Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks proposes construction of a fish barrier on Elkhorn Creek (EC; Beartooth Wildlife Management Area) and removal of non-native fishes upstream of the barrier with electrofishing techniques or piscicides. Genetic samples collected in 2009 from the headwaters of Elkhorn Creek revealed that westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) are less than 1% hybridized in the uppermost ½ to 1 mile of stream. These very slightly hybridized WCT would not be removed and would serve as the source of colonists for downstream reaches of Elkhorn Creek where fish removals would occur. If hybridization has increased to unacceptable levels since the last genetic testing in 2008 (> 1%); then complete eradication of hybrid trout and brook trout would be considered. A total of approximately 9 miles of stream would be affected by this project. In the event complete eradication is necessary, non-hybridized WCT (live fish or eyed-eggs) would be transferred from a separate drainage. Two comments on the project were received. Based on the Environmental Assessment, public comment, and the current high risk of extinction of genetically pure WCT in the Missouri River Drainage, the decision to proceed with Alternative 2, the proposed action was selected (Decision Notices - Wed Dec 21 15:39:00 MST 2011)
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) received a 124 permit Joint Application from the City of Lewistown (the City) that describes a proposed project to drain East Fork Reservoir to repair the damaged gate stem on the upstream face of East Fork Dam. FWP completed a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) as part of the Stream Preservation Act (124) review on behalf of the City to meet the requirements of the Montana Environmental Policy Act(MEPA). The EA was available for comment on the FWP web site from June 21 to July 22, 2011. One comment in support of the project as described was received. Five comments were received that opposed the drawdown as proposed. Based on the Environmental Assessment, public comment, and benefits and risks associated with this project as well as the ability to mitigate the potentially significant impacts by implementing the drawdown and refilling plans submitted by the City Of Lewistown and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the decision was that there would be no significant impacts on the human and physical environments associated with this project if mitigation measures are required as conditions in the 124 Permit. The EA is the appropriate level of analysis and no modifications to the Draft Environmental Assessment are necessary based on comments, and the Draft EA and together with this Decision Notice, will serve as the final MEPA documents for this permitting action. (Decision Notices - Wed Dec 21 13:16:00 MST 2011)
The attached Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared for the proposed Adaptive Management Adjustments to the Interagency Bison Management Plan. This proposes the following adaptive management adjustments to the IBMP:
• Allow bison on habitat on FS and other lands north of the park boundary and south of Yankee Jim Canyon. Bison would not be allowed north of the hydrological divide (i.e., mountain ridge-tops) between Dome Mountain/Paradise Valley and the Gardiner Basin on the east side of the Yellowstone River, and Tom Miner basin and the Gardiner Basin on the west side of the Yellowstone River (see Map #2 on page 13).
• Trailer up to 300 female and calf bison testing negative for brucellosis from the Stephens Creek capture facility to a double-fenced quarantine facility in Corwin Springs for holding until release back into Yellowstone National Park (YNP) in spring as necessary. The quarantine facility in Corwin Springs is leased by APHIS and the State of Montana and APHIS have collaborated to complete environmental analyses for use of the facility.
• Evaluate the effects of these adjustments and modify as necessary to prevent bison from occupying lands north of the hydrological divide and minimize the risk of transmission of brucellosis to livestock.
The migrating bison within the expanded tolerance area would still be moved back into YNP by May 1 of each year.
This Draft EA is available for review in Helena at FWP’s Headquarters, in Bozeman at the above address, or viewed on FWP’s Internet website: http://www.fwp.mt.gov .
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks invites you to comment on the attached proposal. The public comment period will be accepted until January 13 at 5 p.m. Comments should be sent to the following:
(Plans - Thu Dec 15 11:43:00 MST 2011)
The enclosed Decision Notice has been prepared for the Carter’s Bridge Fishing Access Site Road Easement Relocation. The proposed action authorizes the relocation of a private road easement across the Carter’s Bridge Fishing Access Site from its current riverfront location onto the existing FWP road through the Carter’s Bridge Fishing Access Site. No public comment was received during a 10-day comment period ending December 12, 2011. (Decision Notices - Tue Dec 13 14:29:00 MST 2011)
FWP is proposing revised raptor propagation regulations to comply with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's new regulations. The proposed new rules increase the licensing period for raptor propagators and make other minor changes, including how captive bred raptors are banded. Today 15 raptor propagators in Montana hold the necessary state and federal licenses to raise breed and sell the captive bred raptors. Having captive bred raptors available for the sport of falconry reduces the take of wild raptors for the sport. (ARM Rules - Tue Dec 06 14:25:00 MST 2011)