[Federal Register: November 5, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 215)]
[Page 65872-65873]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2008-N0236; 20131-1265-2CCP S3]

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Comanche County, OK

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), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental 
assessment (EA) for Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in 
Comanche County, Oklahoma. We provide this notice in compliance with 
our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and 
the public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information 
on the scope of issues to consider in the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by March 5, 2009. We will hold public meetings to begin the CCP 
planning process. We will announce opportunities for public input in 
the local news media throughout the CCP planning process. Open house 
meetings will be scheduled and held throughout the scoping phase of the 
CCP development process.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    E-mail: Yvette_TruittOrtiz@fws.gov or Jeff_Rupert@fws.gov. 
Include ``Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge'' in the subject line of 
the message.
    Fax: Attn: Jeff Rupert, Refuge Manager, 580-429-9323.
    U.S. Mail: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, 32 Refuge 
Headquarters, Indiahoma, OK 73552.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off your comments during regular 
business hours at the Refuge Headquarters located approximately 25 
miles northwest of Lawton, Oklahoma. From Interstate 44, take Highway 
49 (exit 45), go west 10 miles to the Refuge gate. If coming from 
Highway 62, take Highway 115 (Cache exit) north to the Refuge gate.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Yvette Truitt-Ortiz, Natural Resource 
Planner Telephone: 505-248-6452; Fax: 505-248-6874; e-mail: Yvette_


[[Page 65873]]


    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), located in Comanche County, 
OK. This notice complies with our CCP policy to (1) Advise other 
Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to 
conduct detailed planning on this Refuge, and (2) obtain suggestions 
and information on the scope of issues to consider in the environmental 
document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Improvement Act), which amended the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose for 
developing a CCP is to provide Refuge Managers with a 15-year plan 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 our 
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. We will 
review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with 
the Improvement Act.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was established 
for specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for 
developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
determine how the public can use each refuge. The planning process is a 
way for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives 
for the best possible conservation approach to this important wildlife 
habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with each refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
At this time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, 
and suggestions for the future management of Wichita Mountains Wildlife 
    We will conduct the EA in accordance with the requirements of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (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 laws and regulations.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

    Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is located in Comanche County, 
Oklahoma, and encompasses 59,020 acres of mixed grass prairie and 
crosstimber with granite rock outcroppings. The Refuge, which is a 
remnant of what was once a much larger natural area, consists of lakes, 
streams, canyons, mountains, and grasslands, creating an oasis for both 
wildlife and people in southwestern Oklahoma. The CCP will provide 
other agencies and the public with a clear understanding of the desired 
conditions for the Refuge, and how the Service will implement 
management strategies for the conservation and development of these 
natural resources.
    We estimate that the draft environmental documents will be 
available in spring 2010 for public review and comment.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying 
information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Dated: September 12, 2008.
Brian Millsap,
Acting, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico.
 [FR Doc. E8-26369 Filed 11-4-08; 8:45 am]