This is a follow up letter to the MT BHA letter we sent FWP a couple of months ago.
According to FWP website, Montana WMAs have the following direction…
“FWP’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are managed with wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation as the foremost concern. WMAs protect important wildlife habitat that might otherwise disappear from the Montana landscape. They provide vital habitat for bear, bighorn sheep, birds, deer, elk, furbearers, moose, mountain goats, wolves and an array of other game and nongame wildlife.”
“The primary goal of Montana's Wildlife Management Areas is to maintain vital wildlife habitat for the protection of species and the enjoyment of the public.”
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers believes there is ample room for improvement of in current management of Spotted Dog WMA to meet the vision emulated in the above statements. To better understand how Spotted Dog is and will be managed in the future, we request responses to the following questions.
Will a Management Plan be developed for Spotted Dog WMA….if so, what is the timetable?
Will the above FWP management statements be criteria for developing a management plan?
Will the FWP adopt a recommended management plan by the Advisory Group or will fish and wildlife and professionals develop the plan considering the input by the Advisory Group?
Will all wildlife and fish species be a priority or only elk?
How are Spotted Dog Advisory Committee members selected? Are there selection criteria to insure commodity interests do not dominate? What is the tenure of Committee members, and how does rotation occur?
What direction is given the Advisory Committee by FWP, and who is responsible for developing that direction?
What is the mission statement for the Advisory Committee and who develops the meeting agenda?
Has the position occupied previously by Carey Schmidt been filled? If not, what criteria are used in seeking a person for the position?
How are fish and wildlife resource professionals involved in shaping present management and future direction in the WMA?
What are the specific functions/goals of WMA livestock grazing, and how is that managed to insure detrimental effects to fish and all wildlife does not occur?
What are the desired seasons of habitat use by big game on the WMA? What is the current open motorized route density? How does that density and locations in an open landscape affect habitat values? How are these motorized routes coordinated with adjacent Helena National Forest motorized routes?
What is the desired hunting experience in the WMA, or is a diversity of experiences desired? How does the current abundance of open routes affect the experience?
We understand there may be restoration monies from NRD in the near future. How is that money to be spent and how are the priorities developed relative to the above goal statements?
While we understand it has been a relatively short period since Spotted Dog was deeded to FWP.there seems to a need to move positively to insure the WMA purposes are met. We are interested in remaining involved in any management decisions related to Spotted Dog WMA.
If possible, I would like to meet with you and Mike Thompson the week of Dec 2-6, as I am leaving the State for a couple of months on Dec 8. Please call me at 542-1320 if that might be possible.
Greg Munther, Co-Chairman
Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers