For Immediate Release
August 10

Contact: Tom MacKenzie
404-679-7291

HABITAT PROTECTION PROJECT PROPOSED FOR
THREATENED LOUISIANA BLACK BEARS

To provide 48,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat in Louisiana for the Louisiana black bear, which is listed as threatened on the federal list of endangered and threatened species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to establish two new national wildlife refuges and add acreage to another existing refuge.

According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director, Sam D. Hamilton, the proposal would establish the Glade Woods National Wildlife Refuge on 13,000 acres in Tensas Parish, the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge on 28,000 acres in St. Mary Parish, and would add 5,000 acres to the existing Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge in Concordia Parish.

The Service is seeking public comments on a draft environmental assessment and land protection plan for the proposed project, Hamilton said, noting that the assessment addresses the biological, environmental, and socioeconomic effects of implementing the project. It also evaluates two alternatives for the protection of the project lands and the potential environmental impacts.

"The purpose of this proposal is to facilitate the recovery of the Louisiana black bear by protecting currently occupied bear habitat, enhancing potential immigration areas, and establishing core areas to serve as key links in bear movement corridors," he said. "These actions are recommended by the Black Bear Conservation Committee, a group whose membership includes more than 50 wildlife management agencies and organizations, " he explained. If implemented, the project would help meet the goals of the Louisiana black bear recovery plan.

The project lands are being proposed for protection and management by the Service through fee title purchases from willing sellers. The management objectives of the two new refuges and the refuge expansion would be to contribute to the recovery plan goals for the Louisiana black bear and to provide habitat for a diversity of other wildlife, including wintering waterfowl, wood ducks, white-tailed deer, woodcock and neotropical migratory birds. Opportunities for environmental education, interpretation, and wildlife-oriented recreation for the public would also be provided.

Copies of the draft environmental assessment are being made available for public review and comment from August 17 to September 18, 1998. Requests for copies of the proposal and for further information on the project should be addressed to Mr. Charles Danner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (telephone 1-800-419-9582) or Mr. Mike Dawson, Project Development Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite B, Jackson, Mississippi 39213 (601-965-4010).

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 nearly 93 million acres include 514 national wildlife refuges, 78 ecological services field stations, 66 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 #: R98-071


1998 News Releases

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