See the CCP
The comprehensive conservation plan is provided here in portable document format (pdf). To see files, you need Acrobat Reader software, and it is available for free on the Adobe website.
Comprehensive Conservation Plan
Finding of No Significant
Impact (FONSI) (66 KB)
Abstract (57 KB)
Table of Contents (40 KB)
Chapter 1 (195 KB)
Chapter 2 (63 KB)
Chapter 3 (142 KB)
Chapter 4 (127 KB)
Chapter 5 (51 KB)
References (62 KB)
Appendix (125 KB)
Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan
Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, located in Kossuth County, Iowa, will soon be transformed into a Wildlife Refuge for the 21st century. The Refuge watershed will become a model of sustainability showing how modern agriculture and natural areas can thrive side by side. Through new partnerships, the watershed will see widespread use of Best Management Practices, Precision Farming, Integrated Crop Management, and other conservation and environmental farming practices.
The Refuge will expand to support and maintain a community of organisms having a species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to that of native habitats of this region. Wildlife abundance and educational opportunities will attract students of all ages and abilities to learn about the refuge watershed ecosystem. Local communities will promote the Refuge as a regional destination which contributes to the local economy.
These are the steps that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service follows in comprehensive conservation planning; the step that the Sherburne NWR has reached is highlighted:
- Preplanning: Plan the Plan
- Initiate Public Involvement and Scoping
- Review Vision Statement and Goals and Determine Significant Issues
- Develop and Analyze Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action
- Prepare a Draft CCP and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Document
- Prepare and Adopt Final CCP
- Implement Plan, Monitor and Evaluate
- Review and Revise the Plan
The Comprehensive Management Plan serves as a guide for refuge staff, partners and friends to ensure long-term refuge health and biological integrity. This summary includes the following sections:
The quality of Union Slough's wetland habitat is largely related to land management practices within the Refuge watershed.
Studies indicate that waters entering the Refuge from the surrounding watershed transport large amounts of silt, sediments, and nutrients which, over time, cause major physical, chemical, and biological changes within Refuge wetlands.
To combat these impacts, the Refuge has established these objectives to improve water quality by the year 2011:
- Reduce sedimentation rates in the Refuge pools to 1/8 inch or less per year.
- Reduce nitrates to seasonal peak concentrations of 5 ppm or less.
- Promote voluntary use of "environmentally friendly" farm chemicals.
To improve water quality, constructed treatment wetlands could be used to remove sediment and nitrates before they enter Refuge wetlands.
The Refuge is the largest parcel of public land in Kossuth County. It will provide a greater contribution to the quality of life for local residents by preserving the region's natural and aesthetic beauty as well as affording wildlife-dependent recreational and educational opportunities.
Expanding public use of the Refuge is considered a priority over the course of the next fifteen years. The Refuge will increase its public use through increased visitation, additional environmental education programs, and enhanced hunting and fishing access.
Habitat and wildlife management at the Refuge requires a variety of techniques to preserve and enhance marsh and upland habitats for wildlife.
To meet the critical needs of migratory birds, the Refuge will expand and enhance wetland and grassland habitats within selected portions of the watershed.
Over the next 15 years the Refuge will:
- Increase the Refuge breeding duck population to 5,000 pairs.
- Maintain 400 wood duck boxes.
- Increase waterfowl nesting success rates to 25 percent.
- Restore and preserve a 1/4 mile grassland buffer around Refuge wetlands through easements, voluntary partnerships, and acquisitions.
- Preserve all remnant tallgrass prairie in the refuge watershed.
- Reduce crop depradation on neighboring lands by geese and deer.
- Increase bald eagle use by protecting, restoring and maintaining roosting and feeding sites.
- Restore and maintain at least five pairs of Trumpeter Swans on the Refuge.
- Refuge Wetlands Buffer: Restore and protect a one-quarter mile buffer surrounding Refuge wetlands.
- Prairie Wetland Focus Area: Restore and protect wildlife habitat within a 4300 acre prairie wetland restoration focus area.
- Buffalo Creek: Restore and protect a 1/4 mile buffer around the lower reaches of Buffalo Creek.
- Watershed Stewardship: Improve water quality within the Refuge watershed through voluntary methods that support sustainable, successful farming.
- Waterfowl Nesting: Install 200 additional waterfowl nesting structures and predator exclusion fencing.
- Refuge Headquarters: Construct office addition, parking and visitor amenities at the headquarters.
- Auto Tour Route: Relocate two miles of tour route and open for additional visitor use.
- Outdoor Classroom: Construct new shelter, trails and parking at the gravel pit site.
- Hunter Parking: Upgrade the locations, capacity and image of seasonal parking areas.
- Deer Meadow Access and Trail: Renovate existing facilities and construct trail connection to overlook.