EQC Agenda Features Wildlife Issues - news.mt.gov

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EQC Agenda Features Wildlife Issues

Thursday, April 21, 2016/Categories: Legislative Branch/Tags: Environmental Quality Council

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. May 4 in room 317 of the Capitol. A full agenda and meeting materials are available on the EQC website at http://leg.mt.gov/eqc.

The bipartisan council will debate whether to weigh in on a federal proposal to remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone area from the list of threatened and endangered species. Other wildlife issues on the agenda include updates on bison management around Yellowstone National Park, a discussion of the 2015 Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Report, and an update on the Sage-grouse Conservation Program.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks will report on park fees and revenues. The agency will also brief the council on an emerging land management issue. Some property managed by the Parks Division was purchased using money from hunting and fishing license dollars. If the property is no longer used for fish and wildlife purposes, the agency is required to replace that property with land of equal value that will be used for those purposes. A portion of West Shore State Park on Flathead Lake is one of these properties.

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation will provide a report on forest health, a forecast on the upcoming fire season, and an update on a forestry program aimed at management activities on federal, state, private, and tribal lands.

The council continues its work on a study of federal roads, inaccessible public lands, and big game. A draft report along with possible findings and recommendations are up for debate.

As part of its duty to oversee the work of the departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Conservation, and Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the EQC is evaluating specific programs within each agency. At the May meeting, the EQC will finish its evaluation of Wildlife Division programs at the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks with a review of general wildlife management activities, including species surveys and inventories, season setting, and research. Interested persons are welcome to attend and provide comment.

For more information on committee activities and the next meeting visit the council's website or contact Joe Kolman, committee staff at 444-3747 or jkolman@mt.gov.

Representatives assigned to the EQC are Jerry Bennett, R-Libby (Vice Chair); Willis Curdy-D-Missoula; Janet Ellis, D-Helena; Ed Lieser, D-Whitefish; and White.

Senate members are John Brenden, R-Scobey (Chair); Jim Keane, D-Butte; Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman; Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek; Carey Smith, R-Billings; and Gene Vuckovich, D-Anaconda. 

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