According to a new Fish, Wildlife and Parks report, the Bighorn River economy in Montana is now estimated to have a total economic value of nearly $51 million dollars annually. Updated anglers days and economic / values adjusted for 2010 dollars caused the total value to rise some $17 million over the last 5 years.Another similar report identified the total angler economic impact on Montana’s rivers and lakes at $237 million. This means approximately 1 in every 5 dollars spent on fishing in Montana is being spent catching fish on the Bighorn River!
If you’ve been following the Bighorn flows issue, you’ll know the Bureau of Reclamation is holding an informational meeting this Tuesday from 12:30pm to 4:30pm at the MSU-B Downtown Conference Room in Billings. This purpose of this meeting is to help the public provide written feedback on the Draft Operating Criteria for which the comment period closes January 28, 2011. Reclamation will provide an overview of the Draft Operating Criteria, and follow it up with a question and answer period.Friends of the Bighorn River believes this proposed operating criteria to be a radical and ill-conceived approach to water management, which continues to further favor lake recreation at the south end of Bighorn Lake to the detriment of river recreation, the river fishery, adjacent landowners, lake recreation at the north end of the lake, and the entire river economy. We have many important questions for Reclamation. If you have an interest or a stake in this issue, please join us. We believe it is vitally important to let Reclamation see the faces of their stakeholders and hear their voices. This will not be a time to rant and rave, but to either listen and learn and/or ask pertinent, rational, bold questions. If you need to review the Draft Operating Criteria, click here. If you have questions or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for your support, and see you Tuesday!