From MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks 

KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to purchase a conservation easement that would protect approximately 50 acres of important fish and wildlife habitat along the Kootenai River just northwest of Troy, Montana. 

The property is owned by The Vital Ground Foundation, which has been working over the last several years to purchase this property and protect it from residential development. The project is part of an area identified by biologists as the best linkage corridor for grizzly bears between the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains in the Cabinet-Yaak recovery area. FWP conserved a large portion of this linkage in 2012 with a 28,000-acre conservation easement in the Kootenai Valley. 

Vital Ground is working to conserve the remaining gaps in this area. This project would continue FWP’s collaborative effort by helping Vital Ground conserve this property and its important riparian and upland habitat. 

Vital Ground would continue to own and manage the land while FWP would hold a conservation easement that would preclude future residential or commercial development and ensure the property is managed to benefit fish and wildlife habitat in perpetuity. Public access to the property would be allowed for fishing and bird watching opportunities. The conservation easement would not require Vital Ground to provide hunting access on this property due to the property’s small size and the proximity to U.S. Highway 2 and neighboring residences. 

Following completion of the draft environmental assessment and review of the public comments received, the FWP Region 1 Supervisor will issue a decision notice that makes a recommendation to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on a course of action. The Commission will make the final decision on which course of action to take. 

A copy of the draft environmental assessment is available at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/; and available for viewing at local libraries. FWP asks that comments on this draft environmental assessment be submitted to either of the following addresses by 5 p.m., February 17, 2020: 

Stevie Burton or stevie.burton@mt.gov

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

490 North Meridian Road

Kalispell, MT 59901 

For more information about the project, contact Stevie Burton at the email address above or via phone, (406) 751-4579.

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