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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) seeks public review of its proposal to acquire nearly 24 acres of land including a building that houses a visitor center, museum and artifacts at Travelers’ Rest State Park near Lolo. No state revenues would be used in this purchase. This acquisition would provide increased recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to the area and allow for additional educational opportunities at the park. A draft environmental assessment (EA) has been prepared for this proposal.
(Acquisitions, Trades & Leases - 04/20/2012)

Decision Notice for the Amelia Island WMA Ag Lease
(Decision Notices - 04/20/2012)

Surveys in the headwaters of Crawford Creek in 2003 documented the presence of a small population of pure native westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) above a waterfall barrier. Downstream Crawford Creek supported brook trout and hybridized WCT trout. A barrier was constructed on lower Crawford Creek in 2005. In 2006, approximately 1.5 miles of Crawford Creek upstream of the constructed fish barrier was treated with rotenone (EA 5/16/2006; DN 8/28/2006). A total of 196 live juvenile and adult WCT were transferred in 2007 and 2008 to the fishless habitat in Crawford Creek. Surveys in 2009 found rainbow and hybrid trout above the fish barrier. The Lewis and Clark National Forest identified a road crossing and culvert replacement project 0.10 miles downstream of the current failing fish barrier and was designed to meet requirements of both the USFS and the stringent criteria for a fish barrier. We propose using rotenone to remove hybridized fish from the lower reaches of Crawford Creek (1 to 1.5 miles of stream) after replacement of the old and inadequate culvert with the new culvert/fish barrier. Non-hybridized WCT remaining in the headwaters of Crawford Creek would then naturally re-populate the lower reaches of stream. The proposed action is nearly identical to the selected action described in the original EA (EA 5/16/2006; DN 8/28/2006). Under the proposed action, approximately 0.10 miles of additional downstream habitat would be treated with rotenone. Only the length of stream supporting non-native fishes would be treated. Non-hybridized WCT may currently occupy the headwaters of previously treated areas of Crawford Creek. These headwater areas would be assessed and eliminated from treatment plans. The level of environmental and human impacts described and addressed in the original EA are essentially unchanged. We also describe the two other alternatives considered. The proposed alternative would increase the total miles of stream holding non-hybridized WCT by approximately 5 percent in the Belt Creek Drainage.
(Restoration & Rehabilitation - 04/20/2012)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and the State of Montana announce the availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the proposed use of Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) grant funds to expand Montana’s Block Management Program. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the VPA-HIP on behalf of the CCC. The VPA-HIP is a program authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 that provides grants to States and tribal governments to encourage owners and operators of privately held farm, ranch, and forest land to voluntarily open land for public access for outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, and other outdoor activities. Distribution of VPA-HIP funds to landowners is administered by the State or tribal government that receives the grant. The State of Montana proposes to use VPA-HIP grant funds over a three-year period to expand the Block Management Program to include the Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program to increase access for game bird hunting and the Reconnecting Towns and Country program to increase access near certain cities and towns for hunting activities by providing incentive payments to eligible private landowners for negotiated agreements to expand public recreational access to private lands. The purpose of the PEA is to aid in providing USDA and the State of Montana decision-makers and the public with an analysis of the environmental benefits and potential impacts associated with using VPA-HIP grant funds to expand the Block Management Program. An electronic version of the Final PEA for using VPA-HIP grant funds to expand the Block Management Program and the FONSI are now located at http://public.geo-marine.com and will be available for a period of 30 days as of April 14, 2012. Electronic comments may be posted at this site as well. A copy of the Final PEA can also be reviewed at the FSA Environmental and Cultural Resource Compliance website: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=ecrc&topic=nep-cd, or at the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Recent Public Notices website: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/. Comments may also be emailed to MontanaPEA@geo-marine.com or faxed to (757) 873-3703.
(Hunting - 04/14/2012)

Decision Notice for Black Sandy State Park Proposed Office Building Project Draft Environmental Assessment April 5, 2012 Proposed Action Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) proposed to purchase and install a prefabricated concrete building on a poured concrete slab. The building would have electricity and serve as an administrative building to operate the internet based campground reservation system. Montana Environmental Policy Act Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is required by the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) to assess significant potential impacts of a proposed action to the human and physical environment. In compliance with MEPA, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was completed for the proposed project by FWP and released for public comment on February 28, 2012. Public comments on the proposed action were taken from February 28, 2012 through March 21, 2012. The EA was mailed to 35 individuals and groups. In addition, the public was notified of the public comment period for this EA by the following methods:  ‐Two public notices in each of these papers: Helena Independent Record, Butte Standard and Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  ‐One statewide press release  ‐Public notice posted on the Fish Wildlife and Parks web page: http://fwp.mt.gov  ‐A feature article on the project was published in the Helena Independent Record on February 28, 2012. Summary of Public Comment The proposed project received two comments from the public. One comment expressed support for the proposed project and stated that the project was certainly needed. The other comment did not support the proposal and recommended other alternative such as building a wood structure, further reviewing alternative “C” and using “Smart” phones instead of building a concrete office. FWP response to comments on the proposed action Comment: I support this improvement project. It is certainly needed. I would also like to see a fish cleaning station built. Response: The comment above is noted. This proposal is limited to construction of a park administration building. Comment: I do not support the construction of a prefab concrete structure at Black Sandy. The concrete bunker is not any better than a wooden structure. A wooden structure could also have electricity and air conditioning. How would either type of structure wood or concrete "fix" the wireless connection to the Helena Regional Office? The rational that this "improvement" will enhance revenue and visitor usage is unsupported. I wish the Parks Division would drop the "Colorado" solutions situation. Alternative "B" is unnecessarily. Alternative "A" or "C" should be further reviewed and evaluated. I think the new "smart" phones could solve the situation. They don't need a concrete bunker a Black Sandy. Manage the parks, don't build unnecessary infrastructure. Response: A concrete structure was selected because they are prefabricated and do not require specifications for a contractor to build which increases costs. A concrete structure is also more durable and vandalism resistant. The proposal is to install a pole with a signal booster on the building that would operate the reservation computer system from a cell phone signal. Smart phones would not solve the problem because we currently do not have cell phone coverage in the park. Decision There are no modifications necessary to the Draft Environmental Assessment based on public comment. The Draft Environmental Assessment with this Decision Notice will serve as the final document for the proposal. I find there is no significant impact on the human and physical environments associated with this project. Therefore, I conclude that the Environmental Assessment is the appropriate level of analysis and an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Appeal This project is subject to appeal, which must be submitted to the FWP Director (Mr. Joe Maurier, Director, Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620‐0701) in writing and post marked within 30 days of the date on this decision notice. The appeal must specifically describe the basis for the appeal, explain how the appellant has previously commented to the department or participated in the decision‐making process, and lay out how FWP may address the concerns in the appeal. Gerald Walker Regional Park Manager A Division of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fwp.mt.gov/parks
(Decision Notices - 04/05/2012)



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