Posted on

FWP Seeks Comment On Draft Environmental Assessments

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on several draft environmental assessments. For more information, including how to submit comments, visit

The proposals include: * Ike’s Fishing Pond yellow perch and bluegill transfer draft EA: FWP proposes to transfer yellow perch and bluegill from aquatic invasive species (AIS) and disease-free donor waters with FWP’s Region 6 to Ike’s Fishing Pond in Culbertson. Ike’s Fishing Pond is a public reservoir on Culbertson city property where fisheries resources present are managed by FWP. This 1.72-acre pond is and has been a crucial fishery resource for anglers in and around the Culbertson area since construction. It currently supports a hatchery- reared rainbow trout population and is a popular fishery for youth anglers. The addition of yellow perch and bluegill will result in higher catch rates and greater opportunity for area anglers. Comments due July 3.

* Flat Lake yellow perch transfer draft EA: FWP proposes to transfer yellow perch from certified, disease free and AIS-free donor sources or State of Montana hatcheries to Flat Lake, near Fort Peck. Flat Lake is a community pond on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property managed by FWP for public access. This 16.7-acre pond provides a unique fishing opportunity for those that prefer smaller ponds to the larger reservoirs. It currently supports crappie that FWP transferred into the reservoir in 2012 and hatchery-reared rainbow trout that are stocked annually. The addition of yellow perch will create a fishery with high catch rates and provide additional opportunity for anglers. This proposal calls to transferring yellow perch of sufficient numbers with the goal of creating a self-sustaining fishery. Comments due July 3.

* Kuester Reservoir walleye transfer checklist EA: FWP proposes to transfer approximately 100 male walleyes from the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam to Kuester Reservoir, northeast of Richey. Kuester Reservoir is a private reservoir managed by FWP for public access. The addition of walleye will create a two-tier fishery and provide an additional opportunity for area anglers. Comments due July 3.

* McCoy Pond rainbow trout introduction draft EA: FWP proposes to stock rainbow trout from a State of Montana Fish hatchery to McCoy Pond near Plentywood. McCoy Pond is located on private land but will be managed by FWP for public access. The proposed project would increase angling opportunity for anglers in northeastern Montana. This part of the state has limited fisheries opportunities and are often seasonally volatile. An additional angling opportunity in the area, especially one that provides generally high catch rates, would greatly improve fishery resources available to anglers. Comments due July 3.

* Bad Rock Canyon Wildlife Management Area access and parking development draft EA: FWP proposes to construct a gravel parking lot along Montana Highway 2 in Columbia Falls to provide parking and pedestrian access to the Bad Rock Canyon WMA. The proposed project would provide a formal public access point to the WMA. FWP proposes to construct a gravel parking area (150’ x 50’) to accommodate up to 12 vehicles. Pending project approval, construction of the parking area and associated infrastructure would commence in the fall of 2023 with an anticipated completion date of Sept. 30, 2023. Comments due June 27.

* Confluentus Corner FAS draft EA: FWP proposes the construction of a five-to-six vehicle gravel parking lot, on the southwestern corner of newly acquired property on the Thompson River. The proposed project location was acquired by FWP in 2020. The location of the proposed parking area would be inside the footprint of the former Thompson River Road, adjacent to the current road on the east side. This area was previously disturbed when the Thompson River Road was constructed and is relatively level. The proposed gravel parking lot would create a safer location for users to park their vehicles while accessing the river. The proposed construction would be completed by October 2024. The area would be inspected and maintained by FWP staff like other fishing access sites. Comments due June 30.

* Panfish stocking at multiple Region 6 ponds draft EA: FWP proposed to stock warmwater species into BR 012, Gullwing, Paleface, Plutz and Shallow reservoirs. All five reservoirs are located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. The proposed species being considered for stocking include yellow perch, bluegill and black crappie. The proposed action is being considered to increase angling opportunities in northern Blaine and south Phillips counties. Historically, all five reservoirs have been managed as public fisheries for various species. Runoff in 2023 has refilled these reservoirs and all five can support yellow perch, bluegill and black crappie, which are popular sportfish targeted by anglers. The proposed species would be stocked during the summer and fall of 2023 and 2024. FWP would use hatchery reared fish from a State of Montana Fish hatchery and/ or wild fish transfers from disease and aquatic invasive species certified donor sources within the boundaries of MFWP Region 6 to re-establish fish populations accessible to anglers. Comments due July 3.

* PR 035 fish stocking draft EA: FWP proposes to stock fish into PR 035, located on BLM lands, to increase angling opportunities in south Phillips County. Species considered for stocking include bluegill, yellow perch, largemouth bass and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). At full pool PR 035 is approximately 15 feet deep and capable of supporting fish species targeted by anglers. The proposed species would be stocked during the summer and fall of 2023. FWP would use hatchery-reared fish and wild fish transfers from nearby sources to establish a fish population accessible to anglers at PR 035. Comments due July 3.

* Makoshika State Park archery improvements draft EA checklist: FWP is proposing to make improvements at the archery range in Makoshika State Park near Glendive. This will include new targets, a new vault latrine, road repairs and additional storage shed. The archery course has been around since the 1960s and needs upgrades to improve safety while visitors use the course and increase the amenities offered. The project will open access to archery recreation for visitors to Makoshika State Park. Comments due July 18.

* Westslope cutthroat trout restoration (Bryant Creek) and introduction (Calvert Mine Pond), Big Hole River drainage draft EA: FWPs proposes to restore native westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) in Bryant Creek and stock WCT in Calvert Mine Pond. Competition and predation by brook trout reduced WCT distribution to the headwaters of Bryant Creek in Trident Meadows where a high-gradient reach historically precluded brook trout colonization. Following the Alder Creek fire in 2021, brook trout gained access to Trident Meadows. FWP anticipate that brook trout will eliminate WCT in Bryant Creek within the next 5 to 10 years. To restore WCT to Bryant Creek, project collaborators constructed a fish barrier 1.5 miles upstream of the confluence with the Big Hole River to prevent upstream fish passage. FWP proposes to remove brook trout upstream of this fish barrier using the piscicide, rotenone. FWP would salvage WCT prior to brook trout removal and restock them once the project is complete. This action would expand the range of WCT in Bryant Creek from 1 mile of stream in the headwaters to over 11 miles and should secure the long-term survival of the population. FWP also propose to stock WCT in Calvert Mine Pond within the Bryant Creek drainage. Calvert Mine Pond, an abandoned open pit mine located in a non-sulfur bearing bedrock formation, has high-quality water that can support fish and would create an additional recreational fishery in the area. Comments are due July 22.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *