U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
August 15, 2011
For Immediate Release
Anna Schmidt, 303-236-4375
David McGillivary, 303-236-4411
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comments on the US-54 & Byron Walker Wildlife Management Area Land Exchange in Kingman County, Kansas
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (Draft EA) regarding the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) proposed “US-54 and Byron Walker Wildlife Area Land Exchange.” Public comments will be accepted for a 15-day period, which ends August 29, 2011.
The Service has been requested to approve a grant for an exchange of property from the Byron Walker Wildlife Area (BWWA). Tracts of BWWA land were purchased and managed with Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act grant funds. The BWWA is located along both the north and south sides of US-54 in Kingman County, Kansas; approximately seven miles west of the City of Kingman. The BWWA contains approximately 4,622 acres, including the 144-acre Kingman State Fishing Lake (KSFL) located in the northeast corner of the BWWA. The area offers a wide variety of recreation including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and bird watching. The east two-thirds of the KSFL and some of the adjacent land are designated as a wildlife preservation area.
The purpose of the land exchange is to provide the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) the property necessary for widening the right-of-way of the US-54 Highway through the BWWA. In return KDOT will replace BWWA lands taken by the project, with lands that would continue to serve the purposes for which the BWWA was acquired. If implemented, there will be a transfer of approximately 59.13 acres of the BWWA land owned by KDWPT to KDOT in exchange for 122.3 acres of land on two parcels (the Cole and the Seiler properties) owned by KDOT.
The Cole property, a 29.51-acre tract of land surrounded by the BWWA land, is located at the northeast corner of the US-54/SW 90th Avenue intersection. It consists of mostly riparian woodland habitat and a mix of scrub-shrub and emergent wetlands. The Seiler property, a 92.79-acre tract of land, is located adjacent to the southeast corner of the BWWA property, in the southwest quadrant of the existing US-54/NW 70th Avenue intersection. It consists of predominantly open grassland with some small wooded areas. Both parcels contain a portion of the South Fork Ninnescah River, designated by KDWPT as critical habitat for state-listed fish species.
The Draft EA prepared by the Service, KDWPT, and KDOT analyzes the environmental effects of the proposed land exchange. The Service concluded the proposed project will not have impacts on floodplains or wetlands, will not affect historical and cultural resources, would not have any effect on threatened, endangered or candidate species and will have minimal effect on the vegetation in the area.
Copies of the Draft EA, which include details of the proposed action and the alternatives considered, are available online by clicking on the title of the document at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/federalassistance/nepa. Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-4375. Comments will be accepted until August 29, 2011 and should be sent to: Chief, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO, 80225.
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