Marc Weitzel/Chris Barr 805-644-5185; Scott Flaherty 916-978-6156
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it is reopening the public review and comment period for the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge Grasslands Management and Restoration Plan. Comments will be accepted from the public through September 30, 2008.
The Environmental Assessment evaluates proposed actions and alternatives for managing approximately 9,400 acres of Bitter Creek NWR located in Kern County, Calif., and part of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuge is seeking public input on management alternatives presented in the EA that will promote the establishment of native plants and enhance habitat for native species, including threatened and endangered plants and animals.
The EA was published in May 2008 for 30 day review and comment period, and later extended an additional 60 days, to July 31, at the request of the public.
?Since its release in May the plan has received a wealth of public interest and comment,? said Marc Weitzel, project leader for Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. ?Public input is a critical component of our planning process and after evaluating comments received so far, we feel extending the comment period is in the best interests of the refuge and the community that supports it.?
Weitzel said the refuge will also host a public meeting in late September to receive additional input from interested parties. The location and date for the meeting will be published when finalized.
The plan is available on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/hoppermountain/index.html Public comments should be submitted in writing to Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 370, Maricopa, CA 93252. Comments can also be emailed to Refuge Manager Mike Stockton at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.