Thu Mar 14 09:42:00 MDT 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.