Field reports: Field reports: High court upholds stream access law
FISHING – A landowner’s claims that he can keep the public out of a portion of the Ruby River don’t hold water, the Montana Supreme Court said Thursday in a decision upholding the state’s stream-access laws.
The 5-2 decision favored the group Public Lands Access Association Inc. in its legal dispute with James Cox Kennedy, who owns about 10 miles along the river in Madison County.
The group said Kennedy built fences along county roads and bridges next to his land that prevented the public from using rights of way to reach the Ruby River.
Kennedy unsuccessfully argued that the state’s 1985 Stream Access Law allowing access to streams within the high-water mark and a 2009 law allowing access from bridges are an “unconstitutional taking of his vested property rights.”
Burning planned at Fishtrap Lake
HABITAT – Slow-moving fires are planned for about 1,150 acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management scablands southwest of Spokane near Fishtrap Lake starting this week through February to boost wildlife habitat and reduce the chance of intense wild fires during summer and fall.
Land acquisitions proposed for wildlife
PUBLIC LANDS – More than 700 acres along the Kettle River in Ferry County are among 13 proposed land acquisition areas for fish, wildlife and related recreation the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering in the next three years.
The agency has posted details of the properties on its website and is asking the public to comment on the proposals by Jan. 31.
The proposed acquisitions include general areas and specific sites, such as a 150-acre addition to the Reardan Audubon Lake for migratory birds and bird watching and 3,750 acres for the fourth phase of the 4-0 ranch acquisitions along the Grande Ronde River to boost everything from steelhead to elk, as well as public access.
The parcels also include 2,200 acres in Okanogan County geared to habitat for sharp-tailed grouse and hunting for other species.
Water, wildlife topics at Lake Spokane
CONSERVATION – Protecting grebe nesting areas, improving water quality and impacts of Spokane’s clean water plan on the Spokane River will be covered in presentations at the public meeting of the Lake Spokane Association, lakespokane- association.org, starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lakeside Middle School Auditorium, 6169 Highway 291 in Nine Mile Falls.
Presenters include local and state officials.
Bullhead record official
ANGLING – The number of record-setting fish caught in Washington during 2013 was officially increased last week by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which confirmed:
• Yellow bullhead, 2.06 pounds, measuring 14.5 inches long and 10 inches in girth, caught Sept. 8, by Monica Beckley of Roy, Wash., in Potholes Reservoir.