I received the below email dated Oct. 18:
Contact: Dave Azure, (605) 885-6320, ext. 215, Dave_Azure@fws.gov
COLUMBIA, SD – In response to public interest for expanded hunting opportunities, today Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) announced that it will evaluate opening areas of the Refuge to waterfowl hunting.
The Refuge currently allows waterfowl hunting along the Refuge boundary in most road rights-of-way and also allows unarmed retrieval of birds that may fall inside the Refuge within a designated retrieval zone.
In order to generate interest in the planning process and to collect input from the public, state and local governments, non-profits and other partners, the Refuge is hosting two public meetings. During these meetings, members of the public will be able to meet with Refuge personnel, learn about the actions under consideration, and provide feedback.
The first meeting will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at the Sportsman’s Club of Brown County, south of Aberdeen, South Dakota. The second meeting will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on November 2, 2017 at the American Legion Hall in Columbia, South Dakota.
Today’s announcement opens a 60-day comment period, which ends on December 17, 2017. Feedback on the proposal may be submitted via:
Attn: Dave Azure, Wildlife Refuge Manager
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
39650 Sand Lake Drive
Columbia, SD 57433
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge contains 21,498 acres of wildlife habitat in northeastern South Dakota. Established in 1935, it is a wetlands of international importance and a Globally Important Bird Area. Over 260 bird species have been identified on the refuge, including many migratory bird species and the world’s largest breeding colony of Franklin’s gulls. The Refuge, with its vast expanses of emergent vegetation mixed with open water, illustrates the unequaled diversity of a healthy prairie marsh ecosystem. Learn more about the Refuge at: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Sand_Lake/.
(End of email.)