Frequently Asked Questions About the Refuge CCP

Frequently Asked Questions About Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Planning

We are delighted that you are interested in the Refuge’s CCP. We will conduct the CCP planning process in an open, inclusive, and transparent manner. Comments received on the draft CCP are currently being considered. To provide more information about the CCP process, we offer you…

“The Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Refuge and the CCP”

1) How can I find out more about the final CCP and what changes are proposed?

Review Planning Update 6 which summarizes some of the key features of the preferred alternative from the final CCP/EIS.

2) What will happen next?

After the final CCP/EIS is available to the public for 30 days, we will finalize our decision in a Record of Decision (ROD). We can begin implementing CCP strategies at the Refuge once the ROD is signed. Some actions may require new funding; those actions will be implemented as funding becomes available.

3) How has the Refuge incorporated public comments on the draft CCP/EIS?

The draft CCP/EIS was available for comment from March 15 to May 15, 2013, and included several public open houses. We used ideas from those comments, as well as best available science, to develop the final CCP/EIS. The Final CCP/EIS addresses the comments provided on the draft in Appendix H. The first round of Public Scoping, which provided the first opportunity for public comment in this process, ended September 10, 2010. We received over 800 comments during that period. The second round of scoping outreach, providing opportunities to comment on Preliminary Draft Alternatives, ended July 29, 2011. We received over 200 comments during that period. We used ideas from those comment periods, as well as best available science, to develop the draft CCP/EIS.

4) What is the purpose of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge?

Deer Flat Refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 and is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Refuge currently manages more than 200 native bird species including geese, swans, pelicans, songbirds, ducks, shorebirds, eagles, falcons, hawks and owls; and over 30 mammals, including mule deer, coyote, red fox, gophers, marmot, badger, rabbits, and beaver. The Refuge encompasses two units—the Lake Lowell Unit and the Snake River Islands Unit—these units include riparian forest, shrub steppe, open water, freshwater marsh, and cropland habitats.

The designated purposes of Deer Flat NWR are:

  • Serve as a refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife.
  • For use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.
  • Suitable for incidental fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, the protection of natural resources, and the conservation of endangered species or threatened species.

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of the over 560 National Wildlife Refuges in the U.S. The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida's Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the System has grown to more than 150 million acres and over 560 National Wildlife Refuges.

5) What is a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and why is it being developed?

When Congress amended the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (Act) in 1997, it incorporated an underlying philosophy that “wildlife comes first” on refuges. The Act provided the Service with guidance for managing refuges to ensure the long-term conservation of fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. It also established six priority public uses on National Wildlife Refuges: wildlife observation and photography, hunting, fishing, interpretation, and environmental education. The Act also requires all lands within the Refuge System to be managed in accordance with a CCP to ensure that the management of each refuge reflects the purposes of that refuge and the mission, policies, and goals of the Refuge System.

Once completed, the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge CCP will be the blueprint we will use to improve Refuge conditions and manage fish, wildlife, plants, and recreation over a period of 15 years.

6) What are the National Wildlife Refuge System’s policies regarding recreational uses?

Two of the primary policies guiding recreational uses on a refuge are appropriateness and compatibility.

Our Appropriate Refuge Uses Policy states: Recreational activities which are dependent on wildlife, known as the Big Six priority public uses—fishing, hunting, wildlife photography, wildlife observation, environmental education, and wildlife interpretation—are automatically considered to be appropriate activities on a national wildlife refuge, whereas other uses are not.

Generally, to be considered appropriate, uses other than the Big Six priority uses must, among other considerations, contribute to the public’s understanding and appreciation of the refuge’s natural or cultural resources or be beneficial to the refuge’s natural or cultural resources. They also must not impair existing wildlife-dependent recreational uses or reduce the potential to provide quality, compatible, wildlife-dependent recreation into the future.

According to our Compatibility Policy, once a recreational activity is determined to be appropriate, it must be evaluated for compatibility. To be compatible, a recreational use must not materially interfere with or detract from the purpose of the Refuge or the National Wildlife Refuge System mission.

The general policy on Wildlife-Dependent Recreation also provides general guidance on Refuge recreation programs.