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E-M:/ DNR Pittman Robertson grant up for public comment

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

Friends: Below is a press release from DNR Wildlife Division relating to an
Grant application and Environmental Assessment for funds under the federal
Pittman Robertson Program -- the documents are out for public comment right
now.  I would encourage ANYONE interested in the management of Michigan's
State Forests, wildlife or forested ecosystems to request, review and comment
on these documents.  There are many controversies associated with this entire
process, which this is not the place or time to review in their entirety.
Suffice it to say, this is the last or second to last application put together
by the state under a process crafted by DNR and the USFWS Office of Federal
Aid to try to address extensive violations of federal law that were raised by
Sierra Club and other environmental organizations three years ago.  While
significant changes have occurred over the last three years and several staff
people within DNR have made sincere efforts to address concerns, the entire
process still falls quite short of the requirements we believe apply.

One important thing about this: there is an Environmental Assessment attached
to this grant application.  Even though the USFWS Off. of Fed. Aid again
appears to be treating this project as excluded from additional review under
NEPA, the EA drafted by DNR is only the second attempt we are aware of in the
nation to attempt to comply at least in part with the provisions of NEPA
regarding the use of Pittman Robertson funds.  The other attempt was also done
by Michigan DNR in 1996.  ANYONE who follows wildlife, forest, ecosystem, etc.
issues should take a look at and comment on this EA, addressing form,
substance, content, etc., in order to give direction to this first in the
nation effort.

(details on getting the documents is at the end of the press release)

Anne Woiwode
Sierra Club


CONTACT: Robert E. Humphries, 517-373-3263


LANSING--The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division,
has completed a draft Federal Aid Grant Proposal and Environmental
Assessment for Wildlife Habitat Management on Michigan State Forest Land
(formerly Northern Michigan Habitat Management).

The DNRĘs Wildlife and Forest Management divisions co-manage nearly four
million acres of state forest land for the benefit and enjoyment of
MichiganĘs citizens. Michigan's state forest timber products industry
supports approximately 60,000 jobs and over $8 billion of value added
statewide. This includes employment and value added associated with the
service and support sectors for the forest products industry. The 1996
National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation
estimated that 4.6 million Michigan residents 16 years old and older engaged
in hunting, fishing, or nonconsumptive wildlife-related activities. State
residents spent $5.6 billion on wildlife-associated recreation. Today
approximately one million licensed hunters spend over 15 million days in the
field annually and contribute nearly $1.8 billion to stores, restaurant,
campgrounds, and motels as part of their hunting trips.

A portion of this program is supported by federal Pittman-Robertson funds
generated from excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition.

The public is invited to comment on this Grant Proposal and Environmental
Assessment. The review period will run from August 29 through September 29,
1998. Copies of the proposed project plans are available and may be obtained
by writing the DNR Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 30444, Lansing, Michigan
48909-7944, or by calling 517-373-1263.

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