Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Audubon Wetland Management District
3275 11th St NW
Coleharbor, ND 58531

Date:  January 10, 2012
Kathy Baer (701) 442-5474 ext. 114

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Release Draft Environmental Assessment Regarding the Proposed Transmission Facilities on Grassland and Wetland Easements

Public Scoping Comments on the Environmental Assessment
Will Be Accepted Until February 9

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed construction of the Center to Grand Forks 345kV Transmission line on Grassland and Wetland Easements. 

The proposed transmission line would traverse 11 counties in central and eastern North Dakota; Oliver, Burleigh, McLean, Sheridan, Wells, Foster, Eddy, Griggs, Nelson, Steel, and Grand Forks Counties.  This same area is managed by six U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wetland Management Districts (WMD); Audubon, Long Lake, Chase Lake, Arrowwood, Valley City and Devils Lake.  The EA analyzes the potential temporary and permanent impacts of construction and installation of the transmission facilities on grassland and wetland easements.  The outcome of the assessment will be to determine whether the Service should issue a Special Use Permit to allow construction and installation of the transmission facilities on grassland and wetland easements.

The project proposes to construct, operate and maintain a 345 kilovolt transmission line and substation modifications from Center, North Dakota to Grand Forks, North Dakota.  The resulting transmission line would cross numerous wetland and grassland easements and would place tower structures on at least two grassland easements and from two to twenty-four wetland easements.  

The prairies and associated wetlands of North Dakota are biological important for waterfowl and other migratory birds.  The prairie potholes (depressional wetlands) of North Dakota support a wide diversity of wildlife, but they are most famous for their role in waterfowl production.  Although the Prairie Pothole Region occupies on 10% of North America’s waterfowl-breeding range, it produces approximately 50% of the continent’s waterfowl population.  The project would cross the Prairie Pothole Region in North Dakota. 

The Service would like to receive public comment on the draft EA as part of the 30 day review period. The EA documents are available for review and comment on the Audubon Wetland Management District’s website (http://www.fws.gov/audubon), or by contacting the refuge staff.  Written comments concerning the EA are welcome, and should be submitted to the email or mailing addresses indicated below by February 10, 2012.

For more information or to provide comments, contact:

Kathy Baer, Wetland Management District Manager
Audubon Wetland Management District
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
3275 11th St NW
Coleharbor, ND 58531
CGFEA@fws.gov
701 / 442-5474 x114


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