Thu Mar 14 10:29:00 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 proposed action is to continue a share-crop agreement on ~125 acres of the WMA with a long-time, competent lessee. The fields in the proposed project area have traditionally been utilized for agricultural production. The lessee will cultivate and retain a portion of the grain crop harvest, leaving the remaining crop standing for wildlife use during winter months. The benefit and purpose of the lease is to provide winter habitat and forage, primarily for pheasants, deer, and turkeys. Standing crops also benefit migrating waterfowl and a variety of other wildlife species. The area is open to public hunting during all commission-approved seasons, and provides opportunity for deer, upland game bird, and waterfowl hunting. Utilizing the EA and public comment, a decision must be rendered by MFWP which addresses the concerns and issues identified for this proposed action. MFWP’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 agricultural lease for Isaac Homestead WMA.