A public meeting to discuss the draft plan will take place from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Fort Peck Fish Hatchery. Other public meetings are scheduled this month in other areas of the state.
The statewide plan is essentially a "road map" for managing all of the state’s fisheries, said Bruce Rich, fisheries bureau chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Helena.
"The plan will provide guidance to the public and decision-makers for each of Montana's river drainages," Rich said. "It will also guide how FWP will work to set priorities on different waters to better serve anglers and public officials."
Rich said the key for FWP is to have a long-term plan that provides specific direction and goals but one that is also flexible enough to allow for adaptive management based on changing circumstances within agreed-upon sideboards. The draft plan was recently presented to the FWP Commission and a final plan, based on public comment and an environmental analysis, is planned for release later this year.
The Draft Statewide Fisheries Management Plan presents information on topics ranging from wild fish management to hatchery fish stocking guidelines, among other programs. It focuses on services provided by FWP, as well as the history of Montana's fisheries, management issues and concerns, and long-term goals and objectives for state fisheries programs.
Public comments can be submitted through Oct. 12. To review and comment on the draft plan visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov and click on "Statewide Fisheries Management Plan". Comments can also be sent by mail to: Statewide Fisheries Management Plan, Montana FWP, 1420 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620.