[Federal Register: July 10, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 131)]
[Page 38892-38893]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Moffit, ND

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for the Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex 
(Complex) is available. This Draft CCP/EA describes how the Service 
intends to manage this Complex for the next 15 years.

DATES: This Draft CCP/EA is available to the public for a 30-day review 
and comment period from the date of publication of this notice in the 
Federal Register. Submit comments to the addresses listed below.

ADDRESSES: Please provide written comments to Bernardo Garza, Planning 
Team Leader, Division of Planning, Branch of Comprehensive Conservation 
Planning, Mountain-Prairie Region, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal 
Center, Denver, Colorado 80225-0486, or electronically to 
bernardo_garza@fws.gov. A copy of the CCP may be obtained by writing to U.S. 

Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Refuge Planning, 134 Union 
Boulevard, Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80228; or downloaded from http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bernardo Garza at 303-236-4377; fax 
303-236-4792; or e-mail: bernardo_garza@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This Complex includes Long Lake National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Slade NWR, Florence Lake NWR and the Long Lake 
Wetland Management District (WMD), as well as six easement refuges that 
have already been covered in a separate CCP.
    Long Lake NWR was established on February 25, 1932, by President 
Herbert Hoover through Executive Order No. 5808 ``* * * as a refuge and 
breeding ground for migratory birds and wild animals * * *''; and under 
the Migratory Bird Conservation Act ``* * * for use as an inviolate 
sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.'' 
This Refuge encompasses 22,310 acres consisting of approximately 15,000 
acres of brackish to saline marsh and lake; 1,000 acres of other 
wetlands; and approximately 6,000 acres of tame and native grassland, 
woodland, and cropland. This Refuge serves as an important staging area 
for migrating sandhill cranes, Canada geese and other waterfowl, 
shorebirds, and other migratory birds. Endangered whooping cranes often 
utilize Refuge marshes during spring and fall migrations.
    Slade NWR was established under the authority of the Migratory Bird 
Conservation Act on October 10, 1944 ``* * * for use as an inviolate 
sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.'' 
This Refuge occupies 3,000 acres of gently rolling prairie dotted by 
lakes and marshes formed by glacial action. Habitat centers around five 
semi-permanent lakes and marshes, and fifteen pothole areas totalling 
over 900 acres of wetlands.
    Florence Lake NWR was established on May 10, 1939, by President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt through Executive Order No. 8119 ``* * * as a 
refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife * * 
*''; and under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act ``* 
* * for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management 
purpose, for migratory birds.'' This Refuge is located in northern 
Burleigh County, approximately 45 miles northwest of Long Lake. The fee 
portion of the Refuge consists of 976.4 acres of native grassland; 
201.9 acres of tame grass; 110.9 acres of seeded native grass; 163.2 
acres of wetland; and 16 acres of

[[Page 38893]]

woodland. It serves as an important migratory bird production area and 
migrational area.
    Long Lake WMD was started as part of the Small Wetlands Acquisition 
Program in the 1950s to save wetlands from various threats, 
particularly draining. The passage of Public Law 85-585, in August of 
1958, amended the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act 
(Duck Stamp Act) of 1934, allowing for acquisition of Waterfowl 
Production Areas and Easements for Waterfowl Management Rights. This 
WMD was established with the purpose ``* * * to assure the long-term 
viability of the breeding waterfowl population and production through 
the acquisition and management of Waterfowl Production Areas, while 
considering the needs of other migratory birds, threatened and 
endangered species and other wildlife.'' Other purposes for this WMD 
include those under the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act ``* * * as 
Waterfowl Production Areas subject to all provisions of the Migratory 
Bird Conservation Act * * * except the inviolate sanctuary provisions * 
* *''; the Migratory Bird Conservation Act ``* * * for any other 
management purposes, for migratory birds''; and the Consolidated Farm 
and Rural Development Act ``* * * for conservation purposes.''
    This Draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates four alternatives for 
managing the NWRs and WMD for the next 15 years. Alternative A, the No 
Action alternative, would have management activities conducted by the 
Service remaining at current levels. The Service would not develop any 
new management, restoration, or education programs at the Complex. 
Current habitat and wildlife practices benefitting migratory species 
and other wildlife would not be expanded or changed. The staff would 
perform limited, issue-driven research and only monitor long-term 
vegetation change. No new funding or staff levels would occur, and 
programs would follow the same direction, emphasis and intensity as 
they presently do. The staff would continue to manage the WMD through 
monitoring and enforcing easements.
    Alternative B seeks to return to a more natural hydrology by 
removing water control structures as well as returning all upland 
habitats to native vegetation. Alternative B restricts public uses and 
associated infrastructure (e.g., trails, roads, signs) to a ``primitive 
type'' of experience. This alternative seeks to protect and/or restore 
additional native habitats and to develop partnerships while 
encouraging research that provides the necessary knowledge and data to 
guide habitat management decisions and activities.
    Alternative C seeks to maintain existing and develop new water 
control structures. This alternative targets habitat development to 
specific resource needs, and it maximizes the expansion and development 
of public use programs and facilities, and the stocking of game fish in 
feasible locations. This alternative emphasizes protection and/or 
restoration of additional wildlife habitats and the development of 
partnerships as well as encourages research that provides the necessary 
knowledge and data to guide habitat management decisions and 
    Alternative D, the Proposed Action, seeks to expand the scope and 
level of efforts of the current management of habitats by incorporating 
adaptive resource management. The Proposed Action seeks to improve and 
develop public use facilities to maximize existing and potential 
wildlife-dependent priority public use opportunities when they are 
compatible with refuge purposes. This alternative calls for the 
development of partnerships and the encouragement of research that 
provides the necessary knowledge and data to guide habitat management 
decisions and activities, and to protect and/or restore additional 
wildlife habitats.
    All four alternatives would continue to protect federally listed 
species at current levels.
    The proposed action was selected because it best meets the purposes 
and goals of the Complex, as well as the goals of the National Wildlife 
Refuge System. The proposed action will also benefit federally listed 
species, shore birds, migrating and nesting waterfowl, and neotropical 
migrants, as well as enhanced capabilities to deal with botulism 
episodes. Environmental education and partnerships will result in 
improved wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities. Cultural and 
historical resources as well as federally listed species will be 
    Opportunities for public input will also be provided at a public 
meeting to be scheduled soon. Exact dates and times for these public 
meetings are yet to be determined, but will be announced via local 
media and a newsletter. All information provided voluntarily by mail, 
phone, or at public meetings (e.g., names, addresses, letters of 
comment, input recorded during meetings) becomes part of the official 
public record. If requested under the Freedom of Information Act by a 
private citizen or organization, the Service may provide copies of such 
information. The environmental review of this project will be conducted 
in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA 
Regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and 
regulations; Executive Order 12996; the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies and procedures for 
compliance with those laws and regulations.

    Dated: May 23, 2006.
James J. Slack,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, CO.
[FR Doc. E6-10705 Filed 7-7-06; 8:45 am]