[Federal Register: February 1, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 21)]
[Page 4825-4826]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment and Land 
Protection Plan for the Proposed Establishment of Cat Island National 
Wildlife Refuge, West Feliciana Parish, LA

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION:  Notice of availability of a draft environmental assessment and 
land protection plan for the proposed establishment of Cat Island 

[[Page 4826]]

Wildlife Refuge in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.


SUMMARY:  This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, proposes to establish a new 
national wildlife refuge in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. The 
purpose of the proposed refuge is to protect, enhance, and manage a 
valuable wetland area known as Cat Island for the benefit of resident 
and migratory waterfowl, neotropical migratory birds, and other native 
game and nongame wildlife. A Draft Environmental Assessment and Land 
Protection Plan for the establishment of the proposed refuge has been 
prepared by Service biologists in coordination with the Louisiana 
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy, the West 
Feliciana Parish Police Jury, and the City of St. Francisville. The 
assessment considers the biological, environmental, and socioeconomic 
effects of establishing the refuge and evaluates four alternative 
actions and their potential impacts on the environment. Written 
comments or recommendations concerning the proposal are welcomed and 
should be sent to the address given below.

DATES:  Land acquisition planning for the project is currently 
underway. The draft environmental assessment and land protection plan 
will be available to the public for review and comment on January 28, 
2000. Written comments must be received no later than February 28, 
2000, in order to be considered for the preparation of the final 
environmental assessment.

ADDRESSES:  If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any 
one of several methods. You may mail your comments to Mr. Charles R. 
Danner, Team Leader, Planning and Support Team, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345. You may hand-
deliver your comments to Mr. Danner at the same address. Or you may 
submit your comments by telephone at 1-800-419-9582. 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 
record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also 
may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the 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 entirety.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  The proposal would establish a national 
wildlife refuge on up to 36,500 acres of wetlands and bottomlands 
hardwoods on Cat Island in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Cat 
Island, also known as the Tunica Swamp, is not a true island but a 
peninsula of land located between the Mississippi River and the Tunica 
Hills, about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge. It is unique because it is 
one of the few natural areas along the Mississippi River that has never 
been leveed. It is subject to seasonal overflows from the river and its 
fish and wildlife values are tremendous.
    The Service is proposing to establish the refuge through a 
combination of fee title purchases from willing sellers and cooperative 
agreements or conservation easements from willing landowners.
    The goals of the proposed refuge are to provide (1) Quality hunting 
and sportfishing opportunities, (2) habitat for wintering waterfowl and 
woodcock, (3) habitat for the threatened Louisiana black bear, (4) 
nesting habitat for wood ducks, (5) habitat for a natural diversity of 
wildlife, (6) habitat for nongame neotropical migratory birds, and (7) 
opportunities for compatible environmental education, interpretation, 
and wildlife-oriented recreation.

    Dated: January 21, 2000.
Sam D. Hamilton,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 00-2072 Filed 1-31-00; 8:45 am]