Kim Forrest 209-826-3508
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it has completed the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and is making the plan and its accompanying Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) available to the public.
A comprehensive conservation plan provides management direction for a refuge for 15 years. With input from the public, the Service forms a vision of a refuge's desired conditions and the actions needed to achieve it. A refuge's vision may include improved habitat conditions and expanded public use programs that are compatible with resource conservation.
Highlights of the plan:
·Balances the needs of wetland, grassland and riparian habitats and their wildlife communities;
·Supports the recovery of listed (including recently de-listed) threatened and endangered species including the riparian brush rabbit and Aleutian cackling goose; and
·Planned expansion of public use opportunities including wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, fishing and hunting on the Refuge.
The 6,642-acre San Joaquin River NWR was established in 1987 and is located west of Modesto, Calif., within the historic floodplain of the confluences of the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Rivers. Refuge lands consist of oak-cottonwood-willow riparian forest, pastures, agricultural fields and wetlands. The refuge is the primary wintering site of 98 percent of the Aleutian Canada geese that winter in the Valley (October - April), and is a major wintering/migration area for lesser and greater sandhill cranes, cackling Canada geese, and white-fronted geese. The refuge's riparian forest contains a large heron/egret rookery and provides important migration and breeding habitat for neotropical migratory land birds.
Copies of the conservation plan and FONSI may be obtained by writing to the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 2176, 947-C West Pacheco Boulevard, Los Banos, Calif., 93635 or CA/NV Refuge Planning Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, Calif., 95825. Another option is to access the plan online at:www.fws.gov/cno/refuges/planning.html. Copies are also available at the following libraries: Stanislaus County Library [1500 I Street, Modesto]; Manteca City Library [320 Center Road, Manteca]; and Merced County Library [2100 O Street, Merced].
A Federal Register Notice was published on Aug. 16, 2007, announcing the availability of this plan.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 547 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.