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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP), Region One, has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for the Flathead River Hybrid Trout Suppression Project. The project proposal was to continue removing hybrid and rainbow trout from the mouths and channels of Abbot, Sekokini, Rabe, Ivy, and Third Creeks in the mainstem and the North Fork of the Flathead River. Trapping and electrofishing would be used to catch fish during their spawning season (April-May) and move them to community fishing ponds. MFWP would also electrofish between July and September to remove hybrid and rainbow trout offspring. The goal of the proposed suppression effort is to minimize the loss of westslope cutthroat trout populations in the Flathead River system. Based on the comments received during the 30-day public comment period for the draft EA, it is recommended that MFWP implements the proposed Flathead River Hybrid Trout Suppression Project at this time. MFWP will continue to remove rainbow and hybrid trout from the five specified streams in the upper mainstem and North Fork Flathead River to reduce the threat of hybridization with westslope cutthroat trout. No changes were made to the draft EA; therefore, the draft together with the decision notice will become the final document.
(Decision Notices - 03/19/2013)

The Isaac Homestead WMA was purchased by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) to provide hunting opportunities while also maintaining wildlife populations and the unique riparian ecosystem in a viable and healthy condition. The proposed action is to continue a share-crop agreement on ~125 acres of the WMA with a long-time, competent lessee. The fields in the proposed project area have traditionally been utilized for agricultural production. The lessee will cultivate and retain a portion of the grain crop harvest, leaving the remaining crop standing for wildlife use during winter months. The benefit and purpose of the lease is to provide winter habitat and forage, primarily for pheasants, deer, and turkeys. Standing crops also benefit migrating waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species. The area is open to public hunting during all commission-approved seasons, and provides opportunity for deer, upland game bird, and waterfowl hunting. Utilizing the EA and public comment, a decision must be rendered by MFWP which addresses the concerns and issues identified for this proposed action. MFWP’s analysis supports the agricultural lease of Isaac Homestead 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 Isaac Homestead WMA.
(Decision Notices - 03/14/2013)

The Isaac Homestead WMA was purchased by Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (MFWP) to provide hunting opportunities while also maintaining wildlife populations and the unique riparian ecosystem in a viable and healthy condition. The pastures in the proposed project area currently contain stands of rank, minimally productive vegetation that is too thick to provide ideal nesting and brood rearing habitat for pheasants and other bird species. The proposed action is to temporarily allow grazing during the winter season (Jan 15 – Mar 15), when usage of the WMA is at its lowest. Grazing will allow plants to restore vigor and seedlings to establish. The result will be healthy plant communities that are diverse, provide excellent nesting and brood rearing cover for birds, and improved forage for a variety of wildlife species. 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 Isaac Homestead 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 grazing lease for Isaac Homestead WMA.
(Decision Notices - 03/14/2013)

Seven Sisters 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 sharecrop agreement on 122 ac of the WMA with a long-time, competent lessee and to initiate a sharecrop agreement on 201 ac of the WMA that were purchased in December 2012. For both leases, lessees will cultivate and retain a portion of the hay/grain crop harvest, leaving the remaining crop standing for wildlife use during winter months. The benefit and purpose of both leases is to provide winter habitat and forage, primarily for wintering pheasants, deer, and turkeys. The WMA annually winters an average 250 white-tailed deer. Standing crops also benefit migrating waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species. The area is open to public hunting during all commission-approved seasons, and provides opportunity for deer, upland game bird, and waterfowl hunting. 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 my 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 - 03/12/2013)

Elk Island WMA was purchased by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) to provide hunting opportunities, primarily for white-tailed deer and pheasants, while also maintaining wildlife populations and the unique riparian ecosystem in a viable and healthy condition. The fields in the proposed project area currently contain stands of rank, minimally productive vegetation that is too thick to provide ideal nesting and brood rearing habitat for pheasants and other bird species. The proposed action is to implement a 3-pasture rest rotation grazing system that will allow for a range of habitat conditions to be maintained long-term while improving vegetation and soil health. Rest-rotation grazing systems provide a myriad of benefits. Grazing of one-third of pastures during the growing season provides disturbance to “set back” rank vegetative growth and promote plant species diversity. Grazing one-third of pastures after seed ripe allows cattle to trample mature seeds into the soil, which promotes germination. The remaining one-third of pastures are completely rested, which allows plants to restore vigor and seedlings to establish. The result will be healthy plant communities that are diverse, provide excellent nesting and brood rearing cover for birds, and improved forage for a variety of wildlife species. FWP’s analysis supports the grazing 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 grazing lease for Elk Island WMA.
(Decision Notices - 03/12/2013)



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