DENVER - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (Draft EA) regarding the State of South Dakota’s proposed construction of the “Rapid City Shooting Range Complex.” Funding for the project by the WSFR Program constitutes a Federal action subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA).
The Service received a grant application to fund the construction of a shooting range approximately eleven miles north of Rapid City on Elk Vale Road in Meade County. The proposed shooting range is to be constructed by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) on land owned by the SDGFP. The improvements will be broken down into three areas: Long-Range, South End Range, and North End Range. The Long-Range area will consist of one bay with twenty lanes. The bay will utilize various targets ranging from 300 to 1,200 yards in distance. A hunter education building will be built with twelve indoor archery/air rifle lanes. The South End range will consist of six 50-yard bays, six 100-yard bays, one bay area for 200/300-yard shooting, and an area for ten stationary shotgun shooting of clay targets. The North End Range will consist of eleven 50-yard action bays, three 75-yard action bays, and three 100-yard action bays. One 50-yard versatile training bay and twelve shooting locations for a sporting clays course will also be constructed. Gravel roads and parking areas will be built in each area and approximately ten vault toilets will accommodate visitors.
The shooting range would provide a safe and managed facility for the public to participate in shooting sports activities in an area where such opportunities are limited. Indoor and outdoor shooting sports activities would include the use of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The proposed project would be utilized for educational classes, hunter safety training, shooting sports activities, and other associated shooting range events.
The Draft EA prepared by the Service and SDGFP analyzes the environmental effects of the proposed shooting range construction and operation. The Service concluded that the proposed project will not have impacts to wetlands, floodplains, or farmland, will not affect historical and cultural resources, will not have any effect on threatened, endangered or candidate species, and will have minimal effect on the vegetation in the area or on local fish and wildlife and their habitats.
Public comments will be accepted for a 30-day period, ending March 24, 2022, and can be electronically submitted to: fw6_FAGrants@fws.gov. Copies of the Draft EA, which include details of the proposed action and the alternatives considered, are available online at: https://fws.gov/library/collections/wsfr-rapid-city-south-dakota-proposed-shooting-range. Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-8165. Comments will be accepted until March 24, 2022, and should be sent to: Chief, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO, 80225.
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