For Immediate Release
July 15, 1998

Contact: Diana M. Hawkins
404-679-7287
or Tom MacKenzie
404-679-7291

SWAYZE LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE:
NEW REFUGE PROPOSED IN SOUTH-CENTRAL LOUISIANA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a proposal to establish a new national wildlife refuge in south-central Louisiana. According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director, Sam D. Hamilton, the proposed Swayze Lake National Wildlife Refuge would be located on approximately 20,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods, agricultural fields (mainly rice), and wooded, shrub swamps in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.

The Service is seeking public comments on a draft environmental assessment and land protection plan for the establishment of the refuge. The assessment considers the biological, environmental, and socioeconomic effects of establishing the refuge. It also evaluates three alternatives for the protection of the proposed refuge area and the potential environmental impacts.

"The purpose of the proposed refuge is to protect, enhance, and manage a diversity of fish and wildlife habitats in the Swayze Lake area for the benefit of wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and neotropical migratory birds," said Hamilton. "The proposed refuge would also benefit the area=s fishery and a wide variety of other residential wildlife, including white-tailed deer and the federally listed Louisiana black bear."

The 20,000-acre project area is located within the Atchafalaya River Basin, about 5 miles northwest of Krotz Springs, Louisiana. The Service is proposing to purchase approximately 9,000 acres in fee title from willing sellers. The remaining 11,000 acres would be sought through conservation easements, cooperative agreements, or fee title purchases, depending on landowner willingness.

Copies of the draft environmental assessment and land protection plan for the proposed refuge are now available for public review and comment through August 14, 1998. Requests for copies of the document 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 by telephone at 1-800-419-9582. Public comments on the proposal should be sent to Mr. Danner no later than August 14, 1998, in order to be considered for the preparation of the final environmental assessment.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service's 94 million acres include 514 national wildlife refuges, 78 ecological services field stations, 65 national fish hatcheries, 50 wildlife coordination areas, and 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas.

The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes Federal excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies. This program is a cornerstone of the Nation's wildlife management efforts, funding fish and wildlife restoration, boating access, hunter education, shooting ranges, and related projects across America.

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Release #: R98-060


1998 News Releases

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