U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

NEWS RELEASE


U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
134 UNION BOULEVARD
LAKEWOOD, COLORADO 80228

February 21, 1996

Michael Smith 303-236-9905
Sharon Rose 303-236-7905
Terry Sexson 303-236-7905

Draft Management Plan for Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge Announced

A planning process that began with an open house in Phillipsburg in August, 1994, will soon yield its long awaited results. The Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge's comprehensive management plan will be released today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced from its Denver, Colorado regional headquarters.

The purpose of the comprehensive management plan is to guide the direction of refuge management for the next 10-15 years.

"After looking closely at the many unresolved recreational issues," said Ralph O. Morgenweck, the Service's Regional Director, "we decided there is a real need to complete a comprehensive management plan. We want a plan that will address all aspects of refuge management and provide a blueprint for future managers and refuge users."

As part of the long-term process, a citizens' committee was formed in January 1995 to better understand the recreational issues and help the Service identify prospective solutions.

    The comprehensive management plan soon to be released identifies four alternatives evaluated by the Service, including:

  1. traditional refuge management with improved recreational facilities and environmental education;
  2. current management with no change in public uses or public facilities and divestiture of a portion of the refuge;
  3. custodial management without any public uses; and
  4. management for native species only.

The Service's preferred alternative is traditional refuge management (alternative 1) including:

At one point, the Service had strongly considered closure of most of the reservoir to water skiing and personal water craft, but chose to implement a no-wake zone along the shoreline as a means of protecting shoreline use by wildlife as well as protecting the recreational fishing for shore fishermen. The Service will monitor the effect and enforceability of the no-wake zone.

"I want to emphasize," Morgenweck noted, "that the Service strongly supports wildlife-oriented recreation on national wildlife refuges. We believe this comprehensive management plan for Kirwin underscores that commitment."

After the plan is released, the public will have a 45-day comment period. Copies of the document will be available for public review at libraries in Phillipsburg, Kirwin, and Smith Center, as well as the refuge headquarters. At the present time, the Service hopes to schedule and host a public open house to answer questions about the plan sometime in March. Details on scheduling will be announced later.


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