FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 13, 1997

Diana M. Hawkins or

Vicki M. Boatwright





U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PROPOSES TO EXPAND

SAVANNAH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes adding up to 12,600 acres of wetland and upland habitats to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham and Effingham counties, Georgia, and Jasper County, South Carolina. According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director Noreen K. Clough, the proposed expansion would increase the size of the refuge to approximately 37,910 acres and provide additional habitat for many species of wildlife.

The Service is seeking public comments on a draft environmental assessment and land protection plan for the proposed expansion. The assessment considers the biological, environmental, and socioeconomic effects of expanding the refuge. It also evaluates three alternatives for the protection of the project lands and the potential environmental impacts, Clough said.

The proposed expansion would include about 11,870 acres of wetland and upland forests adjacent to the current refuge boundary in Chatham and Effingham counties, Georgia, and approximately 728 acres of upland habitat along the refuge's eastern boundary in Jasper County, South Carolina. Clough noted that the Service expects to acquire the additional acreage by means of a combination of fee title purchases from willing sellers and conservation easements with willing landowners.

The purpose of the proposed expansion is to protect a diversity of wetland and upland habitats for the benefit of migratory birds, wintering waterfowl, wading birds, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and many other species of game and nongame wildlife.

Copies of the draft environmental assessment are available for public review and comment from June 16 to July 15, 1997. Requests for copies of the assessment and for further information on the project should be directed to Mr. Charles Danner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 or Mr. Sam Drake, Refuge Manager, Savannah Coastal Refuges, 1000 Business Center Drive, Parkway Business Center - Suite 10, Savannah, Georgia 31405.

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Release # R97-58


1997 News Releases

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