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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

January 9, 1996

Mike Smith (303) 236-7905
Sharon Rose (303) 236-7905

1995 Bountiful Year for Wildlife Habitat Conservation, and Continuing "Gift" to Outdoor Enthusiasts

1995 was a particularly good year for wildlife habitat conservation in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) eight-state "Mountain-Prairie" Region, Ralph O. Morgenweck, the wildlife agency's Regional Director announced today.

"It's probably the best, albeit furlough-delayed, holiday present we could offer the outdoor enthusiasts in this region," he said. "In a time of tight budgets and growing concern about the plight of many rare species, it is especially gratifying to accomplish long-term habitat protection for more than 107,000 acres of important wildlife lands."

While the wildlife agency did purchase some lands outright, most wildlife land protected this year, Morgenweck noted, was through long-term easements. "Our goal is to work strictly on a 'willing-seller' basis, both for direct land purchases and easements. We want to be sure that our efforts not only aid wildlife, but that they also blend well with local community goals for conservation and development needs."

This year's accomplishments are highlighted in a special one-page annual report prepared by the Service's Division of Realty. Among some of the key items reported:

"It's important to note," Morgenweck pointed out, "that this total of 107,000 acres represents a great diversity of habitats -- from prairie ecosystems to bottomland hardwood forests to high montane forests. We're benefitting not just a wide variety of species, but a wide range of human outdoor pursuits as well."

"When we consider not only these impressive acreage figures, but also the Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) put into effect this year, 1995 emerges as one of the most productive in recent memory." In December the Service entered into a 50-year HCP with Plum Creek Timber to assure effective conservation programs for the grizzly bear on 370,000 acres of lands owned or managed by Plum Creek as well as State and Federal agencies.

Single copies of the Service's 1995 acquisition accomplishments report are available from the agency's regional office in Lakewood, CO, 80228, ATTN: Division of Realty.


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