Deadline to comment on tranmission lines right-of-way is this Friday

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMRNWFR) is conducting a Compatibility Determination for the renewal of an existing utility right-of-way for Dairyland Power Cooperative, Q-7 and Q-9 transmission lines from Houston County, MN. Public comment is being sought in regard to impact on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

A draft compatibility determination which evaluates the compatibility of renewing an existing utility (transmission lines) right-of-way on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMRNWFR) is available for public comment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) desires to learn of public interests about the environmental impacts, historic preservation, and compatibility of renewing the existing utility right-of-way on the UMRNWFR. The public is encouraged to contact District Manager Brandon Jones at 608-326-0515 or by mail at 470 Cliffhaven Road, Prairie du Chien, WI  53821 by May 19 of this year with comments and concerns.

In accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, prior to allowing a new or continuing public use or activity on the Refuge, the FWS must determine if the use is compatible with Refuge purposes.  The FWS would like to know what the public thinks about the proposed Refuge use; and about studies regarding the effects of such uses. A draft compatibility determination is available at the Refuge Headquarters in Winona, MN and at the McGregor District office in Prairie du Chien, WI.

The purposes for establishing, acquiring and managing the UMRNWFR are: a) “as a refuge and breeding place for migratory birds included in the terms of the convention between the United States and Great Britain for the protection of migratory birds, concluded August 16, 1916; (b) to such extent as the Secretary of the Interior by regulations, prescribe, as a refuge and breeding place for other wild birds, game animals, fur-bearing animals, and for the conservation of wild flowers and aquatic plants; and (c) to such extent as the Secretary of the Interior may, by regulations, prescribe a refuge and breeding place for fish and other aquatic animal life.”

Applying the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) has assessed the potential environmental impacts of renewing the existing utility right-of-way on the UMRNWFR and determined that renewal will not further impact floodplains, wetlands, important farmland or endangered species.

The proposed compatibility determination is also being reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The area of potential effect for this right-of-way is Pool 9 between Genoa, WI and approximately three miles south of Reno, MN in Houston County, MN.

The public is encouraged to inform the UMRNWFR about archaeological sites, buildings and structures, historic places, cemeteries and traditional uses of the area that could influence decisions about renewing the right-of-way on the UMRNWFR. Comments are due May 19.
 

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