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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

 June 14, 2005

Mike Bryant, 605 487-7603
Mike Artmann, 303 236-4381

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE EXAMINES EXPANSION OF
KARL E. MUNDT NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments on a proposal to expand the Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge in Gregory County. The Refuge was established in 1974 for conservation of bald eagles. During hard winters, up to 200 bald eagles congregate on and near the refuge. From one to three pairs of eagles nest on the Refuge during the summer. The Refuge is comprised of two units totaling 760 acres, and an easement on private land that provides limited protection to an additional 300 acres. In between the two units and overlaying the easement are 2000 acres that require additional protection from development that may be detrimental to bald eagles.

The Karl Mundt NWR is administered by the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex office. This office is preparing an Environmental Assessment that will examine the effects of increasing protection for bald eagles on the site. One option to provide additional protection to eagle habitat is a "conservation easement," which leaves the land in private ownership. Another option is to acquire the habitat through outright purchase. Individuals and organizations interested in commenting on the proposal or finding out more information about the proposal are encouraged to attend an open house style public meeting at the Lake Andes Community Center on June 20, between 6 and 8 p.m.

What: Public meeting on proposed expansion of Karl E. Mundt NWR

When: Monday June 20th 6:00PM to 8:00PM

Where: Lake Andes Community Center
              200 block of W Main Street, Lake Andes (next to Andes State Bank)

The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s only network of lands dedicated primarily to protecting wildlife and their habitats. Refuges comprise over 94 million acres of land in all 50 states, with a refuge within driving distance of most major cities.

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 -

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