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Elizabeth Slown (505) 248-6909

Yvette Truitt (505) 248-6452

Las Vegas Refuge Seeks Public Input on Future Management Goals

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge is planning for its future and is seeking community input into the goals that will guide the refuge for the next 15 years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has drafted a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge (CCP) and is seeking public input. An open house will be held at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on Thursday, September 25 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for people to meet with Service personnel to discuss and share any ideas, thoughts and concerns on the draft. The Visitor Center is on the refuge; drive 1.5 miles east of Las Vegas on State Highway 104 then about 4.5 miles south on State Highway 281.

The CCP formalizes management goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for achieving refuge purposes. The refuge was established for birds migrating through the central part of the United States and is 8,672 acres comprised of native grasslands, croplands, marshes, ponds, timbered canyons and streams which provide important habitat for over 270 species of birds and other wildlife.

The CCP was prepared over several years with help from local, state and federal agencies, as well as many concerned private citizens. Written comments and suggestions on the draft CCP will be accepted through October 24.

"The plan gives people a clear understanding of the desired conditions for the refuge and how the Service will implement management strategies," said H. Dale Hall, Director of the Service’s Southwest Region. "There are many elements considered in the planning process, including habitat and wildlife management, habitat protection and acquisition, public and recreational uses, and cultural resources. Public input helps us to put the proper emphasis on the elements."

Specific objectives for realizing the CCP management goals include the following: continuing to monitor population status of resident and migratory birds and other wildlife; expansion of refuge biological program; maintaining native grasslands and reestablishing disturbed refuge lands; continuing to produce forage crops for migratory birds; improving the efficiency of water management to maintain refuge wetlands and sustain agricultural practices; enhancing recreational activities and increasing educational programs; increasing outreach to develop a broader base of public support and community involvement; strengthening partnerships with other government, non-governmental organizations and private groups. The goals and objectives of the CCP will be revisited and updated every 15 years, or more often, if conditions warrant.

Copies of the CCP will be distributed at the open house or may be obtained by contacting: Yvette Truitt, Natural Resource Planner, Division of Planning, National Wildlife Refuge System, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103-1306; voice (505) 248-6452; fax (505) 248-6874.

There are seven refuges in New Mexico and more than 540 in America. The National Wildlife Refuge System, begun in 1903, encompasses lands nationwide that are protected and managed by the Service specifically for wildlife. Refuges promote wildlife diversity and protect wildlife habitat and natural systems, like wetland habitats, that serve us by holding flood waters, filtering pollutants and cleaning our water. More than 35 million Americans visit national wildlife refuges each year.

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 nearly 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 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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