Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), Region One, has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for a proposal to conduct a 6-year effort to investigate suppressing illegally introduced walleye in Noxon Reservoir using a variety of sampling gear and techniques. A draft EA was released for 30 days of public comment on February 28, 2013, through March 29, 2013. The public comment was extended for an additional 21 days through April 19, 2013. A public meeting was held in Thompson Falls, Montana, on March 19, 2013. A total of 431 comments were received, with 359 opposed and 72 in support of the project, plus 3 form letters and 7 petitions. Substantive issues raised include the origin of the walleye, potential bycatch of nontarget species in suppression efforts, funding availability, walleye removal techniques, and the economic impacts of both allowing walleye to establish in the lower Clark Fork and the consequences of removal attempts. Based on the numerous questions, comments, and information requests received throughout the EA process, a revised draft EA will be prepared to address these issues and provide additional information. FWP will strive in the revised draft EA to format and assemble the information in a manner that will invite public reading and understanding of the primary issues and consequences.
Kenneth Breidinger, Fisheries Biologist Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (406) 827-9320 email@example.com