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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

Contact: Otto Jose, 303-236-8156

Service Determines "Finding of No Significant Impact" on Proposal to Build a Supplemental Fishway on the Milburn Diversion Dam

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI) for the final environmental assessment of a proposal "Milburn Dam Spillway/Fishway Project" as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposal is a Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration project to be funded jointly by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The environmental assessment, prepared by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (Commission) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, analyzed the Commission’s proposal to construct a fishway on the existing Milburn Diversion Dam. The construction of the fishway will allow upstream movement of catfish and restore upstream and downstream migration of this species. This action will take place in conjunction with the construction of a supplemental spillway which will be funded by the Sargent Irrigation District, Sargent, Nebraska. The supplemental spillway will restore the Middle Loup River to its original profile; reduce future sediment accumulation upstream; and restore the downstream river channel with historic flows and movement of sediment.

The proposed project was presented at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Board of Commissioners meeting, October 10, 2003, which was advertised by public notice in the Lincoln Journal newspaper October 2, 2003. The Sargent Irrigation District conducted sixteen public meetings and addressed the proposed project. No one testified on the project.

The NEPA process requires any federally funded project to be reviewed for potential impacts to the human and wildlife environment. The objective of NEPA is twofold: 1) to consider all significant impacts on the natural and physical environment; and 2) to assure the public plays a role in the decision making process.

The FONSI and the environmental assessment are available on request by calling the Services’ Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

- FWS -

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