Today, FWP announced the beginning of the official scoping process for Madison River recreation management alternatives.  This represents a significant step forward in the process, and the first time that the general public has an easy way to express their feelings on the matter.  We commend FWP and the Commissioners for all their hard work to this point and encourage everyone out there who is passionate about the Madison River to participate in the scoping process.  The public has 40 days to comment, and the deadline for public comment is Monday, January 6, 2019.  As always, regardless of your position on this complex issue, we encourage everyone to comment in a thoughtful and professional manner, and to please avoid personal attacks, name calling, or other behaviors that close lines of communication and collaboration.  

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Scoping process begins for Madison River alternatives

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park is beginning a public process to gauge public support and collect feedback on various alternatives for dealing with crowding and conflict on the Madison River.

The process, known as scoping, will ask the public their opinions on various alternatives to addressing four main issues: commercial fishing outfitter management, social conflict management on the upper river, lower river recreational management, and angler use management on the upper river. The form of this process will be a public survey.

Additionally, the public will weigh in on their support for a management goal for recreational use on the river.

The scoping process comes at the direction of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, which met earlier this month to hear petitions from various interest groups proposing solutions to recreation management on the Madison River. The commission denied all three petitions but directed the department staff to insert the options proposed within the petitions into a scoping process.

The public will have 40 days to comment. Once the scoping process is complete, the department will consider the survey results and draft a proposed rule, which is slated to go before the commission in February. The commission will then choose whether or not to put the proposed rule out for public comment.

“It’s taken a long time and a lot of work to get to this point where we can officially collect input on our next steps,” said FWP director Martha Williams. “People are passionate about the Madison River, and we know it’s important for us to consider all interests in moving forward. We’re committed to doing just that.”

In addition to taking the survey, people can submit written comments to madisonrivercom@mt.gov.

The survey can be found at this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RDWKFXW.