Madison River management EA to be introduced March 27

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Madison River

A new environmental assessment proposing guidelines to reduce crowding on the Madison River will be unveiled at the March 27 Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.

A proposal to manage recreational use of the Madison River will debut at the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on March 27.

Contained in an environmental assessment written by the Fisheries Bureau staff are five considerations for reducing crowding on the river. Once the document is approved by the commission it will be released for public review and comment.

If finalized the EA would be the end to a long and sometimes bitter process that has pitted anglers against outfitters and conservationists versus business folks in the Madison community. 

The EA comes on the heels of a recent survey conducted by Fish, Wildlife & Parks. More than 8,000 people took the survey, provided comments or recommendations. 

The majority of respondents to the survey supported reducing commercial trips either by designating some portions of the river wade only or keeping guides off certain sections on specific days of the week.

The preferred department alternative would “manage recreational use of the Madison River in a manner that ensures long-term health and sustainability of the fisheries, diversifies angling opportunity while reducing conflicts, and sustains the ecological and economic benefits of the river to Montanans and our guests.”

The meeting will be held in Room 317 at the State Capitol, 1301 East 6th Ave., in Helena as well as streamed live via video to all FWP regional offices. The meeting will also be audio streamed online at The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.

The commission will also make final decisions on: a tuberculosis surveillance plan; Helena urban deer plan; and an addition of land to the Mount Haggin WMA near Anaconda.

The commission will also look at endorsing a new elk planning process that would start with a citizens advisory group, a first step in writing a new state elk management plan.

For the full agenda and background on the scheduled topics, go to the FWP website at; under “Quick Links” click “Commission.”

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