|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
April 24, 2007
Contact: Craig Mowry, 785-543-6673
U.S. FISH AND
WILDLIFE SERVICE PUBLISHES FINAL
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that it has published the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (Plan) for Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge. The final Plan describes the Service’s proposal for management of the Refuge for the next 15 years.
The final Plan is the end result of a planning process that began in 2002 and was completed in December of last year when the Service’s Regional Director signed the Finding of No Significant Impact for the process. The CCP consists of “Alternative B,” (Wildlife, Habitat and Public Use), as detailed in the draft CCP, which the Service published in March, 2006.
Significant issues addressed in the final Plan include: hunting, fishing access, non-wildlife dependent public use, grassland bird habitat improvements, such as tree removal, and refuge facilities and infrastructure.
Management actions in the Plan emphasize wildlife and habitat management for migratory birds and species of conservation concern. Large open habitat for prairie grassland birds will increase in size with an expanded program for managing and planting native grasses and forbs. Food crops will be used as a habitat management tool. Recreational opportunities will include wildlife-dependent and wildlife-compatible uses including hunting, fishing, wildlife photography, wildlife observation, environmental education, and interpretation. Non-wildlife-dependent uses will not be allowed. Overnight camping will be discontinued. However, several other camping opportunities exist in the local area. Management of invasive species will be enhanced. Prescribed fire will be used for habitat management, as well as for protection of property through fuel reduction.
The Service received over 180 public comments throughout the planning process. Some of the changes to the draft CCP and associated environmental assessment resulting from public comments included: simplification of hunting program regulations, additional strategies to provide foot trail access to the reservoir, and an objective to provide boat access for duck hunters. Public outreach included public open houses, individual outreach activities, planning update mailings, and Federal Register notices.
For further information, or to request a copy of the final CCP, contact: Refuge Manager, Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge, 702 E. Xavier Road, Kirwin, KS 67644
Additionally, copies of the final CCP may be downloaded from the project website: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning.
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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