Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Issues Draft Management Plan for Hopper Mountain, Bitter Creek, and Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuges

Apr 11, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2012                                                        

Contact: Michael Woodbridge, (805) 256-5423
 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Draft Management Plan for Hopper Mountain, Bitter Creek, and Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuges
60-Day Public Comment Period Begins for Plan Affecting Three California Condor-Focused Refuges


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment (CCP/EA) concerning future management of Hopper Mountain, Bitter Creek, and Blue Ridge national wildlife refuges (NWR). Publication of the CCP in today’s Federal Register (http://1.usa.gov/IGxOcT) begins a 60-day public comment period for a planning document that articulates conservation issues and management direction on three national wildlife refuges originally established for recovery of the California condor.

Public input on the draft CCP will help the Service prepare a final CCP that, when completed, will guide management for the three refuges for the next 15 years. The draft CCP/EA proposes a number of goals, objectives and strategies that will enhance wildlife conservation, including the following highlights:

Hopper Mountain NWR, established in 1974 and encompassing 2,471 contiguous acres in Ventura County, just northeast of Fillmore, will increase condor management, increase outreach, and collect baseline data on resources with an emphasis on special status species.

Bitter Creek NWR, established in 1985 and encompassing nearly 14,097 acres approximately 10 miles southwest of Maricopa where Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties meet, will increase condor management, utilize grazing and other methods to improve habitat for special status species, and restore some springs and drainages. In addition, visitor services at the refuge will expand, including the opening of a new interpretive birding trail for the public.

Blue Ridge NWR, established in 1982 and encompassing 897 acres in central Tulare County 11 miles north of Springville, will increase condor management, collect baseline data for special status species, and add volunteer opportunities. Also, portions of the refuge will be opened for public use with a new interpretive trail system.

The draft CCP/EA is available at:  www.fws.gov/hoppermountain. To obtain a CD copy or to submit written comments on the draft CCP/EA, contact:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region, Refuge Planning, Attn: Sandy Osborn, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1832, Sacramento, CA, 95825; fax 916-414-6497 or e-mail fw8plancomments@fws.gov.

To assist in the comment gathering process, open house-style public meetings will take place in Ventura and Taft, Calif. Further details for these public meetings will be announced in the coming weeks

More information about the CCP and public meetings is available by contacting Michael Woodbridge, Hopper Mountain NWR Complex, at (805) 644-5185 or visiting:  www.fws.gov/hoppermountain.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continued 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.

 
NOTE TO EDITORS: Digital photographs are available upon request.

 - FWS -


For more information about the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex visit http://www.fws.gov/hoppermountain