We request public comment on a newly released draft Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA proposes to repair and replace multiple facilities to improve efficiency, modernize transportation infrastructure, and demolish unnecessary infrastructure at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (refuge). This project is funded through the , which is working to address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks, American Indian schools and public lands, including national wildlife refuges.
The EA proposes to repair and replace existing facilities around the current administrative and maintenance compound, and demolish a storage barn in a remote portion of the refuge. A new administration and visitor center is proposed to be constructed approximately 100 yards south of the current Visitor Center. A new trailhead and visitor parking area will be constructed to serve the new building. The current maintenance facilities will be updated and repaired and the storage barn will be replaced with a new storage building located at the maintenance compound. The existing headquarters and visitor center buildings and the storage barn will be removed and both areas will be restored to native prairie.
The refuge currently offices staff and receives visitors in three separate, aging, modular office buildings that are beyond their expected lifespan. Antiquated communication lines, deteriorated roof, walls and floors and disconnected work spaces increase facility maintenance costs, and health and safety concerns. The EA suggests the removal of the dilapidated storage barn located approximately two miles from the headquarters to improve efficiency and security of supplies stored in that building. Updating and replacing existing vehicle storage and maintenance facilities will reduce maintenance costs, improve employee safety and increase facility security. Once the current headquarters, visitor center and storage barn are replaced and those locations are restored to native prairie, there will more habitat for wildlife and people to enjoy. The new visitor center will be a modern, state of the art facility that will greatly enhance the visitor’s experience, understanding and appreciation of the natural resources the refuge protects.
The draft EA is available electronically. Copies of the EA may also be obtained in person at the refuge headquarters and by electronic request to Meredith_Stroud@fws.gov. Comments should be mailed to Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 519, Eagle Lake, TX 77434 or sent via email to Meredith_Stroud@fws.gov. In order to be considered, all comments must be received by 11:59 p.m., June 7, 2022. All comments on the draft EA are considered public records. Anonymous, oral, and social media comments will not be considered.
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