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 1, 2007

   

Contact:  Ann Timberman (970) 723-8202
               Toni Griffin (303) 236-4378                

 

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES START OF
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON
DRAFT COMPREHENSIVE CONSERVATION PLAN FOR
LARAMIE PLAINS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES;
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 Laramie Plains national wildlife refuges. The Laramie Plains national wildlife refuges include Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Hutton Lake NWR, and Mortenson Lake NWR. The Service is currently seeking public input and will hold a public open house in Laramie, Wyoming to solicit public input on the draft CCP/EA.

The open house will be held at the Albany County Public Library, located at 310 S. 8th Street> Laramie, Wyoming, 82070 from 3:30 pm until 7:30 pm on August 29, 2007. Service staff 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 refuges.

The Laramie Plains national wildlife refuges are part of the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System). All three refuges are located within 15 miles of Laramie, Wyoming. The shallow depressions of the Laramie Basin, within the relatively flat topography of the region, support wetland complexes that are unique to the area. These wetland complexes provide resting, nesting, and breeding areas for migratory birds in the semiarid environment. Additional information on the refuges can be found at: http://arapaho.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 Laramie Plains national wildlife refuges CCP, once implemented, will achieve the refuges’ 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 August 1, 2007 and end on August 31, 2007.  Copies of the draft CCP/EA may be requested in person or by mail at: Arapaho NWR, 953 Jackson County Road #32, Walden, CO 80480. 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 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 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.