[Federal Register: October 9, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 194)]
[Page 57344-57345]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce our decision and 
the availability of the Final CCP and FONSI for Mississippi Sandhill 
Crane Refuge in Jackson County, Mississippi. The CCP 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 

[[Page 57345]]

ADDRESSES: A copy of the CCP/FONSI may be obtained by writing to: Lloyd 
Culp, Refuge Manager, Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife 
Refuge, 7200 Crane Lane, Gautier, MS 39553; Telephone: 228/497-6322; 
Fax 228/497-5407. The CCP/FONSI may also be accessed and downloaded 
from the Service's Internet Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we finalize the CCP 
process for Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, begun 
as announced in the Federal Register (70 FR 30478; May 26, 2005). For 
more about the process, see that notice. We released the Draft CCP and 
Environmental Assessment (EA) to the public, requesting comments in a 
notice of availability in the Federal Register (71 FR 67627; November 
22, 2006).
    Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge was established 
in 1975 to safeguard the critically endangered Mississippi sandhill 
crane and its unique disappearing habitat.
    With this notice, we announce our decision and the availability of 
the Final CCP/FONSI in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act [40 CFR Sec.  1506.6(b)] requirements. We completed a 
thorough analysis of the environmental, social, and economic 
considerations, which we included in the Final CCP/FONSI. The FONSI 
documents the selection of Alternative D, the preferred alternative.
    The Draft CCP/EA identified and evaluated four alternatives for 
managing the refuge over the next 15 years. Under Alternative A, the 
no-action alternative, present management would have continued. Current 
approaches to managing and protecting cranes, other wildlife and 
habitats, and allowing for public use would have remain unchanged. 
Under Alternative B, the refuge would have emphasized its biological 
program by applying maximum efforts to enhance habitat conditions and 
increase wildlife populations, particularly the endangered crane. The 
visitor services program would have remained as it is at present. Under 
Alternative C, management would have focused on maximizing 
opportunities for public visitation, increasing both facilities and 
    We chose Alternative D as the preferred alternative. This 
determination was made based on the best professional judgment of the 
planning team and the comments received on the Draft CCP/EA. Under this 
alternative, the refuge will strive to optimize both its biological 
program and its visitor services program. With regard to the 
Mississippi sandhill crane, the refuge's objective will be to provide 
for a self-sustaining crane population of 130 to 170 individuals, 
including 30-35 nesting pairs, fledging 10-15 young annually for at 
least 10 years.
    Over the 15-year life of the plan, the staff will increase emphasis 
on environmental education and interpretation to lead to a better 
understanding of the importance of wildlife and habitat resources, 
especially sandhill cranes, savanna, fire ecology, invasive species, 
endangered species, and migratory birds. Research studies on the refuge 
will be fostered and partnerships developed with universities and other 
agencies, providing needed resources and experiment sites, while 
meeting the needs of the refuge's wildlife and habitat management 
programs. Research will also benefit conservation efforts throughout 
coastal Mississippi to conserve, enhance, restore, and manage native 
habitat. New surveys on birds, reptiles, and amphibians will be 
initiated to develop baseline information.

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

    Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register on October 3, 2007.

    Dated: April 26, 2007.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
 [FR Doc. E7-19798 Filed 10-5-07; 8:45 am]