Public comment sought on Quiet Waters Initiative

[12.01.2016]

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold public comment meetings around the state in January on proposed rules to limit motorized water craft use on some of the state’s water bodies. The proposed rules address a petition, known as the Quiet Waters Initiative, submitted to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission this past spring by Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The petition states Montana has experienced advanced motorized technology on its waterways, which has potentially opened up waters previously thought to be unusable by motorized water craft. At its regular May meeting, the Commission initiated rulemaking on the petition, stating, in part, the Commission should consider being proactive instead of reactive to the changes in recreation on Montana’s waterways to avoid conflicts and protect traditional and safe recreational uses.

For a complete list of waters considered in the petition, please go online to fwp.mt.gov. Click on the News tab and then click again on “Rules” under “Recent Public Notices.”

Public hearings on the Quiet Waters Petition will be held at the following times and locations:
• Jan. 3 at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell at 6 p.m.
• Jan. 4 at the FWP Region 2 office, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula at 6 p.m.
• Jan. 5 at the FWP Region 3 office, 1400 S. 19th Ave., Bozemen at 6 p.m.
• Jan. 9 at the FWP Region 5 office, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive, Billings at 6 p.m.
• Jan. 11 at the FWP Region 4 office, 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls at 6 p.m.
• Jan. 11 at the FWP headquarters office, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena at 6 p.m.

The department will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the department no later than December 9, 2016, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Kaedy Gangstad, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; telephone (406) 444-4594; or e-mail kgangstad@mt.gov.

Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Attn: Quiet Waters Petition, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mail QuietWaters@mt.gov, and must be received no later than January 13, 2017.

Governor issues emergency declaration for invasive mussels

[12.01.2016]

Tiber Reservoir have tested positive for the larvae of aquatic invasive mussels and Water samples from Canyone Ferry and the Missouri River and being sampled as suspect bodies of water as well.

This is the third suspect water body found this year in Montana. The samples from Tiber Reservoir were later confirmed to be positive for aquatic invasive mussel larvae. The Canyon Ferry Reservoir sample is still suspect, pending the results of further testing, which is underway. The suspect samples from the Missouri River are also undergoing more testing.

“We are continuing to test water samples collected from the Missouri River basin, which is our area of focus now,” said Eileen Ryce, FWP fisheries division administrator.

A suspect sample is one where the mussel larva present appears to be an aquatic invasive mussel, but further verification and testing is needed to confirm the results are positive.

Test results last week from of a water sample collected in the Milk River downstream of Nelson Reservoir came back inconclusive for aquatic invasive mussel larvae.

The test showed the presence of the shell of a larva, which indicates the larva had dried out at some point and died, said Ryce.

The results are inconclusive because “there’s no way of knowing if the dried larval shell came from the river itself or was brought in already dead by an outside source,” Ryce said.

In an ongoing effort to search for adult mussels, FWP, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the U.S Bureau of Reclamation, all partners on the Governor’s Invasive Species Advisory Council, last week used mussel-sniffing dogs at both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoir to search for further indications of the aquatic invasive mussels.

At Tiber, the dogs searched the shoreline and docks that were removed from the water for the winter season. The dogs got a potential positive hit at one point on the shoreline and at one dock. However, no adults were found.

At Canyon Ferry, the dogs searched several docks still in the water and got a potential hit on a dock at the Silos and on a boat and a section of riprap at Yacht Basin Marina. These hits prompted FWP staff to snorkel around docks at both locations looking for adult mussels. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service divers trained in searching for adult mussels continued the search this week, Monday at Yacht Basin and Tuesday at the Silos. No adult mussels were found.

Response efforts for both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs are being coordinated by an interagency response team that includes staff from FWP, DNRC, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Montana Invasive Species Advisory Council.

For many years FWP has conducted regular testing of the state’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs for aquatic invasive mussels. Water samples from Fresno, Holter, and Hauser reservoirs have come back negative, as have samples from Lake Frances and the Marias River. Testing at Fort Peck Reservoir and the entire Missouri River system is ongoing. Once sample processing is complete in these close proximity areas, it will continue with water bodies west of the Continental Divide.

FWP conducts AIS tests on 141 water bodies across the state each year. This includes more than 540 samples, which are processed at the agency laboratory in Helena.

“We’ve developed an extensive testing protocol in Montana because of the importance of early detection,” Ryce said. “The fact we’ve discovered these mussel larvae at very low densities in Tiber and Canyon Ferry indicates this testing protocol is proving effective.”

Additionally, through the spring and summer FWP operates 17 aquatic invasive species check stations around Montana. New this year was a law requiring recreationists with water craft to stop at any check station they encountered. More than 37,000 water craft came through FWP’s check stations. Of the more than 37,000 water craft inspected, seven were found positive for aquatic invasive mussels.

Central to Montana’s AIS monitoring and education efforts is its Clean, Drain and Dry message.

“We need all of our water users to understand and follow the Clean Drain Dry message and procedures,” Ryce said. “The success we have at preventing any spread or introduction of AIS in Montana depends on it.”

For the latest information on this issue, please look online at fwp.mt.gov. For facts about aquatic invasive mussels and other invasive species, please look at the MISAC website at dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/cardd/MISAC.

For more information about Invasive mussels in our Montana waters - go to http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/cardd/MISAC

STATE CONVENTION - GLASGOW

[12.01.2016]

April 7 – Social (Fri) 6:00pm Elks- Serving Taco Bar
Raffle first 15-guns

April 8 – Breakfast 7:00am
Meeting – 8:00am

April 8 – Vendor Day starts at 9:00am – 3:00pm
Dinner at 5:30
Raffle the other 15 guns

Will be selling tickets for guns (30)

Block of room at the Cottonwood Inn & Suite Under: WU