[Federal Register: September 22, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 185)]
[Page 57363]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Expansion of Chickasaw and Lower Hatchie National Wildlife 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: We are expanding the acquisition boundary of the Chickasaw and 
Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuges by approximately 43,532 acres, 
primarily located in Lauderdale and Tipton Counties, Tennessee.

DATES: This would be effective on September 15, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles R. Danner with the Fish and 
Wildlife Service in Atlanta, 1-800-419-9582.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 
742a-754j-2) allows the Secretary of Interior to acquire refuge lands 
for all wildlife. The Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715d) 
established authority to acquire migratory bird habitat. National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668 dd-ee) 
consolidated all of the different refuge areas into a single refuge 
``System'' with all units of the System now administered by the Fish 
and Wildlife Service and restrictions placed on the transfer, exchange 
or other disposal of lands within the System.
    We are expanding the Chickasaw and Lower Hatchie National Wildlife 
Refuge acquisition boundaries by 43,532 acres (17,616.85 ha). This area 
is located in western Tennessee and is comprised primarily of 
bottomland hardwoods. These refuges lie within 10 miles (16 km) of each 
other in Lauderdale and Tipton Counties, Tennessee. The acquisition 
boundaries of both refuges contain approximately 223 private 
landowners. The tracts within this expanded boundary range from less 
than one acre (.4047 ha) to approximately 6,000 acres (2,428.12 ha). 
The lands within the expanded boundary will be acquired from willing 
sellers and may include full fee or less than fee title. Less than fee 
title can include easements, leases, and cooperative agreements that 
maintain some ownership rights with a private landowner. The lands 
consist of forested wetlands interspersed with agricultural lands and 
open water. These lands are home to many species of fish and wildlife, 
including migratory birds and waterfowl.
    We notified the public of the proposed refuge expansion and the 
availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment and Land Protection 
Plan for public review through a mass mailing, to approximately 200 
affected landowners, on or about November 15, 1999. Copies of the 
document were provided to representatives of Federal, State and county 
governments, other Federal and State agencies, interested groups, 
affected landowners, and the general public. Written comments were 
accepted through December 15, 1999.
    Only four written comments on the proposal were received. Comments 
supporting the project were received from the State of Tennessee's 
Wildlife Resource Agency and two individuals. Only one written comment 
expressed opposition to the project. Several landowners expressed their 
concerns by telephone and were generally supportive of the project, but 
had some questions and concerns regarding the land acquisition process. 
These concerns were answered either by telephone or in written 
responses explaining our acquisition program. Concerns were expressed 
by constituents of Tennessee Representative Ed Bryant and Missouri 
Representative Jo Ann Emerson relating to funding of the project and 
our land acquisition program. Written responses addressing these 
concerns were made to the respective congressional delegations, 
explaining the sources of funding and our land acquisition program. The 
State of Tennessee concurs with the proposal.
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
we prepared an environmental assessment that evaluates two alternatives 
and their potential impacts on the project areas. Based on the 
documentation contained in the environmental assessment, we signed a 
Finding of No Significant Impact on July 6, 2000, for the expansion of 
Chickasaw and Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuges. We have 
completed an interim compatibility determination, and a conceptual 
management plan. Comprehensive planning is on the eve of completion to 
satisfy the requirements under the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997.
    Chickasaw and Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuges are 
administered as part of a much larger refuge complex with the main 
office located in Dyersburg, Tennessee. There is adequate funding to 
allow for administration of the expansion areas.

Primary Author

    Leslie Marler, Management Analyst, Branch of Planning and Policy, 
Division of Refuges, National Wildlife Refuge System.

    Dated: September 15, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-24365 Filed 9-21-00; 8:45 am]