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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Draft Recreational Hunting Plan, Environmental Assessment, and Compatibility Determination for Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2007


Contacts:

Daniel Breaux, Refuge Manager, 985-882-2030
Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Draft Recreational Hunting Plan, Environmental Assessment, and Compatibility Determination for Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

A draft Recreational Hunting Plan and Environmental Assessment for Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in St. Tammany Parish is available for public review on March 5, 2007. The comment period will extend until April 5, 2007.

The plan describes two alternatives for hunting on the refuge: (1) the no action alternative would not allow hunting and (2) the proposed action would open the refuge to hunting of up to all species listed and regulations described in the 2007 Recreational Hunting Plan. Although hunting has been ongoing on Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, in response to a 2003 lawsuit filed by the Fund for Animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) developed environmental assessments that describe hunting programs at twenty-three national wildlife refuges located in the Southeast Region to address cumulative impacts of hunting. Under the proposed action, hunting of deer, rabbits, squirrel, quail, and migratory birds such as waterfowl, coots, woodcock, snipe, gallinule, and rails would occur. Hunting would be carried out in accordance with Federal and State of Louisiana regulations, and refuge-specific regulations.

Copies of the plan can be reviewed on the refuge web site at: http://www.fws.gov/bigbranchmarsh/ and at the following libraries:

St. Tammany Parish:
Slidell Branch: 555 Robert Blvd.
Lacombe Branch: 28027 Hwy 190
Mandeville Branch: 845 Gerard St.

Written comments or questions can be directed to Daniel Breaux, Refuge Manager, at 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe, LA 70445; (985) 882-2030. Email comments can be provided to the following address: Daniel_Breaux@fws.gov.

The Big branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is currently over 17,000 acres and is located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The refuge lies along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain between Cane Bayou west of Lacombe to Hwy 90 east of the Fritchie marsh. Hunting is proposed for the refuge but visitors can currently enjoy fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education.

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 94 million acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 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 about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast or http://www.fws.gov/.



NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/. Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286


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