[Federal Register: February 12, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 29)]
[Page 8054]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 8054]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan for 
Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District, Kearney, NE

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Rainwater Basin 
Wetland Management District (WMD) is available. This CCP, prepared 
pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, describes how the 
Service intends to manage the Rainwater Basin WMD, which administers 61 
waterfowl production areas and 35 conservation easements for the next 
15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the CCP or Summary may be obtained by writing to 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Refuge Planning, 134 Union 
Boulevard, Suite 300, Lakewood, Colorado 80228; or download from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bernardo Garza, 303-236-4377 (phone); 
303-236-4792 (fax); or bernardo_garza@fws.gov.



    The District encompasses Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Franklin, Gosper, 
Hall, Hamilton, Kearney, Phelps, Polk, Saline, Seward, and York 
Counties in south-central Nebraska.
    The WMD was established in 1963 when the Service began acquiring 
critical migratory waterfowl habitat in south-central and southeast 
Nebraska with Duck Stamp dollars. The WMD's establishment purposes are:
    (1) ``* * * to assure the long-term viability of the breeding 
waterfowl population and production through the acquisition and 
management of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs), while considering the 
needs of other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species and 
other wildlife.'' (purpose statement developed for all WMDs in Region 6 
in June 2004);
    (2) To acquire small wetland and pothole areas to be designated as 
`Waterfowl Production Areas' as an inviolate sanctuary or for any other 
management purpose, for migratory birds and to restore and develop 
adequate wildlife habitat under the Migratory Bird Hunting and 
Conservation Stamp Promotion Act ``see'' [16 U.S.C. 715d(2), 715i(a) & 
    (3) ``for conservation purposes'' under the Consolidated Farm and 
Rural Development Act [7 U.S.C. 2002 (a)];
    (4) ``promote * * * the conservation of the wetlands of the Nation 
in order to maintain the public benefits they provide and to help 
fulfill international obligations in various migratory bird treaties 
and conventions with Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Union of Soviet 
Socialist Republics, and with various countries in the Western 
Hemisphere'' under the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act [16 U.S.C. 
3901(b)]; and
    (5) ``to protect waterfowl production areas'' under Public Land 
Orders 6979 [May 25, 1993], and 7206 [June 24, 1996].
    Today, the WMD manages 24,210.09 acres in 61 waterfowl production 
areas within the geographic area called the Rainwater Basin. Current 
public use opportunities at this WMD include hunting, environmental 
education and interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography. 
All WPAs are subject to all provisions of the Migratory Bird 
Conservation Act except the inviolate sanctuary provisions, for any 
other management purposes, for migratory birds, and for conservation 
    This final CCP identifies goals, objectives, and strategies for the 
management of Rainwater Basin WMD that emphasize restoration and 
maintenance of native habitats in vigorous condition for migratory 
birds. The CCP places high importance on the control of invasive plant 
species with partners and integrated pest management. It seeks to 
provide habitats in order to contribute to conservation, enhancement, 
and production of migratory bird species while protecting federally 
listed species.
    The availability of the draft CCP and Environmental Assessment (EA) 
for a 30-day public review and comment period was announced in the 
Federal Register on July 18, 2007. The draft CCP/EA evaluated two 
alternatives for managing Rainwater Basin WMD for the next 15 years.
    The preferred alternative will expand the scope and level of 
efforts of the current management of habitats by maintaining existing 
and seeking new partnerships. This alternative will seek to address all 
management aspects in a holistic manner. The WMD will work with formal 
and informal partnerships, including landowners, to improve waterfowl 
production areas at a landscape level. Actions would strive to build a 
``neighborly interaction'' between privately-owned, State, and WMD 
lands within each watershed. The WMD would work with partners to 
complete the engineering and funding and would continue to support and 
work cooperatively to further the goals of the Rainwater Basin Joint 
    This alternative was selected because it best meets the purposes 
and goals of the WMD, as well as the mission and goals of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System. The preferred alternative also will benefit 
federally listed species, shore birds, migrating and nesting waterfowl, 
neotropical migrants, and resident wildlife. Environmental education 
and partnerships will result in improved wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities. Cultural and historical resources as well 
as federally listed species will be protected.
    The Service is furnishing this notice to advise other agencies and 
the public of the availability of the final Plan, to provide 
information on the desired conditions for the Wetland Management 
District, and to detail how the Service will implement management 
strategies. Based on the review and evaluation of the information 
contained in the EA, the Regional Director has determined that 
implementation of the Final Plan does not constitute a major federal 
action that would significantly affect the quality of the human 
environment within the meaning of Section 102(2) (c) of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement 
will not be prepared.

    Dated: February 5, 2008.
Gary G. Mowad,
Acting Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
 [FR Doc. E8-2541 Filed 2-11-08; 8:45 am]