Conservation and wildlife
(ENS, 15 August 2011) -- ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The designation of Wild and Scenic Rivers and a new National Wilderness Area are central to a new 15-year draft conservation management plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday. The Obama administration's plan comes as the State of Alaska is preparing to open millions of acres of state-owned arctic lands on the western border of the refuge to an oil and gas lease sale. The Fish and Wildlife Service's draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement contains six alternatives for long-term management. One alternative recommends that Congress designate the Hulahula, Kongakut, and Marsh Fork Canning rivers as Wild and Scenic Rivers. ... But, the plan says, refuge staff have received visitor reports of group crowding at boat launches; user conflicts; excessive over-flights; fire rings, tent rings, and human waste accumulations at concentrated access points and popular camp areas; hardening or impairment of fragile riparian and tundra habitats; and increased footprint of aircraft landing areas. or further protection, the Service is considering designating three areas, including the Arctic Refuge coastal plain and the Brooks Range of mountains, for inclusion within the National Wilderness Preservation System. None of the proposals under consideration would change existing protocols for subsistence harvest. To get public opinion on the six options, the agency is conducting a series of public meetings and reviewing public comments before finalizing the plan, which will ultimately identify a preferred alternative.
Posted 21 August 2011; 9:21:52 AM. Permalink