[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 114 (Thursday, June 13, 2013)]
[Pages 35639-35640]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-14039]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2013-N265: FF02R06000-FXRS1265022LPP-134]

Establishment of the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Rio 
Mora Conservation Area, Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel Counties, NM

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) has established the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge 
and Conservation Area as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. 
The Service established the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and 
Conservation Area on September 27, 2012, by acquiring, through donation

[[Page 35640]]

from the Thaw Charitable Trust, the 4,224-acre Wind River Ranch in Mora 
County, New Mexico.

ADDRESSES: A map depicting the approved boundary and other information 
regarding the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area 
are available on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/Plan/planindex.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Kettler, Land Protection 
Planner, by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of 
Planning, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103-1306, or by email at 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service has established the Rio Mora 
National Wildlife Refuge in Mora County, New Mexico, and the Rio Mora 
Conservation Area, including portions of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel 
Counties, New Mexico. The Service may pursue protection and management 
of wildlife resources in the conservation area through purchase of 
perpetual conservation easements or fee title purchase from willing 
sellers, or through cooperative management agreements and partnerships. 
These actions will contribute to maintaining the biological integrity 
and sustainable human uses of the area, maintaining both rare and 
common species, and supporting the ecological function and resiliency 
within the larger landscape.
    The goal for the project is to protect and restore habitat in 
support of species recovery plans, State and regional conservation 
plans, and major bird conservation plans, and to maintain native 
species and sustainable ecosystems. The maximum long-term potential for 
fee and easement acquisition would be 300,000 acres within the 
approximately 952,000-acre Mora River watershed, which forms the 
boundary of the conservation area.
    Within the conservation area, the Service is authorized to accept 
donations of land or may purchase property using the acquisition 
authority of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a-j); the 
Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 (16 U.S.C. 715-715d, 715e, 
715f-r); the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); 
the Refuge Recreation Act of 1962 (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4); and the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 
668dd(b)(3)). The principal Federal funding sources to acquire property 
are the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l-4-
460l-11; funds received from this act are derived primarily from oil 
and gas leases on the outer continental shelf, motorboat fuel tax 
revenues, and sale of surplus Federal property) and the Migratory Bird 
Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act of 1934 (16 U.S.C. 718-718h); funds 
for this act are derived from the sale of federal duck stamps. There 
could be additional funds to acquire lands, waters, or interest therein 
for fish and wildlife conservation purposes through other congressional 
appropriations, donations, or grants from nonprofit organizations and 
other sources.
    The Service has involved the public, agencies, partners, and 
legislators throughout the planning process for the refuge and 
conservation area. In July 2011, the Service initiated public 
involvement and announced public scoping meetings to be held to 
describe the proposed project and solicit feedback. Two public scoping 
meetings were held in the local area: the first in Mora, New Mexico, on 
July 25, 2011, and the second in Las Vegas, New Mexico, on July 26, 
2011. Comments were accepted during the public scoping period from July 
25, 2011, to September 19, 2011.
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service prepared an environmental 
assessment that evaluated three alternatives and their potential 
impacts on the project area. The draft environmental assessment and a 
draft land protection plan were made available for a public review and 
comment period (March 30 through May 1, 2012). Two hearings were held 
during this period to offer the public additional opportunities to 
provide input on the proposed actions and the draft documents. The 
first hearing was held in Mora, New Mexico, on April 12th, and the 
second, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, on April 13th, 2012. Over 84 
landowners, citizens, and elected officials (or their representatives) 
attended the 2 hearings, and 8 individuals gave public comment. 
Afterwards the Service received an additional eight comments in written 
hardcopy, and via email or phone. Comments received at the hearings and 
by other means throughout the comment period were reviewed, added to 
the administrative record, and, if substantial, addressed in the 
environmental assessment or land protection plan.
    Based on the documentation contained in the environmental 
assessment, a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed on June 13, 
2012, for the establishment of the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge 
and Conservation Area. The Service established the Rio Mora National 
Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area on September 27, 2012, by 
acquiring the 4,224-acre Wind River Ranch in Mora County, New Mexico.

    Dated: December 12, 2012.
Benjamin N. Tuggle,
Regional Director, Southwest Region, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register June 10, 2013.
[FR Doc. 2013-14039 Filed 6-12-13; 8:45 am]