HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on several proposed fish removal and restoration projects. A description of each of the projects is available online at fwp.mt.gov. The Fish and Wildlife Commission held a work session May 18 to generally review this topic and their role.
Currently, there are 22 fish removal projects planned for the 2021 field season. Types of projects for this year range from mechanical removals to reduce competition or hybridization risk of native species, piscicide treatments to remove nonnative fish above barriers and reintroduce native species, piscicide and mechanical removals to improve sport fisheries, and piscicide treatments to remove unauthorized introductions of fish. Many of these removal projects have completed review under the Montana Environmental Policy Act, which requires an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Notice. Others have EAs still pending. Some mechanical removals have been ongoing for several years, some piscicide projects have already completed initial treatment (leaving a waterbody completely or partially fishless), while others are just getting started this year.
The commission approves all angling regulations, projects funded through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program, and aquatic invasive removals. After a review of these projects and statutes pertaining to commission authority, projects that involve fish removal will now have review and approval by the commission.
The commission will consider public comments received regarding these projects prior to approving them.