[Federal Register: May 17, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 94)]
[Page 26772]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Environmental Assessment for Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge in 
Sevier County, AR, and Notice of Meeting To Seek Public Participation

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Southeast Region, has made available for public review a Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment for Pond 
Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Sevier County, Arkansas, and plans to 
hold a public meeting in the vicinity of the refuge to solicit public 
comments on the Draft Plan. The Service is furnishing this notice in 
compliance with Service comprehensive planning policy, the National 
Environmental Act Policy, and implementing regulations to achieve the 
    (1) advise other agencies and the public of our intention, and
    (2) obtain comments on the proposed plan and the other alternatives 
considered in the planning process.

DATES: The Service will hold the public meeting at 7 p.m. on June 3, 
1999, at the Horatio Elementary School cafeteria, Horatio, Arkansas. 
The Draft Plan will be made available for review and comment. Written 
comments should be submitted no later than June 30, 1999, to the 
address below.

ADDRESSES: Comments and request for copies of the Draft Plan should be 
addressed to Mr. Ed Loth, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast 
Regional Office, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30345, or by 
calling 404/679-7155.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge is a 
27,000-acre area located between the Cossatot and Little rivers. This 
refuge was established to protect, enhance, and manage a valuable 
bottomland hardwood wetland ecosystem for the benefit of migratory and 
resident waterfowl, neotropical birds, wading birds, and other wetland-
dependent wildlife. The area is considered a vital component of the 
North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Arkansas-Red Ecosystem 
    It is the desire of the Fish and Wildlife Service that Pond Creek 
National Wildlife Refuge become `'a model refuge that protests and 
manages biological diversity for the enjoyment and benefit of present 
and future generations.'' To achieve this vision, the refuge seeks to 
achieve the following four goals: (1) habitat management-maintain and 
restore diverse habitats designed to achieve refuge purpose and 
wildlife population objectives; (2) populations management-maintain 
viable, diverse populations of native flora and fauna consistent with 
sound biological principles; (3) land conservation-protect the area's 
wetlands and restore values through land protection strategies; and (4) 
wildlife-dependent recreation and education--develop and implement a 
quality wildlife-dependent recreation program that leads to enjoyable 
recreation experiences and a greater understanding and appreciation of 
fish and wildlife resources.
    The Draft Plan evaluates the following four alternatives for 
managing the refuge over the next 15 years: custodial management, 
minimal management, balanced management, and resource management. The 
Service believes the balanced management alternative is the best 
alternative to guide the refuge's future direction. In essence this 
alternative will:

    <bullet> Increase protection of threatened and endangered 
    <bullet> Increase waterfowl and songbird utilization and 
    <bullet> Enhance resident wildlife populations;
    <bullet> Restore wetlands and hydrology; and
    <bullet> Provide long-term opportunities for wildlife-dependent 
recreation and environmental education.

    Dated: May 4, 1999.
C. Monty Halcomb,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 99-12289 Filed 5-14-99; 8:45 am]