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Fish and Wildlife Commission to hold public hearing on motorized use on the Shields River

Commission

Wed Sep 16 11:18:03 MDT 2020

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a phone-in public hearing on Oct. 6, at 10 a.m., to consider the proposed adoption and amendment of a new rule and amendment pertaining to closing the Shields River to all motorized watercraft. The Shields River is in Park and Meagher counties. Currently, the Park County portion of the river has a 10 horse-power restriction on motorboats, while the Meagher County portions have no restrictions.

At its Aug. 13 meeting, the commission initiated rulemaking on a petition to ban motorized use on the Shields River from the headwaters to its confluence with the Yellowstone River and all tributaries of the Shields River. The petition also included a letter in support signed by 49 individuals. The petition references safety concerns with jet boats that can operate at high rates of speed within the current 10 horse-power restriction. The petition also indicates that motorized travel on the small stream creates the dangerous possibility of a collision between a jet boat and irrigation equipment, livestock, children swimming, inner-tubers and people fishing.

The commission is proposing an amendment and the adoption of a new rule that would ban all motorized use on the Shields River pursuant to the petition.

Public comment will be taken during the meeting. Written data, views or arguments may also be submitted to: Phil Kilbreath, FWP Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mailed to pkilbreath@mt.gov. Comments must be received no later than Oct. 9, 2020.

To participate in the public hearing via telephone, call 1-646-558-8656, enter the meeting number: 923 3117 9115, followed by the password: 508621.