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Support FWP rule to reduce conflicts with motorized use on rivers

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission is considering approving a draft rule that would pro-actively reduce potential conflicts with motorized use on a number of Montana rivers. The commission wants to know what you think. CONTACT THE FWP COMMISSION TODAY AND TELL IT YOU SUPPORT THE QUIET WATERS RULE.

The rule will not completely prohibit motorized use on any river where it currently occurs on a regular basis, though it does increase regulation on a few for safety reasons or for reducing conflicts where nonmotorized use is heavy. For example, motorized use can continue on the Flathead River from its confluence with the South Fork to the Highway 35 bridge in Columbia Falls, but it requires operators to slow down to no-wake speeds from June 1 to October 15, when floating use is high. Personal watercraft (“jet skis”) will be prohibited in this reach. The rule also includes new requirements for the Missouri River to improve safety and reduce conflicts where float fishing and pleasure floating is very popular. For instance, the Missouri from Wolf Creek Bridge to Pelican Point will be closed to motorized craft, except those powered by 10 horsepower engines, from June 1 to September 15. This eliminates jet boats, but allows traditional small horse engines during the summer. The rule proposes limiting motorized use on the Yellowstone River from the national park to Reed point to 10 horsepower craft only during the popular floating and low-water season between July 15 and September 15. The rule would also close all Bitterroot River tributaries to any motorized use.

The complete rule, including the list of other waters affected, can be viewed on the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website. The rule is proactive because it prevents the future growth of conflicts between motorized users and the majority of river users who wade, swim and float. But it also ensures that the majority of waters in the state where motorized use is currently popular are unaffected or otherwise accommodated.

Tell the Commission in your own words you support the rule because:

  • It is needed to prevent future conflicts between anglers and motorized users, and ensures rivers are safer for all users.
  • It helps reduce the spread of harmful invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, which are often transported in the intakes, live wells and bottoms of motorized craft.
  • The pro-active approach of the rule ensures Montanans don’t wait until it’s almost too late, say, after serious injuries occur, resource damage results, invasive species are established, or, users are angry at each other.

Public comment including written data, views or arguments may be submitted online at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/rules/pn_0218.html no later than February 12, 2017:

Comments may also be submitted by mail or email:

Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Attn: Quiet Waters Petition

P.O. Box 200701

Helena, MT 59620-

QuietWaters@nullmt.gov

For more information, contact david@nullmontanatu.org.