[Federal Register: May 15, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 93)]
[Page 27325-27327]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Malta, MT

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, we) intend to 
gather information necessary to prepare a comprehensive conservation 
plan (CCP) and associated environmental documents for Bowdoin National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex (Complex) in Malta, Montana. This Complex 
includes the Bowdoin, Black Coulee, Creedman Coulee, Hewitt Lake,

[[Page 27326]]

and Lake Thibadeau NWRs. It also includes the Wetland Management 
District (WMD) comprised of seven waterfowl production areas and 
thousands of acres of wetland, grassland, and conservation easements on 
private lands. We furnish this notice in compliance with our CCP policy 
to advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and to 
obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to be 
considered in the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by June 14, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information to Laura 
King, Planning Team Leader, Tewaukon NWR, Division of Refuge Planning, 
9754 143\1/2\ Avenue, SE., Cayuga, North Dakota 58013-9764.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura King, 701-724-3598, or John 
Esperance, 303-236-4369.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, the Service initiates a 
CCP for the Bowdoin NWR Complex in Malta, Montana.


The CCP Process

    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), 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 on conserving wildlife 
and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.
    The Service established each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge 
System, including those for the Complex with specific purposes. We use 
these purposes to develop and prioritize management goals and 
objectives within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
guide which public uses will occur on these NWRs. The planning process 
is a way for the Service and the public to evaluate management goals 
and objectives for the best possible conservation efforts of this 
important wildlife habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent 
recreation opportunities that are compatible with each NWR and the 
mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    The Service will conduct a comprehensive conservation planning 
process that will provide opportunity for Tribal, State, and local 
governments; agencies; organizations; and the public to participate in 
issue scoping and public comment. We request input for issues, 
concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future management of these 
NWRs and the WMD in Montana. We invite anyone interested to respond to 
the following two questions.
    (1) What problems or issues do you want to see addressed in the 
    (2) What improvements would you recommend for these five NWRs and 
one WMD?
    We have provided the above questions for your optional use; you are 
not required to provide information to us. The planning team developed 
these questions to gather information about individual issues and ideas 
concerning these NWRs and the WMD. Our planning team will use the 
comments it receives as part of the planning process; however, we will 
not reference individual comments in our reports or directly respond to 
    We will also give the public an opportunity to provide input at an 
open house to scope issues and concerns. You can obtain the schedule 
from the planning team leader (see ADDRESSES). You may also submit 
comments anytime during the planning process by writing to the above 
address. All information provided voluntarily by mail, phone, or at 
public meetings becomes part of our official public record (i.e., 
names, addresses, letters of comment, input recorded during meetings). 
If a private citizen or organization requests this information under 
the Freedom of Information Act, we may provide informational copies.
    The Service will conduct the environmental review of this project 
in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA 
Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws 
and regulations; and our policies and procedures for compliance with 
those regulations. All comments we receive from individuals on our 
environmental assessments and environmental impact statements become 
part of the official public record. We will handle requests for such 
comments in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA (40 
CFR 1506.6(f)), and other Departmental and Service policies and 

Bowdoin NWR Complex

    This Complex encompasses 75,521 acres, of which 49,260 acres are 
designated as easements. The Complex lies in the short and mixed-grass 
prairie region of north-central Montana and has both saline and 
freshwater wetlands which provide habitat for thousands of migrating 
waterfowl and shorebirds, including the endangered piping plover. Each 
refuge has various establishing purposes. Bowdoin NWR was established: 
(1) ``* * * as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and 
other wildlife.''; (2) ``* * * and that such part of said lands as the 
Secretary of Agriculture may deem proper be reserved for use as a 
shooting area to be operated under a cooperative agreement or lease 
with the Montana State Game Commission or such other operating agency 
as may be approved.''; (3) ``The reservation of these lands as a 
migratory waterfowl refuge is subject to the use thereof by [the 
Department of Interior] for irrigation and other incidental purposes * 
* *'' and (4) ``* * * for any other management purpose, for migratory 
birds.'' Black Coulee, Creedman Coulee, and Lake Thibadeau NWRs were 
established for: (1) ``* * * water conservation, drought relief, and 
migratory bird and wildlife conservation purposes * * * wildlife 
conservation demonstration unit and closed refuge * * *''; and (2) ``* 
* * as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other 
wildlife * * *''; and Hewitt Lake NWR was established for: (1) ``* * * 
water conservation, drought relief, stock water, and migratory 
waterfowl and wildlife conservation purposes * * * and maintain a 
closed refuge * * * wildlife conservation demonstration unit and closed 
refuge * * *''; (2) ``* * * water conservation, drought relief, and 
migratory bird and wildlife conservation purposes * * * wildlife 
conservation demonstration unit and closed refuge * * *''; (3) ``* * * 
as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife 
* * * nothing herein shall affect the disposition of the oil and gas 
deposits therein * * *''; (4) ``* * * purposes of land-conservation and 
land utilization program * * *''; (5) ``* * * for use and 
administration under applicable laws as refuges for migratory and other 
wildlife.'' Bowdoin WMD was established: (1) ``as Waterfowl Production 
Areas subject to * * * all of the provisions of such Act [Migratory 
Bird Conservation Act] * * * except the inviolate sanctuary provisions 
* * *'';

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and (2) ``* * * for any other management purpose, for migratory 

    Dated: March 30, 2007.
Elliott Sutta,
Acting Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado.
 [FR Doc. E7-9280 Filed 5-14-07; 8:45 am]