[Federal Register: January 12, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 7)]
[Page 1756]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuges

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Environmental Assessment for Big Branch Marsh Wildlife Refuge, 
located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, intends to 
gather information necessary to prepare a comprehensive conservation 
plan and environmental assessment pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act and its implementing regulations. The Service 
is furnishing this notice in compliance with the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd 
et seq.), to achieve the following:
    (1) Advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and
    (2) Obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to 
include in the environmental document.
    Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media announcements 
will be used to inform the public and state and local government 
agencies of the opportunities for input throughout the planning 
process. Open house style meetings and focus group meetings also will 
be held throughout the scoping phase of the comprehensive conservation 
plan development process. In addition, the Service will be inviting 
comments on archaeological, historic, and traditional cultural sites in 
accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive written comments on or 
before February 26, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests for more 
information to Barbara Boyle, Deputy Project Leader, Southeast 
Louisiana Refuges, 61389 Highway 434, Lacombe, Louisiana 70445. 
Additional information concerning this refuge may be found on the Fish 
and Wildlife Services's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: By Federal law, all lands within the 
National Wildlife Refuge System are to be managed in accordance with an 
approved comprehensive conservation plan. This plan guides management 
decisions and identifies the goals, long-range objectives, and 
strategies for achieving refuge purposes. The planning process will 
consider many elements, including wildlife and habitat management, 
habitat protection and acquisition, wilderness preservation, public 
recreational activities, industrial use, and cultural resource 
preservation. Public input into this planning process is essential.
    Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1994, is 
one of seven refuges administered by the Southeast Louisiana National 
Wildlife Refuge Complex, and is managed primarily to provide habitat 
for a natural diversity of wildlife associated with Big Branch Marsh. 
Refuge objectives are to provide wintering habitat for migratory 
waterfowl; habitat for non-game migratory birds; habitat for threatened 
and endangered species; nesting habitat for wood ducks; and, to provide 
opportunities for outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, hiking, 
birdwatching, and environmental education and interpretation--whenever 
compatible with the purposes of the refuge.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deputy Project Leader, Southeast 
Louisiana Refuges, telephone: 985/882-2000; fax: 985/882-9133; e-mail: 
barbara_boyle@fws.gov; or mail (write to the Deputy Project Leader at 
address in ADDRESSES section).

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Pub. L. 

    Dated: December 5, 2003.
J. Mitch King,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 04-544 Filed 1-9-04; 8:45 am]