Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for the purchase of one or more conservation easements, referred to as the Kootenai Valleys Conservation Easement Project, to protect approximately 28,000 acres of highly productive timberland and important fisheries and wildlife habitat in the far northwest corner of Montana near the City of Troy. The property is owned by the Stimson Lumber Company, Inc. The draft environmental assessment was out for a 30-day public review through August 31, 2012. A public meeting was held at the Troy High School on August 22, and the project was presented to the Lincoln County Planning Board on August 21, with the public welcome to attend. A total of 15 comments were received, with all but one strongly in favor of the project. Summaries of the public comments, public meetings, and Lincoln County Planning Board discussion, and the FWP responses to public comments are contained in the attached decision notice. In reviewing all the public comment and other relevant information, and evaluating the environmental effects, it is recommended that FWP pursue the completion of the Kootenai Valleys Conservation Easement Project subject to final approval by the FWP Commission and the State Land Board.
Gael Bissell, Wildlife Biologist Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks 490 N Meridian Road Kalispell, MT 59901 (406) 752-5501