[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 81 (Wednesday, April 27, 2011)]
[Pages 23616-23619]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-10167]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R9-R-2011-N082; 93261-1263-0000-4A]

Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) for Approval; National Wildlife Refuge Special Use 
Permit Applications and Reports

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information 
Collection Request (ICR) to OMB for review and approval. We summarize 
the ICR below and describe the nature of the collection and the 
estimated burden and cost. This information collection is scheduled to 
expire on April 30, 2011. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is 
not required to respond to a collection of information unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number. However, under OMB 
regulations, we may continue to conduct or sponsor this information 
collection while it is pending at OMB.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before May 27, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information 
collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at 
OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or OIRA_DOCKET@OMB.eop.gov (e-mail). 
Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 
North Fairfax Drive, M/S 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail), or 
INFOCOL@fws.gov (e-mail). Please include 1018-0102 in the subject line 
of your comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information 
about this ICR, contact Hope Grey at INFOCOL@fws.gov (e-mail) or 703-
358-2482 (telephone). You may review the ICR online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the 
Interior collections under review by OMB.

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0102.
    Title: National Wildlife Refuge Special Use Permit Applications and 
Reports, 50 CFR 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 36.
    Service Form Numbers: FWS Form 3-1383-G; FWS Form 3-1383-C, and FWS 
Form 3-1383-R.
    Description of Respondents: Individuals and households; businesses 
and other for-profit organizations; nonprofit organizations; farms; and 
State, local, or Tribal governments.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion.

                                        Number of       Number of        Completion time per       Total annual
              Activity                 respondents      responses              response            burden hours
Form 3-1383-G......................          13,500          13,500  \1/2\ hour.................           6,750
Form 3-1383-C......................           1,200           1,200  4 hours....................           4,800
Form 1383-R........................             300             300  4 hours....................           1,200
Activity Reports...................             600             600  \1/2\ hour.................             300
    Totals.........................          15,600          15,600  ...........................          13,050

    Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $120,000 for fees associated 
with applications for commercial use activities.
    Abstract: The administration and uses of national wildlife refuges 
and wetland management districts are governed by the:
     National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.
     Refuge Recreation Act of 1962 (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4) 
(Recreation Act).
     Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 
3101 et seq.) (ANILCA).
    The Administration Act consolidated all of the different refuge 
areas into a single National Wildlife Refuge System (System). It also 
authorizes us to permit public accommodations, including

[[Page 23617]]

commercial visitor services, on lands of the System when we find that 
the activity is compatible and appropriate with the purpose for which 
the refuge was established. The Recreation Act allows the use of 
refuges for public recreation when it is not inconsistent or does not 
interfere with the primary purpose(s) of the refuge.
    ANILCA provides specific authorization and guidance for the 
administration and management of national wildlife refuges within the 
State of Alaska. Its provisions provide for the issuance of permits by 
the System under certain circumstances.
    We issue special use permits for a specific period as determined by 
the type and location of the use or visitor service provided. These 
permits authorize activities such as:
     Agricultural activities (haying and grazing, 50 CFR 29.1, 
29.2 and 29.3).
     Beneficial management tools that we use to provide the 
best habitat possible on some refuges (50 CFR 30.11, 31.14, 31.16, and 
     Special events, group visits and other one-time events (50 
CFR 25.41, 26.36, 25.61, and 36.41).
     Recreational visitor service operations (50 CFR 25.41, 
25.61 and 36.41).
     Guiding for fishing, hunting, wildlife education, and 
interpretation (50 CFR 25.41 and 36.41).
     Commercial filming (50 CFR 27.71) and other commercial 
activities (50 CFR 29.1 and 36.41).
     Building and using cabins to support subsistence or 
commercial activities (in Alaska) (50 CFR 26.35, and 36.41).
     Research, inventory and monitoring, and other 
noncommercial activities (50 CFR 26.36 and 36.41).
    Previously, we used FWS Form 3-1383 (Special Use Application and 
Permit) for all activities. However, experience has indicated that some 
types of activities, such as commercial use or research, require that 
we collect detailed information on the specific activity so that we can 
effectively manage the numerous uses of System lands. During the 
renewal process for this information collection, we realized that many 
refuges were collecting information not approved under the current 
collection. We are proposing three forms to correct this situation:
     FWS Form 3-1383-G (General Special Use Application and 
     FWS Form 3-1383-C (Commercial Activities Special Use 
Application and Permit).
     FWS Form 3-1383-R (Research and Monitoring Special Use 
Application and Permit).
    You may review the above forms and other documents associated with 
this information collection at http//:www.reginfo.gov.
    The forms will serve as both the application and permit. They will 
not change the permitting process or what activities require a permit. 
They have been developed to ensure that:
     Applicants are aware of the types of information that may 
be needed for permit issuance and that the collection of this 
information is approved as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
     Requested activities are compatible and appropriate with 
the purpose(s) for which the refuge was established.
     Applicant is eligible or is the most qualified applicant 
to receive the special use permit.
    We collect the necessary information in form and nonform format 
(through discussions in person or over the phone, over the Internet, by 
e-mail, or by letter). In some instances, respondents will be able to 
provide information verbally. Often, a simple e-mail or letter 
describing the activity will suffice. For activities (e.g., commercial 
visitor services, research, etc.) that might have a large impact on 
refuge resources, we may require applicants to provide more detail on 
operations, techniques, and locations. Because of the span of 
activities covered by special use permits and the different management 
needs and resources at each refuge, respondents may not be required to 
answer all questions. Depending on the requested activity, refuge 
managers will have the discretion to ask for less information than 
appears on the proposed forms. However, refuge managers cannot ask for 
more or different information.
    We issue permits for a specific period as determined by the type 
and location of the use or service provided. We use these permits to 
ensure that the applicant is aware of: (1) The requirements of the 
permit, and (2) his/her legal rights. Refuge-specific special 
conditions may be required for the permit. We identify conditions as an 
addendum to the permit. Most of the special conditions pertain to how a 
permitted activity may be conducted and do not require the collection 
of information. However, some special conditions, such as activity 
reports, before and after site photographs, or data sharing, would 
qualify as an information collection, and we have included the 
associated burden in the information collection request.
    On November 29, 2010, we published a notice in the Federal Register 
(75 FR 73119) announcing our intent to request renewal of this 
information collection. We solicited public comment for 60 days, ending 
on January 28, 2011. We received comments from three individuals.

    Comment 1: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may require 
sufficiently detailed information to ensure requested activities are 
consistent with the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, 
and that specifically tailored permit applications can theoretically 
reduce the burden on the applicant and expedite the permitting process. 
However, the extensive list of information associated with the Research 
Special Use Application and Permit is significantly greater than the 
requirements represented in the current FWS Form 3-1383. Conversely, 
there are no information requirements listed for the Commercial Special 
Use Application and Permit, making it unclear as to why the Service 
determined a separate form is necessary. Considering the importance of 
research and the significant role that commercial guiding, visitor 
services and cabins serve in the public's ability to access and 
experience Alaska's remote refuges, there is a need to ensure that 
information requests are appropriate and do not create an undue burden 
to applicants. The Service should disclose information requirements for 
both new forms, along with supporting rationale and an explanation as 
to why the current form will not suffice. Draft forms and accompanying 
instructions should be made available for public review.
    Response: The list of information collection requirements published 
in the 60-day notice (75 FR 73119) pertains to all three proposed 
forms, not just the proposed Research and Monitoring Special Use 
Application and Permit.
    Prior to November 2009, Alaska refuges used FWS Form 3-2001 
(approved under OMB Control No. 1018-0014) as the special use 
application. OMB Control No. 1018-0014 was discontinued in November 
2009, and the Alaska refuges began using FWS Form 3-1383 (approved 
under OMB Control No. 1018-0102), which is the special use application 
used by refuges in the contiguous United States. During the renewal 
process, we discovered that the current FWS Form 3-1383 is inadequate 
for the many types of permitted activities, which has resulted in 
several situations where unauthorized information collections have 
taken place, both in Alaska and the rest of the States.

[[Page 23618]]

    We have made every effort to carefully craft the new forms so that 
they are targeted to specific uses and only collect information that is 
necessary to manage and protect refuge resources. We designed the forms 
for use by all refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The 
proposed forms ask for information that refuges need to manage the full 
span of uses that the public may need. The forms also allow refuge 
manager discretion as to what specific information is required. We can 
ask for less information than requested on the forms, but cannot ask 
for more or different information. This discretion will lessen the 
burden on applicants. The proposed forms encourage applicants to 
contact the appropriate refuge to determine exactly what information is 
    We sent draft forms to the two commenters from Alaska and made 
extensive changes to the forms based on their input. In addition, this 
Federal Register notice provides the public an additional opportunity 
to review and comment on the forms.
    Comment 2: Regarding research conducted by the State fish and 
wildlife agencies, including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 
the Service should acknowledge that State fish and wildlife and other 
administrative actions are exempt from this information collection 
process. The States, including Alaska under ANILCA 1314 and 43 CFR part 
24, need not apply for special use permits from the Service when 
conducting routine activities covered under a valid cooperative 
    Response: We agree with this comment. This information collection 
request does not change when a special use permit is required; it only 
pertains to what information we can collect when a permit is necessary.

    Comment 3: In designated Wilderness Areas, a minimum requirement 
analysis may be necessary for activities generally prohibited under the 
Wilderness Act; however, this process is distinct from a special use 
    Response: We agree with this comment. We will conduct the minimum 
requirement analysis as part of our permit review process.

    Comment 4: The Citizens' Advisory Commission on Federal Areas 
believes strongly that permits for the use of public lands and 
resources should be required only when and where absolutely necessary. 
The Commission recognizes that permits are appropriate for certain 
activities and can be an important management tool, and supports any 
action that reduces the amount of paperwork necessary to secure those 
    Response: We agree and will issue the permits only when required by 
statute or regulation.

    Comment 5: Although the current proposal would increase the number 
of forms from one to three, it appears that, depending on the activity 
being permitted, information requirements can be focused more narrowly 
than is possible with the existing application form. One problem with 
the Alaska form was that applicants were required to provide 
information that was unnecessary or irrelevant to the activity being 
permitted. Requiring an applicant to submit only pertinent information 
eases the burden on the public. While there may have been problems with 
the Alaska application form, replacing that form with the more 
generalized versions could result in similar unnecessary information 
requests and additional burdens to the public unless those forms are 
carefully crafted.
    Response: Please see our response to Comment 1.

    Comment 6: ANILCA provides specific authorization and guidance for 
the management of refuges in Alaska. The statutory provisions in ANILCA 
are implemented, in part, by the regulations at 50 CFR 36.41. The 
information requests included in any revised application form for a 
special use permit on an Alaskan refuge must incorporate the guidance 
found in these regulations. The need for any additional information or 
reporting requirements must be fully supported.
    Response: The information collected on the proposed forms is 
consistent with the regulations implementing ANILCA.

    Comment 7: The regulations at 50 CFR 36.41(d)(2) allow an applicant 
for a noncompetitively issued permit to present an application 
verbally. The application process must continue to accommodate verbal 
applications as provided for in the regulations.
    Response: We agree and have added instructions on the form that an 
application may be made verbally. The new forms will not change the 
application process or regulatory requirements. We are proposing these 
forms to ensure that the information we collect is approved in 
accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    Comment 8: Other Alaska specific regulations at 50 CFR 36.31, 
36.32, 36.33, 36.37, and 36.39 provide some of the authorities and 
procedures for allowing permits on refuges. Any information requests 
associated with the new forms must be limited to that necessary to meet 
the requirements in these regulations for refuges in Alaska.
    Response: We agree and will collect only the minimum information 
necessary to issue the requested permit in accordance with applicable 

    Comment 9: It is difficult to fully assess the full benefits from 
this proposal without being able to review the actual application forms 
and associated questions. Information in the Federal Register (75 FR 
73119) provides only a partial list of the types of information to be 
collected, and only a few specific examples of which application form 
will be used to permit a particular activity. For example, the 
Commercial Special Use Application and Permit is proposed to be used 
for permitting recreational visitor service operations and building and 
using cabins to support subsistence or commercial activities in Alaska. 
The information that an applicant should be reasonably expected to 
provide to construct or use a cabin for subsistence activities would be 
significantly different than that necessary to construct a cabin to 
support a commercial activity.
    Response: We sent draft forms to the two commenters from Alaska and 
made extensive changes to the forms based on their input. We have 
developed form-specific instructions that provide discretion for refuge 
managers on what specific information will be required for each use.

    Comment 10: How will an applicant be advised of what information is 
required for their application? Is this left to the individual refuge 
manager or will there be national or regional guidance provided? Will 
instructions for completing the application be provided to the 
applicant? There have been situations in Alaska where applicants 
seeking permits for the same activity in more than one refuge are 
required to provide different types of information to each refuge. 
While refuge managers may have different management needs and 
requirements, lack of uniformity can increase the information 
collection burden on applicants. Clear guidance should be provided to 
Regional Offices and individual refuge managers to avoid confusion and 
prevent arbitrary and unnecessary information collection.
    Response: We urge applicants, both on our Web sites and on the 
proposed forms, to contact the appropriate refuge to determine what 
information they need to submit for their desired permit. There are 
instructions and explanations on each form, but the forms are designed 
to cover many activities on all

[[Page 23619]]

of our refuges. Depending on the activity requested and the differing 
management needs of refuges, there may be instances where an applicant 
has to submit more or less information for the same activity. These 
instances should be minimal, and, in no case, can a refuge manager ask 
for information that is not on the application. Rather than following a 
``one form fits all approach,'' we believe that allowing refuge 
managers the discretion to determine the level of information necessary 
to issue the permit will result in reducing the burden for applicants. 
If OMB approves the three proposed forms, we will issue guidance to 
Regional Offices and refuge managers that: (1) they must collect only 
the minimum information necessary to determine whether or not to issue 
a permit, and (2) they cannot collect any information that is not on 
the approved forms.

    Comment 11: Grazing is never beneficial to wildlife, and no 
agricultural activity should be allowed on national wildlife refuges. 
Guides should not be allowed on national wildlife refuges. Taking 
people out to kill wildlife should not happen.
    Response: The Administration Act authorizes us to permit public 
accommodations, including commercial visitor services, on lands of the 
System when we find that the activity is compatible and appropriate 
with the purpose for which the refuge was established. While we 
appreciate the views of the respondent, the comment did not address the 
information collection requirements. We did not make any changes to our 
information collection request based on this comment.

    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:
     Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
     The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information;
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents.
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 
address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you 
should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal 
identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. 
While you can ask OMB in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it 
will be done.

    Dated: April 21, 2011.
Tina A. Campbell,
Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-10167 Filed 4-26-11; 8:45 am]