"The plan is essentially a road map that will provide guidance to the public and decision makers for each of Montana's river drainages," said Bruce Rich, chief of the fisheries bureau for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. "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.
Eight public meetings are scheduled to discuss the draft plan this month. These information sharing sessions will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. Here are the meeting dates and locations:
- Sept. 11 Missoula FWP Region 2 HQ; 3201 Spurgin Rd.
- Sept. 12 Great Falls FWP Region 4 HQ; 4600 Giant Springs Rd.
- Sept. 13 Kalispell FWP Region 1 HQ; 490 N. Meridian Rd.
- Sept. 18 Bozeman FWP Region 3 HQ; 1400 S. 19th
- Sept. 19 Helena Comfort Suites; 3180 N. Washington St. (north of Costco)
- Sept. 20 Billings FWP Region 5 HQ; 2300 Lake Elmo Drive
- Sept. 25 Glasgow Fort Peck Hatchery; 277 Highway 177
- Sept. 26 Miles City Miles City Community College; 2715 Dickinson St.
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 comment can be submitted from Sept. 10 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. For information, call Don Skaar at 406-444-7409.