FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 1, 1997

Diana M. Hawkins or

Vicki M. Boatwright



U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES APPROVAL OF

NEW NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE IN WESTERN KENTUCKY

Clough signs documents approving the establishment of the refuge. Behind her, at right, is Tom Bennett Commissioner of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and, at left, Commission Chairman Mike Boatwright.
Final approval of a new national wildlife refuge to be established in Western Kentucky's Marshall, McCracken and Graves counties was announced July 1, 1997, by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director Noreen K. Clough,. The approved land acquisition area for the new Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge covers approximately 18,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods, related wetlands, and associated open-land buffer areas along the East Fork of the Clarks River.

According to Clough, the proposed refuge area was first identified by the Service as a high priority site for protection in 1978. Three years later, she said, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources proposed that the Service consider the site, which contains a diversity of habitat types and a great variety of wildlife, for protection as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The most valuable natural resources in this area are the wetland habitats formed by the river and its creeks and ponds. The East Fork of the Clarks River is one of the few waterways in the area that has not been dammed or channeled, Clough noted. She added that the natural wetland ecosystem is relatively intact and provides valuable habitat for wood ducks, wading birds such as herons, egrets and ibises, other migratory birds, resident wildlife including white-tailed deer, woodcock and an abundance of other mammals such as rabbits, squirrels, raccoon, beaver, otter, mink, bobcat, coyote and opossum. Two federally listed species, the threatened bald eagle and the endangered American peregrine falcon, are frequent winter visitors, she said.

"The establishment of Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge will be a positive step in protecting, enhancing, and managing an outstanding diversity of habitats for migratory and resident waterfowl, neotropical migratory birds, and many other resident game and nongame species," said Clough. "The refuge is being made possible through the cooperation and support of the Kentucky Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, for which we are grateful."

Copies of the final environmental assessment and land protection plan for the establishment of the refuge are now available and can be obtained by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Realty, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345.

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Release #: R97-63.


1997 News Releases

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