Sign at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge

A sign at the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge takes no position on the name of the federal property in Holt County. The process has been reopened to possibly change the name to the original Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

The public will get another shot at determining the name of the federal wildlife refuge near Mound City, Missouri.

The Federal Register posted a notice Thursday morning beginning the comment period on the possible renaming of the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge.

For the first 82 years of its existence, it had been known as Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, named for a waterway that flows through the property.

But the name changed in January 2017.

This followed a meeting held at the Holt County refuge shortly before Christmas in 2016. Interested parties at that meeting discussed “suitable alternatives” for the name change.

“The majority of the group of stakeholders and tribal and community leaders present at the meeting concurred that recognizing the loess hills geologic formation would be the best alternative,” the Federal Register entry said.

Congressman Sam Graves, who represents the area, said the effort leading to that name change had been flawed and unnecessary, and he pushed for a reconsideration.

“The original process for renaming Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge wasn’t transparent,” the lawmaker said in a statement Thursday. “No one asked for the name change, and there was no reason for it to have ever taken place.”

The omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Trump in February included a provision that directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider the process for renaming the federal refuge.

The public has 15 days to comment. People can do this electronically at www.regulations.gov, and using the reference number FWS–HQ–NWRS–2019–0067, or by writing a hard copy to:

Public Comments Processing Attn: Docket No. FWS–HQ–NWRS–2019–0067 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service MS: JAO/1N 5275 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

The comment period runs through Friday, Aug. 23.

“If there is significant public interest in renaming the refuge, we will consult local stakeholders about a new name via another open process,” according to the Federal Register.

Graves said he has been pushing for a new consideration of this decision from the moment the name changed.

“If folks want to see the process reopened and the name changed, now is the time to let (Fish and Wildlife) know during this public comment period,” the congressman said.

Ken Newton can be reached

at ken.newton@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPNewton.