Tag Archives: Comprehensive River Management Plan

Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River: Comprehensive River Management Planning Resumes

North Fork Flathead River from Ford Station - USFS
North Fork Flathead River from Ford Station – USFS

Here’s some good news! Work has resumed on the Comprehensive River Management Plan for the Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River.

From the official press release . . .

Kalispell, MT, November 4, 2021– The Flathead National Forest, in coordination with Glacier National Park, is excited to announce that after a year-long delay, planning efforts will begin once again on the Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for the Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River. The project will continue to be coordinated by HydroSolutions Inc, a Helena, Montana natural resource consulting firm.

In the fall/winter of 2020 the project team was working on an initial draft of the CRMP. This plan along with an environmental assessment was anticipated to be released for public comment in January of 2020, with a final decision in the summer of 2020. The CRMP project was delayed due to lack of funding for completing the contract as well as staffing and capacity issues. In January 2021, the Forest Service secured additional funding to extend the contract with HydroSolutions through August 2022.

The purpose of the project is to fulfill the requirements of Section 3(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that states that “the Federal agencies charged with the administration of each component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System shall prepare a comprehensive management plan…to provide for the protection of river values and Section 3(d) (2) that requires that river management plans for Wild and Scenic Rivers designated prior to 1986 be reviewed for conformity with the Act. Prior to developing the proposed action, six public engagement sessions were held to discuss water quality, wildlife, cultural and ethnography features, fisheries, geology and botany, and recreation and scenery. The Proposed Action was then drafted and released in late summer 2019, which included a 45-day public scoping period that generated 126 written comments and included two public meetings attended by approximately 180 people.

The purpose and need for the Flathead River CRMP Project, as stated in the proposed action is:

    • To protect and enhance the outstandingly remarkable values identified in the original designation.
    • To update the existing river management plan as required to maintain compliance with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and to reflect changes that have occurred since designation (1976) in forest and park management, special status species, and other laws that affect resources within the Wild and Scenic River corridor.

This plan will be implemented through three primary mechanisms including intergovernmental coordination, individual agency action, and partnerships with non-governmental organizations and the public. This plan provides management direction and information on the desired river conditions as well as monitoring indicators, triggers, and thresholds for the Flathead Wild and Scenic River into the future. Future projects and site-specific activities must be consistent with the regulatory guidance provided in the CRMP as well as the Flathead Forest Plan.

Because some time has passed since the release of the proposed action, we encourage interested public to review the proposed action document and project background materials. The Proposed Action document highlights the elements of the CRMP that address the current status of the outstanding remarkable values along these river segments, outlines goals and desired conditions, describes the user capacity determination process, and proposes a monitoring strategy, indicators, and management direction to carry forward. The proposed action can be accessed at the Flathead Comprehensive River Management Plan project website and the CRMP Project Background link on the Flathead NF CRMP Website includes all the materials from the 2018 Pre-scoping public engagement meetings and detailed project background.

The new project timeline anticipates that a Draft CRMP and environmental assessment will be released in the spring of 2022 for public review and comment. The project team plans to hold a public engagement session to provide more information and facilitate public input on the Draft Plan. The final decision and CRMP is expected to be released late summer 2022.

The Forest appreciates the public’s continued engagement and interest in the Flathead CRMP Project and look forward to receiving more input as we move forward. The Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River is a nationally and locally important resource. The Forest/Team is committed to developing a CRMP that will meet the requirements of the Wild and Scenic River Act and continue to protect and enhance the rivers free flowing conditions, water quality, and the outstandingly remarkable values for current and future generations.

Scoping document released for the Comprehensive River Management Plan

North Fork Flathead River, May 16, 2018 - by William K. Walker
North Fork Flathead River, May 16, 2018 – by William K. Walker

I just got this note from Rob Davies, Hungry Horse/Glacier View District Ranger . . .

The Proposed Action for the River Plan is out today. [In the press release below,] you will see the link to the Flathead NF web page where you can locate the July 2019 Draft Proposed Action (50 pages).

Also public meetings are now set for Tue Aug 13th, and Tue August 20th, Flathead Community College, 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

If you could please pass this on to the home owners association and others in the North Fork on your email list who you know are interested. This info will also be distributed in all the next editions of the local papers.

And here is the official press release . . .

Flathead Wild and Scenic River: Scoping for the Comprehensive River Management Plan

Kalispell, MT, July 31, 2019- The Flathead National Forest, in coordination with Glacier National Park, is beginning the scoping process for the Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for the Flathead Wild and Scenic River.

The proposed action document discusses potential management direction and information on the desired conditions for the Flathead River segments. The public is asked to pay particular attention to how the desired condition statements as well as the proposed monitoring indicators, thresholds and triggers protect and preserve Outstanding Remarkable Value’s for the three forks of the Flathead River system presently and into the future. This is the foundation of the CRMP and will inform management actions and inform how the user capacity process will be done. More information on the Flathead Wild & Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan can be found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/flathead/crmp.

The proposed action can also be accessed at the Flathead National Forest NEPA page (Flathead Comprehensive River Management Plan): https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56536.

Continue reading Scoping document released for the Comprehensive River Management Plan

Flathead Wild and Scenic River water quality meeting May 16th

North Fork of the Flathead River - ©Mark LaRowe
North Fork of the Flathead River – ©Mark LaRowe

The next in a series of meetings on developing a comprehensive river management plan for the three forks of the Flathead River is scheduled for May16. It will be held from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, at the at the Heaven’s Peak room in the Cedar Creek Lodge, Columbia Falls.

Here’s the full press release . . .


Flathead Wild and Scenic River: Comprehensive River Management Plan Meeting to Discuss Water Quality

Kalispell, MT. May 3, 2018- The Flathead National Forest, in coordination and partnership with Glacier National Park, is in the process of preparing a comprehensive river management plan (CRMP) for the 3-forks of the Flathead River.

A series of resource-focused public meetings will be held over the next six months, beginning on May 16th. This meeting will focus on water quality conditions, management, and concerns as part of the efforts to develop the CRMP. The meeting will be held at the Heaven’s Peak room in the Cedar Creek Lodge, Columbia Falls, Montana. The meeting will be from 6 pm to 8 pm and include presentations on current water quality information and facilitated discussion on how water quality should be addressed in the CRMP. For those new to the comprehensive river management plan process, an introductory presentation on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will begin at 5:45 pm. Future meeting topics and a preliminary schedule will be posted on the Flathead National Forest website.

The CRMP will address the current status of the river and the surrounding resources, outline goals and desired conditions, determine user capacity and create a monitoring plan for the next 15 to 20 years. In order to reflect the diverse users of the river and surrounding lands, the public is encouraged to help craft the future management of this designated wild and scenic river to ensure the river and its outstanding resources are maintained and protected.

For more information, please call Flathead National Forest Recreation Program Manager, Chris Prew at 406-758-3538.
Updates on the CRMP can be found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/flathead/home/?cid=fseprd573051&width=full

Reminder: Comprehensive River Management Plan public meeting, March 6

Elk Crossing North Fork of Flathead River, north of Camas Bridge, March 4, 2016 - Greg Evans
Elk Crossing North Fork of Flathead River, north of Camas Bridge, March 4, 2016 – Greg Evans

The first public meeting on development of a Comprehensive River Management Plan for the three forks of the Flathead River is on March 6, 6:00pm, at Cedar Creek Lodge in Columbia Falls. This is a pretty big deal given the steep increase in recreational traffic over the past few years. The current plan is dated, at best.

Here’s the text of Flathead Forest’s press release, which does a good job of summarizing the issues at hand . . .

The Flathead National Forest, in coordination with Glacier National Park, has begun the process to prepare a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for the 3-Forks of the Flathead River.

The river and surrounding lands offer recreational opportunities and access to outstanding resources for a variety of public lands users. The CRMP will address the current status of these resources, outline goals and desired conditions, determine user capacities, and create a monitoring strategy and plan to carry forward. The public is encouraged to contribute to this planning effort that will secure the outstanding remarkable values of the 3-Forks of the Flathead River for future generations. The planning team will be reaching out to the public to provide information on background of the statutory requirements of a CRMP under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, describe the need for change from the current river management plan and to gather public input on management issues for the CRMP. The first public meeting introducing the project will be held on March 6th from 6 to 8 pm at the Cedar Creek Lodge Conference Room in Columbia Falls, Montana. Additional meetings will follow allowing for further participation and opportunities to comment, that will help develop the CRMP.

Continue reading Reminder: Comprehensive River Management Plan public meeting, March 6

River management plan meeting March 6

Elk Crossing North Fork of Flathead River, north of Camas Bridge, March 4, 2016 - Greg Evans
Elk Crossing North Fork of Flathead River, north of Camas Bridge, March 4, 2016 – Greg Evans

Now that the Forest Plan is in its final stages, the Forest Service and allied agencies are rolling up its sleeves and getting to work on a management plan for the three forks of the Flathead River. Here’s a good overview by the Hungry Horse News. See also the official Comprehensive River Management Plan announcement . . .

Columbia Falls will host the first of several meetings on a new comprehensive river management plan for the three forks of the Flathead River.

The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. March 6 at the Cedar Creek Lodge Conference Room.

The Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park are embarking on a joint plan to track river use on the three forks of the Flathead, with the eventual goal of crafting management plans for the Wild and Scenic rivers.

Read more . . .

Press release: Flathead Wild and Scenic River: Comprehensive River Management Plan