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West Virginia seeks public comment on elk management draft

From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

-- West Virginia's Draft Elk Management Plan is now available for public review and comment. Written comments will be received through Oct. 31.

A copy of the draft plan can be found on the WVDNR's website at www.wvdnr.gov/Publications/Draft_Elk_Plan.pdf.

The need to develop an elk plan in West Virginia has been elevated as a result of Kentucky's active elk restoration program initiated in 1997. The Kentucky elk management area encompasses 16 counties and borders Mingo and Wayne counties in West Virginia. During the past few years, the WVDNR has received occasional elk sightings in several counties within the southern region of West Virginia.
           
The proposed Elk Management Area would encompass seven counties in the Southern Coal Fields region of the state. The plan allows for an elk population to become established using a passive management approach. The draft plan also provides guidelines for future elk management actions.

Feasibility studies evaluating habitat quality and sociological issues relating to elk reintroduction in West Virginia were completed in 2005. The studies which were funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, identified the Southern Coal Fields region as a potential elk restoration area.
           
Written comments should mailed to Public Comments-Elk Management Plan, Attn: Supervisor of Game Management, WVDNR, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241, and must be postmarked by Oct. 31.

Individuals seeking additional information relating to the plan should contact a wildlife biologist at their local WVDNR District Office or at the Elkins Operation Center.

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