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FWP explores other sites for Stevi fishing access project

By Michael Howell

The Town of Stevensville received a letter from the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) concerning an assessment of three potential Fishing Access Sites located along the river near the Stevensville bridge. FWP visited the sites on April 26, with FWP construction and maintenance staff and FAS administrators and engineers and others, to assess the feasibility of an FAS on property owned by the Capp ranch next to the bridge on the north, a site on the town’s property north of that, and a site owned by the Montana Department of Transportation and Ravalli County on the northwest side of the bridge near River Road.
In the letter, FWP identifies the site on Capp property immediately adjoining the bridge on the northeast side as the most suitable site.
“It’s the most stable, the least problematic and has the least challenging features for constructing and maintaining an FAS,” states the letter.
FWP found the MDT/Ravalli County property would have to be lowered several feet to accommodate a boat launch that would not be too long or too steep and obtaining the permits would be key to the project. The letter notes that road re-routing may also have to occur at that site. The letter also noted that a gravel bar beach would not exist at the site.
FWP found the site proposed on the Town’s current parkland north and downstream from the Capp site was the least desirable.
“Though it’s possible, the property does not have the typical land features and favorite attributes sought when selecting a FAS,” it states. It says the land is prone to flooding and a road would have to be built in the flood-prone area.
FWP noted that if the Town selected it as a site that FWP could not make the same commitment of resources to the project that was promised for the development on the Capp property. It is suggested that a provisional design might be installed to see if it works for a number of years.
In conclusion Randy Arnold, FWP Regional Supervisor, said the agency was looking forward to working with the Town in the future on developing an access site along the river.

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