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
Staff at Union Slough NWR have begun work on a Comprehensive Conservation Plan, or CCP, for the Iowa Wetland Management District (WMD, District). The CCP establishes a management "blueprint" for the next 15 years. Objectives and strategies developed for the plan will ensure that the Refuge fulfills its establishment purposes, and that its management is consistent with the policies and mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
It typically takes 2 to 3 years to complete a CCP. The steps followed in comprehensive conservation planning are shown in the box on the right.
The notice of intent for the Iowa Wetlands Management District CCP was published in the Federal Register (486 Kb) on February 18, 2010.
The Iowa Wetland Management District is part of Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, Refuge). Refuge staff began work on the CCP by gathering data needed for planning. A kickoff meeting, to start the planning process, occured 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 Department of Natural Resources.
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), IA Department of Natural Resources, 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 IA DNR and District properties to gain a better understanding of the current management situation.
The Iowa Wetland Management District 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 Wetland Management District is unique. Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 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.
Information from the planning workshop is now being used to develop management alternatives as well as objectives and strategies for the CCP. The Environmental Assessment and Draft CCP for Iowa WMD are expected to be available for public review during the spring of 2013.
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: email@example.com
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
Titonka, IA, 50480