[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 236 (Thursday, December 8, 2011)]
[Pages 76745-76746]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-31565]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-R-2011-N209; 30136-1265-0000-S3]

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Harrison and Pottawattamie 
Counties, IA; and Washington County, NE; Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, intend to prepare a 
comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental assessment (EA) 
for the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR). We provide this 
notice in compliance with our CCP policy to advise other Federal and 
State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intentions, and to obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider in the 
planning process. In addition, we will use special mailings, newspaper 
articles, Internet postings, and other media announcements to inform 
people of opportunities for input.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
one of the following methods:
     Email: tom_cox@fws.gov. Include ``DeSoto CCP'' in the 
subject line of the message.
     Fax: Attn: Tom Cox, (712) 642-2877.
     U.S. Mail: Attention: Refuge Manager, DeSoto National 
Wildlife Refuge, 1434 316th Lane, Missouri Valley, IA 51555-7033.
     In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during 
regular business hours at the above address.
    You may also find information about the CCP planning process on the 
planning web site: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning and submit 
comments to r3planning@fws.gov. Include ``DeSoto CCP'' in the subject 
line of the message.




    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a revised 
CCP for the DeSoto NWR, with headquarters in Missouri Valley, IA. This 
notice complies with our CCP policy to (1) advise other Federal and 
State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to conduct 
detailed planning on this refuge and (2) obtain suggestions and 
information on the scope of issues to consider in the environmental 
document and during development of the CCP.
    This planning effort will be coordinated with the preparation of a 
CCP and EA for Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, announced in the 
Federal Register on February 18, 2010 (FWS-R3-R-2009-N243). These 
refuges are located less than a half mile apart, share management 
resources, and have similar habitats, wildlife, and publics. Review and 
revision of refuge management and planning direction were prompted by 
major impacts to the refuges as a result of flooding on the Missouri 
River in 2011.


    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, requires us 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 (NWRS), consistent with sound principles of fish 
and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify 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 Administration Act.
    Each unit of the NWRS, including DeSoto NWR, was established for 
specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for

[[Page 76746]]

developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the NWRS mission, and to determine how the public 
can use each refuge. The planning process is a way for us and the 
public to evaluate management goals and objectives that will ensure the 
best possible approach to wildlife, plant, and habitat conservation, 
while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that 
are compatible with each refuge's establishing purposes and the mission 
of the NWRS.

Refuge Overview

    DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1958, encompasses 
8,358 acres of floodplain habitat on a former oxbow of the Missouri 
River. The Refuge conserves prairie, wetland, open water, and riparian 
forest habitats important to migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. 
Twenty-five miles north of Omaha, Nebraska, DeSoto also provides 
recreational use for up to 250,000 visitors annually. The Refuge is 
renowned for housing the Steamboat Bertrand artifact collection, the 
largest assemblage of Civil War era artifacts in the United States.

Public Involvement

    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
We encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions for the future management of the Desoto NWR. We also invite 
comments on archeological, historic, and traditional cultural sites in 
accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 470 et seq.).
    We invite anyone interested to respond to the following two 
    1. What issues do you want to see addressed in the CCP?
    2. What improvements would you recommend for the Refuge?
    Responding to these two questions is optional; you are not required 
to provide information to us. Our planning team developed the questions 
to gather information about individual issues and ideas concerning the 
Refuge. Comments we receive will be used as part of the planning 
process; however, we will not reference individual comments in our 
reports or directly respond to them.
    We will also give the public an opportunity to provide input at 
open houses. You can obtain a schedule of the open house events by 
contacting the Refuge Manager listed in the ADDRESSES section of this 
    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA Regulations (40 
CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; 
and our policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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 us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Charles M. Wooley,
Acting Regional Director, Midwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2011-31565 Filed 12-7-11; 8:45 am]