The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan / Environmental Impact Statement (CCP/EIS) for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Desert Complex).
"The CCP/EIS describes a strategy for managing the wildlife refuges within the Desert Complex over the next 15 years. Identified in the document is a road map for how we will manage wildlife and their habitats, while providing public enjoyment opportunities," said Cynthia Martinez, Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex Project Leader. "In the process of developing this plan, the Service considered more than 200 comments from the public.We believe the document strikes an appropriate balance between public use and management of the wildlife refuges for the purposes they were established.”
Under the CCP/EIS, the Service will restore a substantial amount of desert spring, riparian, and upland habitat for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and other wildlife.The Service will also expand efforts to control invasive plants and animals and expand surveys and monitoring of key wildlife species.Additionally, the Service plans significant improvements to visitor services, including new trails, interpretive exhibits, environmental education programs, and visitor contact stations. Existing hunting and fishing programs would be maintained with minor modifications.
The Record of Decision finalizing the preferred alternative actions will be signed no sooner than September 21, 2009.
The CCP is a living document and will be revised periodically to ensure that its goals, objectives, strategies, and timetables are valid and appropriate.
The four wildlife refuges comprising the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex are:
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, located 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was established in 1984 under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. It comprises 23,447 acres of spring fed wetlands and desert uplands that provide habitat for at least 24 plants and animal species that occur nowhere else in the world.
Desert National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Las Vegas, was established in 1936 by Executive Order No. 7373 for the protection, preservation and management of desert bighorn sheep, as well as other forms of native flora and fauna.The 1.6 million acre refuge is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48 states.
Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, located on 117 acres in northeastern Clark County, was established in 1979 under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended to secure habitat for the endangered Moapa dace.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, located in central Lincoln County, was established in 1963 under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act to protect habitat for migrating birds in the Pahranagat Valley. The 5,382 acre refuge consists of marshes, meadows, lakes, and upland desert habitat. It provides nesting, resting, and feeding areas for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and song birds including the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher.
Copies of the final CCP/EIS may be obtained by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Mark Pelz, CA/NV Refuge Planning Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825-1846.Copies of the final CCP/EIS may be viewed at this address or at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV 89130.The document is also available for viewing and downloading online at http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/publicreview.htm.
For further information, contact Cynthia Martinez, Project Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV 89130, phone (702) 515-5450 or Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge Planning, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA, 95825, phone (916) 414-6504.
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 www.fws.gov.