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Navratil Channel Migration Easement Decision Notice


A Decision Notice has been prepared by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) in response to the previously proposed Navratil Channel Migration Easement (CME) Draft Environmental Assessment (EA). A public comment period and public hearing have commenced.  Final action on the Navratil CME is contingent upon FWP Commission approval (scheduled for Thur., Feb. 11, 2016).

FWP proposed to fund the purchase of a perpetual channel migration easement on 89.5 acres in Richland County along the Yellowstone River near Sidney, MT.  A channel migration easement (CME) is a conservation easement that includes land bordering a stream or river where the Landowner agrees not to riprap or otherwise stabilize the river bank, thereby allowing the river’s natural erosive processes to continue.  Montana Aquatic Resources Services (MARS), after entering into an agreement with MDFWP, located willing landowners, Gerald and Maryellen Navratil.  The purpose of the Navratil CME is to preserve and protect the conservation and agricultural values of the Land, particularly the habitats provided for fish and wildlife species, and to prevent armoring of the river bank within the easement area, in perpetuity. 

The proposed CME is not without controversy and concern; it is our recommendation that the FWP Commission approve the CME contingent upon MARS and MLR addressing the downstream landowner and leasee’s concerns that the CME will compromise the long-term ability to protect the lateral and future farming operations.  If a compromise can be found, we would recommend to the FWP Commission that the proposed action to release WAPA funding for the purchase of a Channel Migration Easement from the Navratil family be approved.  If MARS and MLR are unable to reach agreement with the downstream landowner/leasee we would recommend executing the no-action alternative thereby removing FWP from the project.

The Decision Notice is also available for viewing at: or upon request from the FWP Region 7 office at (406) 234-0900.


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