Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

May 6, 2011

 

 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service To Hold Public Meetings For Proposed Conservation Easement Program
In Bear River Watershed 

 

Contact: Amy Thornburg; (303)-236-4345 for Wyoming and Utah.

               Chuck Houghten, (503)-231-6207 for Idaho.

                             

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will host a series of open house meetings to provide information about and receive public comment on the Service’s proposed Bear River Watershed Conservation Area project. The proposed project would establish a new conservation easement program in parts of Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. The program would allow the Service to purchase easements in the Bear River watershed from willing sellers whose lands provide important habitat for fish and wildlife resources.

 

Service staff will share information, answer questions and take public comments about the proposed easement program at the following open house meetings from May 16 to May 24, 2011.

 

The meeting schedule is as follows:

 

              • Cokeville High School (435 Pine Street, Cokeville, Wyoming): May 16, from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

              • Beeman-Cashin Building (1200 Main Street, Evanston, Wyoming): May 17, from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

              • Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (2155 Forest Street, Brigham City, Utah): May18,

                 from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

              • Cache County Fairgrounds (450 South 500 West, Logan, Utah): May19, from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

              • Franklin Fire Protection District (55 West 1st South Street, Preston, Idaho): May 23, from

                 6:30–8:30 p.m.

              • Bear Lake County Senior Citizens Center (115 South 4th Street, Montpelier, Idaho): May 24,

                 from 6:30–8:30 p.m.

 

The meetings will give the public opportunities 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 Bear River watershed. Service conservation easements, in combination with easements acquired by partner organizations and other agencies, 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.

 

Previous efforts by a number of organizations and private landowners led to the successful conservation of important wildlife habitat in various locations throughout the watershed. Using a variety of conservation agreements, The Nature Conservancy, Sagebrush Steppe Regional Trust, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grassland Reserve Program and Farm and Ranchland Protection Programs, and private landowners have worked cooperatively to conserve wetlands and wildlife habitat in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

 

The Service is initiating a collaborative planning process which will include the development of an environmental assessment (EA) to analyze the potential impacts of a conservation easement program in the Bear River watershed. The open-house meetings are part of the scoping phase for this process. During this time the Service will work with county commissioners, the state governments of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, conservation organizations, landowners, other agencies, and individuals to collect additional information about the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area project, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and the potential impacts of a conservation easement program. Following the scoping phase, the Service will complete the EA, the outcome of which will assist in determining whether the Service should proceed with the proposed conservation easement program, and if so, the areas that may be included within such a program.

 

For more information on the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area project, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/planning/lpp/ut/brr/brr.html. To provide scoping comments on the proposed Bear River Watershed Conservation Area project, please send comments to brwca_comments@fws.gov.

 

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.

 - FWS -