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Public Comment Opportunity Available for Proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is holding a public meeting on December 4, 2014 to discuss a draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (draft LPP/EA) for the proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area project in Albany County, Wyoming.
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Contacts:
Ann Timberman, 970.723.8209 x3; Ann_Timberman@fws.gov
Ryan Moehring, 303.236.0345; Ryan_Moehring@fws.gov
 
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is holding a public meeting on December 4, 2014 to discuss a draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (draft LPP/EA) for the proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area project in Albany County, Wyoming. The proposed project would allow the Service to purchase conservation easements and limited fee-title lands from willing sellers in the Southern Laramie River area whose lands provide important habitat for the endangered Wyoming toad and a variety of other fish and wildlife resources. The meeting begins a 30-day comment period for the proposed project.
Similar efforts by a number of conservation organizations and private landowners have led to the conservation of important wildlife habitat in various locations throughout the Laramie basin. Using a variety of conservation agreements, the Service, Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, Wyoming Game and Fish Departments, and private landowners have worked cooperatively to conserve wetlands and wildlife habitat in Albany County, while maintaining the rural character and agricultural land base of the area. The proposed project seeks to build upon those efforts for the purposes of recovering the endangered Wyoming toad.
“This project is a win-win for wildlife and the local community,” said Project Leader Ann Timberman. “The proposed conservation area will contribute significantly to the recovery of the endangered Wyoming toad, while helping sustain the way of life in a rural ranching community. Lands protected via easements will remain in private ownership and can continue to be grazed, hayed, farmed, or otherwise managed in accordance with current practices.”
The Service has completed an Environmental Assessment to analyze the potential project, as well as a draft land protection plan for the proposed conservation area.
In order to complete the Environmental Assessment, the Service worked with county commissioners, the State of Wyoming, conservation organizations, landowners, and other individuals to collect information about the proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area project, wildlife, habitat, and the potential impacts of a fee-title and conservation easement program. The outcome of the Environmental Assessment and the public input received during the comment period will assist in determining whether the Service should proceed with the proposed conservation area.
Copies of the draft CCP/EA may be obtained in two ways:
Writing to:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Refuge Planning
134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80228
Downloading from: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/planning/ccp/wy/ner/ner.html
The Service is also hosting a public meeting to provide an opportunity for the public to meet with staff and provide input on the draft LPP/EA. Copies of the draft LPP/EA will be available during this meeting. The meeting will take place on December 4, 2014, starting at 5:30 p.m. at:
Albany County Fairgrounds
3520 U.S. Highway 287
Laramie, WY 82051
Comments may be submitted in three ways:
Email:  wtca_comments@fws.gov (Include “Wyoming Toad Conservation Area” in the subject line of the message.)
U.S. Mail:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attn: Amy Thornburg, Planning Team Leader
134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80228
At the public meeting: Service staff will provide forms for the public to submit their comments.
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 http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USFWSMountainPrairie,  follow our tweets athttp://twitter.com/USFWSMtnPrairie, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/
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