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Environmental Assessment

MDT/CSKT Land Exchange
F-5-l(9)6




Fishing along the banl< of the Flathead River at Perma.



Prepared For:

Montana Department of Transportation




Prepared By:

Robert Peeeia & Associates, Helena, Montana



MEPA ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
MDT/CSKT LAND EXCHANGE

MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Project F-5-1 (9)6



This document is prepared in conformance with Montana Environmental Policy
Act{MEPA) requirements and contains the information required for an
Environmental Assessment under the provisions of ARI^ 18.2.237C2) and
18.2.239 .

Submitted pursuant to Section 75-1-101, etseq. M.C.A.

by
The Montana Department of Transportation





^^^Z^ty^ j6t.eY Date //- ^ -^y

IMontana Department of Transportation



With concurrence from



n:> CX ]!k'S^ Date lo\'><^L'



D. Fred Matt. Chairman

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes



The following persons may be contacted for additional information about this
document:

Mark Lambrecht Greg Hahn Jean A. Riley

Environmental Planner Montana Dept of Transportation Montana Dept, of Transportation

Robert Peccia a Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 201001 P.O. Box 201001

P.O. Box 5653 2701 Prospect Ave. 2701 Prospect Ave.

Helena, MT 59604 Helena, MT 59620-1001 Helena, MT 59620-1001

(406) 447-5000 (406) 444-9262 (406) 444-9456



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page No.
TABLE OF CONTENTS /

I. Purpose and Need

A. Purpose and Need for the Exchange 1

Figure 1: MDT Projects within the Flathead Indian Reservation ...4

B. Goals and Objectives 5

C. Background 5

D. Scope of the Exchange 7

E. General Locations of the Properties Being Considered for Exchange by MDT... 8

Figure 2: General Area Location Map 9

F. Funding 10

G. Legal Authority 10

II. Alternatives Considered

A. Introduction 11

B. No Action Alternative 11

C. Preferred Alternative (Proposed Action) 12

Table 1: Excess MDT Properties Available for Exchange 13

D. Other Alternatives Considered but Rejected by MDT 14

III. Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences

A. Introduction 17

B. Projects by Others in the Areas Affected by the Proposed Land Exchange .... 19

C. Impacts to the Natural Environment 21

1. Impacts to Landforms and Geology 21

2. Impacts to Important Farmland 23

3. Water Resources and Quality 25

4. Floodplain Impacts 28

5. Air Quality Impacts 29

6. Impacts to Vegetation 30

Table 2: Threatened and Endangered Plant Species 31

7. Impacts to Wetlands 33

8. Impacts to Endangered Wildlife and Fish 35

Table 3: Impacts to Endangered Wildlife and Fish 36

9. Impacts to Other Wildlife and Fisheries 38

D. Impacts to the Human Environment 41

1. Land Use Impacts 41

2. Transportation/Circulation Impacts 43

3. Social Impacts/Environmental Justice 44



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment

Page No.

4. Economic Impacts 46

5. Noise Impacts 48

6. Hazardous Substances 49

7. Impacts to Cultural, Archaeological and Historical Resources 50

8. Section 4(f) Properties 52

9. Section 6(0 Lands 53

10. Impacts to Visual Resources 54

11. Permits Required 55

12. Significance Criteria and Conclusions 56

IV. Coordination witli Others

A. Agency Coordination 59

1. Agencies Consulted 59

2. CSKT Coordination 59

B. Public Involvement 60

1. Notice of Intent 60

2. Planned Public Involvement Activities 61

C. Preparers of this Document 61

D. Distribution List for Document 62

APPENDICES



Appendix A: MDT/CSKT Deferred Exchange Agreement

Appendix B: Hoskin's Landing Easement

Appendix C: Hoskin's Landing Certificate of Survey

Appendix D: Hoskin's Landing Programmatic Categorical Exclusion

Appendix E: Correspondence Pertinent to Project

Appendix F: Public Involvement

Appendix G: USGS Topographic Maps of Land Exchange Properties

Appendix H: Bochik Easement

Appendix I: Vulles Easement



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange

Environmental Assessment



I. Purpose and Need



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



I. Purpose and Need



A. Purpose and Need for the Exchange

The fundamental purpose of the proposed exchange is to transfer one or more
properties from the IMontana Department of Transportation (IMDT) to the Confederated
Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) as compensation for a long-term easement for the
Hoskin's Landing Wetland Mitigation Site in Sanders County, Montana and for future
acquisition of right-of-way and other highway purposes within the Flathead Indian
Reservation.

The provision of replacement land is a requirement of the January 10, 2002 Deferred
Exchange Agreement between MDT and the CSKT. The exchange of properties would
settle MDT's obligation to the CSKT for its use of the Hoskin's Landing Wetland
Mitigation Site. The exchange of properties is also consistent with the CSKT's general
policies of acquiring available properties on the Reservation and consolidating Tribal
landholdings. The CSKT has an active policy of buying back fee (private) lands on the
Reservation to increase its land base.

Further, the proposed land exchange would facilitate the implementation of future MDT
projects within the Flathead Indian Reservation. The land exchange would establish a
process whereby MDT's excess land can be exchanged for Tribal trust or fee lands
needed for highway purposes. MDT's projects within the Flathead Indian Reservation
would occur on or near state- maintained highways and would include the following
general categories of improvements:

• Construction /Reconstruction. Highway construction is the complete
rebuilding of a roadway on either existing or new alignment. Highway
reconstruction includes all phases of design and construction of roadways on
present alignments (may involve rebuilding or upgrading of existing facilities and
minor alignment revisions).

• Rehabilitation & Widening Projects. Highway rehabilitation is a strategy to
extend the useful life of a highway, to achieve appropriate levels of safety and
operational characteristics without necessarily improving existing geometries. It
includes all phases of design and construction of milling, recycling, overlaying
and major widening of existing roadway.

• Resurfacing Projects. Highway resurfacing is the addition of a pavement
layer or layers over the existing roadway surface to provide additional structural
capacity and improved serviceability. It includes all phases of design and
construction of overlaying the existing roadway.

Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc. 1



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



• Spot Improvement & Safety Projects. Spot improvements include all
phases of design and construction of lighting, signals, signing guardrail, fencing,
intersection improvements, slope flattening, drainage or structural repair, and
related small projects. Safety projects are designed to improve safety at
hazardous locations throughout the Highway System.

• Bridge Replacement/ Rehabilitation. This improvement type includes all
phases of design and construction of structures on or near existing alignments.
It is different than reconstruction projects in that the length of the project is
limited to replacing a deficient structure or structures.

• Miscellaneous Improvements. The miscellaneous improvement type includes
all phases of design and construction for any project that is not included in the
above categories. These may include, but are not limited to the following:
environmental projects (like the development of wetland mitigation sites),
enhancement projects, rest areas, lighting, historical monuments, scale sites,
culvert and slide repair, and bicycle and pedestrian facility projects.

Most notably, this proposed land exchange would facilitate MDT's efforts to reconstruct
U.S. Highway 93 North between Evaro and Poison and implement other highway
projects. MDT's most apparent and pressing right-of-way needs are associated with
eight U.S. Highway 93 North projects presently in the design stages, including:

1) Evaro to McClure Road, Project NH 5-1 (30) 7;

2) McClure Road to the North End of Arlee, Project NH 5-1 (31) 13;

3) North End of Arlee to White Coyote Road, Project NH 5-2 (119) 19;

4) White Coyote Road to South Ravalli, Project NH 5-2 (120) 20;

5) South Ravalli to Old US 93 (Medicine Tree), Project NH 5-2 (121) 27;

6) Old US 93 (Medicine Tree) to Red Horn Road, Project NH 5-2 (122) 32;

7) Spring Creek/ Baptiste Road to Minesinger Trail/ North Reservoir Road,
Project NH 5-2 (123) 48; and

8) Minesinger Trail to MT Highway 35, NH 5-2 (124) 55.

The segment of U.S. Highway 93 between Red Horn Road to the south and Spring
Creek Road to the north is the subject of a Supplemental Environmental Impact
Statement (SEIS) project. Additional highway improvement projects will occur within
this segment when the SEIS is completed. MDT, CSKT, the City of Ronan and the
Federal Highway Administration recently announced the "preliminary preferred
alternatives" for the both Ronan and rural areas within this segment.



Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc.



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



The final version of I^DT's 2003-2005 l^ontana Statewide Transportation Improvement
Program (STIP) and the 2004-2006 Draft STIP identifies the following other ongoing or
planned highway projects within the Flathead Indian Reservation area.

a) Poison-East, MT Highway 35, reconstruction, STPP-NH 52-1(17) 0, CN 4036;

b) Paradise-East (East Section), MT Highway 200, reconstruction, STPP 6-1(36)
83, CN 1011;

c) Moiese-NE, Secondary Route 212, resurfacing, STPS 212-2(9) 5, CN 4633

d) Dayton-Lalce Mary Ronan, Secondary Route 352, overlay, STPS 352-1(5)
CN 5088;

e) Yellow Bay-North, MT Highway 35, overlay, seal and cover, STPP 52-1(25) 18,
CN 5075;

f) Division/ 5*" Street-Poison, reconstruction, CN 24(18), CN 4556;

g) Turn Bays-Ninepipes, US 93, reconstruction, STPHS 5-2(89) 37, CN 3598;

h) Hot Springs-South, MT Highway 28, resurfacing and widening, STPS 36-1(16)

7 CN 4037;
i) 8 km South of Polson-S, reconstruction, STPS 354-1(9) 5, CN 3606
j) Lone Pine-N&E, reconstruction, STPP 36-1(4) 26, CN 1289
k) Poison Urban, US 93, seal and cover, NH 5-2( ) 59
I) Poison-Elmo, US 93, seal and cover, NH 5-2( ) 67
m) Dixon-Ravalli, Montana Highway 200, seal and cover, STPP 6-l( )109

The general locations of these projects are shown in FIGURE 1.

Some of these projects may require the use of Tribal trust or fee lands and/or the
acquisition of private lands within the Reservation. It should be recognized that other
highway projects may also arise in the future that could require the use of such lands.
MDT's project needs would be facilitated by the proposed land exchange since excess
MDT lands within the Flathead Indian Reservation would be available to exchange for
CSKT lands needed for highway purposes. At this point, the MDT excess properties
identified in FIGURE 2 are the only ones made available for exchange with the CSKT.
However, additional properties may be identified and made available to the CSKT in
future procedures.



Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc.



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange



Environmental Assessment



Proposed Land Exchange

Montana Department of Transportation

and

Confederated Salish

and Kootenai Tribes



A) Poison-East

B) Paradise-East (East Section)

C) IVIoiese-NE

D) Dayton-Lake IVIary Ronan

E) Yellow Bay-North

F) Division/5th Street-Poison

G) Turn Bays-Ninepipes
H) Hot Springs-South

I) 8km South of Polson-S

J) Lonepine-N&E

K) Poison Urban

L) Poison-Elmo

M) Dixon-Ravalli



FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION




8) Minesinger Trail To
MT Highway 35



\ — - 7) Spring Creek/Baptiste Road To
Minesinger Trail/North
Reservoir Road



6) Old US 93 (Medicine Tree) To
Red Horn Road

5) South Ravalli to Old US 93
(Medicine Tree)

4) White Coyote Road
To South Ravalli



3)NorthEndofArlee
To White Coyote Road



2) McClure Road to
North End of Arlee

1) Evaro to McClure Road



Robert Peccia & Associates



Figure 1:

IVIDT Projects Within The

Flathead Indian Reservation



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



B. Goals and Objectives



MDT's primary goal for the proposed land exchange is to establish an agreement with
the CSKT to provide right-of-way and/or wetland mitigation areas for reconstruction of
U.S. Highway 93 and other transportation projects within the Flathead Indian
Reservation.

The primary goals for the CSKT in participating in this agreement are to acquire land
holdings within the Reservation and to protect the cultural resources found on the
Perma properties.



C. Background



MDT's Dixon-West and Paradise East and West projects resulted in the permanent loss
of over four acres of wetlands because of highway reconstruction. Due to MDT's
obligations to mitigate wetland losses, the agency pursued the acquisition of land within
the affected watershed for the purposes of creating, enhancing, or protecting wetlands.
Ultimately, a site known as the Hoskin's Landing property was identified as an
appropriate wetland mitigation site.

The Hoskin's Landing property is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation near Dixon
in Sanders County. MDT initiated efforts to obtain the use of this property in 2001. An
agreement between MDT and the CSKT for use of the property as a wetland mitigation
site was negotiated in late 2001. On January 10, 2002, MDT and the CSKT signed a
Deferred Exchange Agreement under which MDT agreed to provide replacement land
for the Hoskin's Landing property it acquired from the CSKT for use as a wetland
mitigation site. The Agreement granted MDT a 25-year easement from the CSKT on
48.23 acres of land for the purposes of restoring, protecting, managing, maintaining
and enhancing wetlands as mitigation for the loss of wetlands associated with MDT's
Dixon-West and Paradise East & West projects. In exchange for the use of CSKT land,
MDT agreed to provide replacement land.

As an initial step toward securing replacement land, MDT initiated an exchange of lands
with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). The
land exchange presented an opportunity for MDT to obtain ownership of land within the
Flathead Indian Reservation for a future exchange with CSKT and help offset a large
debt DNRC owed MDT as a result of a prior land exchange between MDT and DNRC.
The exchange also provided MDT with the opportunity to acquire another property for
the construction of a much needed highway maintenance facility in southwestern
Montana.

Through the land exchange, MDT acquired ownership of about 383 acres of land in and
around Perma in Sanders County and a 20-acre parcel in Beaverhead County near



Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc.



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



Wisdom in return for a valuable 3.49-acre tract near the 1-90 interchange at Belgrade in
Gallatin County and 45.92 acres near Troy in Lincoln County. An Environmental
Assessment (EA) was prepared for the MDT/DNRC land exchange in accordance with
the Montana Environmental Policy Act. The EA was duly made available for public
review and comment and a series of public hearings on the proposed exchange were
held in early 2002. The land exchange was approved by the Montana Board of Land
Commissioners on April 15, 2002. The DNRC formally transferred ownership of the
lands at Perma and near Wisdom to MDT on March 6, 2003.

MDT is also in the midst of efforts to reconstruct U.S. Highway 93 North between Evaro
and Poison. Reconstruction of this important route in western Montana requires
additional and new right-of-way due to changes in alignment and the fundamental
design of the highway. Considerable amounts of the land needed to accommodate the
reconstruction of the highway must come from within the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Additionally, other state highway routes exist within the Reservation. Over time,
improvements or reconstruction projects along these routes may necessitate additional
right-of-way from the CSKT. This proposed land exchange is essential to the
reconstruction of U.S. Highway 93. MDT will not be able to reconstruct this route
without access to the right-of-way and wetland mitigation sites that would be provided
by this proposed agreement.

MDT is now seeking to initiate an exchange of property with the CSKT to meet its
obligation under the January 10, 2002 Deferred Exchange Agreement. MDT also hopes
to identify a means by which future land exchanges between MDT and the CSKT can
occur if future highway projects within the Flathead Indian Reservation require
additional Tribal land. To advance this process, the preparation of an EA is necessary.
This EA examines the potential effects of exchanging excess MDT properties at Perma
and elsewhere on the Flathead Indian Reservation for the Hoskin's Landing property
and other future lands needed from the CSKT for highway purposes.

It is important to note that detailed analyses of the potential environmental effects of
MDT's proposed reconstruction of U.S. Highway 93 North between Evaro and Poison
have already been performed. These effects are analyzed and disclosed in the
following documents:

• Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), completed June 17, 1996;

• FEIS Record of Decision (ROD), completed August 12, 1996;

• ROD modification, completed February 9, 1998;

• Memorandum of Agreement for preferred conceptual roadway improvements,
completed December 20, 2000;

• FEIS re-evaluation, completed April 30, 2001;

• ROD for FEIS re-evaluation, completed October 23, 2001.

Skillings-Connolly, Inc. is preparing a Supplemental EIS to identify and evaluate the
effects of several reconstruction alternatives for U.S. Highway 93 in the Ninepipes area

Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc. 6



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



between Red Horn Road north of St. Ignatius and Spring Creek Road north of Ronan.
The SEIS should be completed in 2004.

MDT already completed a Programmatic Categorical Exclusion (PCE) document
analyzing the potential environmental effects of constructing the Hoskin's Landing
Wetland Mitigation project [Project STPP 45(29), Control Number 4144]. The project
reestablished the historic floodplain and associated riverine wetland complex on the
property by restoring or creating 8.1 acres of wetlands and enhancing 5.17 acres of
wetlands previously impacted by livestock grazing. The Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) concurred with the PCE on September 14, 2001. The conclusion reached in the
PCE was that constructing the proposed wetland mitigation project would not cause any
significant individual, secondary, or cumulative environmental impacts. A copy of the
PCE is included in Appendix D.

The environmental effects of other ongoing or planned projects on the State road
system within the Flathead Indian Reservation have been or will be addressed in
separate project-specific environmental documents prepared by MDT.

P. Scope of the Proposed Exchange

The proposal involves transferring excess properties MDT owns on the Flathead Indian
Reservation to the CSKT in exchange for the Hoskin's Landing Wetland Mitigation Site
near Dixon, Montana and for right-of-way needed for ongoing and future highway-
related projects within the boundaries of the Reservation. The proposed land exchange
would be implemented with a "ledger" system whereby MDT would identify the amount
and value of lands it needs for right-of-way and wetland mitigation within the
Reservation for its highway projects. The CSKT would then select lands of equivalent
dollar-value from MDT's list of excess properties for acquisition. These properties would
be exchanged between MDT and the CSKT to fulfill their respective needs. The ledger
of MDT's properties and their values would be kept until MDT completes its projects
within the Reservation or until it transfers all of its available excess properties to the
CSKT.

The proposed land exchange would convey excess MDT tracts to CSKT in exchange for
the Hoskin's Landing easement and future easements across CSKT "trust" or "fee" lands
needed for highway purposes. "Trust" lands are parcels assigned to the Flathead
Indian Reservation under the General Allotment Act of 1887, also commonly known as
the Dawes Act (25 U.S.C. §§ 331-334, 339, 341, 342, 348, 349, 354 and 381)
and the Flathead Allotment Act of 1904. "Fee" lands are those that CSKT has acquired
outside of its original allotment under the Dawes Act. Tribal fee lands require payment
of taxes while trust lands have no such requirement.

It should be noted that the right-of-way and wetland mitigation easements to be
acquired by MDT from CSKT have yet to be specifically identified. MDT will identify

Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc. 7



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



Tribal land requirements for right-of-way and/or wetland mitigation as the U.S. Highway
93 North and other projects develop.

CSKT would select available excess MDT properties on the Flathead Indian Reservation
in exchange for Tribal properties needed for ongoing and future highway projects. MDT
intends to complete these exchanges and associated projects within ten years of
approval of this proposed land exchange. Any and all exchanges will be completed on a
dollar-for-dollar basis considering the appraised value of the properties.

E. General Locations of Properties Being
Considered for Exciianqe by I^DT

A map showing the general locations of the excess MDT properties at Perma and
elsewhere on the Flathead Indian Reservation is included as FIGURE 2. Detailed maps
of these properties are provided in Appendix G.

The Hoskin's Landing Wetlands Mitigation Site is located in Sanders County near Dixon.

MDT's Perma properties are located in the platted townsite of Perma and on lands to
the north and south of the Flathead River. These properties are approximately 20 miles
west of the Hoskin's Landing Site. These properties are identified as Parcels 1, 2, 3 and
4 on FIGURE 2.

MDT's excess lands at Schley Creek are located along U.S. Highway 93 North in
between Evaro and Arlee in Missoula County. The Schley Creek properties are shown
as Parcels 5 and 6 on FIGURE 2.

The Melita Island Overlook (Parcel 7 on FIGURE 2) is located along U.S. Highway 93
North and overlooks Flathead Lake. This property is about 11 miles west of Poison and
about 3 miles east of Big Arm in Lake County.

MDT's excess lands along Round Butte Road (Parcels 8 and 9 on FIGURE 2) are
located along Route 211 west of Ronan in Lake County.



Robert Peccia & Associates, Inc. 8



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange



Environmental Assessment



Proposed Land Exchange

Montana Department of Transportation

and

Confederated Salish

and Kootenai Tribes



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FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION



Parcels 8, 9
Round Butte Road
Properties




Hoskin's Landing
Wetland Mitigation Site



Parcels 5, 6

Schley Creek and

Schley Creek Gravel Pit



Robert Peccia & Associates



Figure 2:
General Location IVIap
MDT's Excess Lands Within the Flathead
Indian Reservation g



MDT/CSKT Land Exchange Environmental Assessment



F. Funding



The proposed property transfer would require no expenditures from I^DT or CSKT other
than the staff time and resources necessary to administer and implement the land
transfer process. The properties would be exchanged on an equal dollar for dollar
basis, according to the appraised values of the involved properties. If a monetary
balance remains upon completion of MDT's projects within the Flathead Reservation or
upon transfer or MDT's excess properties to the CSKT, the debtor would pay the
remainder it owes to the creditor.



G. Legal Authority



Jurisdiction for land exchanges involving state agencies is provided in the Montana


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