The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed expansion of the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge. Two open house meetings will be held to answer questions and gather input from the public regarding the expansion. The proposed expansion presents a unique opportunity to restore a riparian corridor to benefit the birds of the Pacific Flyway and several other endangered, threatened, and rare species.
Meeting times and locations:
- Wednesday, November 28, 2012 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suites, 103 East Louise Avenue, Lathrop, California
- Thursday, November 29, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the River Partners Office, 912 Eleventh Street, Suite LL2, Modesto, California
Refuge staff will be available at several stations located in the meeting rooms to answer questions and gather comments on the draft EA.
The draft EA evaluates two expansion alternatives. One alternative would expand the refuge acquisition boundary south to the confluence with the Merced River and connect it with the Grassland Ecological Area. The other alternative would include this southern expansion and would also expand the refuge boundary north to Lathrop and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The refuge would acquire an additional 22,156 acres of protected land along the lower San Joaquin, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus Rivers.
The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is located west of Modesto, within the historic floodplain of the confluences of the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Rivers. The refuge was established in 1987 because of the importance of the area as habitat for the Aleutian Canada goose. Refuge lands consist of oak-cottonwood-willow riparian forest, pastures, agricultural fields, and wetlands. The refuge protects habitat for a diversity of wildlife including numerous imperiled species.
Public comments are welcomed via email, fax, U.S. mail, or in person any time before the close of the comment period on December, 31 2012.
The draft EA is available at: http://go.usa.gov/YMWY. To obtain a CD copy or to submit written comments on the draft EA, contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region, Refuge Planning, Attn: Richard Smith, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1832, Sacramento, CA, 95825; fax 916-414-6497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments received will become part of the public record and may be released.
Logo courtesy U.S Fish and Wildlife Service