U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
November 9, 2009
Eddie N. Bennett, 303-236-8165
David McGillivary 303-236-4411
Service Determines “Finding of No Significant Impact” on Land Exchange Between Pablo Wildlife Management Area and Private Property adjacent to Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area, Lake County, Montana.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) for the final environmental assessment (EA) of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) proposed “Land Exchange between Pablo Wildlife Management Area and Private Property adjacent to Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area in Lake County, Mont.,” pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposal is a Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act grant project.
The EA, prepared by the FWP and Service, analyzed the proposal to exchange approximately 223 acres of state-owned land in the northern portion of Pablo Wildlife Management Area (Pablo WMA) for 240 acres of private property adjacent to the southwest portion of Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area (Ninepipe WMA). The need for the proposed action to dispose of the Pablo WMA tracts is that they no longer serve the intended purpose for which they were acquired due to changes in recreational, residential, and commercial development of the surrounding area. The property acquired adjacent to the Ninepipe WMA will replace the values of the property to be disposed and preserve the diverse array of upland and wetland species present in that area. The acquisition of the Ninepipe WMA will benefit wildlife, primarily waterfowl and upland game birds; preserve wetland habitat, and provide for new habitat management activities and recreational access.
We solicited public comment on the EA through public notices in the Kalispell’s Daily Inter Lake, Lake County Leader, Missoulian, and Pablo’s Char-Koosta News and on both the FWP and Service’s Region 6 Web site and at a public meeting at the Ninepipes Lodge in Charlo, Mont. We received a total of 13 written comments, with nine in support of the exchange, two opposed, and two undefined. Comments and responses are contained within the FWP Decision Notice dated Oct. 22, 2009 in the Attachments of the Final EA.
The NEPA process requires any Federally funded project to be reviewed for potential impacts to the human environment. The objective of NEPA is twofold. One objective is to consider impacts on the human environment in the decision-making process. The other objective is to assure the public plays a role in the decision-making process and the implementation of the decision.
The FONSI and the final EA are available online at: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance. Those without Internet access may request copies by calling the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at the numbers listed.
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.
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