Division of Conservation Planning
Midwest Region

Status of EA

  1. Public Notification and Scoping
  2. Draft the EA
  3. Public Review of EA
  4. Approval of the EA and Record of Decision

Environmental Assessment for Refuge Farming Programs

Photograph shows cornfield on Muscatatuck NWR in Indiana

Selected Alternative
Farming on Refuge System Lands in the Midwest Region
For More Information

The EA is available in portable document format (pdf): 
Environmental Assessment (3.3 MB)

You will need Acrobat Reader software to see the document, it is is available as a free download from Adobe.

Selected Alternative

Final Environmental Assessment for Refuge Farming Programs Completed

The Midwest Region's Final Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating row crop farming and the use of genetically-modified, glyphosate-tolerant (GMGT) corn and soybeans on refuge system lands has been completed. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed on April 1, 2011. Alternative E: Continue Farming for Multiple Objectives, GMGT Corn and Soybeans Allowed for Habitat Restoration Only was the selected alternative.

Continue Farming for Multiple Objectives, GMGT Corn and Soybeans Allowed for Habitat Restoration Only (Selected Alternative)

Under Alternative E, beginning in calendar year 2012, the use of GMGT corn and soybeans on Refuge System lands in the Midwest Region would continue only for the purpose of habitat restoration. The use of GMGT corn and soybeans would be limited to five years for any individual tract in preparation for habitat restoration. Farming could continue to be used as a management tool for achieving multiple objectives, however, it would be limited to non GMGT crops only for objectives other than habitat restoration. Multiple objectives include but are not limited to the following:

Read complete Selected Alternative.

You will need Acrobat Reader software to see the document, it is is available as a free download from Adobe.

Farming on Refuge System Lands in the Midwest Region

The Fish and Wildlife Service has used row crop farming as a tool in restoring native habitats, controlling noxious weeds and providing food for migratory birds and resident wildlife for many years. Of the 54 national wildlife and 12 wetland management districts located in the Region, 31 are using row crop farming as a method of managing wildlife habitat. In 2010, row crops were being raised on 20,418 acres, or 1.6 percent of the lands within the Refuge System in the eight-state Region.

For the past several years, the Service has been reducing the number of acres farmed on Refuge System lands. Between 2005 and 2010, there were 5,000 fewer acres of row crops on refuges and wetland management districts in the Region. All of the alternatives evaluated in the EA would continue this reduction in farmed acres.

Farming policy and changes in agricultural practices, such as the increased use of genetically-modified crops, has prompted a need to reevaluate farming on Service lands in the Midwest Region.

For More Information

For more information on the Environmental Assessment for farming on National Wildlife Refuge System lands in the Midwest Region, or for general information on farming and the Refuge System, please call Rick Speer, Assistant Refuge Supervisor, at 612-713-5140, or send your question to Rick via e-mail.

For information related to farming on a specific refuge, please call the Refuge's Headquarters. If you need help finding a phone number, see the Midwest Refuges home page for links to every national wildlife refuge and wetland m–anagement district in the Region.

Individuals with hearing impairment can reach the Service through the TTY number: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)

Last updated: April 5, 2011
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