|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
January 23, 2002
Contacts: Tim Bodurtha 406-758-6882
Diane Katzenberger 303-236-7917 ext 408
Public Meeting Scheduled to Gather Information Regarding
Plum Creek Timber Companys Proposal to Amend Habitat Conservation Plan
30-Day Pubic Comment Period Opens
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Plum Creek Timber Company will host a public meeting to invite comment on Plum Creeks proposal to amend its current Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan. If approved, the proposed amendment would extend coverage to 14,892 additional acres of Plum Creek lands in Montana and add the grizzly bear to the existing incidental take permit.
Interested parties are encouraged to attend the public meeting on February 6 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm MST at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Headquarters, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell, Montana. This public process known as scoping is the first step in the environmental review of the proposal and associated resource management implications. It will help define the scope of issues to be addressed in federal environmental impact documents as well as identify potential alternatives to the habitat conservation plan amendment.
The current Plum Creek Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan (NFHCP) provides for the conservation of native fish habitat on 1.6 million acres of Plum Creek land in Montana, Idaho and Washington. Almost 90 percent of the area covered by the Plum Creek NFHCP - about 1.4 million acres - occurs in Montana.
A habitat conservation plan is an agreement between the federal government and a private landowner. Under a habitat conservation plan, the landowner is permitted to conduct activities that may negatively impact a species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act as long as the activities will not appreciably reduce the chances of survival and recovery of the species in the wild. The landowner is granted an "incidental take permit" allowing some short-term impacts to the species in exchange for long-term protection of the species.
The proposed amendment to the Plum Creek NFHCP provides for conservation of the threatened grizzly bear on Plum Creek lands in Montana. It further would extend conservation commitments for the threatened bull trout and four unlisted native salmonids - the redband and westslope cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, and pygmy whitefish. The proposal to amend theNFHCP would not affect the 30-year term of the permit.
Verbal or written comments may be submitted at the public scoping meeting or can be mailed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, attention: Tim Bodurtha, Plum Creek Scoping Comments, 780 Creston Hatchery Rd., Kalispell, MT 59901, telephone (406) 758-6882, facsimile (406) 758-6877 and postmarked by February 21, 2002.
More information regarding this proposal can be obtained via the internet at www.plumcreek.com
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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