FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 13, 1997

Diana M. Hawkins or

Vicki M. Boatwright

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PROPOSES TO EXPAND
UPPER OUACHITA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to acquire as much as 19,809 acres of migratory bird habitat to expand Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director Noreen K. Clough, the proposed expansion would provide additional habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, neotropical migratory birds, and other wildlife.

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

The project lands are located in Morehouse Parish along the east bank of the Ouachita River approximately 20 miles north of Monroe, Louisiana. The property lies directly across the river from the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge and includes Mollicy Farms, a 19,219-acre rice farm and two smaller tracts of woodlands that cover 680 acres. 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.

Copies of the draft environmental assessment will be available for public review and comment from June 16 to July 15, 1997. Requests for copies of the proposal and for further information on the project should be addressed to Mr. Charles R. Danner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 or Mr. Kelby Ouchley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Louisiana Refuges Complex, Route 2, Box 401-A, Farmerville, Louisiana 71241.

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Release #R97-59


1997 News Releases

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