[Federal Register: February 3, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 23)]
[Page 5874-5875]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge: Allamakee, 
Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard, Jackson, Jones 
and Winneshiek Counties, IA; Fillmore, Houston, Olmstead, Wabasha and 
Winona Counties, MN; Crawford, Grant, Monroe, Richland, Sauk and Vernon 
Counties, Wisconsin; and Jo Daviess County, IL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that the Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) for Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in 
Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin is available.
    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.

DATES: A Record of Decision may be signed no sooner than 30 days after 
publication of this notice (40 CFR 1506.10(b)(2)).

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final CCP/EIS may be viewed at Driftless Area 
National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and at the following libraries: 
Decorah Public Library, Decorah, Elkader Public Library, Elkader, 
Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Dubuque, and McGregor Public Library, 
McGregor in Iowa and McIntosh Memorial Library, Viroqua, Wisconsin. You 
may access and download a copy via the planning Web site (http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/DriftlessArea
) or you may obtain a copy on 

compact disk by contacting: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of 
Conservation Planning, Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building, 1 Federal 
Drive, Fort Snelling, Minnesota 55111 (1-800-247-1247, extension 5429) 
or Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 460, McGregor, 
Iowa 52157 (563-873-3423).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cathy Henry at 563-873-3423.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge 
was established in 1989 to protect habitat for the threatened northern 
monkshood plant and endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail. The Refuge was 
authorized to acquire land in eight counties of northeast Iowa, 
northwest Illinois, and southwest Wisconsin. The Refuge is situated 
within the driftless geologic land form, an area never glaciated or 
missed by the most recent glacial advance.
    Refuge land conservation focuses on conservation of algific (cold 
producing) talus slope systems, a landform/habitat feature unique to 
karst terrain that provides cold microclimate required by northern 
monkshood, Pleistocene snails, and other glacial relict species. Refuge 
land conservation consists of acquisition and management easements. 
Driftless Area NWR now consists of 781 acres within nine units in four 
northeastern Iowa counties. The Final CCP/EIS preferred alternative 
proposes conservation of additional lands (through fee title purchase 
from willing sellers, or other means, such as management easements) in 
the counties initially authorized, and proposes conservation of 
suitable habitat in five additional counties in Iowa, four additional 
counties in Wisconsin, and five counties in Minnesota. Additional 
information gained about the target species since listing, and the 
listing of Leedy's roseroot, which occupies similar habitat in 
southeast Minnesota, indicate the need to increase the geographic area 
of conservation.

[[Page 5875]]

    The plan addresses four primary issues identified by the public and 
Refuge: (1) Habitat management; (2) visitor services; (3) refuge 
expansion; and (4) species assessments. The EIS evaluates three 
alternatives for future management of the Driftless Area NWR. The 
preferred alternative calls for ultimately acquiring 6,000 additional 
acres. Over the next 15 years we would permanently conserve 
approximately 2,275 of these acres within 22 counties in Iowa, 
Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Under the preferred alternative we 
would achieve endangered species recovery and conservation of Service 
species of concern, multiple recovery goals for delisting of the Iowa 
Pleistocene snail through increased habitat management, and a carefully 
monitored increase in environmental education and wildlife observation 
    Public comments were requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process in numerous ways. Public outreach has 
included public meetings, meetings with stakeholders, planning update 
mailings, letters to adjoining landowners, and Federal Register 
notices. Three previous notices were published in the Federal Register 
concerning this CCP/EIS (67 FR 37852, May 30, 2002; 70 FR 28952, May 
19, 2005; and 70 FR 32610, June 3, 2005). During the Draft CCP/EIS 
comment period that occurred from May 19 to July 22, 2005, the Service 
received 12 comment letters or e-mails in addition to comments made at 
four public meetings. All substantive issues raised in the comments 
have been addressed through revisions incorporated in the Final CCP/EIS 
text or in responses contained in Chapter 7 of the Final EIS/CCP.
    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 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-

    Dated: January 11, 2006.
Charles M. Wooley,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. E6-1474 Filed 2-2-06; 8:45 am]