The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that they want to take over 1,500 acres of land in Duchess County and turn it into a wildlife refuge.

According to a press release, the move is to restore shrublands and young forests to the Northeast. While there have been conservation efforts in the Hudson Valley, the agency says they believe a more permanent solution is needed to protect the land and restore wildlife populations in the region.

The plan is to create a large swath of land called the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. The area in eastern Duchess County would be set aside to foster growth of wildlife. The 1,500 acres in Duchess County would also be connected to nine other areas in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Animals that this conservation effort is trying to protect include the American woodcock, ruffed grouse, golden-winged warbler, monarch butterfly and several turtle species including the threatened bog turtle, whippoorwill and blue-winged warblers.

The land will be acquired by the government from available conservation easements and through the purchase of private land. The Fish and Wildlife Service says that they will only purchase land from "willing sellers."

A public comment period will continue through March 4 where Duchess County residents are invited to chime in on their thoughts about the plan.

You can find out more about the proposed Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge at the Fish and Wildlife Service's website. Contact information for leaving your feedback on the plan is also available at the site.

We want to know what you think about setting aside 1,500 acres in Dutchess County as a wildlife refuge. Is this a good use of land or do you think it should be used for something different?