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Woods Bay and Horseshoe Lake Fishing Access Site Forest Management Projects Decision Notice


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is proposing to conduct forest management activities at two Fishing Access Sites (FASs) in Region One. FWP proposes to conduct approximately 20 acres of forest management treatments to improve forest conditions at Woods Bay and Horseshoe Lake FASs in the Bigfork and Ferndale areas in Lake County. The treatments would involve the removal of primarily conifer trees (both of merchantable and nonmerchantable value) for the purpose of mitigating hazard trees in developed areas, reducing hazardous fuels in the wildland urban interface (WUI), and increasing resiliency to insects and diseases. Tree removal would be accomplished through a combination of mechanized methods. The treatments would occur in the fall and winter seasons to minimize the impacts to public recreation and minimize ground disturbance. Any revenue generated by the sale of forest products from the project would go to offset the cost of project’s design and administration.

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)

Blackfoot River FASs Forest Management Project--Decision Notice


FWP has issued a decision notice (DN) for its proposal to conduct forest management treatments on approximately 96 acres of forested land in 4 FWP Fishing Access Sites (FASs) along the Blackfoot River northeasterly of Bonner. The FASs are K. Ross Toole, Johnsrud Park, and Corrick’s River Bend in Missoula County, and River Junction in Powell County. FWP completed the public review of this proposal and its draft environmental assessment (EA), and FWP accepts the draft EA as final in the DN. FWP will request approval for this proposed project from the Fish & Wildlife Commission at its regularly scheduled meeting on October 17, 2019 in Helena.

(Region 2 - Decision Notices)

Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement Decision Notice


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to purchase a conservation easement totaling 9,706 acres in Treasure County, Montana. The proposed easement is referred to as the “Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement”. The Land is located north of Hysham along the Yellowstone River and is in FWP’s Administrative Region 7, Deer/Elk Hunting District 701. The Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement is adjacent to the FWP Isaac Homestead Wildlife Management Area and publicly accessible DNRC land. The Amelia Island Wildlife Management Area and Amelia Island Fishing Access Site are directly across the Yellowstone River from the proposed Easement on the south shore. Based on the EA, on which a total of 14 comments were received, and FWP’s evaluation, it is our decision to accept the draft EA as supplemented by this Decision Notice and changes herein as final, and to recommend proceeding with the proposed Antelope Coulee Conservation Easement.

(Region 7 - Decision Notices)

Canyon Ferry WMA Prescribed Fire Program Decision Notice


The attached decision notice is for the proposed potential use of prescribed fire for habitat management on the Canyon Ferry Ferry Wildlife Management Area (CFWMA). Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) would utilize prescribed fire on the Canyon Ferry WMA as needed to improve wildlife habitat conditions for waterfowl, upland game birds (primarily pheasant) and big game (primarily white-tailed deer and moose). Prescribed fire would be utilized to revitalize decadent stands of dense nesting cover and other areas of herbaceous vegetation, improve the structure of decadent stands of cattails and bulrushes or to help kill cattails if needed to create more open water in ponds, and to regenerate decadent stands of willows and sprouting shrubs. Prescribed fire may also be used to at least temporarily remove willows and other dense stands of brush from pond shorelines in areas to improve waterfowl access to adjacent nesting and brood-rearing habitat. Some mechanical treatment (slashing) of vegetation might occur in some areas prior to any prescribed burn to help manage/control the prescribed burn. Prescribed fire would be used as needed around the Canyon Ferry WMA as conditions and funding allows. The location and amount of acreage to be burned in any one year (if any) would vary on an annual basis. Prescribed burns would typically occur during the dormant season in late winter to early spring (late February – early April) as conditions allow, unless it was deemed that another time frame was more appropriate to achieve management objectives. Prescribed fire would not be used to burn irrigated agricultural areas that are cropped by agricultural lessees. Burn plans and prescribed fires for habitat improvement on the CFWMA would be done by USFS and/or DNRC (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) fire personnel. Montana Fish, Wildlife & 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 August 12, 2019. Public comments were taken for 30 days (through September 13, 2019). Notices regarding the EA were sent out to interested parties, and legal notices were printed in the Bozeman Chronicle, Helena Independent Record, and the Broadwater County Reporter. The Environmental Assessment was also posted on the FWP webpage: Two individuals submitted comments during the official comment period. A summary of those comments and FWP’s responses can be found in the Decision Notice. Based on the Environmental Assessment, public comments received, and benefits and risks associated with this project, it is my decision to go forward with the Preferred Alternative (Alternative B) to utilize prescribed fire as needed around the Canyon Ferry WMA to improve habitat conditions for waterfowl, upland game birds (primarily pheasants) and big game (primarily white-tailed deer and moose). I find there to be no significant impacts on the human and physical environments associated with this project. Therefore, I conclude that the Environmental Assessment is the appropriate level of analysis, and that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.

(Region 3 - Decision Notices)

Selway Creek Westslope Cutthroat Trout Conservation Project Decision Notice


A Decision Notice has been prepared to remove non-native trout from over 30 miles of Selway Creek, a stream within the Red Rock sub-basin, and its tributaries and restore an unaltered Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WCT) population. Non-native Brown, Brook and Rainbow x Cutthroat hybrid trout are present in Selway Creek. The proposed action is to use rotenone to remove non-native trout. Following non-native trout removal, WCT would be refounded by translocating aboriginal, genetically unaltered fish from up to eight populations in the Red Rock and Beaverhead sub-basins for up to five years. To provide angling opportunities while the population is being re-established, sterile triploid catchable-size WCT would be stocked in Selway Meadows for one to three years immediately following removal of non-native fish. FWP received six letters of support from organizations and individuals during a 30-day comment period ending 9 September 2019. There was one comment in opposition from an individual who preferred brook trout. There were no attendees at a public meeting held in Dillon, MT on 3 September 2019. Based on the Environmental Assessment and need to conserve Westslope Cutthroat Trout, it is my decision to proceed with the Selway Creek Westslope Cutthroat Trout conservation project. I find there to be no significant impacts on the human and physical environments associated with this project. Therefore, I conclude that the Environmental Assessment is the appropriate level of analysis, and that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.

(Region 3 - Decision Notices)

Therriault Creek Riparian Revegetation Project Decision Notice


Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks partnered with The Kootenai River Network (KRN), the USFWS Partners for Wildlife, and the local landowner to complete the Therriault Creek Restoration Project during the summer of 2005. This project reconstructed a total of 9,100 feet of entirely new stream channel that restored the stream channel, and approximately doubled the stream length by increasing meander frequency. Since 2005, MFWP has implemented three phases of revegetation efforts to increase woody vegetation cover. Previous revegetation efforts have been successful, but natural woody revegetation is slow to expand into untreated areas of the project. MFWP proposes to build on previously demonstrated successful techniques to continue the restoration of riparian restoration at the Therriault Creek Restoration Project site. The proposed project includes implementing three types of treatments to increase woody vegetation cover and improve overall riparian/floodplain function.

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)

Grant Marsh Structure removal and parking lot addition


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to remove or repair the following structures from the Grant Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA): 1) Remove house and foundation, all internal contents, yard fixtures, corrals and debris from homesite on the north end of the property. 2)Remove building one and all internal contents, yard fixtures and debris from building southeast of homestead. 3)Repair and improve building two and attached lean-to. FWP will develop two new gravel parking areas and replace two existing culverts on the WMA along Highway 47. Each parking area will accommodate approximately 6 vehicles. The development and improvement of this site would enhance the functionality of the WMA while facilitating public recreational opportunities. The funding for this proposed project will be derived from the 2013 Habitat Montana spending authorization. Based on the EA and FWP’s evaluation, it is our decision to proceed with FWP’s proposed action.

(Region 5 - Decision Notices)

Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area Single-Year Agricultural Lease Decision Notice


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) proposes to lease, for a period of one-year, approximately 50 acres of the Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for wheat production. This action is part of MFWP’s ongoing effort to control weeds, improve soil health, and evaluate agricultural suitability of areas previously farmed under a life-tenancy bequest. The proposed lease area was spring tilled and summer fallowed, and prepared for planting. Under the proposed action the lessee would plant winter wheat, control weeds, amend the crop as necessary, and retain the harvest for their personal use and sale. This is a no-cost action that ultimately improves MFWP’s management options by demonstrating the agricultural suitability of a historically challenging piece of farm land. By demonstrating the site’s agricultural potential, MFWP may better be able to attract interested growers for a multi-year lease and negotiate terms that would benefit wildlife and the long-term management of the property.

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)

Future Fisheries Improvement Projects Decision Notice - Summer 2019 Cycle


The final decision notice for projects funded by the Future Fisheries Improvement Program was completed on August 15, 2019 for four approved projects. MEPA requires Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to assess the potential consequences of the proposed action for the human and natural environment. Environmental Assessments (EA’s) were prepared and released by FWP on July 1, 2019 for four individual proposed projects associated with the Summer 2019 Future Fisheries funding cycle. The 30-day public comment period ended July 30, 2019. These proposed projects included: 1. Haughian Bass Reservoir Spillway Repair (Custer County) 2. Lolo Ditch Fish Screen (Missoula County) 3. Miller Creek Restoration and Sediment Reduction (Missoula County) 4. Nevada Creek Phase 3B Restoration (Powell County)

(Headquarters - Decision Notices)

Cooney Creek Electrofishing Decision Notice


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) in collaboration with the University of Montana and the MPG Ranch propose to remove non-native trout species using backpack electrofishing equipment in Cooney Creek. The proposed project would occur annually during the summer months (June, July, August, and September) starting in 2019. Funding for the project will be primarily provided by MPG Ranch with labor assistance from MFWP. The goal of the project is to suppress non-native rainbow trout and brook trout to benefit native westslope cutthroat and bull trout.

(Region 1 - Decision Notices)


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