Contribution sought on fish harvesting projects
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on plans to eliminate and cull invasive fish populations in lakes, streams and ponds in the state.
The National Fish and Wildlife Commission held a virtual working session on Tuesday and drew up a list of 22 fish harvesting and restoration projects planned for the 2021 field season, including half a dozen in Region 1 , which covers Flathead, Lake, Sanders and Lincoln counties. .
Fisheries managers use a variety of methods to kill or remove non-native fish, including electrofishing, gillnets, and fish-killing chemicals such as rotenone, which temporarily leave some waterways without fish until native species are reintroduced. The aim is to reduce competition and the risk of hybridization for native species.
Some of the projects have been underway for several years and all undergo rigorous environmental assessments, although some have raised concerns about the temporary loss of fishing opportunities and impacts on people, livestock and others. wild species.
Projects in the northwestern region of the state will affect varieties of trout in seven tributaries of the Flathead River, Swan Lake and tributaries of the Swan River, including Cooney, Red Butte and Smith creeks.
Fourteen of the projects required approval from the Fish and Wildlife Commission on Tuesday due to a change in the ministry’s legal procedures, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
A spokesperson for the FWP told The Chronicle that department heads recently determined that all projects involving the harvest of fish must be approved by the commission. The decision stems from a legal review related to Senate Bill 360, which requires the department to complete a review of its state fisheries management plan by 2023, taking into account the public’s input to the process. Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill last month.
Project descriptions and instructions for submitting comments are available at fwp.mt.gov/conservation/fisheries-management/removal-projects. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 3.
Journalist Chad Sokol can be reached at 758-4439 or [email protected]