Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

September 30, 2011

 

Contacts:  Mike Dixon (303) 236-8132

                   Bruce Hastings (303) 289-0533

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Host Public Meeting Regarding the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange and Expansion

Public Comments will be accepted through October 31, 2011

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge - Photo Mike DixonPursuant to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to make available a parcel of land up to 300’ wide from the existing Indiana Street right-of-way on the eastern border of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge for the sole purpose of transportation improvements.

“The proposed expansion of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge could benefit the Service’s mission of conservation along the Front Range while providing increased connectivity between natural open spaces for wildlife and citizens alike. If approved, the expansion could be a great step toward implementing the landscape objectives of the America’s Great Outdoor initiative in Colorado,” said Stephen Guertin, Mountain-Prairie regional director.

The Service has received proposals that include an exchange of this transportation corridor for property known as section 16 on the southwest corner of the existing Refuge, as well exchanges for inholdings at Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Colorado and Baca National Wildlife Refuge in southern Colorado.   

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the effects of their proposed actions on the quality of the human environment.  The Service has conducted a NEPA review of the alternatives related to the possible real estate transactions, which are detailed in the draft Rocky Flats Environmental Assessment (EA). 

As discussed in the draft Rocky Flats EA, the Service proposes to expand the administrative boundary of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and conduct a land exchange of the transportation corridor for section 16.   Expanding the refuge boundary would allow the future acquisition of environmentally significant land, including quality habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.  The land within the proposed boundary also includes xeric tallgrass prairie, a globally rare vegetation type, and would provide an important corridor between the Refuge and existing regional open space to the west.  Additional habitat may be conserved under the proposed land exchange for section 16 through the donation of unexercised mineral estates on Department of Energy land adjacent to the Refuge, allowing those lands to become part of Rocky Flats NWR as well.

The Service wants to hear from the community and will hold a meeting about the draft Rocky Flats EA at the Westminster City Park Recreation Center on Thursday October 13, 2011.  The meeting will consist of a presentation by refuge staff which will provide an overview of the Environmental Assessment, to be followed by a period during which the public can provide comments. The Service also encourages the public to comment through letters, emails, or phone calls to the contacts listed below. 

Whether you are an individual or a group representative, please do not hesitate to call, write, or request information on the upcoming meeting or to discuss the draft EA and share your perspective.  The service will accept public comments through October 31, 2011. 

Doors open at 5:30pm, the meeting begins at 6:00pm and continues until 8:00pm on October 13 at the following location:

Westminster City Park Recreation Center

10455 Sheridan Blvd.

Westminster, CO  80031

 

For more information or to provide comments, contact:

Mike Dixon, Ph.D.

Division of Refuge Planning

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

P.O. Box 25486, DFC

Denver, CO 80225

RockyFlatsEA@fws.gov

303-236-8132

Bruce Hastings, Ph.D.

Deputy Refuge Manager

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

6550 Gateway Road

Building 129

Commerce City, CO  80022

RockyFlatsEA@fws.gov

303-289-0533

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 http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our Twitter feed, watch our YouTube channel and view our Flickr photo stream.

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