Montana FWP Seeks Comment On Proposed Land Purchase

Montana FWP Seeks Comment On Proposed Land Purchase Near Seeley Lake, MT

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

MALTA, Mont. –-(Ammoland.com)- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking public comment on a proposal to purchase 24,170 acres of important fish and wildlife habitat in the Marshall Creek drainage, near Seeley Lake.

The land is currently owned by Plum Creek, but is under contract to be sold to The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land as part of the Montana Legacy Project. FWP identified the property as one of its highest statewide native fisheries and wildlife conservation priorities and began applying for federal grants to aid in its purchase in 2008. The property would become part of the FWP’s system of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) to be managed for fish and wildlife habitat and public access.

The proposed Marshall Creek WMA includes approximately 25 miles of streams that provide important habitat for native fish in the upper Clearwater lakes and river system. The proposed WMA would also provide habitat for over 160 native species including over 37 identified Species of Concern and is critical habitat for three federally listed Threatened species (bull trout, Canada lynx, and grizzly bears). Additionally, the property includes the most important unprotected Canada lynx habitat in the western United States.

“The Marshall Creek country is a critical piece of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem,” said Mack Long, FWP Region 2 Supervisor. “From bull trout to grizzly bear, this purchase is of national importance and would keep these wild lands open to the public.”

The total purchase price is expected to be $18.4 million. Funding would come from U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan grants, a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service State Wildlife Grant, a Department of Agriculture Forest Legacy Program grant, the FWP Habitat Montana Program, the FWP Hunting Access Enhancement Fund and private funds donated by the Blackfoot Challenge.

FWP is seeking comments on the draft environmental assessment for the proposed purchase. These documents are available for review on the FWP Web site, fwp.mt.gov, under “Recent Public Notices,” and at the FWP regional office in Missoula (3201 Spurgin Road), by calling 406-542-5500, or by emailing [email protected]

FWP will hold a public hearing in Seeley Lake to discuss the proposal and take public comment on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Community Hall, just north of town on the east side of Hwy 83.

Comments should be directed by email to: [email protected] or by mail to Region 2 FWP; Attn: Marshall; 3201 Spurgin Road; Missoula, MT 59804. Comments must be received by FWP no later than 5 p.m. on August 31, 2010.

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