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 the Iowa Wetlands Management District 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
Iowa Wetland Management District
Comprehensive Conservation Plan
The Iowa WMD is part of Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, refuge). Work on the CCP began by publishing a notice of intent for the Iowa WMD CCP in the Federal Register (486 Kb) on February 18, 2010 and gathering data needed for planning. A kickoff meeting, to start the planning process, occurred on December 8, 2011 in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
The official public scoping period began January 30, 2012 and lasted 30 days, during which the Service solicited input from partners, stakeholders, and others interested in the future of district management. Four open houses, from February 13–16, were held at various venues (Clear Lake, Algona, Jefferson, and Spirit Lake) across the district with just under 40 people in attendance. Twenty-five comments were received expressing general support for the district, support for purchasing and providing more habitat for public use and protection of water quality, regulating toxic (lead based) shot and tackle for hunting and fishing on the district, noxious weed control, wetland water quality, monitoring, education/interpretation on loss of native habitat, increasing public use opportunities, emphasizing non-game and threatened and endangered species management, and altering some of the tools and timing of management. Although the formal public scoping period has ended, the district welcomes comment submissions throughout the planning process. See below for the Iowa WMD CCP contact information.
An internal scoping review by the Service's Midwest Region Leadership Team was held on April 10, 2012 in Bloomington, Minnesota at the Region 3 regional office. Many of the existing issues were discussed with some focus on acquisition, management techniques, habitat types to restore, visitor services, and the partnership with the Iowa DNR.
During the first week of June 2012, the district hosted a planning workshop, which included nearly 40 invitees from the Service (regional office, district, Habitat and Population Evaluation Team [HAPET], Partners Program, and Neal Smith NWR staff), Iowa DNR, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, University of Northern Iowa, and the Kossuth County Conservation Board. The workshop included a variety of exercises to review the issues and begin to develop the alternative ways of managing the district over the next 15 years. There was a general review and evaluation of the biological and visitor services programs at the district as well as a brainstorming for planning the future of those programs. The workshop also included field trips to a variety of Iowa DNR and district properties to gain a better understanding of the current management situation.
Information from the planning workshop was then used to develop management alternatives as well as objectives and strategies for the Draft CCP. An internal review of the EA and Draft CCP was completed on May 13, 2013.
Next, the EA and Draft CCP was sent out for public review and comment. The review and comment period started Monday, August 19th, 2013 and lasted for 30 days. On August 27th and 28th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hosted two public open houses at Algona and Spirit Lake to discuss the plan and solicit comments. The plan was available on this website as a downloadable file and as a CD and hard copy by request, and a hard copy of the plan was also available for public viewing at both the Algona (210 N Phillips Street) and Spirit Lake (702 16th Street) public libraries.
Ten people attended the open houses and five comments were received on the Iowa WMD EA and Draft CCP from four different commenters. Three comments were received from the same individual, one comment was from another federal agency, and one comment was on behalf of two different non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organizations.
The Iowa WMD encompasses 35 counties in Iowa; however, the 75 waterfowl production areas (WPAs) occur in only 18 of those counties. Most of these WPAs range from 100 to 500 acres; however, some are much larger. Total acreage for the district is more than 25,000 acres. Union Hills WPA in Cerro Gordo County is the largest of the district's WPAs and includes more than 2,000 acres. The district is administrated by Union Slough NWR and also contains nearly 1,000 acres of easements on private land.
Management of the Iowa WMD is unique. Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iowa DNR, the state has shared management responsibilities on many of the WPAs in the district. Together, the Service and the state have developed large habitat complexes for waterfowl and other wildlife species.
All the public comments received on the draft plan are being considered for the development of the Final CCP. A formal Response to Comments will also be completed and appended to the Final CCP. The Final CCP will be prepared, posted to this website, distributed internally, and available to the public upon request. The final plan will be the management guidance of the district over the next 15 years.
More information on the district and comprehensive conservation planning is available via e-mail, telephone or written correspondence. Please send e-mail to the Fish and Wildlife Service's regional office at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also call the refuge at 515-928-2523. The TTY number is 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay).
Letters should be directed to:
Union Slough NWR
Attention: Iowa WMD CCP Comment
1710 360th Street
Titonka, Iowa, 50480