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Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft Compatibility Determination on Bain’s Gap Road Opening and Improvements Available for Review and Comment

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2005

Contacts: Steve Miller, (256) 848-7085



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, announces the release of the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Compatibility Determination for Bain’s Gap Road Improvements on Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, Calhoun County , Fort McClellan , Alabama . The 7,759 acre refuge was legislatively established on May 31, 2003 within the former military training base of Fort McClellan . On October 23, 2003 , an additional 1,257 acres were contributed by the Joint Powers Authority for a total of 9,016 acres.

The Service has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment for this proposal in which four alternatives and their potential impacts are evaluated. Alternatives included traffic design for no improvements (no action alternative), 2000 vehicles/day, 400-2000 vehicles/day and 400 vehicles/day. In brief, the preferred alternative involved design improvements to support 400 to 2000 vehicles per day. The preferred alternative provides adequate and safe infrastructure for through vehicle traffic on Bain’s Gap Road , provides for the safety of Refuge visitors, and minimizes adverse environmental effects to adjacent refuge natural communities. The Draft Compatibility Determination evaluates the impacts of opening Bain’s Gap Road to the public on the mission of the Refuge with specific stipulations which, if implemented, may allow the action to be compatible.

In order to be considered in the preparation of the final environmental assessment and compatibility determination, your comments must be received no later than September 15, 2005 . Comments or requests for further information should be directed to Steve Miller, Refuge Manager, Mountain Longleaf NWR, P.O Box 5087, Fort McClellan, AL 36205; (256) 848-7085. Copies of the draft EA and Compatibility Determinations are also available on the web at: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/mountainlongleaf/MANAGEMENTPLANS.htm

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses over 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. For more information on the Fish and Wildlife Service, see our Web site at http://www.fws.gov . For information on the Southeast Region, visit: http://www.fws.gov/southeast.

 


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