Tue Feb 21 09:50:00 MST 2017
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 renew share-crops agreement on 170 ac of the WMA. The lessees will cultivate and retain a portion of the hay/grain crop harvest, leaving the remaining crop standing for wildlife use during winter months. The benefit and purpose of the leases are 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 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 implementation of the agricultural lease for Elk Island WMA. The Final EA may be viewed on FWP’s website: http://www.fwp.mt.gov or can be obtained upon request from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Region 7 Headquarters, P.O. Box 1630, Miles City, Mt. 59301, (406) 234-0900.