Compatibility Determination (Interpretation, Wildlife Observation, and Photography), Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.A draft compatibility determination which evaluates the compatibility of interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMRNWFR) is available for public comment.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) desires to learn of public interests about the environmental impacts, historic preservation, and compatibility of interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography on the UMRNWFR. The public is encouraged to contact the Deputy Refuge Manager, Tim Yager, 507-494-6219, 51 E. 4th Street, Winona, MN by April 6, 2013 with comments and concerns.In accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, prior to allowing a new or continuing public use or activity on the Refuge, the FWS must determine if the use is compatible with Refuge purposes. The FWS would like to know what the public thinks about the proposed Refuge use; and about studies regarding the effects of such uses. A draft compatibility determination is available at the Refuge Headquarters in Winona, MN and at District offices in Winona, MN; La Crosse, WI; McGregor, IA and Savanna, IL for review and comment.The National Wildlife Refuge System mission is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.The purposes for establishing, acquiring, and managing the UMRNWFR is “as a refuge and breeding place for migratory birds included in the terms of the convention between the United States and Great Britain for the protection of migratory birds, concluded August 16, 1916, and (b) to such extent as the Secretary of the Interior by regulations, prescribe, as a refuge and breeding place for other wild birds, game animals, fur-bearing animals, and for the conservation of wild flowers and aquatic plants, and (c) to such extent as the Secretary of the Interior may, by regulations, prescribe a refuge and breeding place for fish and other aquatic animal life.”Applying the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) has assessed the potential environmental impacts of allowing interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography on the UMRNWFR and determined that these activities will not impact floodplains, wetlands, important farmland or endangered species.The proposed compatibility determination is also being reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The area of potential effect for these activities are Pools 4, 5, 5A, 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Upper Mississippi River. The public is requested to inform the UMRNWFR about archeological sites, buildings and structures, historic places, cemeteries, and traditional uses of the area that could influence decisions about allowing interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography on the UMRNWFR
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A year round resident on the refuge however numbers soar during the winter. Look below locks and dams where the river is not frozen. Aerial displays and pair bonding are best viewed from January through March. In winter, over 1,000 bald eagles grab fish,ducks or coots in the open water.