[Federal Register: December 28, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 247)]
[Page 68633-68634]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-R-2009-N167; 30136-1265-0000-S3]

Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge: Jackson, Jennings, & Monroe 
Counties, IN

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the 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 Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Goals 
and objectives in the CCP describe how the agency intends to manage the 
refuge over the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final CCP and FONSI/EA may be viewed at the 
Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters or at public 
libraries near the refuge. You may access and download a copy via the 
Planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/muscatatuck, 
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 Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, 
12985 East U.S. Highway 50, Seymour, IN 47274 (812-522-4352). A limited 
number of hardcopies will be available for distribution at the Refuge 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marc Webber (812-522-4352).



    With this notice, we complete the CCP process for Muscatatuck NWR, 
which we began by publishing a notice of intent on (72 FR 27587). 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 on April 3, 2009 (74 FR 15297).
    Muscatatuck NWR, located in southeastern Indiana, was established 
in 1966 under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act for the protection 
and production of migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is 
comprised of 7,802 acres, including the 78-acre Restle Unit 
approximately 45 miles to the northwest. The Refuge also administers 
nine Farm Service Agency conservation easements, totaling 130.5 acres. 
The 97-acre Seep Springs Research Natural Area preserves one of only 
seven acid seep springs documented in the state.
    The Draft CCP and EA were officially released for public review on 
April 6, 2009; the comment period lasted 33 days until May 8, 2009. 
Planning information was sent to over 1,000 individuals and 
organizations for review, resulting in 40 written comment submissions 
with over 150 individual comments. During the comment period the Refuge 
also hosted an open house to receive public comments and feedback on 
the CCP and EA documents. Approximately 25 people attended this event. 
A number of minor changes were made to the documents in response to 
comments, and one new objective was added regarding landscape-level 

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments received, we have selected 
Alternative C (Balance Natural Processes and Constructed Units; 
Increased Focus on High Quality Priority General Public Uses) for 
implementation. Under the selected alternative the Refuge will rely on 
a combination of active management and natural processes to provide 
quality wildlife habitat for over 80 species of Regional Conservation 
Priority, including 3 species listed as federally threatened or 
endangered. Habitat management will trend toward more historic 
landscape conditions by expanding forest habitat areas and decreasing 
management of constructed wetlands. Wildlife-dependant recreation 
opportunities, biological surveys and monitoring activities, and 
invasive plant management would all increase under the preferred 
alternative. Partnerships will play a key role in meeting larger-
landscape conservation challenges such as habitat fragmentation and 
global climate change.


    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).

[[Page 68634]]

    Dated: August 24, 2009.
Thomas O. Melius,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, 
[FR Doc. E9-30647 Filed 12-24-09; 8:45 am]