Where Are We in the Plan?
These are the steps that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service follows in comprehensive conservation planning; the step that Boyer Chute 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
DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs Comprehensive Conservation Plan
DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs, Refuges) straddling the Missouri River in Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties, Iowa and Washington County, Nebraska have begun a 2-3 year process to create a shared Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) that will guide all aspects of Refuge management over the next 15 years. The CCP will lay out goals, objectives, and strategies that ensure the Refuges fulfill their establishment purposes and contribute to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). Public participation will be an essential part of this planning process.
A CCP for Boyer Chute NWR was originally begun in February of 2010 with a notice in the Federal Register (486 Kb), but progress was delayed by major flooding events in the summers of 2010 and 2011. Because of drastic changes in the landscape that resulted from these floods, the decision was made to resume Boyer Chute NWR’s planning effort in coordination with a new, revised CCP for DeSoto NWR. These refuges are located less than a half mile apart, share management resources, and have similar habitats, wildlife, and publics. The Federal Register notice for the combined CCP effort was published in early December of 2011.
A preliminary, internal meeting was held at DeSoto NWR to kick off the planning process in early December 2011. The official public scoping period ran from January 23 through February 24, 2012, during which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) solicited input from partners, stakeholders, and others interested in the future of Refuge management. Over 40 people attended the open houses hosted by Refuge staff on February 15th and 16th, and eight individual comment submissions were received expressing general support for the Refuges, concerns about management following the 2011 flood event, interest in increased recreational opportunities, and ongoing enthusiasm for partnerships. Although the formal public scoping period has ended, the Refuges welcome comment submissions throughout the planning process. See below for the DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs CCP contact information.
An internal scoping meeting was held at the Midwest Regional Office on March 29, 2012, during which all divisions of the Service, and leadership within the Division of Refuges, had the opportunity to express issues and provide comments for the future management of these Refuges.
A planning workshop was held May 1-2, 2012, involving a large planning team of Service refuge and regional office staff, and federal and state partners. The workshop was used to refine the planning issues collected during scoping, and begin developing management alternatives for the environmental assessment (EA) and draft CCP. The concepts from this workshop were further developed and refined over the summer and fall of 2012, leading to the development of four potential management alternatives. The objectives for these alternatives were drafted and refined during a series of internal meetings held November 27-28, 2012.
The planning team is currently working to complete the environmental assessment and draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan for DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs. The EA and draft CCP are expected to be available in spring of 2013. A 30-day public review period will be announced through mailings, websites, and local media outlets, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders and the public to comment on these documents.
DeSoto NWR was established in 1958 and encompasses 8,365 acres of floodplain habitat on a former oxbow of the Missouri River. The Refuge serves as an inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds by preserving and restoring native habitats, with emphasis on wetland and riverine flora and fauna. The Refuge also provides cultural and natural history interpretation, environmental education, and wildlife-dependent recreation where and when such uses are compatible with the primary purposes of the Refuge. Located twenty-five miles north of Omaha, Nebraska, DeSoto also provides recreational use for up to 250,000 visitors annually. The Refuge is renowned for housing the Steamboat Bertrand artifact collection, the largest assemblage of Civil War-era artifacts in the United States. More information can be found on the Refuge website: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/desoto/
Boyer Chute NWR was authorized in 1992 in an ongoing effort to recover, restore, and safeguard fish and wildlife habitat along the Missouri River corridor. The Refuge has an approved acquisition boundary of 10,010 acres. Of that, the Service currently owns and manages approximately 4,040 acres. These lands conserve landscape features found only along major rivers systems including backwaters, side channels, and islands; as well as a diversity of associated floodplain habitats ranging from wetlands and tallgrass prairies to riparian woodlands. More information can be found on the Refuge website: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/boyerchute/
More information on the DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs comprehensive conservation planning effort is available by emailing, calling, or writing the Refuge or the Midwest Region Division of Conservation Planning. The planning team encourages individuals to submit any thoughts, comments, and information as early as possible in the planning process so that it can be considered during the decision-making and writing of the draft CCP.
DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs
DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs
Attention: CCP Comment
1434 316th Lane
Missouri Valley, IA 51555
Midwest Region Division of Conservation Planning
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Division of Conservation Planning
Attention: DeSoto and Boyer Chute NWRs CCP
5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990
Bloomington, MN 55437-1458
People with hearing impairments are invited to use the Federal Information Relay System: 1-800-877-8339