Midwest Region

Big Falls NEPA

Public Comment Invited on Draft Environmental Assessment for
Big Falls Shooting Range, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin

The Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are seeking public comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed development of a new 3-acre shooting range within a former 6-acre sand pit near the village of Fall Creek in central Eau Claire County.


Eau Claire County owns the property, supports range development and has agreed to make the site available for public use for at least twenty years. The site is located within the 52,000-acre Eau Claire County Forest.


The county forest is mainly managed for timber management and multi-purpose recreation. The sand pit has not been used as a source for sand borrow material for at least 10 years. The site has more recently been used for haphazard shooting practice and as an unauthorized ATV trail and as a general household litter dump site.


The proposed range site plan calls for two shooting lanes with side and back berms consistent with National Rifle Association-approved design standards, two graveled 9-vehicle parking areas, walkways, shooting benches and signs. Local volunteers would operate and maintain the range according to pre-agreed conditions including free public daytime access year-round, grass mowing, litter control, etc.


A second action alternative is analyzed in the EA which would construct a larger range at the same site. A third "No Action" alternative is also considered, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would maintain the site and usage as it currently exists.


In cooperation with the Service, the DNR is gathering information and public comment regarding the draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed project. Each agency will make an independent decision on the EA in accordance with their respective environmental regulations. If public comments indicate there are additional issues not covered in the draft EA, these issues will be addressed in the final EA. A preliminary determination has been made that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.


The proposed project is also being reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The area of potential effect for this undertaking is the entire 6-acre former sand pit and the view shed of up to a mile distant. The public is requested to inform DNR or the Service about archeological sites, buildings and structures, historic places, cemeteries, and traditional uses of the area that could influence decisions about the project.


Provided below is a copy of the draft Environmental Assessment.  Copies of the draft EA can also be obtained by writing to Tom Lovejoy, DNR West Central Region Headquarters, 1300 West Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54702, calling (715) 839-3747 or e-mailing:  .  Written comments are welcome and can be mailed or e-mailed to the addresses above or via facsimile at (715)839-6076.  Comments should be received not later than April 4, 2005.


Draft Environmental Assessment

Attachment 1  Location map - Eau Claire County

Attachment 2  Eau Claire County Forest Land Map

Attachment 3  1998 Aerial Photo of Proposed Range Location and Layout

Attachment 4   Land Use Agreement

Attachment 5  2003 Photo of Propose Range Site

Attachment 6  Engineering Plan of Proposed Range Facility

Attachment  7   Adopt-A-Shooting Range Agreement

Attachment 8   Adopt-A-Shooting Range Agreement

Attachment 9   Adopt-A-Shooting Range Agreement

Attachment 10   Alternative Range Sites Map

Attachment 11  Summary Report of Elements Listed for Big Falls Shooting Range

Attachment 12  Karner Blue Butterfly HCP Report - Lupine Presence/Absence


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Last updated: March 4, 2009