[Federal Register: February 27, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 39)]
[Page 9092-9093]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan for 
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Ellsworth, NE

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Refuge Improvement Act of 1997, the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service has published the Crescent Lake National Wildlife 
Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Summary. This Plan describes 
how the FWS intends to manage the Crescent Lake NWR for the next 10 to 
15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the Plan or Summary may be obtained by writing to 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex, 115 Railway Street, Suite C109, Scottsbluff, NE 69363-1346; or 
download from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Knode, Complex Manager, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Crescent Lake NWR, 115 Railway Street, Suite 
C109, Scottsbluff, NE 69363-1346, phone 308/635-7851; fax 308/635-7841; 
e-mail: steve--knode@fws.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 45,849-acre Crescent Lake National 
Wildlife Refuge, established in 1931, is located 28 miles north of 
Oshkosh, Nebraska in Garden County at the southwestern end of the 
Nebraska Sandhills. It is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service as part of the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex 
and is within the Central Flyway. The Complex headquarters is 100 miles 
to the west in the City of Scottsbluff, NE.
    The initial Refuge was 36,920 acres, acquired primarily from one 
large ranch. Additional lands were acquired between 1932 and 1937. Most 
lands were acquired or exchanged under the authority of the Migratory 
Bird Conservation Act (45 Stat. 1222). About 2,566 acres were acquired 
under the Resettlement Administration (Executive Order 7027, April 30, 
1935), a drought and depression relief program.
    The Nebraska Sandhills were settled largely as a result of the 
Kincaid Act of 1904, a modification of the Homestead Act to allow 
settlers 640 acres in ``less productive'' areas. As a result, a 
homestead existed in almost every meadow. However, 640 acres was not a 
viable farm/ranch unit in the Sandhills, and land was soon consolidated 
into larger units. Today, the Sandhills are home to some of the largest 
ranches in the country. Because of the large acreage required to 
support economically viable units, Garden County is among the least 
densely populated areas in the continental United States. Most of the 
Refuge location names originated from the early homesteaders.
    The availability of the Draft CCP/Environmental Assessment (EA) for 
30-day public review and comment was noticed in the Federal Register on 
Wednesday, May 1, 2002, in Volume 67, Number 84, page 21711. The Draft 
CCP/EA identified and evaluated four management alternatives for the 
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge as to their effectiveness in 
achieving the Refuge's purposes and their impact on the human 
environment for the next 15 years. Alternative 1--No Action Alternative 
which would continue the current management for the Refuge and not 
include extensive restoration of

[[Page 9093]]

wetland and grassland habitats; Alternative 2--historical management of 
refuge habitats and wildlife to replicate pre-settlement conditions; 
Alternative 3--the intensive management of refuge habitats and refuge 
program to increase outputs in certain areas; and the preferred 
Alternative 4--modified historical management of habitats for native 
birds and wild animals and to pursue a more natural historic management 
regime. The alternatives were assessed in the Draft CCP management plan 
and Environmental Assessment. Based on this assessment and comments 
received, the preferred Alternative 4 was selected for implementation.
    The preferred alternative was selected because it best meets the 
purposes of the Refuge to reserve and set apart as a refuge and 
breeding ground for birds and wild animals. The preferred alternative 
will also provide for public access for wildlife-dependent recreation, 
and provides environmental education opportunities related to fish and 
wildlife resources.

    Dated: October 2, 2002.
Elliott Sutta,
Acting Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 03-4590 Filed 2-26-03; 8:45 am]