[Federal Register: October 19, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 203)]
[Page 62748-62749]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Establishment of Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved 
the establishment of the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge on 
portions of the approximately 8,500-acre Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant 
in Harrison County, Texas. This refuge will be established for the 
purpose of migratory bird and other fish and wildlife management, 
conservation, and protection.

DATES: This action was effective on October 13, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Rose with the Fish and 
Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, NM, 505-248-7412.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The authority to transfer real property 
jurisdiction, custody, and control from one Federal agency to another 
is found in the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 
1949, as amended (40 U.S.C. 471-535). In addition, the Act of May 19, 
1948, Public Law 80-537 (16 U.S.C. 667b) provides that, upon request, 
``real property which is under the jurisdiction or control of a Federal 
agency and no longer required by such agency * * * may, notwithstanding 
any other provisions of law, be transferred, without reimbursement * * 
* to the Secretary of the Interior if the real property has particular 
value in carrying out the national migratory bird management program.'' 
The Secretary also has authority pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife 
Coordination Act of 1934, as amended (16 U.S.C. 661-666c), and the Fish 
and Wildlife Act of 1956, as amended (16 U.S.C. 742 a-j; 70 Stat. 
1119), to enter into cooperative agreements to manage fish and wildlife 
resources on lands owned by or under the jurisdiction of another 
entity. The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, 
as amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd), consolidates all areas administered by 
the Fish and Wildlife Service for the management, conservation, and 
protection of fish and wildlife (including those areas managed by the 
Service under cooperative agreement with other Federal departments or 
agencies) into the National Wildlife Refuge System and places 
restrictions on the transfer, exchange, or other disposal of lands 
within the System.
    The Director approved the establishment of the Caddo Lake National 
Wildlife Refuge on October 13, 2000. The Service will enter into a 
cooperative agreement with the Department of the Army that will 
establish the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Initially we will 
obtain permission to conduct migratory bird and other fish and wildlife 
protection and conservation activities on portions of the approximately 
8,500-acre Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant (LHAAP). In this arrangement 
the Army will retain primary jurisdiction, custody, and control of the 
LHAAP, and we will create an ``overlay'' refuge on a portion of the 
Army lands. The Army is in the process of cleaning up those areas 
within the LHAAP that have environmental contaminants. When the Army, 
the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Service agree that the 
lands within the overlay refuge are suitable for transfer, we could 
then accept primary jurisdiction, custody, and control over these 
lands, and the overlay status would dissipate.
    The Army acquired the land from a number of private landowners and 
established the LHAAP in October 1942 to produce trinitrotoluene (TNT). 
The plant became excess to the Army's needs in July 1997, and on April 
17, 1998, we expressed an interest in receiving a no-cost transfer of 
the lands under the authority of the Act of May 19, 1948. The site is 
located within Harrison County, Texas, in the unincorporated village of 
Karnack and is adjacent to the Caddo Lake State Park and Wildlife 
Management Area. The area is in the northeastern part of the State, 
about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the Louisiana State line and 25 miles (40 
km) from the City of Shreveport, Louisiana. It is about 15 miles (24 
km) from the cities of Marshall and Jefferson, Texas.
    The refuge is designed to protect one of the highest quality old-
growth bottomland hardwood forests in the southeastern United States. 
The hardwood forest lies along Harrison Bayou, and the associated 
wetlands are located along the shore of Caddo Lake. These wetlands are 
listed as a ``Wetland of International Significance'' under the Ramsar 
Convention on Wetlands and is one of only 17 such designated areas in 
the United States.
    The establishment of this refuge will ensure the conservation and 
protection of the migratory and resident waterfowl and neotropical 
migratory birds associated with these wetlands. Studies have listed up 
to 224 species of birds, 22 species of amphibians, 46 species of 
reptiles, and 93 species of fish in this area. A total of 20 animal 
species of concern are located or potentially located on the LHAAP and 
adjacent Caddo Lake. They include seven species of fish, six species of 
reptiles, six species of birds and four species of mammals. Two species 
are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act (Louisiana black 
bear and bald eagle).
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
we prepared a draft Environmental Assessment (EA), distributed on 
August 11, 2000, that evaluated four alternatives and their potential 
impacts. A public meeting/open house was held on August 21, 2000, in 
Karnack, Texas, at the Caddo Lake State Park. The comment period closed 
on September 11, and the final EA was completed on September 21, 2000. 
The proposal was coordinated with the State of Texas Clearinghouse in 
the Governor's Office, the Congressional delegations, Harrison County, 
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, The State Historic Preservation 
Office, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Department 
of the Army, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, and the General Services Administration--Greater 
Southwest Region, the ``Friends of Longhorn,'' the Caddo Lake 
Institute, and other local citizens. All comments received at the 
public meeting and via

[[Page 62749]]

letters, faxes, and email during the comment period were considered and 
incorporated in the final EA.
    We received a total of 64 letters on the draft EA, 59 of which 
supported the preferred alternative proposal for an overlay refuge with 
potential transfer of jurisdiction, custody, and control to the 
Service. One letter expressed opposition to any Service involvement at 
the LHAAP because of possible impacts on future economic development. 
Two letters supported an option of retaining the refuge in overlay 
status only; two letters expressed no preference. A total of 52 people 
attended the public meeting, and 14 spoke during the meeting. All 
speakers and questioners at the meeting and open house expressed 
support for some Service involvement at the LHAAP. In addition, the 
Army has published a number of environmental documents dealing with the 
cleanup of contaminants during the last decade. Many public meetings 
have been held and continue to be held to update the public on the 
cleanup process.
    Based on the documentation contained in the environmental 
assessment, we signed a Finding of No Significant Impact on September 
22, 2000. We will establish an overlay refuge and potentially accept 
primary jurisdiction, custody and control of up to 8,500 acres at the 
Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Harrison County, Texas. A draft 
Conceptual Management Plan has been prepared.
    Primary Author: Barbara Wyman, Division of Realty, National 
Wildlife Refuge System.

    Dated: October 13, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-26845 Filed 10-18-00; 8:45 am]