[Federal Register: November 24, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 226)]
[Page 68386-68387]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Information Collection Renewal Submitted to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act; OMB Control Number 1018-0102; Special Use Permit Applications on 
National Wildlife Refuges Outside Alaska Covering 50 CFR 25.41, 25.61, 
26.36, 27.71, 27.91, 27.97, 29.1, 29.2, 30.11, 31.2, 31.13, 31.14, 
31.16, and 43 CFR 5

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (We) is requesting that OMB extend an 
existing approval to collect information for Special Use Permit 
Applications on Refuges Outside Alaska. We will use the information 
that we collect to determine if requested activities are compatible and 
appropriate with the purpose for which the refuge was established.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before December 27, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on this information collection renewal to 
the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at 
(202) 395-6566 (fax) or at OIRA_DOCKET@OMB.eop.gov (e-mail). Please 
provide a copy of your comments to Krista Bibb, Information Collection 
Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
222-ARLSQ, Arlington, Virginia 22203 (mail); (703) 358-2269 (fax); or 
Krista_Bibb@fws.gov (e-mail).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request a copy of the information 
collection requirement, explanatory information, or related forms, 
contact Krista Bibb at the address or fax number listed above or by 
telephone at (703) 358-2482.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have sent a request to OMB to renew 
approval of the information collection requirements for Special Use 
Permit Applications on National Wildlife Refuges Outside of Alaska. 
Currently we have approval from OMB to collect information under OMB 
control number 1018-0102. This approval expires on November 30, 2004. 
We may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond 
to, a collection of information unless we display a currently valid OMB 
control number. OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which implement 
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.), require that interested members of the public and affected 
agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and 
recordkeeping activities (see CFR 1380.8(d)). OMB has up to 60 days to 
approve or disapprove our information collection request, but their 
response may be given as early as 30 days after our submittal. 
Therefore, to ensure consideration, send your comments to OMB by the 
date listed in the DATES section near the beginning of this notice.
    On July 16, 2004, we published in the Federal Register (69 FR 
42762) a 60-day notice of our intent to request renewal of this 
information collection authority from OMB. In that notice, we solicited 
public comments for 60 days ending September 14, 2004. We received 
three comments regarding this notice.
    Comment: A commenter felt that (1) the proposal was too vague and 
we should describe what kind of permits we issue; (2) at an estimate of 
25 permits issued per refuge, we were issuing too many permits; and (3) 
farming activities were incompatible with refuge operations.
    Response: (1) The universe of types of permits potentially issued 
on our 529 national wildlife refuges outside of Alaska prevents us from 
listing each and every type of permit. We describe a sampling of the 
types of permits a refuge manager, upon finding an activity compatible, 
might issue. (2) As to the average estimate of permits issued per 
refuge, each refuge manager must decide

[[Page 68387]]

on the merits of a request using various methods of determination, such 
as compatibility, funding and other resource availability to ensure 
adequate protection of refuge resources and the visiting public, etc., 
before issuing a Special Use Permit. (3) Again, the refuge manager may 
determine that, in some cases, farming activities are a management tool 
that may answer the criteria outlined in answer (2) and are compatible 
with the purpose for which their particular refuge was established.
    Comment: We received two comments from ham radio operators that 
disagreed with the decision by the refuge manager to deny issuance of a 
permit for the purpose of receiving and broadcasting transmissions. The 
requestors felt this request was not incompatible with the purposes for 
which the refuge was established.
    Response: The purpose of this notice was to solicit comments on 
information collection requirements for Special Use Permit applications 
in the National Wildlife Refuge System. These comments relate not to 
the purpose of the notice itself, but rather to the compatibility 
decisionmaking process whereby a refuge manager decides whether or not 
to allow a public use on a national wildlife refuge. Because these 
comments are not substantive to the purpose of this notice and this is 
not the appropriate venue for the commenters to resolve their concerns, 
we will not address those concerns in this forum.
    Comment: We received a comment that suggested that the Special Use 
Permit application be made available online for potential permittees to 
download themselves and fill out to cut down on ``hard paper'' and 
facilitate electronic issuance of the permits.
    Response: We have considered electronic access to and processing of 
Special Use Permits. However, for the purposes of proper management 
oversight, control, and enforcement of permit condition violations 
(e.g., original signature on permit application), and ensuring local 
conditions are considered as part of each request, we elect at this 
time to continue with the existing local paper system. However, during 
this renewal period, we will be studying the feasibility of separating 
the application from the permit and making the application available 
online for electronic submission.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 that 
amends the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) requires that we authorize economic privileges on 
any national wildlife refuge by permit only when the activity will be 
compatible with and contribute to refuge purposes (50 CFR 29.21). We 
will provide the permit applications as requested by interested 
citizens. We will use information provided on the required written 
forms and verbal explanatory information to ensure that the applicant 
is eligible for the permit. We make provision in our general refuge 
regulations for public entry for specialized purposes, including 
economic activities such as the operation of guiding and other visitor 
services on refuges by concessionaires or cooperators under the 
appropriate legal instrument or special use permits (50 CFR 25.41, 
25.61, 26.36, 27.71, 27.91, 27.97, 29.1, 29.2, 30.11, 31.2, 31.13, 
31.14, 31.16, and 43 CFR 5). These regulations provide the authorities 
and procedures for allowing permits on refuges outside of Alaska.
    We will use this permit to authorize such items as farming 
operations (haying and grazing, 50 CFR 29.2), beneficial management 
tools that we use to provide the best habitat possible on some refuges 
(50 CFR 30.11, 31.14, 31.16), recreational visitor service operations 
(50 CFR 25.41 and 25.61), commercial filming (50 CFR 27.71), other 
commercial activities (50 CFR 29.1), research, and other noncommercial 
activities (50 CFR 26.36). We will issue permits for a specific period 
as determined by the type and location of the use or visitor service 
    Title: Special Use Permit Applications on National Wildlife Refuges 
Outside Alaska.
    OMB Control Number: 1018-0102.
    Form Number: 3-1383.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion.
    Description of Respondents: Individuals and households; business 
and other for-profit organizations; nonprofit institutions; farms; and 
State, local or tribal governments.
    Total Annual Responses: 14,150. We have 529 national wildlife 
refuges and 37 wetland management districts outside the State of 
Alaska. We anticipate that each unit will authorize approximately 25 
permits each year.
    Total Annual Burden: 14,150 hours.
    Your comments are invited on: (1) Whether or not this collection of 
information is necessary for us to properly perform our functions, 
including whether or not this information will have practical utility; 
(2) the accuracy of our estimates of burden, including the validity of 
the methodology and assumptions we use; (3) ways to enhance the 
quality, utility, and clarity of the information we are proposing to 
collect; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on those who are to respond, including through the use of 
appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home addresses from the record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, 
you must state this clearly at the beginning of your comment. We will 
not consider anonymous comments. We generally make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

    Dated: November 5, 2004.
Krista Bibb,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 04-25899 Filed 11-23-04; 8:45 am]