Statement issued Friday:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service have released two documents that clear the way for completion of a land exchange that transfers 1,250 acres of Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area from the DNR to the Military Department of Indiana (MDI).
The documents are the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The EA/FONSI documents are available at www.in.gov/dnr/5902.htm or at www.fws.gov/midswest/News/index.cfm.
To compensate the DNR as required by the Pittman-Robertson Act and other federal laws, the DNR will receive 1,990 acres of land from the Indiana Department of Correction.
FWS and NPS have determined that the DOC replacement land near Putnamville in Putnam County has equal or better recreational value, equal or better wildlife value, and equal or better appraised value than what the DNR is releasing at Atterbury. Therefore, the FWS and NPS will approve the exchange once all compliance documents have been received.
FWS, NPS and the DNR made the draft EA available for public comment from Sept. 14-28. None of the comments received introduced new topics that need further analysis. Some supported the exchange, some opposed the exchange, but none based their opinions on regulatory concerns or factual disputes of data pertaining to the financial, recreational or conservation value analysis.
MDI will use the 1,250 acres it obtains from Atterbury FWA for barracks and office buildings. The DNR will continue to use management buildings located in that area until they are replaced with equal facilities using funding other than sport license fees and federal grants under the Pittman-Robertson Act.
The 1,990 acres in Putnam County will become Deer Creek Fish and Wildlife Area and open to the public for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent activities beginning Oct. 29.
Print and compact disk (CD) copies of the EA may be obtained from Abbey Kucera, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1 Federal Drive, Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building, Fort Snelling, MN, 55111, or by calling (612) 713-5150, or e-mailing R3FedAid@fws.gov.
About Fish and Wildlife Management in Indiana
Fish and wildlife management and public access are funded by fishing and hunting license revenue and also through the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These programs collect excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, and motor boat fuels. The money is distributed among state fish and wildlife agencies based on land size and the number of licensed anglers and hunters in each state. Find out more information about fish and wildlife management in Indiana at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/.