Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service to Host Public Meetings to Gather Public Input on Proposed California Foothills Legacy Area

May 25, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MAY 25, 2011

Contact: Mark Pelz (916) 414-6504

                      
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Host Public Meetings to Gather Public Input
on Proposed California Foothills Legacy Area

SACRAMENTO--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will host public meetings in six California communities to receive input on its proposed California Foothills Legacy Area project.  The meetings begin June 6, in Bakersfield; June 7, in Porterville; June 8 in Le Grand; June 9 in Sonora; June 14 in Red Bluff; and June 16 in Hollister. 

This project was developed in cooperation with the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, and focuses on protecting rangelands surrounding California’s Central Valley through conservation easements.  The purpose of the meetings is to receive input from local residents, public agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders regarding issues they would like to see addressed during the development of the environmental assessment for the proposed project. 

The Service has identified four preliminary focal areas in the foothills surrounding the Central Valley and is considering establishing a new easement program for these areas.  The proposed project complements the efforts of several organizations that are acquiring easements within the proposed focal areas.  Lands within the proposed California Foothills Legacy Area are predominantly private working rangelands that include a rich and varied landscape of grasslands, oak savannah, and oak woodlands.  Other important habitats imbedded within this landscape include vernal pools, riparian areas and wetlands.

California rangelands are critically important to migratory birds, threatened and endangered species and are among the least protected habitats in the state.  California’s oak savanna and grasslands support the highest diversity and density of wintering raptors anywhere in North America.  A total of 197 federally-listed threatened and endangered species have documented occurrences within California’s grassland, oak savanna, and oak woodland habitats-more listed species than any other state in the U.S. outside Hawaii.

Meeting locations and start times are:

- June 6, 6-8 p.m.: E. Bakersfield Veterans Bldg.1, 2101 Ridge Rd., Bakersfield 93395
- June 7, 6-8 p.m.; Holiday Inn Express, 840 S. Jaye St., Porterville 93257
- June 8, 5-7 p.m.; Le Grand Branch Library, 12949 Le Grand Rd., Le Grand 95333
- June 9, 6-8 p.m.; Days Inn, 160 South Washington St., Sonora 95370
- June 14, 6-8 p.m.; Red Bluff Community/Senior Center, 1500 S. Jackson, Red Bluff 96078
- June 16, 6-8 p.m.; Veterans Memorial Building, 649 San Benito St., Hollister 95023

The public can also provide comments via email to fw8plancomments@fws.gov. For additional information, contact Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge Planning, at (916) 414-6504 or visit our website at http://www.fws.gov/cno/refuges/planning/cfla.cfm.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq

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