Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge


Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colorado, approximately 8 miles (13 km) northeast of downtown Denver. The facility is on the grounds of the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal (a United States Army chemical weapons manufacturing facility) and more than 330 species of wildlife inhabit the Arsenal including deer, coyotes, white pelicans and owls. It is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and was designated in 1992 by the United States Congress. The refuge will be 17,000 acres (69 km²) when remediation of Rocky Mountain Arsenal is complete and the land is transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Development of the National Wildlife Refuge

A winter communal roost of bald eagles, then an endangered species, was discovered on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in 1986. The Fish and Wildlife Service soon realized that it contained more than 330 species of wildlife. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Act was passed in October 1992 and signed by then President George H. W. Bush. It stipulated that the majority of the site would become a National Wildlife Refuge under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service when the environmental restoration is completed. The Act also provides that to the extent possible, parts of the Arsenal are to be managed as a Refuge in the interim.

Developments Since 2004

Although the arsenal comprised 17,056 acres (69.02 km²) at the beginning of remediation in 1997, 5,976 acres (24.18 km²) of the Arsenal have been determined to meet cleanup requirements and are no longer part of the National Priorities List. Of that, approximately 4,927 acres (19.94 km²) were transferred by the Army to the USFWS in April 2004. An additional 7,200 acres (29 km²) were transferred to the USFWS in October 2006, making the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge one of the largest urban refuges in the United States. The refuge currently comprises 12,500 acres (51 km²). Implementation of the remedy for the estimated 3,800 acres (15 km²) remaining is ongoing and is scheduled for completion in 2011.

Public use

Congruent with the outline of the June 1996 USFWS Comprehensive Management Plan, RMA will be available for public use through both community outreach and educational programs (as provided by the Visitor Access Plan and the USFWS). This public availability will be implemented while simultaneously supporting the remediation effort and the USFWS activities.

Bison

A small herd of 16 bison were introduced to an enclosed 1,400 acre (5.7 km²) section of the refuge in March 2007 as part of the USFWS Pilot Bison Project. The animals were transferred from the National Bison Range in Montana [http://www.pmrma.army.mil/involve/PressReleases07/RMABison.html] .

External links

* [http://rockymountainarsenal.fws.gov/ Fish and Wildlife Service official site for RMANWR]


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