U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
BENTON LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE COMPLEX
900 Bootlegger Trail, Great Falls, MT 59404
July 28, 2010
Contact: Kathy Burchett (406) 727-7400 ext. 222
Kevin Ertl (406) 793-0050
Toni Griffin (303) 236-4378
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT
ON PROPOSED EXPANSION OF CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAM
IN THE BLACKFOOT VALLEY
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and accompanying Land Protection Plan (LPP) for the proposed expansion of the Blackfoot Valley Wildlife Management Area. The Service is proposing to expand the existing easement program by adjusting the existing project boundary to create additional opportunities to work with private landowners and other conservation partners. Conservation easements are an effective, proven tool for connecting and protecting important habitat for fish and wildlife species while also sustaining the Valley’s working landscapes and traditional economies.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Service has prepared an environmental assessment to analyze the potential impacts of the proposed expansion. The outcome of the assessment will determine whether the Service should proceed with the proposed expansion of the Blackfoot Valley conservation easement program.
The program, created in 1994, involves the purchase of perpetual conservation easements on private land in portions of Missoula, Powell, and Lewis and Clark Counties. No fee title acquisition of private land is authorized or would occur under the existing or proposed expansion of the program. Conservation easements in the Blackfoot Valley will be managed as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
You may view the draft EA and LPP online at the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex website (http://bentonlake.fws.gov), or at the regional planning website (http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/planning/Habitat%20Protection%20Plans/Montana/Montana.htm). A hard copy of the draft EA and LPP may be obtained from the office at the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge; Telephone: 406/727 7400, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Service invites you to share comments about the draft plan. We accept letters, faxes, and emails. To be considered in the development of the final EA and LPP, all written comments must be emailed or postmarked by August 25, 2010.
Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Blvd., Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80228
Fax: 303/236 4792; Attn: Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader
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.