Quivira planning under way

Public input over management plans for the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge will be gathered at three meetings this week.

Toni Griffin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge planner, said Quivira is in the beginning stages of developing a 15-year conservation plan.

The meetings in Stafford, Great Bend and Wichita run from 4-7 p.m. and will follow an open-house format.

"We'll be handing out materials on the refuge system and Quivira," Griffin said. "But we also want to hear what people think and want, what they think is special and valued about the refuge. It's a pretty informal format."

The current 15-year plan began in 1997. Its hoped the next will be implemented in 2012.

"We'll look at the habitat management, wildlife management and public-use management. It's very comprehensive," Griffin said. "We'll take a close look at how we manage the wetlands and how we manage the uplands. It takes a lot of time."

Griffin said the process will involve Quivira staff, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and others.

Griffin hopes a draft can be presented to the public and other groups for additional comments next year. The new 15-year plan must eventually be approved by the Fish and Wildlife's regional director.

The meetings are Monday at the senior center in Stafford, 130 S. Main; Tuesday at The Front Door, 1615 Tenth Street in Great Bend; and Wednesday at Wichita's Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th Street North.