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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

 

March 5, 2004

Contact:     Matt Kales (303) 236-4576

                    Ron Shupe (303) 236-4308

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge Will Remain in Refuge System

Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas will remain in the National Wildlife Refuge System and is not being considered for transfer to the State or any other Federal agency, Ralph Morgenweck, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mountain Prairie Region in Denver, said today. 

Over the past year and a half, Kirwin NWR has been in the process of developing a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Refuge, in accordance with the 1997 National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act.  As part of that process, the Service assessed the management potential of the refuge for migratory birds and threatened and endangered species.  This assessment led the Service’s Regional Office to consider a range of options for Kirwin, one of which included whether the refuge should be more appropriately managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks or the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Kirwin Reservoir.

“Our recent discussions with our partners as well as input from our publics have raised many good questions about the current and future status of Kirwin.  At present, I believe it is appropriate for Kirwin to remain part of the National Wildlife Refuge System,” Morgenweck said. 

Morgenweck also added that the CCP (Comprehensive Conservation Plan) process will resume at Kirwin.  This process will continue to serve as the primary planning vehicle for future management at the refuge.  Public meetings to provide status on the CCP process and solicit public input on future management of Kirwin will be held in local communities later this year.

 The National Wildlife Refuge System, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s largest collection of lands dedicated to wildlife.  It includes 544 units encompassing more than 95 million acres nationwide.

 Kirwin NWR, established in 1954 as the first national wildlife refuge in Kansas consists of nearly 11,000 acres of grassland, wooded riparian areas, open water, wetlands, and croplands.

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 69 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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