Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking comment on its proposal to collect baseline information to help in planning for a potential native fish restoration project on the North Fork Blackfoot River.
The proposal is outlined in an Environmental Assessment (EA) released by FWP this week. It calls for biologists to collect data this summer that would help them estimate current fish distribution and calculate the volume and placement of the fish toxin, rotenone, that would be required to remove existing nonnative hybrid fish from the river and tributaries.
Results of this pilot study would be used to guide planning for the project’s next phase, which would be covered under a separate EA and open for additional public review and comment. The next phase would include removal of the nonnative hybrid trout, followed by planting of native westslope cutthroat and bull trout into the area.
The potential fish restoration site is located upstream of North Fork Falls on the North Fork Blackfoot River, which is in the Scapegoat Wilderness and includes portions of the Lolo and the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forests. This location provides a unique, isolated spot that is good habitat for native bull and westslope cutthroat trout and would be protected from recolonization from other fish.
The pilot study will take place in small portions of the overall area, located on the Helena National Forest and the East Fork of the North Fork Blackfoot River.
FWP will hold a public hearing in Missoula on Wednesday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn (3720 North Reserve Street; Bitterroot Room) to discuss the proposal, answer questions, and take public comment.
To review the draft EA and to comment, go to FWP’s website, fwp.mt.gov, under “News,” then “Recent Public Notices.” Or, request information and provide comment by contacting FWP Region 2; Attn: Sharon Rose; 3201 Spurgin Rd.; Missoula 59804; by phoning 406-542-5540; or by emailing email@example.com. Comments must be submitted by 5p.m. on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
Additionally, the US Forest Service would be responsible for authorizing and permitting the application of pesticides in the Scapegoat Wilderness. The Lincoln Ranger District is scoping this proposal for 30 days. For more information on the USFS scoping and comment deadlines, visit: fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53855 or contact 406-362-7000. Please submit comments specific to Wilderness pesticide permitting to the Lincoln Ranger District by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, with “North Fork Native Fish” in the subject line or by mail to Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest; Lincoln Ranger District; 1569 Highway 200; Lincoln, MT 59639. Please include your name/organization and a return address.