U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced publication of the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Benton Lake National Wildlife Complex (refuge complex) today. The CCP addresses all units of the refuge complex, including 2 refuges, 1 wetland management district containing 22 waterfowl production areas, and 3 conservation areas over the next 15 years.
The refuge complex, which is located in north-central and northwestern Montana, is comprised of Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Benton Lake Wetland Management District, Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area, Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area, Swan River National Wildlife Refuge, and Swan Valley Conservation Area. The three conservation areas are collectively referred to as the Service’s Crown of Continent, which is a general term that refers to a large geographic area along the continental divide in Montana and Canada.
“The final CCP for Benton Lake NWR is the result of a truly collaborative process with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and our other partners to address complex natural resource management issues,” said Noreen Walsh…. “This CCP benefited greatly from the input we received in working with our partners and my thanks go out to all of those who contributed to the planning process.”
Conservation management efforts on the refuge complex addressed by the CCP will focus on achieving self-sustaining systems with long-term productivity through supporting and restoring ecological processes, including natural communities and the dynamics of the ecosystems of the northern Great Plains and northern Rocky Mountains. Flexible water management will occur at Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge wetland units to restore the health and long-term sustainability of wetland basins within affected watersheds.
The Service first involved the public in developing a draft plan and an environmental assessment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. In December 2012, Walsh reviewed the CCP and environmental assessment and found that no Federal actions contained therein would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
The final CCP includes detailed information about the planning process, the refuge complex, management issues, and the selected management direction. A copy of the final CCP for the refuge complex can be downloaded from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/planning/ccp/mt/bnl/bnl.html.
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