Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge 16194 Swan Lake Ave.
Sumner, Missouri 64681
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2023
Contact: Steve Whitson, firstname.lastname@example.org, (660) 973-6349
Environmental Assessment Public Comment Period for Water Management Changes and Habitat Restoration at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The US Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region has developed a Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed water management changes and habitat restoration at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Environmental Assessments are required for major actions on federal lands as part of the National Environmental Policy Act to inform and seek feedback from the public regarding the proposed actions.
The public comment period will be open for 30 days from March 8, 2023 through April 8, 2023. Copies of the Draft Environmental Assessment will be available at the following locations:
- The Public Libraries in, Brookfield, Brunswick, Carrolton and Chillicothe
- The US Post Offices in Sumner, Mendon, and Hale
- At the Cooney’s General Store in Sumner
- At the Gabbi Joes General Store in Mendon
- At the R Store in Hale
- At the Refuge Headquarters Office
- Copies are available for down load on the Swan Lake NWR website at www.fws.gov/refuge/swan-lake
As part of the EA public comment process the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be hosting an “Open House” on Thursday March 23 from 3 PM until 8 PM at the Sumner Community Center on Centre Street in Sumner. This will be open to all members of the pubic to comment on the plans. There will be maps and other documents available identifying the proposed changes. The refuge management staff along with the project engineers/biologist will be available to answer any questions.
Comments on the plan can be submitted by any of the following:
- At any of the locations where the Draft Environmental Assessment is posted
- At the Open House
- Emailed to email@example.com
- At the Swan Lake NWR Headquarters Office
- Mailed to:
Swan Lake NWR
Attn: Environmental Assessment Comments
16194 Swan Lake Ave
Sumner, MO 64681
All comments must be received by April 8, 2023 or postmarked prior to that time if mailed.
Habitat management and public use infrastructure on portions of Swan Lake NWR are being degraded by more frequent and intensified flooding from the Grand River and Yellow Creek floodplains.
Swan Lake NWR consists of approximately 12,000 acres with 2,237 acres in active seasonal wetland management. Remaining acres consist of grasslands, open water, agriculture, and bottom land hardwood forest habitats. These managed wetlands provide critical migration habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds along with other migratory birds. The refuge lies in the lower flood plains of the Grand River and Yellow Creek watersheds. There are portions of our public use facilities (roads, hunting units, etc.) and habitat management infrastructure that are being degraded from changing flood frequencies and intensities. These impacts are also negatively affecting management capability as more and more funds are necessary to maintain frequently damaged infrastructure.
Over the past few years, USFWS Midwest Region hydrology staff and refuge management have been collecting data regarding the hydrology of Swan Lake NWR. This data has been utilized to make recommendations on adapting the infrastructure of the refuge to maintain our management capabilities with regards to the changing hydrology of the refuge.
These proposed changes involve the following:
- Setting back levees
- Adding spillways to management levees
- Setting management levees at lower heights
- Upgrading to larger water control structures
- Enhancing water delivery infrastructure from Silver Lake to wetland management units
- Widening the spillway on Silver Lake to allow high water to evacuate the impoundment more quickly
- Establishing new managed wetlands at higher elevations in the flood plain.
These actions will collectively achieve the following:
- Widen the unrestricted area of the Grand River and Yellow Creek flood plains benefiting both refuge properties and neighboring private lands.
- Expand and enhance water management capabilities and acres on the refuge
- Increase the number of migratory bird use days on the refuge, including ducks, geese, shorebirds and other migratory birds
- Reduce the number of days the refuge is closed by reducing the number of days flood inundations impact refuge roads and other public use facilities
- Decrease maintenance cost for management and public use infrastructure that are damaged by floods
Funding for this project will be provided with mitigation funds from the East Locust Creek reservoir project, once approved, as well as support from Ducks Unlimited, the Friends of Swan Lake NWR, among other various partners providing in kind services. The estimated cost of this project is between $20,000,000 and $25,000,000 dollars.
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. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit fws.gov.