FWP, USFS announcements and briefs

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FWP Briefs and updates

Park After Dark snowshoe hike at Lone Pine

Montana State Parks will host a Park After Dark Snowshoe Hike at Lone Pine State Park on Saturday, March 16 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Join us at Lone Pine for a ranger-guided snowshoe hike under the moonlight to discover what critters are lurking in the shadows.

This two-mile hike is slightly strenuous, and snowshoes or hiking boots are recommended.

Snowshoes are available on a first-come first-serve basis. Hikers should wear weather-appropriate clothing and bring water, a snack and a headlamp. Cost is $4 per person over the age of 13; children 12 and under are free.

To register or for more information please call 406-755-2706 ext. 2.

Lone Pine State Park is located 5 miles southwest of Kalispell and offers one of the most vivid views of the valley, 7.5 miles of trails and a beautiful interpretive center that provides information on living in a wildlife urban interface.

Additional amenities include a picnic shelter and a community room, which are both available to rent, as well as a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, and an archery range. Lone Pine also offers a fantastic variety of educational and interpretive programs. More information at http://stateparks.mt.gov/lone-pine/.

Future Fisheries projects

Bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout will have unrestricted access to Rattlesnake Creek when a project to remove the dam is completed. This project is one of seven that recently received funding by the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP). Approximately $322,000 in funding was approved to improve Montana fisheries.

The fisheries improvements include restoration of streams to a natural condition, creating fish habitat, dam removal, removing undersized culverts to allow fish passage, increasing flow to streams, protecting native fish with barriers and more. Projects will help both native and non-native fish, including bull trout, westslope and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Arctic grayling, mountain whitefish, brown trout, rainbow trout and sculpin.

Watershed groups, governmental agencies and others submitted a total of 11 projects.

Applications for the FFIP summer-cycle grants are due Friday, May 31, to FWP’s Fisheries Management Bureau. Application forms are available on FWP’s website, at FWP regional offices and at the headquarters in Helena.

Any individual or group with a project designed to restore or enhance habitat for wild or native fish may apply for FFIP funding. Applicants are encouraged to work with local FWP fisheries biologists. Landowners and other project partners usually share project costs, extending FFIP dollars.

More information and FFIP applications are available on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov.

Approved FFIP projects

Missoula Area

Rattlesnake Creek dam removal (Missoula Co., tributary to Clark Fork River)

Ross Fork Rock Creek fish passage (Granite Co., tributary to Rock Creek)

Helena Area

Nevada Creek phase 3A reconstruction (Powell Co., tributary to Blackfoot River)

Dillon Area

Selway Creek fish barrier (Beaverhead Co., upstream of Clark Canyon Reservoir)

Thompson Falls Area

Crow Creek phase 2 stream restoration (Sanders Co., tributary to Prospect Creek)

Butte Area

Hells Canyon Creek instream flow lease (Madison Co., tributary to Jefferson River)

Bozeman Area

Big Creek instream flow lease (Park Co., tributary to Yellowstone River)

2019 Turkey and Fishing Regulations available on FWP website

The 2019 Spring and Fall Turkey Regulations are available on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regulations/. Hard copies of the hunting regulations will be on the shelf at FWP offices and local license providers in March.

The 2019 Fishing Regulations are available online at fwp.mt.gov/fish/. Hard copies of the fishing regulations are available now at FWP offices and local license providers.

USFS briefs and updates

KNF Hoodoo Wildfire Resiliency Project discussion

The Kootenai National Forest is hosting an open house on Wednesday to gather information from the public about the Hoodoo Wildfire Resiliency project.

This information will help inform the development of the proposed action and the open house will provide an opportunity to share information about the resource management needs based on preliminary review of the forest conditions.

The open house will be held on Wednesday, March 6th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Supervisor’s Office located at 31374 Highway 2, Libby.

At this time, the Forest is considering this project as a wildfire resiliency project under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Under this authority, this project will be designed to maximize the retention of old-growth and large trees, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects and disease, and reduce the risk or extent of — or increase the resilience to — wildfires.

Additionally, no new permanent road construction is being considered and any necessary temporary roads would be decommissioned within three years of project completion.

Project public scoping information and preliminary map of the area and potential treatment units can be found on the Forest Project page at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=54980.

For more information or if you need sign language interpretation or other accessible accommodations, please contact Elizabeth Tichner at 406-329-3480 or etichner02@fs.fed.us by Friday, March 1.

Surprise Vegetation Management Project Decision

Kootenai National Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage has announced that he has signed the decision for the West Surprise Vegetation Management Project located on the Libby Ranger District.

The signed decision authorizes vegetation management activities on 2,996 acres, which includes commercial timber harvesting, broadcast burning and road management activities which will trend the project area towards desired conditions as described in the Kootenai National Forest 2015 Land Management Plan.

“This project will implement much needed vegetation management activities, fuels treatments, and roads management activities,” Savage said, according to a Forest Service press release.

Public involvement included a public meeting which helped develop the proposed action, identify environmental issues for analysis, and informed the decision. These efforts included discussions with tribes, state and county government, the general public, and timber industry representatives.

The West Surprise Vegetation Management project is located approximately 10 miles southeast of Libby.

The project area is 18,108 acres. However, treatments/activities will occur on approximately 2,996 acres. While there are non-Forest Service lands in the project area, activities would only occur on National Forest System lands. Implementation of this decision is expected to begin in late summer of 2019.

The total commercial harvest projected in the Forest Service press release is 2,996 acres, which includes 1,787 acres of “commercial thin,” 858 acres of “clearcut with reserves,” 190 acres of “shelterwood with reserves,” and 161 acres of “improvement cut.”

The West Surprise Vegetation Management Project area is designated as part of an insect and disease treatment area in accordance with the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA), Section 602, as amended by the Agriculture Act (Farm Bill) of 2014.

Adjacent to the project area, travelers should be alert for increased vehicle traffic, including logging trucks. The Decision Memo is available on the Kootenai National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=54942.

For more information about this project, contact John Carlson, Project Leader, at 406-283-7634.

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