|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
Contact: Mike Artmann, (303) 236-4381
Mike Blenden, (719) 589-4021
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO HOLD PUBLIC
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold public meetings in communities in the San Luis Valley to discuss the Conceptual Management Plan (CMP) for the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 2003. This CMP will provide a broad overview of the management approaches the Service proposes for wildlife and wildlife habitat, public uses, facilities, interagency coordination, public education and outreach, and other operational needs at Baca.
The CMP will establish general guidance for management at Baca, and will not contain specific detail regarding issues such as whether new facilities will be built and where such facilities will be located, or how certain approved public uses will be implemented. Instead, the CMP will serve as an interim plan until the Service develops a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the refuge. Included in the CCP process are significant opportunities for public input and involvement and a thorough, in-depth analysis of all aspects of refuge management. Final, long-term guidance for the refuge will be established by the CCP.
Two public meetings will be held: the first meeting will be held on Monday, April 5, in Alamosa, Colorado, at the Alamosa County Courthouse, Upstairs Conference Room, at the corner of 4th Street and San Juan Avenue, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The second meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 6, in Crestone, Colorado, at the Baca Grande Property Owners Association Hall, on the north side of County Road T, one mile east of Baca Grande Golf Course, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. At both meetings, Service staff from the refuge and the Regional Office will be available to discuss the CMP and answer questions from the public.
Baca National Wildlife Refuge was authorized by Congress in 2000, and will ultimately include approximately 92,500 acres of wetlands, desert uplands and riparian habitat in Alamosa and Saguache Counties. The refuge will serve an important function in wildlife conservation efforts in the San Luis Valley and compliment ongoing activities at the nearby Alamosa and Monte Vista refuges.
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.
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