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ENVIRO-NEWS  June 2009

ENVIRO-NEWS June 2009

Subject:

U.S. Designates Upper Mississippi River Floodplains a Wetland of International Importance

From:

"Makuch, Joseph" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Makuch, Joseph

Date:

Tue, 2 Jun 2009 10:43:46 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (137 lines)

-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of News releases and
other information from the Fish and WildlifeService.
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 5:28 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [fws-news] U.S. Designates Upper Mississippi River Floodplains
a Wetland of International Importance

U.S. Designates Upper Mississippi River Floodplains a Wetland of 
International Importance

Contact: Vanessa Kauffman, 703-358-2138, [log in to unmask]

Charles Traxler, 612-713-5313, [log in to unmask]

June 1, 2009

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced approval of
portions 
of the Upper Mississippi River, including the Midwest's largest national

wildlife refuge, as a Wetland of International Importance.

In making the announcement, Secretary Salazar said, "The ecological, 
social, and economic values of the Upper Mississippi River make it one
of 
the crown jewels of this nation's wetlands. This marks the 27th U.S. 
wetland designated under the Convention on Wetlands. The U.S. became a 
party to the convention in 1987, which now includes 150 countries. It's 
certainly fitting that this area has now officially received
international 
recognition."

The designation includes just over 300,000 acres of federal and state 
lands and waters of the Upper Mississippi River floodplain from near 
Wabasha, Minn. to north of Rock Island, Ill. The designation includes
all 
of the 240,000-acre Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish 
Refuge headquartered in Winona, Minn. and the adjacent 6,226-acre 
Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.

Other designated sites in the U.S. include such wetland icons as 
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia and Florida, Everglades 
National Park in Florida, and Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin.

Don Hultman, refuge manager of the Upper Mississippi River refuge, said 
designation is aimed at strengthening public awareness and appreciation
of 
the role wetlands play in sustaining environmental health, economic 
enterprise, and recreational well-being.

"The upper reach of the Mississippi River is an ecological treasure," 
Hultman said. 

Hultman said the refuge and surrounding public lands in the site support

more than 200 nesting pairs of bald eagles, 120 species of fish, 42 
species of mussels, and provide migration habitat for up to 50 percent
of 
the world's population of canvasback ducks. 

He said the site also serves as a major navigation highway for commerce 
and provides millions of citizens abundant hunting, fishing, and other 
recreational opportunities.

Hultman said a Wetland of International Importance designation has no 
effect on current jurisdiction, authorities, or management
responsibility 
of federal, state, or local governments that partner on management of
the 
river. He stressed that designation does not affect current river uses.

"All commercial and recreational uses currently allowed or allowed in
the 
future are not affected. Designation does not dictate land and water use

of any kind," Hultman said.

The designation proposal was endorsed by the Department of Natural 
Resources of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri; the
U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers; and seven members of Congress from the
respective 
states.

With Fish and Wildlife Service approval, the designation package now
goes 
to the Ramsar Secretariat located in Gland, Switzerland, for technical 
review and formal addition to the international list of wetlands which
now 
numbers more than 1,600 sites. Formal designation is expected early in 
2010.

For more information on the Wetlands of International Importance
program, 
go to www.ramsar.org.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others

to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their
habitats 
for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader 
and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our 
scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, 
dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more 
information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit 
www.fws.gov. 


************************************************************************
***
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Questions concerning a particular news release or item of
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contact. General comments or observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Malcomb Barsella
([log in to unmask]) in the Office of Public Affairs.

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The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
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