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Therriault Creek Riparian Revegetation Project Decision Notice

09/18/2019

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks partnered with The Kootenai River Network (KRN), the USFWS Partners for Wildlife, and the local landowner to complete the Therriault Creek Restoration Project during the summer of 2005. This project reconstructed a total of 9,100 feet of entirely new stream channel that restored the stream channel, and approximately doubled the stream length by increasing meander frequency. Since 2005, MFWP has implemented three phases of revegetation efforts to increase woody vegetation cover. Previous revegetation efforts have been successful, but natural woody revegetation is slow to expand into untreated areas of the project. MFWP proposes to build on previously demonstrated successful techniques to continue the restoration of riparian restoration at the Therriault Creek Restoration Project site. The proposed project includes implementing three types of treatments to increase woody vegetation cover and improve overall riparian/floodplain function.

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)

Coal Creek Conservation Easement Draft EA

09/18/2019

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to purchase two separate and distinct but overlapping perpetual Conservation Easements (CEs) totaling 10,072.22 deeded acres in Custer and Prairie Counties, Montana. The proposed easements will be referred to as the “Coal Creek Conservation Easement”. The reason for two separate CEs, rather than one single CE, is to take advantage of available funding sources, which have somewhat unique requirements. The first CE would utilize primarily NRCS Agricultural Lands Easements (ALE) funding. The ALE program does not fit well for areas under tillage agriculture. Therefore, the ALE CE would not include land with a tillage history. The second CE would utilize Habitat Montana dollars (derived from the sale of hunting licenses) to fund the remaining acres but would encumber the entire property to ensure that the land remains in a single unit in the future. Both CEs would be administered by FWP. A Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) is available for review and public comment.

(Region 7 - Conservation Easements)

Grant Marsh Structure removal and parking lot addition

09/16/2019

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to remove or repair the following structures from the Grant Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA): 1) Remove house and foundation, all internal contents, yard fixtures, corrals and debris from homesite on the north end of the property. 2)Remove building one and all internal contents, yard fixtures and debris from building southeast of homestead. 3)Repair and improve building two and attached lean-to. FWP will develop two new gravel parking areas and replace two existing culverts on the WMA along Highway 47. Each parking area will accommodate approximately 6 vehicles. The development and improvement of this site would enhance the functionality of the WMA while facilitating public recreational opportunities. The funding for this proposed project will be derived from the 2013 Habitat Montana spending authorization. Based on the EA and FWP’s evaluation, it is our decision to proceed with FWP’s proposed action.

(Region 5 - Decision Notices)

Hardy Creek Restoration

09/13/2019

Purpose of the project: Reconnect Hardy Creek with the Missouri River by reconstructing a stream channel through a gravel pit, redefining the channel downstream of the gravel pit, and removing or modifying several culverts in lower Hardy Creek. Restoration of the channel will allow Hardy Creek to function as a spawning and rearing tributary for trout in the Missouri River. Description of the project: Hardy Creek is a small tributary (approximately 10.2 sq mi drainage area) to the Missouri River, south of Cascade, MT. Hardy Creek is a l't order stream and is designated as perennial on the 1961 USGS quad topo map approximately 0.6 miles upstream of the current Old Highway 9T. From this point downstream, Hardy Creek is designated as intermittent; however, Hardy Creek flowed year-round underneath the current I-15 during 2017, which was a dry year, and typically flows year-round downstream to the gravel pit. Hardy Creek has been impacted significantly by construction of a gravel pit on the channel by the early 1960s and the development of numerous road crossings, including in the Pistoria Tracts sub-division, the interstate on and off ramps, and Old Highway 91, all of which are within 0.5 miles from the confluence with the Missouri River. Currently, Hardy Creek flows into a 4.5-acre gravel pit, approximately 0.2 miles upstream from Missouri River (Figure CH-l). The gravel pit outlet elevation is greater than the inlet, thus the gravel pit must fill before it flows out to the Missouri River. Occasionally (when flow and rainbow trout spawning coincide) rainbows will swim up the channel to spawn and then as the water recedes adults and juveniles get trapped in the pond. Typically, the gravel pit and the channel downstream is completely dry by summer, despite perennial flow under the interstate and to the gravel pit. Downstream of the gravel pit, the Hardy Creek channel goes under a railroad bridge and through a culvert (Figure CH-1), before making its way to the Missouri River. The channel downstream of the gravel pit is poorly defined, due to the encroachment of vegetation into the channel from the dampening of flows from the gravel pit. Upstream of the gravel pit, the culvert at the Old Highway 91 is perched and prevents passage of fish into upper Hardy Creek. The project aims to reconnect Hardy Creek with the Missouri River by reconstructing the stream channel through the gravel pit, redefining the channel downstream of the gravel pit, and removing or modifying several culverts in lower Hardy Creek. Restoration of the channel will allow Hardy Creek to function as a spawning and rearing tributary for trout in the Missouri River, which would provide a significant benefit to the Missouri River fishery. The Missouri River below Holter Dam is consistently one of the most popular fisheries in the state, ranking first in angler use in 2015 with 183,479 angler days.

(Region 4 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area Single-Year Agricultural Lease Decision Notice

09/13/2019

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) proposes to lease, for a period of one-year, approximately 50 acres of the Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for wheat production. This action is part of MFWP’s ongoing effort to control weeds, improve soil health, and evaluate agricultural suitability of areas previously farmed under a life-tenancy bequest. The proposed lease area was spring tilled and summer fallowed, and prepared for planting. Under the proposed action the lessee would plant winter wheat, control weeds, amend the crop as necessary, and retain the harvest for their personal use and sale. This is a no-cost action that ultimately improves MFWP’s management options by demonstrating the agricultural suitability of a historically challenging piece of farm land. By demonstrating the site’s agricultural potential, MFWP may better be able to attract interested growers for a multi-year lease and negotiate terms that would benefit wildlife and the long-term management of the property.

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)

Hellgate Hunters and Anglers Shooting Range Grant FY20

09/04/2019

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has released a draft environmental assessment (EA) for a Shooting Range Development Grant proposal from the Hellgate Hunters and Anglers club. FWP would provide up to $12,350 in funding for projects deemed eligible for Hellgate Hunters and Anglers proposes to improve the safety of the Hellgate Archery Range by building a shooting line roof/safety canopy and installing baffles to stop overshot arrows. The Hellgate Hunters and Anglers (HHA) Hellgate Archery range is located on Spurgin Park within Big Sky Park adjacent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) office in Missoula, Montana on Tower Street, Lat. 46.8582, Long. -114.0618, SE1/4 Section 25, Township 13 North, Range 20 West. For copies of the EA, phone FWP at 406-444-9947 (Helena) or write to FWP, Attn: Wayde Cooperider, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Comments must be received by FWP no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 19, 2019. Written comments will be accepted on FWP’s website, at the address above, or by email to wacooperider@mt.gov.

(Headquarters - Recreation)

Future Fisheries Improvement Projects Decision Notice - Summer 2019 Cycle

08/29/2019

The final decision notice for projects funded by the Future Fisheries Improvement Program was completed on August 15, 2019 for four approved projects. MEPA requires Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to assess the potential consequences of the proposed action for the human and natural environment. Environmental Assessments (EA’s) were prepared and released by FWP on July 1, 2019 for four individual proposed projects associated with the Summer 2019 Future Fisheries funding cycle. The 30-day public comment period ended July 30, 2019. These proposed projects included: 1. Haughian Bass Reservoir Spillway Repair (Custer County) 2. Lolo Ditch Fish Screen (Missoula County) 3. Miller Creek Restoration and Sediment Reduction (Missoula County) 4. Nevada Creek Phase 3B Restoration (Powell County)

(Headquarters - Decision Notices)

Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement Draft Environmental Assessment

08/28/2019

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has prepared for your review a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to purchase a conservation easement totaling 9,706 acres in Treasure County, Montana. The proposed easement will be referred to as the “Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement”. The Land is located north of Hysham along the Yellowstone River and is in FWP’s Administrative Region 7, Deer/Elk Hunting District 701. The Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement is adjacent to the FWP Isaac Homestead Wildlife Management Area and publicly accessible DNRC land. The Amelia Island Wildlife Management Area and Amelia Island Fishing Access Site are directly across the Yellowstone River from the proposed Easement on the south shore. Conservation easements are partnerships between FWP and willing private landowners to conserve wildlife habitats and provide public recreational access. The landowner receives financial compensation in exchange for adopting the conservation and public access covenants of the easement while continuing to operate their agricultural operation. The overall intent of the project is to conserve and enhance wildlife habitat and provide public access to the land in perpetuity while maintaining traditional agricultural land uses.

(Region 7 - Conservation Easements)

 

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