[Federal Register: April 12, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 70)]
[Page 19213]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of final Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
for Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Located in Noxubee, Oktibbeha, 
and Winston Counties, Mississippi.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is 
available for distribution. The plan was prepared pursuant to the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and 
describes how the refuge will be managed for the next 15 years. The 
compatibility determinations for recreational hunting, recreational 
fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education 
and interpretation, forest habitat management, haying, and research and 
collections are also available within the plan.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan may be obtained by writing to the Noxubee 
National Wildlife Refuge, 224 Office Road, Brooksville, Mississippi 
39739. The plan may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's 
Internet Web Site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, located in 
east-central Mississippi, consists of 47,959 acres, of which 42,500 
acres are in bottomland hardwood, upland hardwood, mixed pine/hardwood 
and pine forests. These forests support a variety of upland species 
including turkey, deer, and quail. The endangered red-cockaded 
woodpecker is found in the refuge's old-growth pine habitat. Many 
neotropical bird species benefit from refuge forests. Greentree 
reservoirs, natural ponds, and man-made impoundments provide important 
habitat for migratory birds, as well as wintering habitat for waterfowl 
and bald eagles. Annually, more than 150,000 visitors participate in 
refuge activities.
    The availability of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Environmental Assessment for a 60-day public review and comment period 
was announced in the Federal Register on May 21, 2003, volume 68, 
number 98. The plan and environmental assessment identified and 
evaluated three alternatives for managing the refuge over the next 15 
years. Alternative 1, the ``no action'' alternative, would have 
continued current management of the refuge. Alternative 2, the 
``preferred alternative'' emphasized old growth forest communities, 
with increased emphasis on education and recreation programs. 
Alternative 3 emphasized providing early successional forest habitat 
and increases in certain education and recreation programs.
    Based on the environmental assessment and the comments received, 
Alternative 2, the ``preferred alternative,'' was selected for 
implementation. It was selected because it best meets the purposes and 
goals of the refuge, as well as the goals of the National Wildlife 
Refuge System. The preferred alternative will also benefit the public 
by providing opportunities to learn about, enjoy, and appreciate fish 
and wildlife. The preferred alternative also emphasizes providing 
habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers and forest nesting birds dependent 
on mature forests and adequate habitat for resident and migratory 
waterfowl. A comprehensive cultural resources' survey will be conducted 
under this alternative, and protection and interpretation of cultural 
resources will be improved.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Refuge Manager, Noxubee National 
Wildlife Refuge, telephone: 662/323-5548; fax: 662/323-5806; e-mail: 
noxubee@fws.gov; or by writing to the Refugee Manager at the above 


    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: November 14, 2003.
J. Mitch King,
Acting Regional Director.
    Editoral Note: This document was received in the Office of the 
Federal Register on April 7, 2004.
[FR Doc. 04-8191 Filed 4-9-04; 8:45 am]