U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
February 22, 2008
Contact: Eddie N. Bennett, 303-236-8165
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comments on Disposal of Property in the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range in Montana
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (DEA) for the State of Montana’s proposed Disposal of Property in the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range acquired in part with Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Funds in Powell County, Montana. Public comments are welcome for a 15-day period, which ends March 10, 2008.
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) proposes to dispose of a property purchased in the 1940s. This property was purchased in part with Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration program funds which provided 75 percent of the cost of the land that became part of the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range. In the 1960s, much of the surrounding property was traded for other properties north of State Highway 200 that offered greater wildlife values by providing increased connectivity within the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range. Due to an administrative oversight, a 7-acre parcel was excluded from these earlier land exchanges and is now geographically separate from the Blackfoot Clearwater Game Range.
The proposed removal of the federal interest in the 7-acre parcel constitutes a federal action subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The Service is therefore required to prepare an DEA to analyze the effects on the human environment and document the findings. The Service will use this DEA to determine if the proposed action is likely to result in significant impacts to the human environment. If it is determined that there are no significant adverse impacts, the Service will issue a Final EA and a Finding of No Significant Impact. If it is determined, conversely, that significant impacts might occur, the Service would be required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
The FWP previously provided notices regarding this proposed action to more than 100 individuals and organizations entitled: Scotty Brown Bridge FAS Acquisition and Improvement. FWP also has published the notice and supporting documentation on their website: http://fwp.mt.gov/publicnotices/notice_1319.aspx.
The DEA, prepared by the FWP and accepted by the Service, analyzes the environmental affects of the proposed Disposal of Property. The FWP concluded that the proposed disposal will have no impacts on floodplains or wetlands, and will not affect historical and cultural resources, or threatened, endangered or candidate species.
FWP has determined that the land no longer serves the purpose for which it was acquired and is requesting approval from the Service, Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR), to purchase the federal interest in the land with non-license FWP funds. FWP then proposes to exchange the parcel for another nearby property in private ownership. The federal funds are administered by the Service and come from an excise tax on fishing equipment, import duties on tackle and boats, motorboat fuels, and small engine fuel.
Copies of the DEA are available online by clicking on the title of the document at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance. Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Service’s Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-8165. Comments should be sent to: Chief, Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.