Development, Improvements, and Enhancements

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Hardy Creek Restoration


Purpose of the project: Reconnect Hardy Creek with the Missouri River by reconstructing a stream channel through a gravel pit, redefining the channel downstream of the gravel pit, and removing or modifying several culverts in lower Hardy Creek. Restoration of the channel will allow Hardy Creek to function as a spawning and rearing tributary for trout in the Missouri River. Description of the project: Hardy Creek is a small tributary (approximately 10.2 sq mi drainage area) to the Missouri River, south of Cascade, MT. Hardy Creek is a l't order stream and is designated as perennial on the 1961 USGS quad topo map approximately 0.6 miles upstream of the current Old Highway 9T. From this point downstream, Hardy Creek is designated as intermittent; however, Hardy Creek flowed year-round underneath the current I-15 during 2017, which was a dry year, and typically flows year-round downstream to the gravel pit. Hardy Creek has been impacted significantly by construction of a gravel pit on the channel by the early 1960s and the development of numerous road crossings, including in the Pistoria Tracts sub-division, the interstate on and off ramps, and Old Highway 91, all of which are within 0.5 miles from the confluence with the Missouri River. Currently, Hardy Creek flows into a 4.5-acre gravel pit, approximately 0.2 miles upstream from Missouri River (Figure CH-l). The gravel pit outlet elevation is greater than the inlet, thus the gravel pit must fill before it flows out to the Missouri River. Occasionally (when flow and rainbow trout spawning coincide) rainbows will swim up the channel to spawn and then as the water recedes adults and juveniles get trapped in the pond. Typically, the gravel pit and the channel downstream is completely dry by summer, despite perennial flow under the interstate and to the gravel pit. Downstream of the gravel pit, the Hardy Creek channel goes under a railroad bridge and through a culvert (Figure CH-1), before making its way to the Missouri River. The channel downstream of the gravel pit is poorly defined, due to the encroachment of vegetation into the channel from the dampening of flows from the gravel pit. Upstream of the gravel pit, the culvert at the Old Highway 91 is perched and prevents passage of fish into upper Hardy Creek. The project aims to reconnect Hardy Creek with the Missouri River by reconstructing the stream channel through the gravel pit, redefining the channel downstream of the gravel pit, and removing or modifying several culverts in lower Hardy Creek. Restoration of the channel will allow Hardy Creek to function as a spawning and rearing tributary for trout in the Missouri River, which would provide a significant benefit to the Missouri River fishery. The Missouri River below Holter Dam is consistently one of the most popular fisheries in the state, ranking first in angler use in 2015 with 183,479 angler days.

(Region 4 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Horseshoe Lake and Woods Bay Fishing Access Site Forest Management Project Draft Environmental Assessment


FWP is proposing to conduct forest management treatments on 2 FASs in the Bigfork area in FWP Region 1. The sites proposed for treatment include Woods Bay FAS and Horseshoe Lake FAS. The treatments would involve the removal of primarily conifer trees (both of merchantable and nonmerchantable value) for the purpose of mitigating hazard trees in developed areas, reducing hazardous fuels in the wildland urban interface (WUI), and increasing resiliency to insects and diseases. Please see Narrative Summary, for a detailed description of the proposed action. If approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the work could begin as early as November 2019.

(Region 1 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area Single-Year Agricultural Lease Draft Environmental Assessment


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) proposes to lease approximately 50 acres of the 1,530-acre Ray Kuhns Wildlife Management Area for a period of one-year to evaluate site suitability for agriculture. If successful, FWP will competitively bid a multi-year lease with the intent of using farming to increase wildlife forage and cover, weed control, and improved soil health.

(Region 1 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Grant Marsh WMA Building Removal Parking Lot Improvement


FWP has posted for public review and comment, a proposal to remove or repair the following structures from the Grant Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA): 1) Remove house and foundation, all internal contents, yard fixtures, corrals and debris from homesite on the north end of the property (except existing well that will be restored to working condition). House contains asbestos materials. 2) Remove building one and all internal contents, yard fixtures and debris from building southeast of homestead. 3) Repair and improve building two and attached lean-to. FWP proposes development of two new gravel parking areas and replacement of two existing culverts on the WMA along Highway 47. Each parking area will accommodate approximately 6 vehicles. The development and improvement of this site would enhance the functionality of the WMA while facilitating public recreational opportunities.

(Region 5 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Warm Springs WMA Maintenance and Equipment Building-Draft EA


FWP invites public review and comment on its proposal to construct a 40’ x 60’ maintenance and equipment building at its Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The structure would serve as the new work and storage area for the WMA maintenance crews that operate out of the WMA, located at Warm Springs in Deer Lodge County. A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared to describe and analyze the proposal.

(Region 2 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

North Shore Wildlife Management Area Proposed Wildlife Viewing Area Draft Environmental Assessment


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking input on a proposal to create a public wildlife viewing area overlooking the 427-acre North Shore Wildlife Management Area southeast of Kalispell. FWP owns and manages the North Shore WMA located in Flathead County, approximately seven miles southeast of Kalispell and just north of Flathead Lake. The WMA is a mix of cultivated grain fields, seasonally flooded grasslands, and wooded uplands. The property abuts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 1,887-acre Flathead Lake North Shore Waterfowl Production Area (WPA), and together they protect the lake’s longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline and are part of the Audubon-designated Flathead Lake Important Bird Area (IBA). The agricultural land of the WMA is managed for wildlife with leave grain left by contract farmers to provide for the energetic requirements of thousands of waterfowl that use the north shore of Flathead Lake as a stopover on their migration north. Over 100 species of birds have been documented using the WMA, including tens of thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors. FWP proposes building a wildlife viewing area on the northwest corner of the WMA. Construction would include: • Improving a portion of the existing access road from the parking lot to the viewing platform • Potentially widening the parking area to provide space for a bus to turn around • Constructing a 5-ft high, 256 square foot viewing platform of compressed gravel with safety railing • Building fences and planting shrubs to screen the viewing area from wildlife.

(Region 1 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Rosebud East FAS Site Improvements Draft EA


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to construct an ADA-compliant, handicap-accessible fishing pier at Rosebud East Fishing Access Site (FAS). Rosebud East FAS, located on the Yellowstone River at Forsyth, Montana, was acquired in fee title in 1968. Existing facilities on the 29-acre FAS include: a singlewide concrete boat ramp; parking area; concrete vault latrine; staging area, Rosebud Fishing Access Road, and campground loop and campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. The objective of the proposed improvement project is to construct a handicap accessible fishing pier with a concrete sidewalk and parking area at Rosebud East FAS in order to accommodate handicap visitors at the popular and heavily-used site.

(Region 7 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Two Bridges (Bridge 51) FAS EA Decision Notice


FWP has issued the decision notice for its proposal to lease approximately 2 acres of land from BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) along the Yellowstone River at Bridge 51 for the purpose of providing public access to the Yellowstone River and developing a fishing access site (FAS). The site will now be known as Two Bridges FAS. After review of this proposal, it is the decision of FWP to accept the draft environmental assessment (EA) and to recommend proceeding with the proposed Two Bridges (Bridge 51) FAS.

(Region 5 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Whitefish River Trail Extension Environmental Assessment


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public input on a draft environmental assessment of a proposed pedestrian path along the Whitefish River. Public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m., May 31, 2019. The City of Whitefish proposes to construct a four-foot-wide gravel pedestrian path along the Whitefish River that would complete the connection between Kay Beller Park and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Trail and complete a critical link in the city’s River Trail system. The project proposes construction of approximately 650 linear feet of four-foot-wide gravel pedestrian path. The path would be located within an existing easement adjacent to the Whitefish River and the Riverbend Condominium property. It would then continue north veering away from the river on the Inspiration Drive Property. The path would then connect on BNSF property to the existing City bicycle and pedestrian path. Approximately 370 linear feet of river bank would be impacted by the proposed trail. Approximately 70 linear feet of the path would encroach into the jurisdictional ordinary high water mark. At the north end of the proposed trail alignment, the path would be located about 62 feet from the river. The project alternatives include: no action; switchbacks with retaining walls; helical piers and a boardwalk along the river; and an eight-foot paved path along the river.

(Region 1 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)

Robb-Ledford Wildlife Management Area Aspen Enhancement Project


Ladies and Gentlemen: The attached Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared to enhance approximately 40 acres of aspen-dominated forest within the RLWMA (Figure 2) through contracted mechanical removal of competing conifer trees with commercial value and lop-and-scatter of conifer trees with no commercial value. The objectives are • maintain remaining intact aspen-dominated forest; • restore productivity to decadent portions of the aspen-dominated forest; and • expand remaining intact aspen-dominated forest.

(Region 3 - Development, Improvements, and Enhancements)


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21 public notices are currently available for public comment.