Contacts: Victoria Fox 505-248-6455 or Refuge Headquarters 928-783-7861
(Yuma, AZ) Kofa National Wildlife Refuge announces the availability of a Draft Compatibility Determination for public review and comment on the proposed Southern California Edison-Devers Palo Verde #2, 500 Kilovolt powerline. The Refuge is encouraging input by the public on the Draft Compatibility Determination before a final determination is made on the proposed use.
"The proposed powerline is a precedent-setting action on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Refuge System as a whole, and the project has the potential for significant environmental impacts. Feedback from the public is critical before the document is finalized," says Refuge Manager Paul Cornes.
A compatibility determination is the end result of a process whereby the Refuge Manager reviews a proposed use on a refuge and determines whether the use is compatible with the purpose for which the refuge was established. If determined to be compatible, then the use may be permitted. If the use is determined incompatible, then it is not permitted to occur on the Refuge. Policy issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in October 2000 requires that compatibility determinations be provided to the public for review and comment.
When completing compatibility determinations, the Refuge Manager uses sound professional judgment to determine if a proposed use will materially interfere or detract from the fulfillment of the Service's mission or the purpose of the Refuge. According to Refuge Manager Cornes, "compatibility is a threshold test and the proponent of any use must demonstrate to my satisfaction that the proposed use will pass this test before it is allowed on refuge lands." When preparing a compatibility determination, the Refuge Manager must also decide whether or not there are sufficient resources, including staffing and funding, to manage or oversee the use.
The Draft Compatibility Determination is available on-line at: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/kofa.html. Copies may also be obtained by visiting the Kofa NWR Headquarters at 356 West 1st Street in Yuma between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by electronic request to Debbie_Pike@fws.gov and from the Yuma County Public Library located at 350 S. 34d Avenue in Yuma.
The interested public has until December 22 to provide comments in writing to Refuge Headquarters. Also, written comments may be sent by fax to (928) 783-8611 or by e-mail to Debbie_Pike@fws.gov. Comments received will be reviewed and, if appropriate, incorporated into the Final Compatibility Determination, which is expected by mid-January 2007. Individuals who submit comments will be notified upon completion of the Final Compatibility Determination for the proposed use.
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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 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. Visit the Service?s website at http://www.fws.gov.