Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

February 20, 2009

Contact:  Eddie N. Bennett, 303-236-8165

              David McGillivary, 303-236-4411

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comments on the Todd Game Production Area Property

Exchange in Bennett County, South Dakota.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (DEA) for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (SDGFP) proposed Property Exchange of a 160-acre tract in the Todd Game Production Area (GPA)  in Bennett County, South Dakota, for a 157.5-acre tract of private in-holding property.  The Todd GPA property was acquired in part with Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act program funds.  The public will have until March 6, 2009, to submit their comments.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks (SDGFP) propose to exchange a parcel of property purchased in December 1997.  The 2,270 acre Todd GPA property was purchased in part with Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration program funds for wildlife habitat and public hunting opportunities.  The purpose of the proposed action is to exchange a 160-acre tract of the Todd Game Production Area (GPA) for a 157.5-acre tract of private in-holding property owned by Martin J. Vanderploeg, Trustee of the Martin J. Vanderploeg 2001 Revocable Living Trust (Vanderploeg).  Additionally, the Federal interest in the SDGFP property proposed for exchange would be transferred to the acquired Vanderploeg property.  The Vanderploeg property amounts to a private in-holding, sharing a common boundary on three sides with the Todd GPA. 

The Vanderploeg property has presented law enforcement and wildlife management challenges for SDGFP as a result of trespass, depredation and habitat fragmentation.  Attempts to alleviate these problems with standard management practices have been unsuccessful.  The proposed action will be an even value and benefit exchange and will alleviate further management issues for SDGFP.    

 

The proposed property exchange constitutes a federal action subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended.  The Service is therefore required to prepare a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) to analyze the effects on the human environment and document the findings.  The Service will use this DEA to determine if the proposed action is likely to result in significant impacts to the human environment.  If it is determined that there are no significant adverse impacts, the Service will issue a final environmental assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact.  If it is determined, conversely, that significant impacts might occur, the Service will be required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

Detailed information on the proposed land exchange is contained in the DEA.  Public comment on the proposed exchange and the DEA will help the Service decide whether to approve the project.  The Service also must determine whether the proposed project is eligible pursuant to the Wildlife Restoration Act grant program.  The project will be assessed for character, design, and compliance with federal rules and regulations.

Copies of the DEA are available online by clicking on the title of the document at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance.  Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Service’s Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-8165.  Comments should be sent to: Chief, Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO  80225. 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.