Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hanford Reach National Monument Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Comprehensive Conservation Plan
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the release of the Hanford Reach National Monument Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. This is the overall plan that will guide management of the Monument for at least the next 15 years. The entire plan, or any of its components may be downloaded [by clicking link above.]"

The Executive Summary is a good place to start. Quoting from this Summary:

"The Monument was created from buffer lands that were no longer necessary for the mission of the DOE’s Hanford Site in eastern Washington. These buffer lands form a horseshoe around lands still needed by the DOE for its current missions. Being a buffer for the Hanford Site, the lands within the Monument have remained largely untouched, or at least undeveloped, for over six decades. It was this remnant of the vast shrub-steppe that once covered the interior Columbia Basin that lead to Presidential Proclamation 7319 on June 9, 2000, establishing a 195,000-acre national monument, managed by the FWS and DOE, superimposed over the outskirts of the 375,040-acre Hanford Site. The FWS administers the Monument as on overlay national wildlife refuge.

The Monument encompasses a biologically diverse landscape containing an irreplaceable natural and historic legacy. The limited development over the years has allowed for the Monument to become a haven for important and increasingly scarce objects of scientific, historic and cultural interest. It supports a broad array of newly discovered or increasingly uncommon native plants and animals. Migrating salmon, birds and hundreds of other native plant and animal species,some found nowhere else in the world, rely on its natural ecosystems. The Monument also includes 46.5 miles of the last free-flowing, non-tidal stretch of the Columbia River, the 51-mile “Hanford Reach.”

Comments are welcome. The comment period ends February 23, 2007.