|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
March 13, 2007
Contact: Matt Kales, (303) 236-4576
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PUBLISHES DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS FOR HUNTING PLANS AT FOUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES IN MOUNTAIN-PRAIRIE REGION
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published draft environmental assessments for hunting plans at four national wildlife refuges in the Mountain-Prairie Region: Marais de Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas, Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, and Crescent Lake and North Platte National Wildlife Refuges in Nebraska.
The draft environmental assessments do not propose any significant changes in how the Service conducts hunts on any of these four refuges, and the Service intends to continue the hunting programs on these refuges in a manner consistent with previous years hunts.
The Service welcomes public review and comment on four of the draft environmental assessments. To obtain a copy, please contact:
The drafts are also available electronically at: mountain-prairie.fws.gov/refuges/huntplanea
The deadline for comments on the drafts is April 11, 2007. The Service anticipates publishing final environmental assessments for the hunting programs at these four refuges later this year. mountain-prairie.fws.gov/refuges/huntplanea
The Service drafted the environmental assessments in response to earlier litigation brought by the Fund for Animals alleging that the Service failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act when it established hunting programs at 37 refuges across the nation without considering the cumulative effects of hunting on wildlife populations.
As a result, the 37 refuges named in the lawsuit will revise or complete new cumulative impact analyses. In addition, 30 other refuges that have opened, expanded, or proposed new or expanded hunting programs since the 2002-2003 hunting season will also undertake the more thorough cumulative impact analyses. The same documentation will be completed for seven other refuges where the opening of hunting programs was proposed for the 2006-2007 season. In total, the Service will revise or complete new environmental assessments incorporating cumulative impacts analyses for 74 refuge hunting programs by May 31, 2007.
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.
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