NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETINGS
Published: Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge and State of Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission Public Meetings to Discuss Draft Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Salinity Control at the Refuge
7 p.m. Monday, April 16, 2012, at the Cottonwood Inn, 45 1st Ave. NE, Glasgow, MT and at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at the Great Northern Hotel, 2 S 1st Street East, Malta, MT.
When the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge Compact was negotiated by the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and approved by the Montana legislature in 2007, one of the State’s key goals was to ensure that the Refuge’s water rights were used to improve rather than worsen the salinity problem on the Refuge. As part of satisfying that goal, the Compact contained a commitment that the State and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Parties”) would enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) specifically addressing how the salinity problem would be addressed. The process used to address the issue was the development of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This CCP, required by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, addressed all aspects of refuge management. The Bowdoin Refuge Complex CCP took over 5 years to complete, primarily due to the detailed analysis needed to develop viable alternatives for addressing the salinity issue. To complete this analysis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) worked with other government agencies, particularly the State. The Service also hired a contractor who assisted in evaluating the effectiveness of the various proposed solutions. During this process, the public was kept informed and given opportunities to comment and share their ideas, including three public meetings. In August 2011 the CCP was approved at which time the preferred alternative for addressing the salinity issue was chosen by the Service’s Regional Director. Both the Service and the State feel that this alternative will effectively address the salinity problem on Bowdoin NWR. The Parties have now reached preliminary agreement on this MOU and, as part of the commitment made in the Compact, are releasing it to the public for review and comment before it is finalized. The draft MOU is available on the Compact Commission’s website http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/rwrcc/Compacts/Bowdoin/DraftMOU.pdf, and representatives from the Compact Commission and the Fish and Wildlife Service will be present at public meetings to be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 16th, at the Cottonwood Inn in Glasgow, Montana, and at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17th, at the Great Northern Hotel in Malta, Montana. We are also happy to accept comments by email at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or John_D_Simpson@fws.gov. You may send written comments to Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission, 1625 Eleventh Avenue, PO Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620-1601.
(Published April 11, 2012)
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