FWP orders fishing restrictions on area rivers
Fishing restrictions are in place on various rivers in southwest Montana, including the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson rivers, as well as the Big Hole, Beaverhead and Ruby.
Each of these waterways is located in the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 3, and is experiencing elevated water temperatures and low streamflows due to warm air temperatures and an early snowmelt runoff this year, according to Travis Horton, fisheries manager for FWP’s Region 3.
“In general, what I’ve heard is dry and hot [conditions], so I anticipate closures sticking around for much of the summer,” said Horton, adding that last year restrictions were imposed around this same timeframe. “We’re trying to err on the side of caution with the fish.”
If FWP starts seeing growing numbers of fish mortalities, full closures could be placed into effect, Horton added. But as of EBS press time on July 6, fishing in certain rivers in Region 3 is only restricted during specific hours.
Known as “hoot owl restrictions,” these regulations limit fishing hours by closing the waterways to anglers from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. As of July 6, FWP had imposed hoot owl restrictions on the Gallatin from its confluence with the Madison River at Three Forks to Sheds Bridge (Hwy 84) near Four Corners.
Closures are in place on the Lower Madison River from Ennis Dam to the mouth at Three Forks, as well as the entire length of the Jefferson River.
Visit fwp.mt.gov/news/restrictions/waterClosure to stay up to date on current fishing restrictions around Montana.
Level 2 water restrictions in effect
As of July 1, Big Sky Water and Sewer District has Level 2 irrigation restrictions in effect for water users in the district.
This means irrigation hours are limited to 6-8 a.m. and from 9-11 p.m. every other day, and all watering must be done through a sprinkler—unattended open hose watering is not allowed.
On even calendar days of the month, even numbered homes and commercial properties, and all condominium and town home complexes south of Highway 64 may irrigate. On odd calendar days, odd numbered buildings and condo/town home complexes north of 64 may irrigate.
MDT gathers public input to establish priorities
The Montana Department of Transportation is updating the 20-year multimodal policy that guides the agency’s decision-making, and they’re seeking public input to inform that policy.
MDT is updating an existing policy that was originally adopted in 1995, and is calling it TranPlanMT. According to an email from MDT planner Charity Watt, the update helps the agency assess emerging priorities and trends.
Through Aug. 4, the public can weigh in by visiting tranplanmt.metroquest.com, and filling out a 10-15 minute survey that guides users to rate transportation objectives in order of importance and comment where desired.
Watt said the last update to the plan was in 2008 and TranPlanMT is not project-specific like the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, which establishes funding obligations in 5-year blocks.
MT 64, the state roadway connecting Highway 191 with Big Sky Resort, has been of particular interest to the Big Sky community.
Over the past six months, there’s been discussion about several changes to the highway, including changing the speed limit, adding turn lanes at key intersections, installing a stoplight or roundabout at the juncture of MT 64 and Ousel Falls Road, and increasing signage to reduce motorist-wildlife collisions.
The next milestone after the survey closes is a release of the draft plan for public comment, which is slated for December.
Missing July Fourth hiker found in good health
A 62-year-old hiker reported missing after failing to return from a July Fourth afternoon hike was spotted on a ridge top on July 5 by a Search and Rescue helicopter at 1:15 p.m.
According to a press release from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the hiker was found in good health and transported to a hospital to be evaluated by medical personnel.
Sergeant Brandon Kelly with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office said 58 people participated in the search effort, which included dogs and two helicopters.
The hiker, a Yellowstone Club visitor from California, was reported missing at 6:30 p.m. July Fourth when she failed to return from a planned hike on the Cedar Loop Trail.
“She ended up somewhere she didn’t plan to be,” said Big Sky Fire Department Chief William Farhat. “She was planning on going up on one trail and ended up on another, which was the basis of her problem.”
The hiker spent the night in the mountains—temperatures dipped to 45 degrees in Big Sky in the early hours of July 5, and were presumably lower at the hiker’s location.