U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
November 24, 2009
Contact: Vic Elam, (620) 392-5553, ext. 102
Amy Thornburg (303) 236-4345
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO HOLD RESCHEDULED PUBLIC MEETINGS
FOR PROPOSED CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAM IN FLINT HILLS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a series of open houses to provide information about and receive public comment on the Service’s proposed Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area project. The proposed Project involves the acquisition of conservation easements from willing sellers in the Flint Hills whose lands provide important habitat for fish and wildlife resources.
Service staff will share information, answer questions and take public comments about the easement program at the following open house meetings November 30 – December 2, 2009:
The meeting schedule is as follows:
- Alma Community Center (244 E. 11th): November 30, from 5:30 – 9:00PM
- Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita (6232 E. 29th St. North): December 1, from 5:30 – 9:00PM
- Cottonwood Falls Community Building (Swope Park): December 2, from 5:30 – 9:00PM
The meetings will give the public the opportunity to learn more about the Service’s proposal to purchase conservation easements from willing sellers whose lands provide important habitat for fish and wildlife resources in the Flint Hills. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation easements, in combination with easements acquired by partner organizations, have previously proven to be effective tools for maintaining the rural character and agricultural land base vital to wildlife habitat conservation in other areas of the country.
Over the past 10 years, efforts by a number of organizations and private landowners led to the conservation of some of the last remaining expanse of tallgrass prairie left in North America. Using a variety of conservation agreements, The Nature Conservancy, Ranchland Trust of Kansas, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grassland Reserve Program and Farm and Ranchland Protection Programs, Tallgrass Legacy Alliance and private landowners have worked cooperatively to conserve nearly 45,000 acres of tallgrass prairie and wildlife habitat in eastern Kansas.
The Service is initiating an environmental assessment to analyze the potential impacts of a conservation easement program in the Flint Hills. The open house meetings are part of the scoping phase for the environmental assessment (EA), during which the Service is working with county commissioners, the State of Kansas, conservation organizations, landowners, and other individuals to collect additional information about the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area project, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and the potential impacts of a conservation easement program. Following scoping, the Service will complete the assessment, the outcome of which will determine whether the Service should proceed with the proposed conservation easement program.
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.