FWP briefs and updates

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Decision Notice for Proposed Thompson-Fisher Conservation Easement Amendment

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is recommending the Fish and Wildlife Commission approve an amendment to the Thompson-Fisher Conservation Easement in Sanders County near Thompson Falls.

The proposed amendment would remove 1.63 acres of developed land and replace it with 5 acres of undeveloped, upland and riparian habitat along the Little Thompson River as proposed in Alternative B, the Proposed Action, of the environmental assessment. FWP released the draft environmental assessment for public comment from Feb. 13 to March 15. Four comments were received and only one issue was raised, which was to improve the detail of the map for the parcels being removed from the conservation easement.

Copies of the decision notice are available at the FWP office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/decisionNotices/; and available for viewing at local libraries.

If you have any questions regarding this project or the draft environmental assessment, please contact Kris Tempel at ktempel@mt.gov or via phone at 406-751-4573.

FWP Approves Modified North Shore WMA Management Plan

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has finalized and approved the North Shore Wildlife Management Area Management Plan as modified through a public review process.

The new management plan identifies objectives for wildlife habitat, weed management, infrastructure, and public recreation throughout the 427-acre WMA, located approximately seven miles southeast of Kalispell.

FWP believes the completion of this plan will help the department manage and enhance wildlife, water, and soil resources for the benefit of wildlife and water quality and provide recreation opportunities for the public.

FWP released the draft plan for public input from Dec. 19 to Jan. 25. FWP received comments from 13 individuals and four local conservation groups. Nine comments were wholly supportive and endorsed the plan as written. A 10th letter was supportive of most proposed actions but encouraged elevation of water quality protection as the primary goal and provided additional management recommendations. Two comments were received imploring that the WMA remain pristine and undeveloped. Three comments were received that supported the plan direction but offered several management recommendations.

Copies of the decision notice and modified plan are available at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/decisionNotices/; and available for viewing at local libraries.

The North Shore WMA is traditional farmland that features a mix of cultivated grain fields, seasonally flooded grasslands, and wooded uplands along Flathead Lake. Owned and managed by FWP, the property abuts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 1,887-acre North Shore Waterfowl Production Area. Together, these two public areas protect the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline on Flathead Lake. They also help support over 229 bird species. Annually, these areas host tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl that rest and feed along the north shore.

Trapping Advisory Committee to meet Apr. 2-3 in Helena

The Montana Trapping Advisory Committee will hold its fifth and final meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2 and 3, in Helena at the U.S. Forest Service building, 2880 Skyway Drive, Helena.

The meeting runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Apr. 2, and from 8 a.m. to mid-afternoon on Apr. 3.

FWP assembled this citizens’ committee to provide recommendations that ensure population viability of trapped species, the humane treatment of animals and the minimization of social conflict.

During the meeting, members will complete and come to agreement on outcomes per the individual “Important Questions” and on recommendations related to the 2018 trapping regulations and 1999 Trapping Committee report; draft a recommendations document and agree on how recommendations will be presented to FWP; confirm remaining work for the committee; and, if necessary, lay out a calendar for that work.

The committee’s charge is to present recommendations to FWP. FWP staff are not members of the committee but will provide information and technical assistance.

The meeting is open to the public. The committee will hear public comment at noon on both days.

Nature is Neat spring scavenger hunt at Flathead Lake State Park

Montana State Parks will host the Nature is Neat Spring Scavenger Hunt at Flathead Lake State Park – Wayfarers Unit on Friday, March 29 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Help your kids discover how neat nature is by bringing them to Wayfarers to grab a scavenger hunt and explore the park during springtime. There will be two hunts available -- one with general objects for younger kids, and one with more specific finds for your older explorers. Choose your scavenger hunt based on your child and how much time you have to explore.

Prizes for completed scavenger hunts will be available while supplies last!

This is a free, drop-in program. Get your scavenger hunt any time between 12pm and 5pm at the Flathead Lake Ranger Station in Wayfarers.

Where: Flathead Lake State Park -- Wayfarers 8600 Mt. Hwy 35, Bigfork. Meet at Flathead Lake Ranger Station.

http://stateparks.mt.gov/wayfarers/

Flathead Lake State Park consists of six unique park units located around Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. The park units on the east side are Wayfarers, Yellow Bay and Finley Point and the west side units are West Shore, Big Arm and Wild Horse Island. In addition to boating, swimming and fishing, each park unit offers unique experiences including camping, rental picnic shelters, group camping, hiking, sightseeing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

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