Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

August 7, 2007

Contact:  Jerry Rodriguez     (406) 789-2305
               Laurie Shannon    (303) 236-4317

 

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES START OF

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR

DRAFT COMPREHENSIVE CONSERVATION PLAN FOR

MEDICINE LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE COMPLEX;

AGENCY TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE

 

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 Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex (refuge complex).  The Service is currently seeking public input and will hold a public open house in Medicine Lake, Montana to present the draft CCP/EA and solicit public input.

 

The open house will be held at the Medicine Lake Fire Hall, located in the community of Medicine Lake, Montana from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on August 15, 2007.  At 2:30 p.m., there will be a brief presentation about the refuge complex and the CCP/EA.  Refuge personnel 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 refuge complex.

 

The refuge complex is part of the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) and consists of three units: Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Sheridan and Roosevelt County), Northeast Montana Wetland Management District (Sheridan, Roosevelt, and Daniels County), and Lamesteer National Wildlife Refuge (Wibaux County).  More than 280 species of birds, 38 species of mammals, and 17 species of reptiles and amphibians use habitats on the refuge complex for part or all of the year.

 

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 Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex CCP, once implemented, will achieve the legislative purposes of the three units; 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 August 7, 2007 and ends on September 5, 2007.  Copies of the draft CCP/EA may be requested in person or by mail at: Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, 223 North Shore Road, Medicine Lake, MT  59247. The draft CCP/EA may also be viewed and downloaded from the Service’s Region 6 Division of Planning website at: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning/States/Montana/montana.htm.

Written comments should be directed to Laurie Shannon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service P.O. 25486, Denver, CO  80225-0486.

 

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 96-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 manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, 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 -