The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a plan that would guide management of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex for the next 15 years. The refuge complex is located in the San Luis Valley, a high mountain basin located in Alamosa, Rio Grande and Saguache Counties, Colorado. Totaling about 106,000 acres, the complex is an important stopover for numerous migratory birds.
The management plan known as a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) explains the current management regime (Alternative A: No Action) which is a benchmark to compare three alternative management options offered in the CCP. Under Alternative A, the complex offers waterfowl and small game hunting on Monte Vista and Alamosa Refuges.
Alternative B is the Service’s preferred management approach. Under this alternative, waterfowl and small game hunting on Monte Vista and Alamosa Refuges would continue to be offered. The Refuges would be opened to limited elk hunting. The Baca Refuge would be opened to big and small game hunting. Public access would be improved on the Monte Vista and Alamosa Refuges.
Under Alternative C, which is most restrictive in terms of public access, waterfowl and limited small game hunting would continue on Monte Vista and Alamosa Refuges and the Baca Refuge would be open for big and small game hunting. On the Monte Vista and Alamosa Refuges, the Service would rely on limited public hunting or agency dispersal methods for elk management.
Under Alternative D, which would provide for the most public access, hunting would be provided as in Alternative B.
The CCP can be found at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/planning/ccp/co/alm_bac_mtv/alm_bac_mtv.html. The public comment period is open until October 27th and comments can be submitted on line at SLVrefuges@fws.gov. Please include “San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex CCP” in the subject line. For further information you may contact Laurie Shannon, Planning Team Leader, at 303-236-4317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you hunt on these refuge lands, please take time to review the management alternatives and submit your comments. It is very important that the Service receives support and encouragement from hunters to keep existing hunting opportunities open and to provide for new hunting opportunities, as this CCP does.