[Federal Register: October 12, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 196)]
[Page 60638]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
for Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge located in Concordia 
Parish, Louisiana.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife 
Refuge is available for distribution. The plan was prepared pursuant to 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and 
describes how the refuge will be managed for the next 15 years. The 
compatibility determinations for recreational hunting, recreational 
fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education 
and interpretation, forest habitat management, trapping of selected 
furbearers, and all-terrain vehicle use are available within the plan.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan may be obtained by writing to the Bayou 
Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 1772, Ferriday, Louisiana 
71334. The plan may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's 
Internet Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge, 
located in east-central Louisiana, consists of 13,168 acres within a 
22,269-acre acquisition boundary. The refuge includes bottomland 
hardwood forests, marsh or herbaceous wetlands, swamps, streams, and 
lakes/deep-water habitats typical of the ridge and swale topography 
associated with bottomland hardwoods. The high quality forests, long 
growing season, abundant rainfall, and geographical proximity to the 
Mississippi River provide habitat for a diversity of resident species, 
including migratory songbirds and black bears. Annually, more than 
5,500 visitors participate in refuge activities.
    The availability of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Environmental Assessment, for a 60-day public review and comment 
period, was announced in the Federal Register on June 12, 2001, Volume 
68, Number 98. The draft plan and environmental assessment identified 
and evaluated three alternatives for managing the refuge over the next 
15 years. Under Alternative A, the ``No Action Alternative,'' current 
management of the refuge would continue, and all lands within the 
acquisition boundary would be purchased. Under Alternative B, the 
``Preferred Alternative,'' 42,269 acres of refuge lands would be 
protected, maintained, and enhanced for migratory nongame birds, 
threatened and endangered species, resident wildlife, waterfowl, and 
shorebirds. Under ``Alternative C,'' 59,269 acres of refuge lands would 
be protected, restored, and enhanced for migratory nongame birds, 
threatened and endangered species, and resident wildlife. Based on the 
environmental assessment and the comments received, the Service adopted 
Alternative B, the ``Preferred Alternative,'' minus the large 
acquisition component. Internal reviewers questioned the utility of the 
large land acquisition component of Alternative B relative to Region-
wide funding and priorities. The Service concluded that if the lands 
within the existing refuge acquisition boundary were prioritized for 
land protection and acquisition, as analyzed in Alternative A, it would 
best achieve national, ecosystem, and refuge-specific goals and 
objectives. This would include meeting source population objectives of 
migratory songbirds and protecting Louisiana black bear habitat within 
anticipated funding and staffing levels. In addition, the action 
positively addresses significant issues and concerns expressed by the 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Refuge Manager, Bayou Cocodrie 
National Wildlife Refuge, telephone: 318/336-7119; fax: 318/336-5610; 
e-mail: bayoucocodrie@fws.gov; or mail (write to Refuge Manager at 
address in ADDRESSES section).

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: August 7, 2004.
J. Mitch King,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 04-22822 Filed 10-8-04; 8:45 am]