Fish and Wildlife Service Completes Land Protection Plan for the Expansion and Land Exchange at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge
Pursuant to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is to make available a parcel of land up to 300’ wide from the existing Indiana Street right-of-way on the eastern border of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge for the sole purpose of transportation improvements.
The Service received proposals that include an exchange of this transportation corridor for property known as section 16 on the southwest corner of the existing Refuge.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the effects of their proposed actions on the quality of the natural or human environment. The Service has conducted a NEPA review of the alternatives related to the possible real estate transactions, which are detailed in the final Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA).
In the Rocky Flats EA, the Service proposed to expand the administrative boundary of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge and conduct a land exchange of the transportation corridor for an interest in section 16. Expanding the refuge boundary will facilitate the acquisition of this environmentally significant land, including quality habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
The land within the expanded boundary also includes xeric tallgrass prairie, a globally rare vegetation type, and would provide an important corridor between the Refuge and existing regional open space to the west. Additional habitat may be conserved as a part of the land exchange for section 16 through the donation of unexercised mineral estates on Department of Energy land adjacent to the Refuge, allowing those lands to become part of Rocky Flats NWR as well.
After a careful analysis, the Service did not find any significant impacts associated with its proposed federal actions, and a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed by the Regional Director on December 2, 2011. The Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service approved the Land Protection Plan expanding the refuge boundary and describing the specifics of the proposed land exchange on December 8, 2011.
Questions and Answers
Refuge Manager's Recommendation to Proceed with Land Exchange (3 MB PDF)
Download the entire Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (52 MB PDF)
or individual sections
Table of Contents
Land Protection Plan
Environmental Assessment (11 MB PDF)
Appendix A-K (15 MB PDF)
Appendix L (Approval by FWS Director)
Draft Environmental Assessment (19 MB PDF)
Rocky Flats Draft Environmental Assessment October 13, 2011 Public Meeting Powerpoint Presentation (3.1 MB PDF)
Above Photo Credits: Mike Dixon/FWS