See the CCP
The CCP is provided here in portable document format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view the files; Acrobat Reader is available as a free download from Adobe.
Summary CCP (January 2008) (392 KB)
Final Environmental Assessment (220 KB)
CCP by Chapter:
Chapter 1: Introduction and Background (355 KB)
Chapter 2: The Planning Process (399 KB)
Chapter 3: The Refuge Environment (1.5 MB),
Chapter 4: Management Direction (710 KB)
Chapter 5: Plan Implementation (285 KB)
Appendix A: Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) (220 KB)
Appendix B: Glossary (51 KB)
Appendix C: Wildlife Species of Concern (51 KB)
Appendix D: Species List (242 KB)
Appendix E: Rice Lake NWR Biological Surveys (38 KB)
Appendix F: Draft Compatibility Determinations (30 KB)
Appendix G: Compliance Requirements (132 KB)
Appendix H: Literature Cited (38 KB)
Appendix I: Distribution List (34 KB)
Appendix J: List of Preparers (29 KB)
Appendix K: Response to Comments Received on the Draft CCP and EA (64 KB)
Where Are We in the Planning Process?
These are the steps that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service follows in comprehensive conservation planning; the step that Rice Lake NWR has reached is highlighted:
- Preplanning: Plan the Plan
- Initiate Public Involvement and Scoping
- Review Vision Statement and Goals and Determine Significant Issues
- Develop and Analyze Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action
- Prepare a Draft CCP and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Document
- Prepare and Adopt Final CCP
- Implement Plan, Monitor and Evaluate
- Review and Revise the Plan
Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan
The Refuge completed its Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) in December 2007. Copies of both the plan and a plan summary were available in January 2008. Both are available in portable document format (pdf) on this page.
The CCP establishes management policies for both refuges and ensures that they fulfill their established purpose and mission.
The CCP establishes goals and objectives for Refuge management, and it specifies strategies for achieving those objectives. We believe that the CCP outlines an ambitous but achievable future for Rice Lake NWR and Mille Lacs NWR.
However, it is important to note that plans are just that, plans. The CCP was developed to guide management and will be used in strategic planning and prioritizing programs. The CCP does not constitute a commitment for staffing increases or operational and maintenance increases that may be detailed in the plan.
Highlights of the CCP include:
- Water levels on Rice Lake will be manipulated by the existing control structure or by re-establishing the natural outlet to Rice Lake. By allowing the lake to function more as a natural system, we expect the wild rice production to increase in the long-term. In the short-term, this could mean that low water levels in some years may result in poor access for wild rice harvest by American Indian tribe members.
- The Refuge will enhance its forested area while maintaining some grassland for bird species as well as for public viewing.
- More than 5,000 acres of bog will be restored with more dedicated use of prescribed fire to inhibit brush invasion.
- All of the buildings will be removed from Headquarters Ridge. The buidings are below Service standards and need considerable work, which could result in further degradation of cultural resources. Headquarters Ridge has some of the most significant cultural values that are known on the Refuge, and the American Indian community has requested the removal of the buildings. A relocation site is not yet identified.
- Public use on Rice Lake NWR will consist of wildlife-dependent recreation, with more infrastructure added to support interpretation, wildlife observation, and nature photography. The hunting program will be managed to accommodate more hunters while maintaining quality opportunities.
- On Mille Lacs NWR, management will continue to emphasize Common Tern production and deterring gulls from nesting.
Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 to preserve valuable habitat for waterfowl. Located in Northern Minnesota, the Refuge is 18,300 acres in size. The Refuge's shallow, 4,500-acre Rice Lake produces large amounts of wild rice, which is a valuable food source for wildlife.
Rice Lake NWR is home to one of the largest concentrations of migrating Ring-necked Ducks in the country. During fall migration, more than 150,000 ducks can be found on the Refuge.
Comprehensive conservation planning for Rice Lake NWR also included planning for Mille Lacs NWR, the smallest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Refuge consists of two islands. One of the islands was designated as a national wildlife refuge in 1915 and the second was designated in 1920. Mille Lacs NWR is managed through Rice Lake NWR.
For more information on Rice Lake NWR or to request a copy of the CCP, please send us an e-mail, call or write to the Refuge Manager at Rice Lake NWR:
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge
36289 State Highway 65
McGregor, MN 55760