[Federal Register: October 17, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 199)]
[Page 60364-60365]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 
Statement for Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Williamson, 
Jackson, and Union Counties, IL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that the Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) is available for Crab Orchard NWR, Illinois.
    The CCP/EIS was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act of 1996, 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.

DATES: Comments on the Draft CCP/EIS must be received on or before 
January 17, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Draft CCP/EIS are available on compact disk or 
hard copy, you may obtain a copy by writing to: Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Division of Conservation Planning, Bishop Henry Whipple 
Federal Building, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, Minnesota 55111 or 
you may access and download a copy via the planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/craborchard/index.html

    All comments should be addressed to Crab Orchard National Wildlife 
Refuge, Attention: CCP Comment, 8588 Route 148, Marion, IL 62959, or 
direct e-mail to r3planning@fws.gov. Comments may also be submitted 
through the Service's regional Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Located in southern Illinois and consisting 
of 43,888 acres, Crab Orchard NWR was established in 1947. In late 2000 
we asked citizens for their ideas on what the comprehensive 
conservation plan should include and the issues that should be 
addressed. We gave citizens the opportunity to comment at open houses 
and through written comments. In three meetings early in 2001, we asked 
a diverse group of stakeholders to identify and prioritize issues 
facing the Refuge.
    Five alternative approaches to management, including a Preferred 
Alternative and a No Action (Current Management) Alternative, were 
considered for Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. The five 
alternatives are described and evaluated in the Draft EIS. All 
alternatives would achieve the Refuge's purposes of wildlife 
conservation, agriculture, recreation, and industry. Under all 
alternatives, group camps and most non-wildlife dependent recreation 
would remain; technical rock climbing would be prohibited; a modified 
recreational fee structure would be implemented; a 14-day camping limit 
would be instituted; management of sport fish populations would 
continue; use of prescribed fire would increase; and the agricultural 
acres would not change by more than 5 percent. All alternatives would 
maintain food required for wintering Canada geese. Alternative A would 
continue the present course of management. Alternative B would reduce 
habitat fragmentation and emphasize wildlife-dependent recreation. A 
land exchange with Southern Illinois University would be a significant 
part of this alternative. Alternative C would emphasize management of 
open lands and consolidate and improve recreation facilities. 
Alternative D would emphasize management of forest lands and 
consolidate and improve recreation facilities. Alternative E, the 
preferred alternative, would reduce habitat fragmentation and 
consolidate and improve recreation facilities. Conflicts among water 
users would be addressed by increasing areas designated as no-wake 
zones and better enforcement of current use zoning regulations. The 
quality of campgrounds and marinas would be increased by consolidating 
and improving them. The agricultural program would remain largely as is 
and its economic effect continues. The industrial program would 
continue to support the munitions manufacturing industry. By 
encouraging other industries to locate in nearby industrial parks, the 
economic effect of the industry would remain in the local economy, and 
the needs of the industry would be met more efficiently. Increased 
efforts would be made to talk with and listen to the community.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System

[[Page 60365]]

Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee et seq.), requires the 
Service to develop a CCP for each National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose 
in developing a CCP 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 management, conservation, legal 
mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining broad 
management direction for conserving wildlife and their habitats, the 
CCP identifies 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 in accordance with 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 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d).

    Dated: August 16, 2005.
Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, Region 3, Fish and Wildlife Service, Ft. Snelling, 
[FR Doc. 05-20684 Filed 10-14-05; 8:45 am]