Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

July 18, 2007

Contacts:  Gene Mack, 308-236-5015
                   Bernardo Garza,  303-236-4377

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has prepared a draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment (CCP/EA) for future management of the Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District (District).  The Service is currently seeking public input and will hold a public open house in Hastings, Nebraska to present the draft CCP/EA and solicit public input.

The open house will be held at the Quality Hotel (Rockbrook Room), located at 2205 Osborne Drive East, Hastings, Nebraska from 12:00 pm until 8:00 pm on July 31, 2007.  At 7:00 pm, there will be a brief presentation on the District and the CCP/EA.  Service staff from the District and the Denver regional office will make the presentation and will be available to receive public comments and answer questions. The Service encourages the public to take advantage of this opportunity to comment on the plan, which will guide long-term management of the District.

The District is part of the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System).  The District covers 13 counties in southern Nebraska and manages 230 tracts of land representing 61 waterfowl production areas (WPA), and manages 35 conservation easements on private lands.  The District was established in 1963 to manage lands acquired with Federal Duck Stamp and other funds as WPAs for migratory birds and other wildlife.  Additional information on the District can be found at: http://rainwater.fws.gov.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 requires that all units of the Refuge System be managed in accordance with an approved CCP.  The Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District CCP, once implemented, will achieve the District’s purposes; help fulfill the Refuge System mission; maintain – and where appropriate, restore - the ecological integrity of each unit of and the entire Refuge System; help achieve the goals of the National Wilderness Preservation System; and, meet other mandates. The CCP will guide management decisions and set forth goals, objectives, and strategies to accomplish these tasks. 

The public comment period will begin on July 18, 2007 and end on August 18, 2007.  Copies of the draft CCP/EA may be requested in person or by mail at: Rainwater Basin WMD, 2610 Avenue Q, Kearney, NE  68848, or via email at: rainwater@fws.gov.  The draft CCP/EA may also be viewed, downloaded and/or printed from the Service’s Region 6 Division of Planning website at: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning/ccp.htm.

The 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 Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, 37 wetland management districts, 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