[Federal Register: April 23, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 77)]
[Page 20132-20133]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), Wilderness 
Stewardship Plan (WSP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 
Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), Ajo, AZ

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Final CCP is available for the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife 
Refuge (Refuge). This CCP is prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and the Wilderness Act of 1964. The 
CCP describes how the Service intends to manage this Refuge over the 
next 15 years.

[[Page 20133]]

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 CCP are available on compact disk or in hard 
copy, and can be obtained by writing: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
John Slown, Division of Planning, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, New 
Mexico 87103.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roger DiRosa, Refuge Manager, Cabeza 
Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, 1611 North Second Street, Ajo, Arizona 
85321; 520-387-4993 or John Slown (See ADDRESSES), telephone: 505-248-
7458; or e-mail to john_slown@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge 
is located in Pima and Yuma Counties in southwestern Arizona. This 
860,010 acre Refuge is comprised of several northwest to southeast 
trending mountain ranges separated by broad alluvial valleys. Located 
in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, the Refuge's habitats support a 
diversity of desert wildlife.
    Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge was withdrawn from the 
public domain by Executive Order 8038 in 1939, and set apart ``* * * 
for the conservation and development of natural wildlife resources, and 
for the protection and improvement of public grazing lands and natural 
forage resources * * * Provided, however, that all the forage resources 
in excess of that required to maintain a balanced wildlife population 
within this range or preserve should be available for livestock.'' When 
the last grazing leases on the Refuge expired in 1981 the grazing 
purpose of the Refuge was no longer valid. The Arizona Desert 
Wilderness Act of 1990 designated 803,418 acres of the Refuge, or 
approximately 93 percent of the Refuge area, as federal wilderness.
    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 of 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 on 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. These CCPs will be reviewed 
and updated 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.
    The availability of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge's Draft 
CCP, WSP and EIS for public review and comment was announced in the 
Federal Register on March 16, 2005 (70 FR 12895-12896), the comment 
period closed on August 15, 2005. The Draft CCP, WSP and EIS propose 
and evaluate five management alternatives for the Refuge. All 
management alternatives implement recovery actions for the Endangered 
Sonoran pronghorn. The alternatives differ primarily in the level of 
active management intervention proposed to support the desert bighorn 
sheep. The first alternative is ``no action'' or continuance of current 
Refuge management. Under this alternative, the Refuge would continue to 
offer a limited desert bighorn sheep hunt each year in cooperation with 
the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Refuge staff would continue to 
maintain and supply supplemental water to existing developed waters in 
desert bighorn sheep habitat. The second alternative focuses on 
limiting management interventions within Refuge wilderness. Under this 
alternative, developed wildlife waters in sheep habitat within the 
Refuge wilderness would not be maintained or supplied with supplemental 
water. The desert bighorn sheep hunt would also be discontinued. The 
third alternative includes limited management intervention in 
wilderness. Under this alternative, the Refuge would supply 
supplemental water to developed waters in sheep habitat within Refuge 
wilderness only during periods of severe drought. The desert bighorn 
sheep hunt would be continued, but no hunting would be allowed during 
years of severe drought. The fourth alternative, identified as the 
Service's preferred alternative, would allow continued maintenance and 
water supply to existing developed waters in sheep habitat within 
Refuge wilderness and would include projects to increase the water 
collection efficiency of such waters. The Refuge desert bighorn sheep 
hunt program would continue unchanged under this alternative. The fifth 
alternative would include the maximum management intervention within 
Refuge wilderness. Under this alternative all existing developed waters 
in Refuge wilderness would be maintained and supplied with water, and 
new developed waters would be created. The desert bighorn sheep hunt 
program would continue unchanged under this alternative.

    Dated: August 3, 2006.
Larry G. Bell,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico.

     This document was received at the Office of the Federal 
Register on April 18, 2007.
[FR Doc. E7-7643 Filed 4-20-07; 8:45 am]