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Fish and Wildlife Commission to hold public hearing on proposed adoption of a rule limiting Tepee Lake to manually operated watercraft

Commission

Friday, December 18, 2020

HELENA – The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing via Zoom on Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. to consider the proposed adoption and amendment of a rule pertaining to limiting Tepee Lake to manually operated watercraft.

At its Nov. 18 meeting, the Fish and Wildlife Commission initiated rulemaking on a petition to limit Tepee Lake to manually operated watercraft. The petition was submitted by Rachel Potter on behalf of co-petitioners Kurt Borge, Michael Borge, Marguerite Kaminiski and Charles Potter. The commission also received a letter in support of the petition by the Montana Loon Society.

The petition states that the lake is a 43-acre, shallow and fishless lake located in the North Fork of the Flathead. The petition acknowledges that there have been no current or past motorized use on the lake, but that unless a rule is made, it is inevitable that eventually a motorboat or jet ski will be put on the lake. The petition states that this would lead to loss of a rustic and quiet lake with loons and other wildlife, loss of a precious piece of North Fork heritage, loss of secure nesting habitat for the common loon, and loss of water quality, as the lake is shallow with no perennial surface inlet or outlet.

The petition describes both the human history and natural history of the lake. The petition states that as more people are flooding to the North Fork, it is only a matter of time before a motorized craft is put on the lake. The petition advocates for a rule to be implemented before a conflict occurs.

The commission is proposing to amend ARM 12.11.501 and adopt NEW RULE I to limit Tepee Lake to manually powered watercraft pursuant to the petition.

Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments orally at the telephonic hearing. Written data, views or arguments may also be submitted to: Phil Kilbreath, Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mail pkilbreath@mt.gov, and must be received no later than Jan. 8, 2021.

To participate in the telephonic public hearing, call 1-646-558-8656, enter the meeting number: 915 2053 0099, followed by the password: 347307.

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