The enclosed Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared for the proposed renewal of an agricultural (hay) lease on the Dome Mountain Wildlife Management Area for a 3-year period (2012-2015). This project proposes to continue a share-crop agreement with a long-time, competent lessee whereby the lessee cultivates and retains the first-cutting of alfalfa and grain hay, then continues to irrigate but does not harvest the second growth alfalfa and grain hay instead leaving the second growth for wildlife use during winter months. The benefit and purpose is primarily for wintering elk and deer providing forage for 2,000 – 3,000 elk and 150-300 mule deer. The area is also used by upland game birds including sandhill cranes. The primary objective is to retain elk on the WMA during winter months and reduce elk presence on nearby private agricultural lands where elk come into conflict with cattle. This area is open to public hunting during the archery and general rifle seasons, and provides hunting opportunity for elk, deer and upland game birds. This agricultural field has been under lease with the same lessee since 1989. The lessee has shown initiative in farming practices to increase productivity including fertilizing and conditioning soil, treatment of noxious weeds, has maintained the fields in good condition, and has fulfilled all conditions of previous leases. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks invites you to comment on the attached proposal. The public comment period will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. April 2, 2012.
Karen Loveless Livingston Area Biologist 107 Runway Lane Livingston MT 59047 Or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org