[Federal Register: April 10, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 69)]
[Page 19020-19021]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Environmental Assessment for Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee 
National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County, FL, and Notice of 
Meeting To Seek Public Comments on These Documents

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Southeast Region, has made available for public review a Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment for Arthur 
R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County, 
Florida, and plans to hold a public meeting in the vicinity of the 
refuge to solicit public comments on these documents. The Service is 
furnishing this notice in compliance with Service comprehensive 
planning policy, the National Environmental Policy Act, and 
implementing regulations to achieve the following:
    (1) Advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and
    (2) Obtain comments on the proposed plan and the other alternatives 
considered in the planning policy.

DATES: The Service will hold the public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on April 
26, 2000, at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray 
Beach, Florida. The draft plan will be made available for review and 
comment. Written comments should be submitted no later than May 22, 
2000, to the address below.

ADDRESSES: Comments and requests for copies of the draft plan and 
environmental assessment should be addressed to Mr. Mark J. Musaus, 
Refuge Manager, ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, 10216 Lee

[[Page 19021]]

Road, Boynton Beach, Florida 33437-4796, or by calling 561/732-3684.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any one of 
several methods. You may mail comments to the above address. You may 
also comment via the Internet to the following address: 
Mark__Musaus@fws.gov. Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file 
avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. 
Please also include your name and return address in your Internet 
message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we 
have received your Internet message, contact us directly at ARM 
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, at the above address. Finally, 
you may hand-deliver comments to the Refuge headquarters office at the 
above address. Our practice is to make comments, including names and 
home addresses of respondents, available for public review during 
regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will 
honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances 
in which we would withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's 
identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name 
and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of 
your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will 
make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National 
Wildlife Refuge, located 15 miles southwest of West Palm Beach, 
Florida, consists of 221 square miles of the remaining northern 
Everglades. The refuge is one of three large freshwater storage areas 
surrounded by levees and canals. These storage areas, built by the Army 
Corps of Engineers, were later placed under the jurisdiction of the 
South Florida Water Management District. The primary objectives of the 
refuge, established through an agreement between the Service and the 
South Florida Water Management District, is to maintain suitable 
habitat for a variety of wildlife native to the northern Everglades. By 
implementing the proposed comprehensive conservation plan, the refuge 
seeks to achieve the following four goals:
    (1) Restore and conserve the natural diversity, abundance and 
ecological function of refuge flora and fauna;
    (2) Conserve natural and cultural resources through partnerships, 
protection and acquisition from willing sellers;
    (3) Develop and implement compatible wildlife-dependent recreation 
and environmental education programs that lead to enjoyable experiences 
and greater understanding of the Everglades; and
    (4) Continue a partnership with the South Florida Water Management 
District through a new license agreement.
    The Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental Assessment 
evaluates the following four alternatives for managing the refuge over 
the next 15 years: maintain current management; ecosystem emphasis; 
biological emphasis; and public use emphasis. The Fish and Wildlife 
Service believes that ecosystem emphasis is the best alternative to 
guide the refuge's future direction. In essence, this alternative will:
    <bullet> Restore and maintain healthy water regimes;
    <bullet> Reduce exotic and invasive plants;
    <bullet> Expand the inventory and mapping of wildlife species and 
    <bullet> Enhance wildlife habitat for migratory and resident song 
birds; and
    <bullet> Expand wildlife-dependent and other compatible recreation 

    Dated: April 4, 2000.
Judy L. Jones,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 00-8736 Filed 4-7-00; 8:45 am]