[Federal Register: January 13, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 9)]
[Page 2264-2265]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Assessment for Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge 
and Wetland Management District, Martin, SD

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment 
(CCP/EA) for the Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) and Wetland 
Management District (WMD) is available for public review and comment. 
This Draft CCP/EA was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act, as amended, and the National Environmental 
Policy Act. The Draft CCP/EA describes the Service's proposal for 
management of the Refuge for 15 years.

DATES: Written comments must be received at the postal or electronic 
addresses listed below by February 13, 2006. Comments may also be 
submitted via electronic mail to: linda_kelly@fws.gov.

ADDRESSES: To provide written comments or to obtain a copy of the Draft 
CCP/EA, please write to Linda Kelly, Planning Team Leader, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, Denver, 
Colorado 80225-0486; (303) 236-8132; fax (303) 236-4792, or Tom 
Koerner, Refuge Manager, Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge, 29746 Bird 
Road, Martin, South Dakota, 57551; (605) 685-6508; fax (605) 685-1173. 
The Draft CCP/EA will also be available for viewing and downloading 
online at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Linda Kelly, Planning Team Leader, at 
the above address or at (303) 236-8132.

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), requires the 
Service to develop a CCP for the Refuge. The purpose in developing a 
CCP 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 CCP identifies wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting; 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).
    Background: The Refuge was established in 1935 by President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt through Executive Order No. 7160 ``* * * as a 
refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.'' 
The Refuge lies in the Lake Creek Valley on the northern edge of the 
Nebraska Sandhills and includes 16,410 acres of native sandhills, sub-
irrigated meadows, impounded fresh water marshes, and tall and mixed 
grass prairie uplands.
    The WMD was started as part of the Small Wetlands Acquisition 
Program, in the 1950s, to save wetlands from various threats, 
particularly draining. The passage of Public Law 85-585, in August of 
1958, amended the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act 
(Duck Stamp Act) of 1934, allowing for the acquisition of Waterfowl 
Production Areas and Easements for Waterfowl Management Rights 
(easements). The WMD is located in Stanley, Todd, Harding, Jackson, 
Jones, Lawrence, Lyman, Meade, Mellette, Fall River, Haakon, Custer, 
Pennington, Bennett, and Butte counties.
    Significant issues addressed in the Draft CCP/EA include: habitat 
and wildlife management; visitor services; cultural resources; and 
partnerships. The Service developed three alternatives for management 
of the Refuge: Alternative A--No Action; Alternative B--Integrated 
Restoration (Proposed Action); Alternative C--Comprehensive Grassland 
Restoration. All three alternatives outline specific management 
objectives and strategies related to wildlife and habitat management, 
visitor services, cultural resources, and partnerships.
    Alternative A--Current Management (No Action): Under this 
alternative, management activity being conducted by the Service would 
remain the same. The Service would not develop any new management, 
restoration, or education programs at the Refuge. Current habitat

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and wildlife practices benefiting migratory species and other wildlife 
would not be expanded or changed. The staff would perform limited, 
issue-driven research and only monitor long-term vegetation change. No 
new species management would be initiated, including black-tailed 
prairie dogs. No new funding or staff levels would occur, and programs 
would follow the same direction, emphasis, and intensity as they do at 
present. The staff would continue to manage the WMD through monitoring 
and enforcing easements.
    Alternative B--Integrated Restoration (Proposed Action): This 
alternative is the proposed action for the Refuge and WMD Draft CCP/EA. 
Through an integrated restoration approach, the Refuge would strive to 
restore ecological processes and achieve habitat conditions that 
require reduced management over time while recognizing the place of the 
Refuge in the overall landscape and community. An emphasis on 
monitoring the effects of habitat management practices and use of the 
research results to direct ongoing restoration would be a priority. 
Current levels of priority public uses and activity would increase. New 
species management would be initiated for black-tailed prairie dogs to 
facilitate prairie restoration efforts and reduce damage to adjacent 
private lands. The staff would continue to manage the WMD through 
monitoring and enforcement of easements.
    Alternative C--Comprehensive Grassland Restoration: Under this 
alternative, the Refuge staff would focus management on restoration of 
grassland habitat and its associated species. Current levels of 
priority wildlife-dependent public uses would increase with educational 
priorities placed on habitat restoration. Research activities would 
focus on management practices on targeted grassland species. No new 
species management would be initiated, including black-tailed prairie 
dogs. The staff would continue to manage the WMD through monitoring and 
enforcement of easements.
    The review and comment period is 30 calendar days commencing with 
publication of this Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. 
After the review and comment period for this Draft CCP/EA, all comments 
will be analyzed and considered by the Service. All comments received 
from individuals on the Draft CCP/EA become part of the official public 
record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with 
the Freedom of Information Act and other Service and Departmental 
policies and procedures.

    Dated: November 28, 2005.
Ralph O. Morgenweck,
Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, CO.
 [FR Doc. E6-302 Filed 1-12-06; 8:45 am]