Ready for FWP Commission Meeting

Madison River Work Group finalizes recommendations for June 22 commission meeting

The Madison River Work Group met for the final time this spring on Thursday, May 26. The primary purpose of the meeting was to finalize their recommendations for the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on June 22. If adopted, the recommendations will go into effect in 2023.

The Madison River Work Group is a 12-member team, organized by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. The work group was created last fall to primarily provide recommendations for regulation of commercial and recreational use on the Madison River, according to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) website.

Fish and Wildlife Commissioner K.C. Walsh believes that the work group has been very productive in the months leading up to the June meeting. 

“We started this process back in September, with a Winston Churchill quote, ‘perfection is the enemy of progress’, and I think we’ve made great progress here in this group”, FWP Commissioner K.C. Walsh said.

Here are the major recommendations from the Madison River Work Group to be brought forth at the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on June 22 at the Montana FWP Headquarters in Helena.

Non-Commercial Recommendations (All of which would go into effect in 2023)

• Implement passive data collection methods that incorporate counts of wade angling use and floating use in specific reaches of the river.

• Require a Madison River Float Permit for floating recreation to gather use data and to serve as a possible tool for river recreation management in the future.

• Develop a comprehensive Madison River Recreation Plan that addresses all forms of recreation. Commercial Recommendations (All of which would go into effect in 2023)

• A new Montana River Use Permit (RUP) will be created for the Madison River. An RUP could only be issued to properly licensed Special River Permit(SRP) holders.

• The RUP would apply to the entire river with the exception of the Ennis Lake and Bear Trap Wilderness boundaries.

• A limit of the total annual commercial RUP trips for each SRP holder at the number of trips reported for 2019 or 2020, whichever is higher.

• The maximum number of exempt annual trips for charitable donations for each river service provider shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) trips or three percent (3%) of the river service provider’s annual allocation determined at the beginning of the year whichever is greater.

• Implement a limited appeals process for allocation of RUP trips.

• Allocated Trips can be transferred through the proper FWP process.

• If not used a requisite amount, RUP allocation can be forfeited and transferred elsewhere.

• The Madison River RUP system will be evaluated annually for the first three years then once every three years thereafter. The guidelines for public comment at the June 22 meeting are as follows:

• The deadline for public comment submissions for known proposed items was May 19.

• Public comment will be allowed for any significant amendment to a new proposal recommended for the June 22 meeting.

• Public comment will only be taken in-person at the June 22 meeting. Below are the full documents regarding both the non-commercial and commercial recommendations to be presented to the commission.

Non-Commercial Recommendations: non-commercial-recommendations-5.26.pdf

Commercial Recommendations: binaries/content/assets/fwp/ aboutfwp/councils--committees/madison-river-workgroup/5-26-22-meeting/ mrwg-commercial-management-recommendations-final-rev-highlighted-5-25-22.pdf

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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