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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: FWP seeks comments on recommendations for Madison River use

Posted at 11:28 AM, Sep 01, 2022

DAMSELFLY FISHING ACCESS — The Madison River is one of the most popular fishing and recreation locations in Montana - and that is causing the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to look at how that river is managed.

FWP’s Morgan Jacobsen, during This Week in Fish and Wildlife, says a 12-person work group has been looking at how to manage recreation and commercial use on the Madison. He says the group, assembled from a variety of interests by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has come up with a list of recommendations. Jacobsen says that list is available by going to the FWP website. He also says FWP staff will be holding a series of informational meetings to share the list of recommendations and answer questions anyone might have.

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Jacobsen stresses the public can comment on any or all of the suggestions by going online. FWP will not be taking comments during these informational meetings, just sharing information. Jacobsen says the public comment period on the recommendations runs until October 14th. He also stresses these are just recommendations at this point and the Fish and Wildlife Commission has not taken any action on any of them.

Meetings will be in the following locations, each beginning at 6 p.m.:

  • Sept. 6: Bozeman Comfort Inn, 1370 N. 7th Ave.
  • Sept. 7: Ennis Elementary School cafeteria, 223 Charles Ave.
  • Sept. 8: West Yellowstone Convention and Visitors Bureau, 30 Yellowstone Ave.
  • Sept. 13: Montana Tech Student Union Building in Butte, 1300 W. Park St., Room 204
  • Sept. 14: Virtual meeting via Zoom. Members of the public who wish to ask questions during the virtual meeting must register in advance by visiting https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/madison-river-workgroup/public-comment [lnks.gd]. Registration will open on Aug. 15 and close at noon on Sept. 13. Registrants will receive a link to join the meeting. The meeting can also be viewed by nonparticipants on FWP’s website and YouTube channel.

Thanks!!!

FWP seeks comments on recommendations for Madison River use
Informational meetings scheduled in southwest Montana

BOZEMAN – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking comments from the public on a set of recommendations for commercial-use and recreation management on the Madison River, one of the most popular fisheries and recreation destinations in the state.

Public input in this process is especially important because it could inform recreation management for other rivers in Montana.

The recommendations were developed by a 12-person work group representing a variety of interests that the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission tasked with looking at management solutions for commercial use and recreation on the Madison.

A public comment period on the recommendations is open from Aug. 15 to Oct. 14. People can review the full recommendations and learn how to submit comments by visiting https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/madison-river-workgroup/public-comment [lnks.gd].

FWP staff will also host several meetings to share information about the recommendations and answer questions. Comments on the recommendations won’t be recorded at the meetings, but attendees will be given information on how to submit comments. Meetings will be in the following locations, each beginning at 6 p.m.:

Madison River work group

The Madison River work group focused specifically on developing recommendations to the commission on four areas:

The work group finalized its recommendations in May and presented them to the commission in June. Instead of initiating rulemaking, the commission then directed FWP to seek comments from a broader public on the recommendations for a longer comment period than the rulemaking process requires. FWP will report back to the commission on Dec. 16.

The work group developed recommendations for managing commercial-use, non-commercial recreation and commercial watercraft rental delivery permits; vessel requirements on the upper Madison River; and recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management for managing non-commercial float permits in Bear Trap Canyon.

Highlights among these recommendations include:

The full list of recommendations and other supporting documents, as well as opportunities to submit comments, can be found online at https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/madison-river-workgroup/public-comment [lnks.gd].

  • Sept. 6: Bozeman Comfort Inn, 1370 N. 7th Ave.
  • Sept. 7: Ennis Elementary School cafeteria, 223 Charles Ave.
  • Sept. 8: West Yellowstone Convention and Visitors Bureau, 30 Yellowstone Ave.
  • Sept. 13: Montana Tech Student Union Building in Butte, 1300 W. Park St., room 204
  • Sept. 14: Virtual meeting via Zoom. Members of the public who wish to ask questions during the virtual meeting must register in advance by visiting https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/madison-river-workgroup/public-comment [lnks.gd]. Registration will open on Aug. 15 and close at noon on Sept. 13. Registrants will receive a link to join the meeting. The meeting can also be viewed by nonparticipants on FWP’s website and YouTube channel.
  • The allocation of commercial-use trips to outfitters.
  • A process to permit new outfitters on the Madison River.
  • Rule language to address all recreational use on the Madison River, including the walk/wade and rest/rotation sections.
  • Consequences of permit violations.
  • A new Madison River commercial-use permit that would allow for the transfer of trips between permit holders.
  • Implementing a commercial-use cap, which was adopted by the commission previously, to limit commercial users to the number of trips they reported in 2019 or 2020, whichever is higher.
  • A mandatory, unlimited Madison River float permit for noncommercial users. The permit would allow FWP to gather data on use, which may help inform future tools for recreation management.
  • Developing a comprehensive Madison River recreation plan that addresses all forms of recreation.