Tue Jul 17 15:05:00 MDT 2012
Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), Region One, has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for a proposed action involving agricultural activities being performed by a private operator to supplement agency activities aimed at improving food and cover managed as wildlife habitat at the North Shore State Park/Wildlife Management Area in Flathead County, Montana. The draft EA was out for a 2-week public review through July 12, 2012. Seven comments were received, six in favor of the project. The other comment expressed concern about increased crop damage caused by deer and increased risk of vehicle collisions on the adjacent highway. Although the farming will provide some benefit for while-tailed deer, we do not expect this action to increase deer populations or deer use of the fields because this farming proposal would implement farming practices similar to those in the past and on neighboring farm fields. This proposal is intended to benefit primarily waterfowl and upland game birds. There were no modifications to the draft EA; therefore, the plan is accepted as written, and the draft EA and the decision notice serve as the final document. Based on the EA and public comment, it is recommended that the Commission approve the North Shore SP/WMA farming proposal as written.