[Federal Register: September 23, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 184)]
[Page 57079-57080]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Environmental Assessment for Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental 
Assessment (EA) are available for Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex (Complex). This CCP is prepared pursuant to 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.) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
and describes how the Service intends to manage this refuge over the 
next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the CCP are available on compact diskette or hard 
copy, and can be obtained by writing: Mark Twain National Wildlife 
Refuge Complex, 1704 North 24th Street, Quincy, Illinois 62301. Copies 
of the CCP can also be accessed and downloaded at the following Web 
site address: http://midwest.fws.gov/planning/marktwain/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dick Steinbach at (217) 224-8580.

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).
    Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1958 from 
lands originally purchased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) 
for construction of the Mississippi River 9-foot navigation channel 
project. Since then the Refuge has evolved into a Refuge Complex that 
includes Port Louisa NWR near Wapello, Iowa; Great River NWR and 
Clarence Cannon NWR, both near Annada, Missouri; Two Rivers NWR near 
Brussels, Illinois; and Middle Mississippi near St. Louis, Missouri. 
The Complex Headquarters is located in Quincy, Illinois.
    Four management alternatives were evaluated in the draft 
environmental assessment. The alternatives are centered on different 
levels of flood protection/river connectivity and additional land 
conservation measures through acquisition or partnership.
    The selected alternative, Alternative A--Expanded boundaries and 
Increased River Connectivity, proposes a land conservation proposal 
with a land acquisition component. The 55,673-acre proposal has been 
included in the comprehensive conservation planning process. It would 
incorporate a boundary expansion of 27,659 acres and proposes working 
with landowners and agencies on the balance of the area to promote long 
term conservation and restoration of those areas. The other 
alternatives considered were: Alternative B--Current Program, 
maintaining current management strategies and acquisition within 
existing boundaries (no action); Alternative C--Existing Boundaries and 
Maximum River Connectivity, increasing river connectivity via 
spillways, levee breaches, and

[[Page 57080]]

acquisition within existing boundaries; and
    Alternative D--Existing Boundaries and Least River Connectivity, 
enhancing habitat conservation via more flood protection and less river 
connectivity on refuge lands within existing boundaries.
    Components of the final comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment include:
    Habitat and Public Use--Under the selected alternative identified 
for Complex management in the final environmental assessment, habitats 
and public use would be enhanced on current divisions. Some flood-
friendly nature trails, observation platforms, and information kiosks 
would offer recreational and educational opportunities to the public. 
Additional hunting, fishing, and non-consumptive wildlife uses would be 
implemented where biologically compatible. Habitats are improved 
through a process of ensuring the appropriate management options are 
being applied at each site.
    Partnerships--The final comprehensive conservation plan for the 
Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex emphasizes the importance 
of the close working relationships the Complex has established with 
three Upper Mississippi River states and the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers. Along with these partners, the Service operates a mosaic of 
habitat and public use opportunities along the corridor. All partners 
are involved in the effort to reverse a trend of declining resource 
values on the River. These relationships will be strengthened under the 
    Resource Conservation--The Plan proposes a resource conservation 
plan incorporating partnership programs offered through the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Agriculture, such as the 
Wetlands Reserve Program and flood reduction projects. Service 
acquisition of land would be staged, occurring as willing sellers 
emerged and as funds became available. Acquisition would target the 
most flood-prone lands that have high natural resource values and also 
would produce benefits to federal policy efforts, such as providing 
storage capacity, reducing disaster assistance payments, and increasing 
water quality through increased nutrient cycling.

    Dated: May 17, 2004.
Charles M. Wooley,
Acting Regional Director, , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ft. 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 04-21374 Filed 9-22-04; 8:45 am]