Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


January 15, 2008

Contact: Barron Crawford, (406) 539-8706

               Laurie Shannon, (303) 236-4317






Beginning in late January, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a series of public open houses at various locations in Montana to solicit public input for the development of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, and for the U.L. Bend National Wildlife Refuge, a “refuge within a refuge” that lies within the boundaries of Charles M. Russell NWR.  The Service encourages everyone with an interest in these significant public resources to participate in this process and help create the vision for future management of the refuges.


Meeting dates, times, and locations are: 

  • January 28, Bozeman MT, 7-9:00 p.m., Best Western Gran Tree Inn, 1325 North 7th Avenue, Bozeman 
  • January 29, Great Falls, 7-9:00 p.m., Mansfield Center for Performing Arts, 2 Park Drive South, Great Falls 
  • January 30, Ft. Peck, 2-4:00 p.m., Ft. Peck Interpretive Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ft. Peck  
  • January 30, Malta, 7-9:00 p.m. Great Northern Hotel, 2 South 1st Street, Malta 
  • February 4, Lewistown, 7-9:00 p.m., Yogo Inn, 211 East Main Street, Lewistown 
  • February 5, Jordan, 2-4:00 p.m., VFW Post, 11 South Main Street, Jordan 
  • February 6, Billings, 7-9:00 p.m., Billings Hotel and Convention Center, 1223 Mullowney Lane, Billings


The Charles M. Russell NWR was first established in 1936 as the Ft. Peck Game Range for the purpose of sustaining large numbers of sharp-tailed grouse, pronghorn, and other wildlife.  In 1963, the Range was designated as the Charles M. Russell Range.  In 1976 the “Range” became a refuge and the Service was granted full management authority.  The refuge is now administered as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s premier network of lands and waters managed for the conservation of fish, wildlife, and their habitats.


The Charles M. Russell NWR, which encompasses 1.1 million acres of land and water in north-central Montana, is the largest national wildlife refuge in Montana and the second largest in the contiguous United States.


U.L. Bend NWR, located within the boundaries of the Charles M. Russell NWR, was established in 1969.  Significant portions of this refuge are protected as “Wilderness” under the National Wilderness Preservation System.   


The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 requires that all refuges be managed in accordance with an approved CCP which, when implemented, will achieve refuge purposes; help fulfill the Refuge System mission; maintain and, where appropriate, restore the ecological integrity of each refuge and the Refuge System; help achieve the goals of the Wilderness Preservation System; and meet other mandates.  The CCP will guide management decisions and set forth goals, objectives, and strategies to accomplish these tasks.  The Service hopes to complete the CCP for Charles M. Russell and U.L. Bend NWRs over the next 4 years.


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 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 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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