Wed Feb 26 10:42:00 MST 2014
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) proposes to renew an agricultural (crop / hay) lease on 152 acres of Elk Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The proposed lease will be for a 3-year period (April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2017). The purpose of the proposed lease is to provide cover and forage for wildlife, especially white-tailed deer and pheasants. Elk Island WMA was purchased by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) to maintain a woodland/cropland complex to benefit a diversity of wildlife while maximizing hunting opportunities, primarily for white-tailed deer and pheasants. The proposed action is to continue a share-crop agreement on 152 ac of the WMA with a long-time, competent lessee. The lessee will cultivate and retain a portion of the hay/grain crop harvest, leaving the remaining crop standing for wildlife use during winter months. 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 Elk Island 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 Elk Island WMA.