[Federal Register: May 23, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 98)]
[Page 29531-29532]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Environmental Assessment for Bosque del Apache National Wildlife 
Refuge, Located in Socorro County, NM

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

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Southwest Region, intends to gather information necessary to 
prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental 
Assessment for Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, pursuant to 
the National Environmental Policy Act and its implementing regulations. 
The Service is furnishing this notice in compliance with the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration act of 1966, as amended (16 
U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), to achieve the following:
    (1) Advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and
    (2) Obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to 
include in the environmental document.

DATES: Special mailings, newspaper articles, postings, and media 
announcements will inform people of opportunities for written input 
throughout the CCP planning process. Refuge fact sheets will be made 
available at local libraries in the surrounding communities. This 
notice of intent/public scoping process will continue until August 31, 
2005. Written comments submitted by mail or e-mail should be postmarked 
by that date to ensure consideration. Comments mailed after that date 
will be considered to the extent practicable. Inquire at the following 
address for future dates of planning activities and due dates for 

ADDRESSES: Address comments and requests for more information to: Jim 
Savery, Refuge Manager, Bosque del Apache NWR, CCP-Project, P.O. Box 
1246, Socorro, NM 87801, phone (505) 835-1828, fax: (505) 835-0314. 
Information concerning this Refuge may also be found at the following 
Web site: http://southwest.fws.gov. Comments submitted via e-mail 

should be addressed to Yvette Truitt-Ortiz at 
Yvette_TruittOrtiz@fws.gov or Jim Savery at Jim_Savery@fws.gov. Additionally, 

you may hand-deliver comments to Mr. Savery at the Refuge, located 
approximately 8 miles south of San Antonio, New Mexico on State Highway 
1. Our practice is to make comments, including names and addresses of 
respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. 
Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address 
from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable 
by law.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Yvette Truitt-Ortiz, Natural Resource 
Planner, Division of Planning, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, New Mexico 
87103-1306; Telephone (505) 248-6452; Fax (505) 248-6874; e-mail 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 requires that all lands within the National 
Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) are to be managed in accordance with an 
approved CCP. The CCP guides management decisions and identifies refuge 
goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for achieving refuge 
purposes. Each refuge in the NWRS has specific purposes for which it 
was established. Those purposes are used to develop and prioritize 
management goals and objectives within the NWRS mission and to guide 
which public uses will occur on a given refuge.
    The planning process will consider many elements including wildlife 
and habitat management, habitat protection and acquisition, wilderness 
preservation, public recreational activities, and cultural resource 
protection. Public input into the planning process is essential. The 
planning process is a way for the Service and the public to evaluate 
refuge management goals and objectives for the best possible 
conservation efforts of this important wildlife habitat. Concurrently, 
this process is also providing for wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with each refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is located in Socorro 
County, New Mexico, and encompasses 57,191 acres along the Rio Grande 
near Socorro, New Mexico. The heart of the Refuge is about 12,900 acres 
of moist bottomlands of which 3,800 acres are active floodplain of the 
Rio Grande and 9,100 acres are areas where water is diverted to create 
extensive wetlands, farmlands, and riparian forests. The rest of the 
Refuge is made up of arid foothills and mesas. Most of these desert 
lands are preserved as wilderness areas. The CCP will provide other 
agencies and the public with a clear understanding of the desired 
conditions for the Refuge and how the Service will implement management 
strategies for the conservation and development of these natural 
    The Service, through this notice of intent, formally begins the 
comprehensive conservation planning process for Bosque del Apache 
National Wildlife Refuge. The Service requests input on any and all 
issues concerning management or public recreation. Comments regarding 
the protection of threatened and/or endangered species, migratory 
birds, native species, and their habitats are encouraged. The Service 
is equally interested in receiving public input in the following areas:
     What makes this Refuge special for you?
     What Refuge projects or activities interest you most?
     What problems or issues do you see affecting management or 
public use of the Refuge?

[[Page 29532]]

     What improvements do you recommend for the Refuge?
    The Service has provided the above questions for optional use only. 
Comments received will be used as part of the planning process. 
Individual comments will not be referenced in our reports or directly 
responded to. The Service will continue to solicit information from the 
public and other agencies via open houses, meetings, and written 
comments. Special mailings, newspaper releases, and announcements will 
continue to inform people of the time and place of opportunities for 
further input to the CCP.
    Review of this project will be conducted in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C 4321 et 
seq.), NEPA Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) found at http://www.legal.gsa.gov
, other appropriate Federal laws, and Service policies 

and procedures for compliance with those regulations.
    The Service will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) in 
accordance with procedures for implementing NEPA found in the 
Department of the Interior Manual (DM Part 516, Chap 6). The decision 
to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement instead of an EA is 
contingent upon the complexity of issues following the scoping phase of 
the CCP process.
    We estimate that the draft environmental documents will be 
available in fall 2007 for public review and comment.

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

    Dated: May 9, 2005.
Geoffery L. Haskett,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 05-10291 Filed 5-20-05; 8:45 am]