[Federal Register: December 28, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 247)]
[Page 68632-68633]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-R-2009-N137; 30136-1265-0000-S3]

Kirtland's Warbler Wildlife Management Area, Located Throughout 8 
Counties in the Northern Lower Peninsula of MI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for Kirtland's Warbler Wildlife Management Area 
(Kirtland's Warbler WMA). Goals and objectives in the CCP describe how 
the agency intends to manage Kirtland's Warbler WMA for the next 15 

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final CCP and FONSI/EA may be viewed at the 
Seney National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters or at public libraries near 
the Kirtland's Warbler WMA. You may access and download a copy via the 
Planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Planning/kirtland or 
you may obtain a copy on compact disk by contacting: U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Division of Conservation Planning, Bishop Henry 
Whipple Federal Building, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 55111 (1-
800-247-1247, extension 5429), or Seney National Wildlife Refuge, 1674 
Refuge Entrance Road, Seney, MI 49883 (906-586-9851). A limited number 
of hardcopies will be available for distribution at the Refuge 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg McClellan, (906-586-9851).



    With this notice, we complete the CCP process for Kirtland's 
Warbler WMA, which began by publishing a notice of intent (71 FR 20722, 
April 21, 2006). For more information about the initial process, see 
that notice. We released the draft CCP and EA to the public, announcing 
and requesting comments in a notice of availability (74 FR 16887, April 
13, 2009).
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the wildlife 
management area in the early 1980s due, in part, to the recommendations 
of the Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Team. The original goal was to 
acquire 7,500 acres of land on which habitat would be managed for the 
benefit of Kirtland's Warbler. At present, the area contains 124 
separate tracts totaling 6,582 acres.
    The Draft CCP/EA was released for public review April 3, 2009; the 
comment period lasted 42 days ending May 15, 2009. By the conclusion of 
the comment period we received 5 written responses from organizations 
and individuals. In response to these comments we made a number of 
minor edits to the final document.

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments received, we have selected 
Alternative 3 (Ecological Management and Land Ownership Consolidation) 
for implementation. Under the selected alternative we would seek to 
manage existing lands as suggested in Alternative 2, but would also 
explore land exchanges with the State (and possibly U.S. Forest 
Service) to consolidate State and WMA parcels. Proposed land exchanges 
would likely increase the total area of land managed for Kirtland's 
Warbler, as well as increase management efficiency by both federal and 
state agencies. Existing lands and any new lands acquired through 
exchange would be managed to benefit the Kirtland's Warbler and other 
native flora and fauna of jack pine ecosystems. However, the way jack 
pine stands would be managed would be shifted towards a more 
ecologically-based approach rather than the highly intensive manner of 
present habitat management that produces jack pine plantations. For 
instance, if consolidation would occur and the Service would obtain 
upland jack pine stands in the eastern Upper Peninsula,

[[Page 68633]]

prescribed fire would be a more likely management tool.


    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 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 for conserving 
wildlife and their habitats, the CCP identifies wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation.
    We will review and update the CCP 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, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
U.S.C. 4321-4370d).

    Dated: August 24, 2009.
Thomas O. Melius,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, 
[FR Doc. E9-30645 Filed 12-24-09; 8:45 am]