wildlife/recreation-based economies.

(Region 3 - Decision Notices)

Martin Creek Westslope Cutthroat Trout Restoration Public Scoping Notice

03/05/2020

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is conducting scoping to solicit public input on a proposal to restore Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WCT) in Martin Creek. Restoring, maintaining and protecting native species and their habitats is one of FWP’s strategies to meet the agencies goal to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and wildlife populations, their habitats, and the public’s opportunity to enjoy them.

(Region 1 - Public Scoping)

Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment to Replacement License Administrative Rule

03/05/2020

On March 23, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold a public hearing at the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Headquarters Building, 1420 E. 6th Avenue, Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed amendment of administrative rule 12.3.403 regarding replacement licenses. The department is transitioning from the thermal paper licenses and permits to regular paper for licenses and permits. This change may result in customers needing to replace licenses with more frequency. The proposed rule amendments make it more convenient for customers by removing the limit of reprints allowed and the requirement for customers to sign an affidavit to receive a replacement license or permit.

(Headquarters - Rules)

C Ben White Memorial FAS Acquisition and Development--Draft EA

02/27/2020

FWP seeks public review of its proposal to acquire approximately 97 acres of private land along the West Fork of the Bitterroot River in Ravalli County, for creation of the C. Ben White Memorial Fishing Access Site (FAS). The proposed FAS would expand the currently leased W. W. White Memorial FAS and permanently protect access, recreation, and wildlife values at the gateway of the West Fork canyon. Proposed FAS developments include expanded day-use improvements, a small campground with 1-3 sites, river-bottom and upland parking areas, 2 vault latrines, and walking trails. The existing boat-launch area would mostly remain the same with possible minor improvements. Fishing, hunting, and wildlife-watching opportunities would increase as a result of the additional acreage. A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared that describes and analyzes the proposal. The public comment period will extend 30 days to March 27. Deadline: March 27

(Region 2 - Acquisitions, Trades & Leases)

 

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