U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on a draft plan that will help guide management of the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Complex in west central Illinois. The draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and draft Environmental Assessment for the Refuge Complex are available for public review, and comments will be accepted through October 20, 2003. In addition, the Service will host a series of public open houses in September to further encourage public involvement in the planning process for the Illinois River Refuge Complex.
The draft plan outlines the goals and objectives over the next 15 years for management of the three national wildlife refuges that make up the Illinois River Refuge Complex. The complex includes Meredosia NWR, Emiquon NWR and Chautauqua NWR. Issues addressed in the draft plan include public use, habitat management and wildlife management.
Involving other people and agencies has been an important part of the planning process. The draft plan was prepared with the input from other federal agencies, state agencies, non-government organizations and individuals.
Summaries of the draft plan will be mailed to everyone on the Refuge Complex’s CCP mailing list. Full copies of the plan are available at area libraries and on the Service’s web site for the planning project, which is http://midwest.fws.gov/planning/ilrivtop.htm Copies are also available by calling the Refuge Complex at 309/535-2290.
Public review of the draft CCP begins September 15, 2003. Comments are welcome anytime throughout the planning process, but to be considered as the final CCP is prepared, comments must be received by October 20, 2003. Comments can be submitted electronically (http://midwest.fws.gov/planning/ilrivtop.htm) or can be mailed to the Service’s Regional Office at:
Several open house style meetings have been scheduled to provide an opportunity to talk to Refuge Complex staff about the draft plan. Meetings are scheduled as follows:
Tuesday, September 23: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Meredosia NWR Office, 2219 Beach Road, Meredosia, Illinois.
Wednesday, September 24: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
in Lewiston, Illinois, at the Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 North Dickson
Mounds Road, Activity Room, Second Floor.
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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 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 governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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