[Federal Register: August 26, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 165)]
[Page 50393-50394]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental 
Assessment for the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Marshall County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that the Final

[[Page 50394]]

Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) 
is available for Agassiz NWR, Minnesota.
    The CCP was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969. Goals and objectives in the CCP describe how the 
agency intends to manage the refuge over the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final CCP are available on compact disk or 
hard copy. You may access and download a copy via the planning Web site 
at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/agassiz/index.html or you may 

obtain a copy by writing to the following address: U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, 22996 290th Street 
NE., Middle River, Minnesota 56737-9754.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret Anderson at (218) 449-4115.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Agassiz NWR, established in 1937, is 
located in the northwest corner of Minnesota at the juncture of the 
northern boreal forest, the eastern deciduous forest, and the tallgrass 
prairie. The Refuge's 61,500 acres are a key breeding ground for 17 
species of ducks, as well as an important migration rest stop for 
waterfowl, but it is also noted for gray wolves, moose, and nesting 
Bald Eagles.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee et seq.), requires a CCP. The purpose in 
developing CCPs is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy 
for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of 
the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles 
of fish and wildlife science, conservation, legal mandates, and Service 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction for 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, the CCPs identify wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will 
review and update these CCPs at least every 15 years.
    A major focus of the refuge for the next 15 years will be to manage 
a large area of uplands as a grassland/shrubland matrix. This action 
will increase critical native habitats that have declined locally and 
in Minnesota over the past century, such as prairie grasslands, sedge 
meadow, and bur oak/savanna. Simultaneously, the Refuge will aim to 
reduce the area now taken over by lowland shrub, aspen/mixed hardwood, 
and cattail or phragmites-dominated marsh, which either have lower 
intrinsic value for wildlife or have simply become too abundant. In 
turn, these habitat shifts will help those wildlife species associated 
with the rarer habitats.
    The Refuge proposes to restore a more natural sinuosity on two 
interior watercourses by lowering water levels in three pools. The loss 
of conifers in the Wilderness Area, possibly due to high water 
conditions, will also be studied.
    Expanded public use opportunities include enhancing winter wildlife 
viewing with a designated, un-groomed cross-country/snowshoe/walking 
trail. New hunting opportunities to be provided include: archery/deer, 
muzzleloader/deer, and ruffed grouse hunting during and after the 
firearms/deer season; and a ``youth'' waterfowl hunt in the Farmes Pool 
area in conjunction with the state youth waterfowl hunt season and 

    Dated: June 21, 2005.
Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, 
[FR Doc. 05-16991 Filed 8-25-05; 8:45 am]