Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comments on a Proposed Shooting Range in Watertown, South Dakota

DENVER – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (Draft EA) regarding the State of South Dakota’s proposed construction of the “Watertown Shooting Range.”  Funding for the projects by the WSFR Program constitutes a Federal action subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA).

The Service received a grant application to fund the construction of a shooting range in Watertown, South Dakota located in Codington County.  The shooting range is to be constructed by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) on land owned by the City of Watertown. Phase I of construction will consist of outdoor pistol, rifle, and trap shooting improvements, parking lot, sidewalks, outdoor vault toilet and other necessary appurtenances needed to complete the proposed project.  Phase II construction is scheduled in 2018, and will consist of construction of an indoor shooting facility.

The purpose of this range is to provide a safe setting for shooting rifles, handguns, and shotguns.  Expected results and benefits will be to provide shooting opportunities for the public in an area where such opportunities are limited.  The range complex will provide opportunities for marksmanship practice, live-fire exercises in Hunter Education classes, and a safe place for hunters to sight in rifles and pattern shotguns before hunting seasons. Opportunities also exist for 4-H and other civic groups to use the range.

The Draft EA prepared by the Service and SDGFP analyzes the environmental effects of the proposed shooting range construction and operation.  The Service concluded the proposed project will not have impacts on floodplains or wetlands, will not affect historical and cultural resources, will not have any effect on threatened, endangered or candidate species, and will have minimal effect on the vegetation in the area. Public comments will be accepted for a 30-day period, which ends January 26, 2017.

Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-8156.  Comments will be accepted until January 26, 2017 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.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

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