[Federal Register: June 26, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 122)]
[Page 36403-36408]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part III

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


Policy on National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
Mission and Goals and Refuge Purposes and Uses; Notices

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Fish and Wildlife Service

RIN 1018-AU24

Policy on National Wildlife Refuge System Mission and Goals and 
Refuge Purposes

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (we, or the Service) is 
issuing this policy to articulate the mission and goals of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) and their relationship to refuge 
purposes. This chapter is consistent with principles contained in the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 
(Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act), including recognizing the 
priority for management activities and uses set forth in the 
Improvement Act (conserve fish, wildlife, and plants and their 
habitats; facilitate compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses; 
and other uses). This policy describes the Refuge System mission, 
revises the Refuge System goals, and provides guidance for identifying 
or determining the purpose(s) of individual refuges within the Refuge 
System. This chapter also describes how the purpose(s) of a refuge 
addition relates to the original refuge purpose(s) and how wilderness 
designated under the Wilderness Act of 1964 (Wilderness Act) relates to 
a refuge's purpose(s). We are incorporating this policy as Part 601, 
Chapter 1, of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual (601 FW 1).

DATES: This policy is effective July 26, 2006.

Specialist, Division of Conservation Planning and Policy, National 
Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North 
Fairfax Drive, Room 670, Arlington, Virginia 22203; telephone (703) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Improvement Act (Pub. L. 105-57) amends 
and builds upon the Administration Act (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), 
providing an ``organic act'' for the Refuge System. It clearly 
establishes that conservation and management of fish, wildlife, and 
plants and their habitats are the fundamental mission of the Refuge 
System and prioritizes refuge purposes in relation to the Refuge System 
mission. It states that we will manage each refuge to fulfill the 
mission of the Refuge System, as well as the specific purpose(s) for 
which that refuge was established. This policy is intended to improve 
the internal management of the Service, and it is not intended to, and 
does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, 
enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its 
Departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or 
employees, or any other person.
    The Improvement Act also provides a clear hierarchy of activities: 
conservation and management of fish, wildlife, and plants and their 
habitats; compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses; and other 
uses. This chapter reflects that hierarchy.
    We published a notice in the Federal Register on January 23, 1998 
(63 FR 3583), notifying the public that we would be revising the 
Service Manual to establish policy (and/or regulations) as it relates 
to the Improvement Act. On January 16, 2001, we published in the 
Federal Register a draft policy on the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Mission, Goals, and Purposes (66 FR 3668, RIN 1018-AG46). The initial 
comment period closed on March 19, 2001. On March 15, 2001, we extended 
the comment period to April 19, 2001 (66 FR 15136). On May 15, 2001, we 
reopened the comment period to June 14, 2001 (66 FR 26879), and on June 
21, 2001, we reopened the comment period until June 30, 2001 (66 FR 
33268), and corrected the May 15, 2001, notice to reflect that comments 
received between April 19 and May 15, 2001, would be considered and 
need not be resubmitted.

Response to Comments Received

    During the combined comment periods, we received 527 comment 
responses from State agencies or commissions, Federal agencies, 
nongovernmental organizations of both national and local scope, and 
individuals that resulted in 566 unique comments. Each unique comment 
was evaluated and categorized into one of 15 issues. One category (488 
commenters) reflected general support for the policy, but did not cite 
a specific concern. A second category (3 commenters) was not specific, 
but generally did not support the policy; and a third category (11 
commenters) did not specifically relate to this policy or was not 
substantive. We categorized the remaining issues into 12 main issues:
    1. Coordination with State Fish and Wildlife Agencies;
    2. Clarification of Terms or Wording Used in the Policy;
    3. Impact on Compatible Wildlife-Dependent Recreation;
    4. Quality of Life;
    5. Wilderness Designations and the Impact on Purposes/Management;
    6. Emphasis on Waterfowl Management;
    7. Timing of Policy Issuance;
    8. Hunting in the Public Use Goal;
    9. Need for the Policy and Conflicts with the Improvement Act;
    10. Private Landowner Rights;
    11. Process for Determining and Applying Purposes; and
    12. Relationship of Refuge System Mission and Service Mission.
    We revised the policy title to clarify that the focus is on the 
mission and goals for the National Wildlife Refuge System as a whole 
and their relationship to individual refuge purposes.

Issue 1: Coordination With State Fish and Wildlife Agencies

    Comment: We received 10 comments concerning this issue. State fish 
and wildlife agencies were the primary commenters and expressed concern 
that more coordination was needed on this and other policies that were 
published simultaneously as a result of the Improvement Act. Several 
commenters expressed the need for more time to review and comment on 
the policy. One commenter asked that the States be consulted when the 
refuge purpose was unclear and additional research was needed. The same 
commenter also requested that we add into the policy a requirement to 
involve States in any decisionmaking process.
    Response: Both the Service and the State fish and wildlife agencies 
have authorities and responsibilities for management of fish and 
wildlife on national wildlife refuges as described in Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR), Title 43, part 24. Consistent with the 
Administration Act, as amended, the Director of the Service will 
interact, coordinate, cooperate, and collaborate with the State fish 
and wildlife agencies in a timely and effective manner on the 
acquisition and management of refuges. Under both the Administration 
Act, as amended, and 43 CFR part 24, the Director of the Service, as 
the Secretary's designee, will ensure that Refuge System regulations 
and management plans are, to the extent practicable, consistent with 
State laws, regulations, and management plans. We charge refuge 
managers, as the designated representatives of the Director at the 
local level, with carrying out these directives. We will provide State 
fish and wildlife agencies timely and meaningful opportunities to

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participate in the development and implementation of programs conducted 
under this policy. These opportunities will most commonly occur through 
State fish and wildlife agency representation on comprehensive 
conservation plan (CCP) planning teams. However, we will provide other 
opportunities for the State fish and wildlife agencies to participate 
in the development and implementation of program changes that would be 
made outside of the CCP process. Further, we will continue to provide 
State fish and wildlife agencies opportunities to discuss and, if 
necessary, elevate decisions within the hierarchy of the Service.
    During the comment period, we developed summaries of this and other 
policies and sent them to each State. We held numerous meetings with 
individual State fish and wildlife agencies, through the International 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, to explain the policy and 
discuss concerns. We extended the comment period three times to 
accommodate additional review and comment. To address concerns, we 
added a section in the policy concerning consultation with the States. 
We also changed the decision process for determining refuge purpose(s) 
in Exhibit 1 by adding the provision that we should consult with the 
States when determining refuge purpose(s) requires further research.

Issue 2: Clarification of Terms or Wording Used in the Policy

    Comment: We received 20 comments with suggested editorial changes 
to clarify the meaning of certain terms or policy. These suggested 
changes included using the word ``conserve'' versus ``preserve,'' 
deleting the term ``ecosystem(s)'' if not germane to the section, 
clarifying the terms ``historic'' and ``native,'' and adding 
recognition of habitat manipulation as an acceptable practice in 
attaining some goals. An underlying concern among several commenters 
was that the policy might be perceived as diluting the mandate to 
administer and manage refuges in accordance with their purpose(s).
    Response: We reviewed and edited the policy specific to the 
comments above to improve clarity and understanding. We changed the 
term ``preserve'' to ``conserve,'' deleted the term ``ecosystem(s)'' if 
it did not add meaning to a section, and added the role of habitat 
management in the goals section. The term ``historic'' is not used in 
the final policy. Therefore, we did not define it. The term ``native'' 
is used in a quote, in the title of a law, and relative to the policy 
on biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health (601 FW 
3). We did not define the term since it is defined in that policy. In 
addition, we changed the term ``unit'' to ``refuge'' to be consistent 
with other policies and added a section defining the term ``refuge.'' 
Finally, we removed the original Goal A (draft sections 1.6A and 1.7A) 
and moved it to a separate and new section (section 1.5) in the front 
of the policy to emphasize our duty imposed by the Improvement Act to 
manage each refuge to fulfill and carry out the purpose(s) for which it 
was established.

Issue 3: Impact on Wildlife-Dependent Recreation

    Comment: Nine commenters expressed concern that parts of the policy 
may be interpreted in a way that would discourage wildlife-dependent 
recreation on refuges.
    Response: We reviewed the policy and made appropriate changes to 
ensure that wording did not diminish the clear policy in the 
Improvement Act that compatible wildlife-dependent recreation (hunting, 
fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental 
education and interpretation) is a legitimate and appropriate general 
public use of the Refuge System. Compatible wildlife-dependent 
recreational uses are the priority general public uses of the Refuge 
System and receive priority consideration in refuge planning and 
management. We think the policy strongly supports the intent of the 
Improvement Act by making compatible wildlife-dependent recreation a 
goal of the Refuge System.

Issue 4: Quality of Life

    Comment: We received four comments in this category. One commenter 
requested that mosquito control be added as a goal of the Refuge System 
in the context that refuges should contribute to the quality of life 
around them. The other commenters raised some concern over how the 
Service would deal with the air quality effects of encouraging natural 
processes such as fire.
    Response: Due to the complexity and inherent local differences and 
circumstances of mosquito control, we are developing a separate policy 
to address that issue. In addition, we believe this final policy is an 
umbrella policy, broad in scope and intent, and is not the proper forum 
for guidance on specific, on-the-ground management actions. In regard 
to air quality and fire, we consider public health, safety, and air 
quality when planning and conducting prescribed burns. Each refuge 
should have in place a fire management plan that addresses these 
concerns in detail.

Issue 5: Wilderness Designations and the Impact on Purposes/Management

    Comment: Four commenters voiced concern about how designated 
wilderness on a refuge affects the purpose(s) for which the refuge was 
established. Some felt the purposes of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
1131-1136) had been misapplied and managing a refuge with designated 
wilderness would conflict with the establishing purpose(s) of a refuge.
    Response: We carefully reviewed sections 1.14 and 1.16 of the draft 
policy (sections 1.15 and 1.17 of the final policy) with regard to the 
purpose(s) of a refuge and wilderness designation. We modified these 
sections to clarify their intent and ensure consistency with both the 
Improvement Act and the Wilderness Act. Specifically, we removed any 
reference to designated wilderness in the first section (1.15), and we 
changed the second section (1.17) by deleting the reference to 
wilderness purposes being equal to a refuge's purpose(s) and 
substituting language from the Wilderness Act that states that the 
purposes of the Wilderness Act are to be ``within and supplemental'' to 
the purposes of refuges and other Federal lands. We clarified our 
interpretation that ``within and supplemental'' means wilderness 
purposes become additional purposes of the refuge, yet apply only to 
those areas of the refuge designated as wilderness. Wilderness purposes 
and refuge purposes are not mutually exclusive, but rather wilderness 
designations provide additional considerations for determining the 
administrative and management actions we need to take to achieve a 
refuge's purpose(s) on designated wilderness areas within the Refuge 

Issue 6: Emphasis on Waterfowl Management

    Comment: One commenter was concerned that Goal C of the draft 
policy (Perpetuate migratory bird, interjurisdictional fish, and marine 
mammal populations) placed too much emphasis on waterfowl management.
    Response: It is critical to reaffirm the Refuge System's important 
role in the conservation of the Nation's waterfowl resource. The 
concern of waterfowl hunters and other conservationists over 
drastically declining waterfowl populations and habitat spurred the 
tremendous growth of the Refuge System in the 1930s. Waterfowl

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conservation continues to be an important function of the Refuge System 
among the various Federal land systems, bringing enjoyment to millions 
of visitors who view the migration spectacle or take part in quality 
waterfowl hunting programs. However, this recognition of the role 
refuges play in the conservation of the waterfowl resource does not 
diminish the important and increasing role the Refuge System plays in 
the conservation of all migratory birds and other Federal trust 
species. Thus, we made no changes to Goal C of the draft policy (Goal B 
of the final policy) based upon this comment.

Issue 7: Timing of Policy Issuance

    Comment: Two commenters stated that this policy should have 
preceded other policies that are now final, especially the Biological 

Integrity, Diversity, and Environmental Health Policy.
    Response: We do not disagree with these comments, but we had to 
make a number of decisions with regard to our policy development. The 
decision to proceed first with policies on refuge planning; 
compatibility; and biological integrity, diversity, and environmental 
health stemmed in part from specific direction in the Improvement Act. 
At that time, we felt it prudent to begin with those policies that had 
specific directives in the Improvement Act. We will be reviewing our 
policies once they are all finalized in order to ensure consistency 
among them as a group.

Issue 8: Hunting in the Public Use Goal

    Comment: One commenter stated that reference to hunting should be 
deleted from Goal F (in the draft policy) on providing safe, quality, 
wildlife-dependent recreation on refuges.
    Response: As clearly stated in the Improvement Act, compatible 
wildlife-dependent recreational uses (hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation and photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation) are legitimate and appropriate uses of the Refuge 
System, are the priority general public uses of the Refuge System, and 
should be facilitated. The goals, as revised, reiterate this. Thus, we 
made no change to Goal F of the draft policy (Goal E of the final 
policy) based on this comment.

Issue 9: Need for the Policy and Perceived Conflicts With the 
Improvement Act

    Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the policy went 
beyond the intent of the Improvement Act or might serve to usurp 
directives in the Improvement Act. They also recommended we delete the 
entire section dealing with goals since the Improvement Act does not 
support the establishment of goals for the Refuge System and questioned 
certain terms and phrases that may lead to misinterpretation by refuge 
managers and thus lead to actions contrary to the Improvement Act.
    Response: As stated in the policy, we believe revising the Refuge 
System goals is an important bridge between the Improvement Act and 
carrying out our obligations under it for planning, administration, 
management, and growth of the Refuge System. The Refuge System has 
operated with goals similar to the ones in this policy for decades. Our 
aim in revising these goals was to ensure consistency with the 
Improvement Act and to capture the evolution in the science and 
practice of fish and wildlife management that has occurred since we 
articulated the original goals in the Refuge Manual (2 RM 1.4). We have 
closely reviewed these goals and their meaning to ensure they are not 
contrary to provisions in the Improvement Act. This final policy 
improves clarity and consistency with the Improvement Act with respect 
to individual refuge purposes and the Refuge System mission.

Issue 10: Private Landowner Rights

    Comment: Two commenters expressed concern that some provisions in 
this policy may adversely affect private property rights of refuge 
    Response: We found nothing in the policy that could be construed as 
adversely affecting private property rights. This policy deals 
specifically with lands, waters, and interests within the Refuge System 
and does not apply outside the Refuge System. We continue to be mindful 
of our refuge neighbors in our administrative and management actions on 
refuges and often rely heavily on cooperation and collaboration with 
neighboring private landowners to help achieve the purpose(s) of a 
refuge. Many refuges help deliver the Service's Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Program, which provides technical assistance to surrounding 
landowners who wish to enhance their lands for fish and wildlife.

Issue 11: Process for Determining and Applying Purposes

    Comment: Six commenters expressed concern about the process for 
determining and applying refuge purposes. One commenter noted that 
purposes derived from Executive orders and legislation are often vague 
and can lead to varying interpretations and felt the policy should 
provide additional details on refining purposes. Other comments 
included opposition to changing refuge purpose(s), support for ensuring 
that purpose(s) remained more important than the mission of the Refuge 
System, and opposition to setting a priority among multiple purposes. 
Several commenters expressed concern that going beyond purposes in 
executive or legislative actions would lead to endless debate and 
misinterpretation of the history and memorandums associated with some 
refuge establishments.
    Response: The Improvement Act, although specific in describing from 
where purposes are specified or derived (laws, proclamations, Executive 
orders, agreements, public land orders, donation documents, and 
administrative memoranda), did not articulate a specific process for 
determining purpose(s). We sought to do that in this policy, 
reiterating what the Improvement Act defined while providing guidance 
for those rare instances where establishing documents do not clearly 
specify purpose(s). We are not authorizing any change of purposes. We 
are only spelling out the process by which we identify the purposes 
that have been established in those specific sources. By doing so, we 
ensure that we will consider what the law requires.
    We also believe trying to describe additional details on refining 
purposes would result in a complicated process that may cause more 
confusion, rather than less. Comprehensive conservation planning teams 
develop goals and objectives consistent with the Improvement Act and 
individual refuge purposes during the CCP process, and we believe that 
process is the forum to solidify, focus, and clarify refuge purposes. 
The planning process provides an opportunity for the involvement of 
representatives of other Federal agencies, State fish and wildlife or 
other conservation agencies, tribes, nongovernmental groups, refuge 
neighbors, and the general public, thus ensuring a balanced approach in 
developing goals and objectives that flow from a refuge's purpose(s). 
In order to further clarify potentially broad refuge purposes, we added 
section 1.19 (How does the Refuge System focus planning and development 
of management goals and objectives for refuges where the purpose(s) 
seems overly broad?).
    This policy maintains the clear direction in the Improvement Act 
that, if a conflict exists between carrying out the purpose(s) of a 
refuge and the

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mission of the Refuge System, refuge purposes take precedence. We have 
strengthened this directive by adding a new section 1.5 on why a 
refuge's purpose(s) has priority over the mission and goals of the 
Refuge System.
    The relationship between multiple purposes on a given refuge and 
additions to existing refuges under different authorities (with 
different purposes) was important to address in the policy (section 
1.15 of the draft policy and section 1.16 of the final policy). 
Purposes, as stated in the Improvement Act, are the basis for 
determining whether a use of the refuge is compatible. Determining 
compatibility of a use is, by its nature, site- or area-specific. 
Extending the purposes of the original refuge to areas that are added 
later is important, especially in those instances where the purpose for 
acquiring tracts or units may be quite different from the purpose of 
the original refuge. However, this extension of the purpose of the 
original refuge does not override or displace the purpose for which the 
new area was acquired. For example, some refuges established under 
authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act added lands under the 
authority of the Refuge Recreation Act. These acts provide very 
different purposes, and we consider it important that the conservation 
purposes of the ``mother refuge'' flow to the additions or ``children'' 
with a recreation purpose to preserve congressional and administrative 
intent. We also consider setting a priority among multiple purposes 
important should a conflict between such purposes arise, and fish and 
wildlife-related purposes take precedence over any nonwildlife purposes 
according to the clear hierarchy established in the Improvement Act and 
associated House Report.

Issue 12: Relationship of Refuge System Mission and Service Mission

    Comment: One commenter requested that section 1.5 in the draft 
policy dealing with the relationship of the Refuge System mission and 
the Service mission be deleted or revised to avoid the interpretation 
that the Service mission has equal weight with the Refuge System 
    Response: We consider it important to explain the mission of the 
Refuge System within the organizational context of the Service (section 
1.7 of the final policy). Within the Refuge System, we are charged with 
achieving refuge purposes and the Refuge System mission. By fulfilling 
these charges, we contribute significantly to the Service mission.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    In accordance with the criteria in Executive Order (E.O.) 12866, 
this document is not a significant regulatory action. The Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) makes the final determination under E.O. 
    1. This document will not have an annual economic effect of $100 
million or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the 
environment, or other units of government. A cost-benefit or full 
economic analysis is not required. This document is administrative and 
procedural in nature. The Improvement Act provides legal recognition 
for the Refuge System mission and its relationship to refuge purposes. 
This policy reiterates the Refuge System mission and provides guidance 
for identifying or determining refuge purpose(s). We expect this policy 
will not cause a measurable economic effect to existing refuge public 
use programs.
    The appropriate measure of the economic effect of changes in 
recreational use is the change in the welfare of recreationists. We 
measure this in terms of willingness to pay for the recreational 
opportunity. We estimated total annual willingness to pay for all 
recreation at refuges to be $792.1 million in fiscal year 2001 (Banking 
on Nature: The Economic Benefits to Local Communities of National 
Wildlife Refuge Visitation, DOI/FWS/Refuges, 2003). We expect the 
policy implemented in this document will not affect public uses of the 
Refuge System. This policy stipulates that, in accordance with 
direction given in the Improvement Act, a refuge purpose will receive 
priority consideration over Refuge System mission should there be a 
conflict between the two.
    2. This document will not create a serious inconsistency or 
otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency 
since the document pertains solely to management of refuges by the 
    3. This document does not alter the budgetary effects of 
entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights or 
obligations of their recipients. No grants or other Federal assistance 
programs are associated with public use of refuges.
    4. This document does not raise novel legal or policy issues; 
however, it does provide guidance for ensuring that conservation and 
management of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats and 
facilitating compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses receive 
priority consideration, in respective order, for administration of the 
Refuge System.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this document will not have a significant economic 
effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).
    Congress created the Refuge System to conserve fish, wildlife, and 
plants and their habitats and facilitated this mission by providing 
Americans opportunities to visit and participate in compatible 
wildlife-dependent recreation (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation 
and photography, and environmental education and interpretation) as 
priority general public uses on refuges and to better appreciate the 
value of, and need for, fish and wildlife conservation.
    This document is administrative and procedural in nature and 
provides a hierarchy of activities on refuges: conservation and 
management of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats, compatible 
wildlife-dependent recreation; and other uses. Since we determine the 
permissibility of wildlife-dependent recreational uses on a refuge with 
the establishment of the refuge, which includes an opportunity for 
public comment, this policy will not significantly affect public uses 
of refuges and, consequently, any business establishments in the 
vicinity of any refuge.
    Refuge visitation is a small component of the wildlife recreation 
industry as a whole. In 2001, 82 million U.S. residents 16 years old 
and older spent 1.2 billion activity-days in wildlife-associated 
recreation activities. They spent about $108 billion on fishing, 
hunting, and wildlife watching trips (Tables 1, 50, 52, and 68, 2001 
National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated 
Recreation, DOI/FWS/FA, 2002). Refuges recorded about 39 million 
visitor-days in fiscal year 2003 (Refuge Management Information System, 
FY2003 Public Use Summary). A 2003 study of refuge visitors found their 
travel spending generated $809 million in sales and 19,000 jobs for 
local economies (Banking on Nature: The Economic Benefits to Local 
Communities of National Wildlife Refuge Visitation, DOI/FWS/Refuges, 
2003). These spending figures include spending which would have 
occurred in the community anyway, and so they show the importance of 
the activity in the local economy rather than its incremental impact. 
Marginally greater

[[Page 36408]]

recreational opportunities on refuges will have little industrywide 
    We expect no changes in expenditures as a result of this document. 
We expect no change in recreational opportunities, so we do not expect 
the document to have a significant economic effect on a substantial 
number of small entities in any region or nationally.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This document is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This document:
    1. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
more. This document will only affect visitors at refuges. It may result 
in increased visitation at refuges and provide for minor changes to the 
methods of public use permitted within the Refuge System. See 
``Regulatory Flexibility Act.''
    2. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions. See ``Regulatory Flexibility Act.''
    3. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. See 
``Regulatory Flexibility Act.''

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501, 
et seq.):
    1. This document will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect 
small governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required. See 
``Regulatory Flexibility Act.''
    2. This document will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million 
or greater in any year; it is not a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. See ``Regulatory Flexibility 

Takings (E.O. 12630)

    In accordance with E.O. 12630, the document does not have 
significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is 
not required. This policy may result in increased visitation at refuges 
and provide for minor changes to the methods of public use permitted 
within the Refuge System. Refer to ``Regulatory Flexibility Act.''

Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    In accordance with E.O. 13132, the document does not have 
significant federalism effects. This document will not have substantial 
direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in 
accordance with E.O. 13132, we have determined that this document does 
not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation 
of a Federalism Assessment.

Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has 
determined that the document does not unduly burden the judicial system 
and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. 
This policy will expand upon established policy and result in better 
understanding of the policy by refuge visitors.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (E.O. 13211)

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued E.O. 13211 on regulations 
that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and use. 
Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy 
Effects when undertaking certain actions. Because this notice provides 
to refuge managers general information on the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Mission and Goals and Refuge Purposes, it is not a significant 
regulatory action under E.O. 12866 and is not expected to significantly 
affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. This notice does not 
designate any areas that have been identified as having oil or gas 
reserves, whether in production or otherwise identified for future use. 
Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments (E.O. 

    In accordance with E.O. 13175, we have evaluated possible effects 
on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there 
are no effects. We coordinate recreational use on refuges with tribal 
governments having adjoining or overlapping jurisdiction before we 
propose the activities. This policy is consistent with and not less 
restrictive than tribal reservation rules.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document does not include any new information collections that 
would require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). An agency may 
not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a 
collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) when developing refuge policies. In 
accordance with 516 DM 2, appendix 1.10, we have determined that this 
document is categorically excluded from the NEPA process because it is 
limited to policies, directives, regulations, and guidelines of an 
administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature, the 
environmental effects of which are too broad, speculative, or 
conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis. Site-specific 
proposals, as indicated above, will be subject to the NEPA process.

Primary Author

    Don Hultman, Refuge Supervisor, Midwest Region, National Wildlife 
Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was the primary author 
of this notice.

Availability of the Policy

    The Final National Wildlife Refuge System Mission and Goals and 
Refuge Purposes Policy is available at this Web site: http://policy.fws.gov/ser600.html.
 Persons without Internet access may request 

a hard copy by contacting the office listed under the heading FOR 

    Dated: January 20, 2006.
H. Dale Hall,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Note: This document was received at the Office of the Federal 
Register on June 21, 2006.

[FR Doc. 06-5643 Filed 6-23-06; 8:45 am]