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Service Solicits Public Input on Draft Plans For Missouri Refuges
10 Region, September 19, 2003
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The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public to comment on plans that will affect the management of three national wildlife refuges in Missouri. The Service is seeking public input on a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Fire Management Plan (FMP) for Mingo NWR, as well as draft FMPs for Pilot Knob and Ozark Cave Fish NWR.

Mingo NWR is located in Stoddard and Wayne Counties in southeast Missouri. The refuge comprises 21,676 acres of forested bottomland wetlands nestled against the Ozark foothills. Pilot Knob NWR is a 90-acre refuge in Iron County near Ironton (approximately 60 miles northwest of Mingo NWR) while Ozark Cave Fish NWR is a 40-acre refuge in Lawrence County near Halltown (approximately 20 miles west of Springfield, Mo.)

The Environmental Assessment for Mingo NWR considers four alternatives, including the ?no action? alternative required for all National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents. The ?preferred alternative? is to adopt the FMP and to allow for prescribed burns and to suppress all wildland fires. One alternative would allow for no prescribed burning and to monitor all wildland fires while a fourth alternative would allow both prescribed burns and the monitoring of wildland fires. Fire Management Plans for Pilot Knob and Ozark Cave Fish refuges will be approved as ?categorical exclusions? because of the small physical size of the refuges.

The fire management plan for the refuges include a description of refuge habitats and surrounding lands, and the proposed actions regarding wildfire suppression and use of prescribed fire. Copies of the plans can be requested from the headquarters office at Mingo NWR located just north of Puxico Mo., or at the public libraries in Puxico, Ironton, and Republic, Mo. The plans may also be viewed on-line at the following addresses:

Mingo FMP/EA: http://midwest.fws.gov/FireManagement/EAMingoFMP.pdf Mingo FMP: http://midwest.fws.gov/FireManagement/MingoFMP.pdf Satellite FMP http://midwest.fws.gov/FireManagement/PilotKnobOzarkCaveFMP.pdf The public comment period will be open through October 22, 2003. Written comments should be sent to: Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, 24279 State Highway 51, Puxico, Missouri, 63960; or by E-mail to: richard_speer@fws.gov or fax: (573) 222-6343. Questions regarding the draft plans, or about the refuges can be directed to Refuge Manager Kathleen Maycroft or Assistant Refuge Manager Richard Speer at (573) 222-3589.

Contact Info: Kevin Painter, , kevin_painter@fws.gov



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