[Federal Register: April 13, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 69)]
[Page 16890-16891]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-R-2008-N0344; 60138-1265-6CCP-S3]

Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Sullys Hill National 
Game Preserve, Fort Totten, ND

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 
that our Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (Plan) and Finding of No 
Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Sullys Hill National Game Preserve 
is available. This Final CCP describes how the Service intends to 
manage this refuge for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the Plan may be obtained by writing to U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Division of Refuge Planning, P.O. Box 25486, 
Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225; or by download from 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura King, 406-644-2211, (phone); 
406-644-2661 (fax); or laura_king@fws.gov (e-mail).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Sullys Hill National Game Preserve, 
established in 1904, is a 1,675-acre National Wildlife Refuge sitting 
on the south shores of Devils Lake, about 10 miles south of the city of 
Devils Lake, North Dakota. This Refuge supports a unique community of 
habitats such as an oak, ash, basswood and aspen woodland, mixed 
grassed prairie, and some natural wetlands. These diverse habitats 
provide ``edge'' habitat for over 250 species of migratory birds, 
plains bison, Rocky Mountain elk, white-tailed deer, turkeys, and 
prairie dogs.
    The Refuge is one of only 19 designated natural areas in North 
Dakota, of which only four are National Wildlife Refuges. It is also 
one of only four Refuges nationally established for bison conservation.
    Sullys Hill National Game Preserve has over 60,000 visitors 
annually. The Refuge is becoming a progressive regional conservation 
learning center, promoting the conservation role of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System while educating visitors about the functions and 
benefits of prairie wetlands and grasslands. Per its legislative 
purpose, there is no hunting permitted on this Refuge.
    The draft Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) was made available 

[[Page 16891]]

the public for review and comment following the announcement in the 
Federal Register on June 26, 2008 (73 FR 36350-36352). The draft Plan 
and EA identified and evaluated three alternatives for managing the 
Refuges for the next 15 years. Alternative C was selected as the 
preferred alternative and will serve as the Final Plan.
    The final CCP identifies goals, objectives, and strategies that 
describe the future management of Sullys Hill National Game Preserve. 
This Plan gives priority to enhancing and restoring native prairie and 
promoting forest regeneration. Ungulate populations will be maintained 
at lower levels (<=20 bison, <=18 elk, and <=18 white-tailed deer) to 
control the overgrazing and overbrowsing that has impacted Refuge 
habitats. Management tools, including exclusion fences and other 
appropriate methods such as chemical, biological, and mechanical 
techniques (including prescribed fire) will be used to restore and 
enhance habitat for the benefit of forest interior breeding and 
grassland nesting birds. Selected hay land acres would be restored to 
native prairie. Fuels treatment (including prescribed fire or other 
mechanical means) will be used to reduce hazardous fuels, minimizing 
the threat to life and property. Invasive species will be treated and 
areas restored. The ungulate herd health program will take a more 
active disease surveillance and treatment approach, including timely 
introduction of ungulates to maintain genetic health, particularly for 
the Refuges plains bison.
    There would be an increase in delivery of both on-site and off-site 
programming of youth environmental education programs. In cooperation 
with local teachers, a formal wetland and grassland conservation 
curriculum will be designed for targeted grade levels and meet local 
and State standards. Emphasis will be placed on developing education 
partnerships with Spirit Lake Nation schools and agencies. The Refuges 
limited fishery will be used for educational programs only. Visitor, 
facility, and wildlife safety will be improved through regular routine 
patrols during peak and off-peak public use. A comprehensive cultural 
resource survey of the Refuge will be completed in partnership with 
other agencies and organizations. Four full-time staff will be 
recruited to expand, develop, and conduct biological, visitor services, 
law enforcement, and maintenance programs.
    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 Refuges, 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: December 23, 2008.
Noreen E. Walsh,
Deputy Regional Director.

    Editorial Note: This document was received in the Office of the 
Federal Register on April 8, 2009.

[FR Doc. E9-8328 Filed 4-10-09; 8:45 am]