News Release – Public Meetings to be Held Regarding 15-year Management Plan for Bogue Chitto

Published 8:44 pm Saturday, March 21, 2009

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is starting work on a long-term management plan for Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. A Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) will be developed, which is a practical guide for managing the Refuge over the next 15 years. Established in 1981, Bogue Chitto NWR is one of eight refuges managed as part of the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex. The 37,600 acre refuge is bisected by the Pearl River with portions of the refuge located in Saint Tammany and Washington Parishes in Louisiana and Pear River County in Mississippi. The refuge is bounded, on the Mississippi side of the river, by Old River WMA to the north and to the south, on the Louisiana side, by Pearl River WMA thereby forming an 88,000 acre block of protected forested wetlands and adjacent uplands within the Pearl River basin.

The future management of Bogue Chitto NWR will be the topic of discussion at two public meetings: scheduled for Wednesday, April 8, 2009, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m, at the Pearl River Town Hall, 39640 Wills Aly, Pearl River, Louisiana; and Thursday, April 9, 2009, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m, at the Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Station 1, 86 Pine Grove Rd, Picayune, Mississippi.

This planning project provides a unique opportunity for the Service to involve individuals and local communities in the long-term management of our National Wildlife Refuges. You can play a significant role in the development of this far-reaching plan. The comments from the public will be used in subsequent stages of the CCP planning process, leading to a draft plan outlining proposed alternatives for the management of the Refuge over the next 15-year period. The public will be alerted when this draft plan becomes available.

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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 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance 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.

For more information, call Daniel Breaux at (985) 882-2030