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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

 

December 17, 2004

Contact:            Dean Rundle, (303) 289-0350

                          Laurie Shannon, (303) 236-0151

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PUBLISHES NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR
ROCKY FLATS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE COMPREHENSIVE CONSERVATION PLAN IN FEDERAL REGISTER

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge are available.  The Final CCP/EIS describe the Service’s proposal for management of the Refuge for 15 years, starting at the time the Refuge is established.  The Service anticipates Refuge establishment will occur sometime between 2006 and 2008.  Four alternatives for management of the Refuge are considered in the final plan and Environmental Impact Statement. 

Significant issues addressed in the final plan include:  vegetation management, wildlife management, public use, cultural resources, property, infrastructure, and refuge operations.  All four alternatives outline specific management objectives and strategies related to wildlife and habitat management; public use, education, and interpretation; safety; open and effective communication; working with others; and refuge operations. 

Alternative B, the Service’s Preferred Alternative, emphasizes wildlife and habitat conservation with a moderate amount of wildlife-dependent public use.  Refuge-wide habitat conservation would include management of native plant communities, weeds, restoration tools, removal and revegetation of unused roads and stream crossings, management of deer and elk populations, prairie dogs, and protection of Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat.  Visitor use facilities would include about 16 miles of trails, a seasonally-staffed visitor contact station, trailheads with parking, and developed overlooks.  Most of the trails would use existing roads and public access would be by foot, bicycle, horse, or car.  A limited public hunting program would be developed under the Preferred Alternative. 

The Service received over 5,000 public comments throughout the planning process Some of the changes from the Draft CCP/EIS that resulted from public comments included changes to trail alignments, more flexible trail implementation, changes to the types of weaponry allowed for hunting, more discussion about issues related to cleanup and contamination, and additional discussion about potential impacts from transportation improvements.  Public outreach included public open houses, public hearings, individual outreach activities, planning update mailings, and Federal Register notices.  Public comments will be available for review at the Front Range Community College Library, Rocky Flats Reading Room or at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on weekends.

Following a requisite 30-day wait period, the Service will publish a Record of Decision making final the approach detailed in the Final CCP/EIS. 

For further information or to request a copy of the final conservation plan and Environmental Impact Statement, contact:  Planning Team Leader, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountain Arsenal - Building 121, Commerce City, Colorado, 80222. Additionally, copies of the Final CCP/EIS may be downloaded from the project website: http://rockyflats.fws.gov.  The Final CCP/EIS  is available for reading at the following main branch libraries:  Arvada Public Library, Boulder Public Library, Daniels Library, Golden Public Library, Westminster Public Library, Front Range Community College, Louisville Public Library, Thornton Public Library, and Mamie Dowd Eisenhower Library in Broomfield. 

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 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
                                                               - FWS - 

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov

 


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