Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area

The area along Old Laramie River road,
which falls under the proposed Wyoming
Toad Conservation Area, is the best habitat in
Albany County for Chestnut-collared
 Longspurs. Photo (c) Shawn Billerman.
This week we have a great opportunity to show our support for wildlife in the Laramie Basin. The US Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to establish a conservation area that would expand the boundaries of Hutton Lake, Mortenson Lake, and Bamforth National Wildlife Refuges (see map below). The agency hopes to protect over 43,000 acres via negotiation of conservation easements and land purchases from willing sellers, but can only do so by establishing a conservation area within which the agency can work. The proposed project will contribute significantly to the conservation and recovery of the critically endangered Wyoming toad, which only lives in the Laramie Basin, and will protect additional habitat for birds and other organisms.

The Service needs to see a big show of support for our local refuges and wildlife for this project to go through. So, please come to a public meeting on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 5:30 pm at the Albany County Fairgrounds. The Service will provide more information about the project and try to gauge how much support there is for wildlife conservation in the Laramie valley. Let's show the agency how much we care about our birds, our own Wyoming toad, and other local wildlife by attending this Thursday's meeting.

If you can't attend the meeting, USFWS is requesting public comments via email (wtca_comments@fws.gov) or US mail:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attn: Amy Thornburg, Planning Team Leader
134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80228

For more information about the proposal, see the USFWS's site, USFWS's news release, a short pamphlet explaining the proposal, or the in-depth Draft Environmental Assessment and Land Protection Plan.

Map of the proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area, outlined in brown.
Citation: Fish and Wildlife Service. 2014. Draft environmental assessment and land protection plan--Proposed Wyoming Toad Conservation Area, Wyoming. Lakewood, Colorado: U. S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.

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