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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


January 19, 2007

Eddie N. Bennett, 303-236-8165

David McGillivary, 303-236-4411

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comment Regarding Endangered Species Habitat Improvement Projects on Segments of the Missouri River in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to adopt the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCOE) for intermediate endangered species habitat improvement by vegetation removal in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska Segments of the Missouri River” and issue a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI).  The public comment on this proposal will close on February 2, 2007. 

The Yankton Sioux Tribe (YST) proposes to restore nesting, brood-rearing, and foraging habitats for the federally endangered least tern (Sterna antillarum) and the threatened piping plover (Charadrius melodus).  These habitats, collectively referred to as emergent sandbar habitat (ESH), are proposed to be restored at a three-island complex at Missouri River mile 866.  The YST proposes to clear and burn vegetation on these islands, resulting in the restoration of 40.8 acres of ESH.  The project is entitled:  “Riverine Endangered Species Habitat Development” and is a part of the Final EA by the USCOE.  This action is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The proposal is funded in-part through the Services’ Tribal Wildlife Grants Program and the YST. 

The Service reviewed the Final EA accessing the environmental and social factors relevant to the proposed project.  These include, but are not necessarily limited to, threatened and endangered species, vegetation, air quality, water quality, wetlands, fisheries, wildlife, prime farmland, flood plains, and cultural resources.   Adverse effects of this proposal include a slight, temporary increase in noise, suspended solids and fugitive dust during the vegetation clearing.  There will also be a loss of other sandbar organisms.  The proposed project will have no adverse impact to threatened and endangered species or cultural resources.  The review process determined the actions of vegetation removal will have no significant adverse impacts on the environment and the project is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.    

The Final EA will be available for review for 15 days at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office, 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 440, Lakewood, Colorado 80225.  The Final EA may be reviewed online at:  Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420.   

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 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.                                                                                               


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