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(1) Persons may translocate prairie dogs provided that a proposal for the translocation complies with this subchapter and is approved by the appropriate department regional supervisor(s) .

(2) The sending/receiving area proponents shall provide a translocation proposal to the department regional supervisor (or both regional supervisors if more than one department administrative region is involved) .

(3) A proposal for translocation of prairie dogs must conform to the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and must include the following information:

(a) name(s) of the willing owner(s) of the sending area and name(s) of the willing owner(s) of the receiving area;

(b) a map illustrating land ownership and public lands leases, for thesending area and land ownership and public land leases within a six-mile radius of thereceiving area;

(c) a rationale explaining the need for and the objectives of the translocation, and an explanation of why relocation of prairie dogs from the sending area to the receiving area is desirable;

(d) evidence that landowners and/or public land managers within a six-mile radius of thereceiving area have been notified by certified mail of the proposed translocation of prairie dogs. Any comments by these potentially affected landowners and/or public land managers regarding the proposed translocation must be included in the proposal;

(e) a description of both the sending and receiving areas which should include, but are not limited to, the following:

(i) general topography;

(ii) vegetation types;

(iii) landscape setting; and

(iv) a discussion of recent and historic occupancy of the area by prairie dogs, incidence of disease, past poisoning efforts if known, presence or absence of other associated species in the area for both the sending and the receiving areas, and any other information supporting the ultimate success of the translocation such as site preparation or natural habitat features that promote retention of translocated prairie dogs and that are conducive to long-term maintenance of prairie dogs and other wildlife species associated with prairie dogs;

(f) a description of potential threats to other wildlife species and to agricultural production that may occur as a result of the proposed translocation. The proposal must contrast potentially significant threats with potential benefits;

(g) measures the applicant(s) intends to use to minimize potential threats to other wildlife species and to agricultural production;

(h) a description of how the trapping and transport guidance criteria of ARM 12.9.1010 will be met;

(i) a description of how the monitoring plan criteria of ARM 12.9.1020 will be met;

(j) a description of how the conflict resolution plan of ARM 12.9.1025 will be met;

(k) a statement indicating whether the sending and receiving areas have been prioritized by the department regional office; and

(l) copies of any documents required for environmental compliance (including public notification) or permits required by federal, state and/or local government.

(4) Translocation of prairie dogs from federal land to federal land within a national wildlife refuge will be coordinated in advance with the appropriate department administrative region. Translocation of prairie dogs originating from outside a national wildlife refuge, to areas within a refuge, will follow the procedures established by this subchapter.

History: 87-1-301, 87-5-105, MCA; IMP, 87-1-301, 87-5-105, MCA; NEW, 2004 MAR p. 1756, Eff. 8/6/04.

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