[Federal Register: October 15, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 199)]
[Page 63505]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-R-2010-N170; 30136-1265-0000-S3]

Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Morrison County, MN

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 Crane Meadows 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 
Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Office or at public libraries 
near the refuge. You may also request a copy by any of the following 
    1. Agency Web site: View or download a copy of the document at 
    2. E-mail: r3planning@fws.gov. Include ``Crane Meadows Final CCP/
EA'' in the subject line of the message.
    3. Mail: Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 19502 Iris Road, 
Little Falls, Minnesota 56345.
    A limited number of hardcopies will be available for distribution 
at the Refuge Headquarters.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Sittauer (763-389-3323).



    With this notice, we complete the CCP process for Crane Meadows 
NWR, which we began by publishing a notice of intent on (73 FR 76677-
76678, December 17, 2008). 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 (75 FR 39037-39038, July 7, 2010).
    Crane Meadows NWR, located in central Minnesota, was established in 
1992 to protect one of the largest, most intact wetland complexes 
remaining in the State. The Refuge owns approximately 1,800 acres of 
13,540 acres identified for acquisition, and an additional 900 acres 
are owned and managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 
In addition to hosting relatively rare habitat types including oak 
savanna, sand prairie, and sedge meadow, it also provides key habitat 
for local and migratory wildlife, maintains essential ecological 
services, provides an element of water control and flood relief, 
protects important archaeological resources, and offers unique 
recreation, education, and research opportunities.
    The Draft CCP and EA were officially released for public review on 
July 7, 2010; the 31-day comment period ended on August 6, 2010. 
Planning information was sent to approximately 265 individuals and 
organizations for review and announced through local media outlets, 
resulting in three comment submissions. During the comment period the 
Refuge also hosted an open house to receive public comments and 
feedback on the CCP and EA documents. Three individuals attended this 
event--all current or former state Department of Natural Resources 
employees. Because no changes to the preferred alternative were 
recommended by Refuge audiences during the public review period, only 
minor changes were made to the drafts in preparing the final CCP/EA 

Selected Alternative

    Based on input and feedback during the planning process, 
alternative B was selected as the preferred alternative. This 
alternative portrays a long-term vision for habitat restoration to 
near-historic benchmark conditions and increases recreation 
opportunities for visitors over the 15-year planning horizon. A 
diversity of wetland and savanna habitats are favored reinforcing 
historic conditions, while prairie and woodland are reduced over the 
long-term. This alternative includes active participation in monitoring 
and improving upstream water resources, calls for adherence to a well-
developed prescribed fire plan, increases land acquisition and work on 
private lands in high priority areas, augments the existing biological 
inventory and monitoring program, and offers visitor services in a 
greater number of locations. Specific, managed hunts are offered, and 
opportunities for quality fishing experiences will be evaluated as new 
lands are acquired.


    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 17, 2010.
Charles M. Wooley,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ft. Snelling, 
[FR Doc. 2010-25971 Filed 10-14-10; 8:45 am]