Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) proposes to purchase a 40 acre parcel of grazing, agricultural and forest lands in the Big Snowy Mountains, approximately 20 miles south of Lewistown, MT from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). This parcel borders mainly private land, but contains a ~30 foot corner overlap (hereafter, public access point) of United States Forest Service (USFS; Lewis and Clark National Forest, Judith Ranger District) land. This purchase would increase public access in the Big Snowy Mountains, Fergus County, MT. Funding will be provided by MFWP’s Access Public Lands (APL) program. If the property is acquired, a parking area, non-motorized trail and signage will be established that leads to this public access point onto USFS property, thereby minimizing private land trespass issues in the area. A wildlife-friendly border fence will also be constructed to mark the property boundaries and limit trespass by livestock. (Acquisitions, Trades & Leases - 09/11/2013)
This Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared for improvements to the 718-acre Fairweather Fishing Access Site (FAS), which has been a popular recreational site since its acquisition by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) in 1972. The FAS is located along the Missouri River 16 miles north of Logan, Montana. The site provides quality recreational opportunities for fishing, boating, floating, hunting, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Due to changing flows of the Missouri River and winter ice jams, river currents have undercut, scoured, and eroded the boat ramp and launch staging area. As a result, boat launching has become difficult and unsafe.
FWP proposes to construct a new boat ramp in a more protected location, move the launch staging area, and move and expand the parking area. FWP will continue to manage the site for day use only.
(Development, Improvements, and Enhancements - 09/11/2013)
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP), Region One, is seeking public comment for the Otter Island Fisheries Conservation Area Acquisition, a proposal to acquire 147 acres along the Flathead River, 1.5 miles south of downtown Kalispell. The property would be donated to MFWP by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). The property, currently referred to as the Lincoln property, in reference to a former owner, would be named the Otter Island Fisheries Conservation Area (FCA) and managed by MFWP for open space habitat and dispersed public recreation. The draft is out for a 30-day public review through October 9, 2013.
(Acquisitions, Trades & Leases - 09/10/2013)
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposes to purchase by fee title approximately 36.5 acres of riparian crop land along the Yellowstone River near Savage, Montana, for addition to the existing 1,525-acre Elk Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The property is currently operated as a private irrigated farm; the current landowners approached MFWP with an interest in selling.
The purchase, development and management of this site would enhance the functionality and broaden the “footprint” of the adjacent Elk Island WMA while helping minimize recreational conflicts with neighbors. Over the years FWP enforcement officers have responded to infrequent reports of trespassing on to neighboring private property by hunters on the WMA. (Acquisitions, Trades & Leases - 09/09/2013)
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for a proposal to purchase approximately 189 acres of farmland and wetlands located along the north shore of Flathead Lake about 4.5 miles east of the community of Somers. Funding for the project would be provided by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) through MFWP’s fisheries mitigation program to help offset impacts associated with the construction of Hungry Horse Dam. The landowner has agreed to sell this land to MFWP for $1.6 million, below its appraised market value of $1.73 million. If the sale is completed, BPA would retain a perpetual conservation easement on the property to ensure long-term protection of the acquisition.
The primary purpose of the proposed land acquisition using BPA funding is to protect ground water, surface water, and wetlands on or near Flathead Lake. This will help improve or maintain the high water quality of Flathead Lake for benefits of aquatic life and fish and wildlife habitat. Other benefits of this project include protecting and managing this land to restore or improve natural riparian/wetland habitats, to continue annual crop production to benefit resident and migratory waterfowl, to improve and maintain habitat for other wildlife, and to provide opportunities for seasonal and compatible public recreation.
The draft EA was out for a 30-day public review through August 31, 2013, and MFWP held an open house/public hearing on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. In reviewing all the public comment and other relevant information, and evaluating the environmental effects, it is recommended that MFWP pursue the acquisition of the North Shore WMA pending approval of the proposed action by the MFWP Commission and the Montana Land Board.
(Decision Notices - 09/06/2013)