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Chance to Speak Up

This notice from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was recently brought to my attention:

Nominate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lands in Need of Better Public Access

The John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law in 2019, includes a provision intended to increase recreation access to public lands.

Section 4105 instructs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal land management agencies to develop and publish a priority list of public lands where public access for fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation could be improved.

To be listed, lands must currently have restricted access or no public access and be at least 640 contiguous acres in size. Additional considerations include the potential for public access and the likelihood of changing the current lack of public access or restriction to public access.

The Service is asking members of the public to nominate land to be included on that priority list. The list will be finalized by September 30, 2022 and updated biennially thereafter for 10 years.

Nominated lands must meet the following requirements and considerations:

-Must be managed by the Service

-Must be at least 640 contiguous acres

-Must have significantly restricted access or no public access

-Must be open under federal or state law to hunting, fishing or use of the land for other public recreational purposes

-Should have potential for public access and the likelihood of changing the current lack of public access or restriction to public access.

For example, if a 640-acre or greater parcel of Service land is completely surrounded by privately owned land with significantly restricted access or no public access, the Service may consider adding this parcel to the priority list and begin working with states, local governments, nonprofit organizations and/or property owners to acquire land or collaborate with partners on conservation measures that could provide public access to the parcel.

Nominations must include the following information:

-Location of the land or parcel

-Total acreage of the land or parcel

-Description or narrative about the land’s access restrictions or complete lack of access

-Additional information the Service should consider when determining if the land should be on the Service’s priority list

How to Submit Nominations

Nominations are being accepted by email at PriorityList@fws.gov starting August 1, 2022 through August 31, 2022. Nominations that you submit in response to this request are a matter of public record. Before including your address, telephone number, electronic mail address or other personally identifiable information in your nomination, you should be aware that your entire nomination (including your personally identifiable information) may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public view, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

All nominators are encouraged to review the required criteria and include any additional relevant information you would like the Service to consider. Once the comment period closes, the Service will evaluate the nominations to determine which lands meet the requirements and considerations specified by the act.

Contact Information

Division of Realty

This may not apply to a lot of Nebraska lands, but it certainly could apply to some Fish & Wildlife Service lands in the state.  If you have an idea for better hunting or fishing access, let the Fish & Wildlife Service know about it!


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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