Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is currently in the end stages of approving a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), which will guide the refuge’s administration and conservation efforts over the next 15 years. The CCP process began in February 2010. A draft of the plan is currently being presented at several public meetings, including one which I attended last night at the Stafford Senior Center.
Two public meetings remain. One happens tonight, April 30, from 5-7 p.m. at the Great Plains Nature Center, located at 6232 E. 29th St. North in Wichita. The last public meeting will be on May 1 from 5-7 p.m. at Front Door, located at 1615 10th St. in Great Bend.
About 20 to 30 people attended the Stafford meeting, including several Stafford County residents and landowners near the refuge, staff from Quivira and staff from the regional US Fish and Wildlife Service office in Denver, members of the Friends’ group, and a reporter from the Great Bend Tribune (here is a link to her article: http://www.gbtribune.com/section/1/article/52334/ ).
Landowners raised questions about the possibility of opening the refuge, on a limited basis, for hunting deer and turkey. Also, one individual expressed concern about cutting down cottonwood trees, a process which has been underway for years as part of the current conservation plan.
The CCP considers three options for the management of the refuge and proposes to follow Alternative B, which is quoted below (for a summary of the planning process thus far and to view Alternatives A and
C, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/04/22/2013-09348/quivira-national-wildlife-refuge-stafford-ks-comprehensive-conservation-plan-and-environmental#h-14 ):
“Management would focus on restoring native communities that benefit focal resources, or focal species and their respective habitats, and increasing public use opportunities for hunting. Increased attention would be given to understanding and minimizing effects of management among habitat types, such as habitat changes in meadow and adjacent uplands resulting from water management in created wetlands. This should enhance awareness of the connectedness of habitats and areas throughout the refuge. To achieve this alternative, relatively minor changes in the refuge's operations; inventory, monitoring, and research; staffing; and infrastructure would likely be required.”
The public is invited to attend either of the two remaining meetings and/or comment upon the proposed changes to Quivira’s future course by visiting (Visitor’s Center is open from &30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday) or calling the refuge at 620-486-2393 ; by mailing comments to Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader, Suite 300, 134 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, CO 80228; by faxing comments to Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader, 303-236-4792; or, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “Quivira NWR” in the subject line.