[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 12 (Thursday, January 17, 2013)]
[Page 3911]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00898]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-R-2012-N259; FXRS1265030000-134-FF03R06000]

Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, Big Stone and Lac Qui Parle 
Counties, MN; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No 
Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the environmental 
assessment (EA) for Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR). 
In this final CCP, we describe how we intend to manage the refuge for 
the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You will find the final CCP, a summary of the final CCP, and 
the EA/FONSI on the planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/BigStoneNWR/index.html. A limited number of hard copies and 
CD-ROMs are available. You may request one by any of the following 
     Email: r3planning@fws.gov. Include ``Big Stone Final CCP'' 
in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: Big Stone NWR, 44843 County Road 19, Odessa, MN 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alice Hanley, 320-273-2191.



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Big Stone 
National Wildlife Refuge, which we began by publishing a notice of 
intent in the Federal Register (73 FR 76677) on December 17, 2008. For 
more about the initial process and the history of this refuge, see that 
notice. We released the draft CCP and EA to the public, announcing and 
requesting comments in a notice of availability (77 FR 27245) on May 9, 
2012. The 30-day comment period ended on June 8, 2012. A summary of 
public comments and the agency responses is included in the final CCP.


    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) (Administration Act), 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 Service 
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 was established for specific purposes. We use 
these purposes as the foundation for 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.

Additional Information

    The final CCP may be found at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/BigStoneNWR/index.html. The final CCP includes detailed information 
about the planning process, refuge, issues, and management alternative 
selected. The Web site also includes an EA and FONSI, prepared in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (43 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.). The EA/FONSI includes discussion of six alternative 
refuge management options. The Service's selected alternative is 
reflected in the final CCP.
    The selected alternative includes 5 miles of river channel 
restoration, a focus on water quality improvement, water management 
improvements to help increase the amount of submerged vegetation in 
refuge wetlands, increased restoration and management of grasslands, 
and opportunities for wildlife dependent recreation. A detailed 
description of objectives and actions included in this selected 
alternative is found in chapter 4 of the final CCP.

Christopher P. Jensen,
Acting Regional Director, Midwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2013-00898 Filed 1-16-13; 8:45 am]