[Federal Register: September 2, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 169)]
[Page 52220-52221]
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 Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, 
Las Vegas, NM

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that a 
Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Analysis 
(EA) for the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge is available for review 
and comment. This CCP/EA, prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, describes how the Service intends to 
manage this refuge over the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the CCP is available on compact diskette or hard 
copy, and you may obtain a copy by writing: Yvette Truitt, Biologist/
Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PO Box 1306, 
Albuquerque, NM 87103-1306. Requests may also be made via electronic 
mail to: yvette_truitt@fws.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Yvette Truitt, Biologist/Natural 
Resource Planner, 505-248-6452 or Joe Rodriguez, Refuge Manager, 505-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 et seq.) requires 
a CCP. The purpose in developing CCPs 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, consistent 
with sound principles of fish and wildlife science, conservation, legal 
mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining broad 
management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, the 
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 these CCPs at least every 15 
years in accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d).
    Background: The Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge was established 
on August 24, 1965 by the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation 
Act (16 U.S.C. 712d) for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or any other 
management purpose, for migratory birds. Located in northeastern New 
Mexico, the 8672 acre

[[Page 52221]]

Refuge is comprised of prairie grasslands, ponderosa pine forest, 
pinon-juniper woodlands, steep canyons, lakes and ponds, small 
disjointed patches of riparian areas and irrigated lands. Management 
efforts focus on enhancing and restoring native grassland, riparian and 
wetland communities for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife 
    The Draft CCP/EA addresses a range of topics including habitat and 
wildlife management, public use opportunities, land acquisition, 
invasive species control, and administration and staffing for the 
Refuge. The key refuge issues and how they are addressed in the plan 
alternatives are summarized below. Alternative A is the current 
management, or what is currently offered at the Refuge. Alternative B 
is the proposed action. Alternative C would call for no active 
management on the Refuge.
    Improvements to public use facilities: Alternative A: The public 
use program would remain at current levels and no new facilities would 
be developed on the Refuge. Alternative B: The public use program would 
increase and/or enhance educational and outreach activities, 
recreational opportunities, community involvement, and improve 
facilities. Alternative C: The public use program would be 
    Refuge Land and Boundary Protection: Alternative A: There would be 
no acquisition of in holdings and, no exploration of possible refuge 
boundary expansion. Alternative B: The Service would actively pursue 
acquisition of in holdings under existing authorities and policies from 
willing sellers. The Service would begin discussions with adjacent land 
owners regarding habitat conservation partnership opportunities to 
cooperatively enhance or protect wildlife habitats through agreements. 
The refuge would consider (in concept only) future purchase of fee 
simple and less than fee simple interest in lands adjacent the refuge 
from willing sellers only. Any purchase of interest in lands would be 
subject to additional NEPA compliance and other policy considerations. 
Alternative C: Same as Alternative A.
    Water management activities: Alternative A: Improvements to the 
water delivery system would remain secondary to other immediate 
management needs on the Refuge. Alternative B: Improvements to water 
management activities would be accomplished. Costs would be spread over 
a long period of time and to the degree possible shared through the 
development of partnerships and in-kind efforts. Alternative C: There 
would be no water delivery improvements.
    Comment Period: Please submit comments within 45 days after the 
date of this publication in the Federal Register.
    Public Meetings/Hearings: An open house/public involvement session 
to receive comments on the Draft CCP/EA will be held in September 17, 
2003. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media 
announcements will be used to inform the public of the time and 
location of the meeting.
    Send Comments To: Yvette Truitt, Biologist/Natural Resource 
Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico, 87103-1306. Comments may also be sent via electronic mail 
to: yvette_truitt@fws.gov.
    Dated: August 20, 2003.
Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 03-22256 Filed 8-29-03; 8:45 am]