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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

 

March 1, 2007

Steve Jose, 303-236-4414

David McGillivary, 303-236-4411 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comments on Proposal to Exchange Parcels
 and Water Rights in Rio Blanco County, Colorado
 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (DEA) of a state proposal, “Piceance Property Exchange involving Lands and Water Rights owned by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Shell Frontier Oil and Gas, Inc.”  Public comments are welcome for a 30-day period, ending April 1, 2007. 

The DEA was prepared by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) and the Service and analyzes the CDOW’s proposal to exchange several parcels of land and water rights within the Piceance State Wildlife Area (Piceance Parcels) with Shell Frontier Oil and Gas, Inc. for two parcels of land (Shell Parcels) which adjoin the Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area (SWA) in Rio Blanco County in northwestern Colorado.  Acquisition of the Shell Parcels will allow the CDOW to address in-holding issues at Oak Ridge SWA and to more effectively manage for big game habitat and public access to hunting at Oak Ridge SWA.  The exchange will also allow the CDOW to divest itself of properties and water rights at the Piceance SWA that no longer provide the habitat and recreation benefits that they provided when the properties were acquired.  Both the Piceance SWA and Oak Ridge SWA were acquired by the Colorado Division of Wildlife with federal funding through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration Act (PR), which is administered by the Service.   

Federal regulations require the State to the receive the approval of the Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, prior to the disposal or exchange of lands acquired through PR funding.  Public comment on the proposal and the DEA will help the Service decide whether to approve the proposed exchange.  The DEA contains detailed project information and is available online at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance.  Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420.  Send written comments to: Chief, Division of Federal Assistance, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225. 

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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