Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge
530 Maple Avenue, Hartford, Kansas


October 16, 2009

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Vic Elam, (620) 392-5553, ext. 102

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE RESCHEDULES PUBLIC MEETINGS
FOR PROPOSED CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAM IN FLINT HILLS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to ensuring the success of the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area project proposal.  Due to scheduling conflicts and other unforeseen circumstances, is postponing public meetings originally scheduled for October 20-23rd, until November 30 – December 2.
 
The Service apologizes to our publics for any inconvenience this may have caused and encourages interested individuals and organizations to attend and actively participate in the rescheduled meetings.

The new meeting schedule is as follows:

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 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 in the past.

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, USDA 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.

 


Email Us: MountainPrairie@fws.gov