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The enclosed draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared regarding a proposed grazing lease renewal on a portion of the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area (BTWMA). The 32,318 acre WMA is located in west central Montana along the western and northern edge of the Big Belt Mountains, occupying land in both Lewis and Clark and Cascade Counties. Questions and comments on the EA will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. March 20, 2014. The proposed 160-acre grazing lease would allow cattle to be utilized as a management tool to remove residual vegetation, thus enhancing the availability and palatability of elk and mule deer forage on that portion of the WMA to be grazed. This portion of the WMA has been successfully grazed in a similar fashion with adjacent and cooperating lessee Voegele’s Inc. for 21 years.
(Acquisitions, Trades & Leases - 02/27/2014)

In January 2014, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) completed an environmental assessment (EA) to improve the facilities at Blanchard Lake Fishing Access Site (FAS) west of Whitefish, Montana. Based on the analysis completed in the EA and the public comments, MFWP decided to proceed with all the proposed improvements as presented in the EA. The original decision notice can be viewed at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/decisionNotices/pn_0676.html . Since the publication of the original EA decision notice for the FAS improvements, MFWP has determined that installation of an automated entrance gate would not meet the intended objectives of the improvement, which was to deter after-hours use of the site. The upper parking area would remain outside of the gate and people could still park there and walk into the site after hours. In addition, the costs associated with the automatic gate, its installation and maintenance, would exceed current budget allowances. Therefore, as set forth in the Amended Decision Notice for the Blanchard Lake Fishing Access Site Improvements, MFWP will not proceed with the installation of an automatic entrance gate to the lower parking area at the FAS. No changes are required to the original Blanchard Lake Fishing Access Site EA if the automatic gate is not installed. All other proposed improvements will be initiated as described.
(Decision Notices - 02/26/2014)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) proposes to renew an agricultural (crop / hay) lease on 152 acres of Elk Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The proposed lease will be for a 3-year period (April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2017). The purpose of the proposed lease is to provide cover and forage for wildlife, especially white-tailed deer and pheasants. Elk Island WMA was purchased by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) to maintain a woodland/cropland complex to benefit a diversity of wildlife while maximizing hunting opportunities, primarily for white-tailed deer and pheasants. The proposed action is to continue a share-crop agreement on 152 ac of the WMA with a long-time, competent lessee. The lessee will cultivate and retain a portion of the hay/grain crop harvest, leaving the remaining crop standing for wildlife use during winter months. Utilizing the EA and public comment, a decision must be rendered by FWP which addresses the concerns and issues identified for this proposed action. FWP’s analysis supports the agricultural lease of Elk Island WMA as proposed. 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, and that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. After review of this proposal, it is our decision to accept the draft EA as supplemented by this Decision Notice as final, and to recommend the continuation of the agricultural lease for Elk Island WMA.
(Decision Notices - 02/26/2014)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) proposes to renew an agricultural (crop / hay) lease on 323 acres on Seven Sisters Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The proposed lease will be for a 3-year period (April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2017). The purpose of the proposed lease is to provide cover and forage for wildlife, especially white-tailed deer and pheasants. Utilizing the Environmental Assessment (EA) and public comment, a decision must be rendered by FWP which addresses the concerns and issues identified for this proposed action. FWP’s analysis supports the agricultural lease of Seven Sisters WMA as proposed. We find there to be no significant impacts on the human and physical environments associated with this project. Therefore, we conclude that the EA is the appropriate level of analysis, and that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. After review of this proposal, it is our decision to accept the draft EA as supplemented by this Decision Notice as final, and to recommend the continuation of the agricultural lease for Seven Sisters WMA.
(Decision Notices - 02/26/2014)

The enclosed draft Environmental Assessment (EA) proposal has been prepared for your review. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks¿ land lease-out policy, as it pertains to the disposition of interest in Department lands (89-1-209), requires that an EA be written for all new leases, lease extensions or lease renewals. This draft EA assesses the potential impacts from grazing cattle on the Haymaker Wildlife Management Area relative to a proposed grazing lease renewal.
(Acquisitions, Trades & Leases - 02/21/2014)



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