Big Falls NEPA
Comment Invited on Draft Environmental
Falls Shooting Range, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin
The Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are seeking public comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed development of a new 3-acre shooting range within a former 6-acre sand pit near the village of Fall Creek in central Eau Claire County.
Eau Claire County owns the property, supports range development and has agreed to make the site available for public use for at least twenty years. The site is located within the 52,000-acre Eau Claire County Forest.
The county forest is mainly managed for timber management and multi-purpose recreation. The sand pit has not been used as a source for sand borrow material for at least 10 years. The site has more recently been used for haphazard shooting practice and as an unauthorized ATV trail and as a general household litter dump site.
The proposed range site plan calls for two shooting lanes with side and back berms consistent with National Rifle Association-approved design standards, two graveled 9-vehicle parking areas, walkways, shooting benches and signs. Local volunteers would operate and maintain the range according to pre-agreed conditions including free public daytime access year-round, grass mowing, litter control, etc.
A second action alternative is analyzed in the EA which would construct a larger range at the same site. A third "No Action" alternative is also considered, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would maintain the site and usage as it currently exists.
In cooperation with the Service, the DNR is gathering information and public comment regarding the draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed project. Each agency will make an independent decision on the EA in accordance with their respective environmental regulations. If public comments indicate there are additional issues not covered in the draft EA, these issues will be addressed in the final EA. A preliminary determination has been made that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.
The proposed project is also being reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The area of potential effect for this undertaking is the entire 6-acre former sand pit and the view shed of up to a mile distant. The public is requested to inform DNR or the Service about archeological sites, buildings and structures, historic places, cemeteries, and traditional uses of the area that could influence decisions about the project.
Provided below is a copy of the draft Environmental Assessment. Copies of the draft EA can also be obtained by writing to Tom Lovejoy, DNR West Central Region Headquarters, 1300 West Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54702, calling (715) 839-3747 or e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org . Written comments are welcome and can be mailed or e-mailed to the addresses above or via facsimile at (715)839-6076. Comments should be received not later than April 4, 2005.
Attachment 1 Location map - Eau Claire County
Attachment 2 Eau Claire County Forest Land Map
Attachment 3 1998 Aerial Photo of Proposed Range Location and Layout
Attachment 4 Land Use Agreement
Attachment 5 2003 Photo of Propose Range Site
Attachment 6 Engineering Plan of Proposed Range Facility
Attachment 7 Adopt-A-Shooting Range Agreement
Attachment 8 Adopt-A-Shooting Range Agreement
Attachment 9 Adopt-A-Shooting Range Agreement
Attachment 10 Alternative Range Sites Map
Attachment 11 Summary Report of Elements Listed for Big Falls Shooting Range
Attachment 12 Karner Blue Butterfly HCP Report - Lupine Presence/Absence