[Federal Register: January 7, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 4)]
[Page 1227-1228]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan for Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge in LaSalle and Catahoula 
Parishes, Louisiana.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant 
Impact (FONSI) for Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge is available for 
distribution. The CCP was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and describes how the refuge 
will be managed for the next 15 years. The compatibility determinations 
for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, 
environmental education and interpretation, all-terrain vehicle use, 
cooperative farming, and resource research studies, are also available 
within the plan.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the CCP/FONSI may be obtained by writing to: 
Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Drawer Z, Rhinehart, LA 71363. 
The CCP/FONSI may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's 
Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tina Chouinard, Natural Resource 
Planner, North Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex; Telephone: 
318/305-0643; Fax: 318/726-4667; e-mail: tina_chouinard@fws.gov; or by 
writing to the refuge manager at the address in the ADDRESSES section.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we finalize the CCP 
process for Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge, begun as announced in 
the Federal Register on March 2, 2005 (70 FR 10109). For more about the 
process, see that notice. We released the Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft CCP/EA) to the 
public, requesting comments in a notice of availability in the Federal 
Register on April 19, 2007 (72 FR 19719).
    The plan and environmental assessment identified and evaluated 
three alternatives for managing the refuge over the next 15 years. 
Alternative A represents no change from current management of the 
refuge. All management actions would be directed towards achieving the 
refuge's primary purposes, which include: (1) To provide migrating and 
wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl consistent with the overall 
objectives of the Mississippi Flyway; (2) to provide nesting habitat 
for wood ducks; (3) to provide habitat and protection for threatened 
and endangered species; and (4) to manage bottomland hardwoods and 
provide habitat for a natural wildlife diversity. Under Alternative B, 
the refuge would add more staff, equipment, and facilities in order to 
provide greater enhancement and management of bottomland hardwood 
forest, grassland, and moist-soil habitats for the greatest benefit of 
wildlife. The primary focus under Alternative C would be to maximize 
the endemic bottomland hardwood forest with minimal management. Under 
this alternative, there would be no active management of refuge 
    Based on the environmental assessment and the comments received, 
the Service adopted Alternative B as its

[[Page 1228]]

preferred alternative. This alternative was considered to be the most 
effective for meeting the purposes of the refuge by conserving, 
restoring, and managing the bottomland hardwood forest, grassland, and 
moist-soil habitats and associated wildlife. Alternative B best 
achieves national, ecosystem, and refuge-specific goals and objectives 
and positively addresses significant issues and concerns expressed by 
the public.
    Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1958, 
primarily as a wintering area for migratory waterfowl. The refuge, 
located in east-central LaSalle Parish and west-central Catahoula 
Parish, Louisiana, about 30 miles northeast of Alexandria and 12 miles 
east of Jena, now totals 25,242 acres. The 6,671-acre Headquarters Unit 
borders nine miles of the northeast shore of Catahoula Lake, a 26,000-
acre natural wetland renowned for its large concentrations of migratory 
waterfowl. The 18,571-acre Bushley Bayou Unit, located 8 miles west of 
Jonesville, was established in May 2001. The acquisition was made 
possible through a partnership agreement between The Conservation Fund, 
American Electric Power, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge 
consists of a complex of bottomland hardwood forests, moist-soil areas, 
and dirt access roads and trails. The six priority public uses of the 
refuge are fishing, hunting, wildlife photography, wildlife 
observation, and environmental education and interpretation.

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: August 16, 2007.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.

    Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register on January 2, 2008.

 [FR Doc. E8-4 Filed 1-4-08; 8:45 am]