[Federal Register: October 17, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 200)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 58981-58989]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 58981]]


Part V

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


50 CFR Part 26

Public Access, Use, and Recreation Regulations for the Upper 
Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge; Proposed Rule

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Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 26

RIN 1018-AV43

Public Access, Use, and Recreation Regulations for the Upper 
Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose new 
regulations for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish 
Refuge (refuge) to govern existing general public use and recreation. 
If adopted, these changes would take effect in spring 2008 and would 
implement the recently completed comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) 
for the refuge. This proposed regulation would, if made final, codify 
many existing refuge regulations currently published in and by 
brochures, signs, maps, and other forms of public notice.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before December 17, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to Refuge Manager, Upper Mississippi 
River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, 51 East Fourth Street, Room 
101, Winona, MN 55987. See ``Request for Comments'' under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for information on electronic submission. You may also 
request information on the refuge's public use programs and the 
conditions that apply to them, or request copies of compatibility 
determinations or other information, at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Hultman, (507) 452-4232; Fax (507) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Upper Mississippi River National 
Wildlife and Fish Refuge (refuge) encompasses 240,000 acres in a more-
or-less continuous stretch of 261 miles of Mississippi River floodplain 
in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Congress established the 
refuge in 1924 to provide a ``refuge and breeding place'' for migratory 
birds, fish, other wildlife, and plants. The refuge is perhaps the most 
important corridor of habitat in the central United States, due to its 
species diversity and abundance, and it is the most visited refuge in 
the United States, with 3.7 million annual visitors.
    The development of an environmental impact statement (EIS) and CCP 
for the refuge began with a notice of intent to prepare the EIS, which 
we published in the Federal Register on May 30, 2002 (67 FR 37852). We 
followed with a notice of availability of our Draft EIS (April 28, 
2005; 70 FR 22085), and we accepted public comments on the Draft EIS 
for 120 days. On October 7, 2005, we published a notice of intent to 
prepare a Supplement to the Draft EIS (70 FR 58738). We made the 
Supplement to the Draft EIS available on December 5, 2005 (70 FR 
72462), and accepted public comments on that document for 60 days, 
extended to 90 days (January 17, 2006, 71 FR 2561).
    We offered public involvement through 46 public meetings and 
workshops attended by 4,500 persons in 14 different communities in 4 
States during the 4-year planning process. In addition, we held or 
attended 80 other meetings with the States, other agencies, interest 
groups, and elected officials to discuss the Draft EIS, and mailed 
three different planning update newsletters to up to 4,900 persons or 
organizations on our planning mailing list. We also issued numerous 
news releases at various planning milestones, and held two press 
    On July 11, 2006, we published a notice of availability of our 
Final EIS (71 FR 39125), and we accepted public comments on the Final 
EIS for 30 days. On August 24, 2006, the Regional Director of the 
Midwest Region of the Fish and Wildlife Service signed the Record of 
Decision that documented the selection of Alternative E, the Preferred 
Alternative presented in the Final EIS. We published a notice of 
availability of that Record of Decision on November 2, 2006 (71 FR 
    In accordance with the Record of Decision, we prepared a CCP based 
on Alternative E. The CCP was approved on October 24, 2006. The 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 [16 U.S.C. 
668dd-668ee (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act)] requires the 
Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to manage each refuge in a manner 
consistent with a completed CCP. The Final EIS and CCP are available at 

    In accordance with the recently completed CCP, on June 28, 2007, we 
published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (72 FR 35380) 
identifying amendments to the refuge-specific regulations for hunting 
and sport fishing on the refuge and invited 30 days of public comment. 
We published the final rule on September 7, 2007 (72 FR 51534).
    This recreation regulation proposal implements the goals, 
objectives, and strategies spelled out in the CCP pertaining to 
wildlife observation, photography, interpretation, environmental 
recreation, and other forms of recreation, access, and use such as 
boating and camping.
    The proposal also codifies current refuge-specific regulations 
contained in brochures and signs and on maps, fine-tunes the language 
of same for clarity and ease of enforcement, and generally modernizes 
the regulations for consistency with the principles of sound fish, 
wildlife, and recreation management.
    Proposed regulations stemming from the CCP include the 
establishment of 4 new electric motor-only areas totaling 1,630 acres 
(1 such area of 222 acres already exists) and 8 new seasonal slow, no-
wake areas totaling 9,370 acres. In electric motor-only areas, 
watercraft may only be powered by electric motors or nonmotorized 
means. In slow, no-wake areas from March 16 through October 31, 
watercraft must travel at slow, no-wake speed, and we prohibit airboats 
and hovercraft. These areas remain open to all forms of recreation, 
including hunting and fishing, and only the means of access changes to 
lessen wildlife and habitat disturbance and balance the needs of the 
estimated 3.7 million annual visitors to the refuge. Collectively, 
these areas account for 8 percent of the water area of the refuge, 
leaving 92 percent of the water area of the refuge open to watercraft 
without restriction.
    Other regulations stemming from the CCP include a ban of glass food 
and beverage containers on beach areas and other lands of the refuge; 
clarifying the definition and requirements for camping and campsite 
sanitation; clarifying rules for fire and firewood use; and clarifying 
rules for vehicles, firearms, and domestic animals on the refuge.
    The Administration Act authorizes the Secretary to allow uses of 
refuge areas, including wildlife-dependent and other recreation, upon a 
determination that such uses are compatible with the purposes of the 
refuge and National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) mission. The 
action also must be in accordance with provisions of all laws 
applicable to the areas, developed in coordination with the appropriate 
State fish and wildlife agency(ies), and consistent with the principles 
of sound fish and wildlife management and administration. These 
requirements ensure that we maintain the biological integrity, 
diversity, and environmental health of the Refuge System for the

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benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
    The Secretary is required to prepare a CCP for each refuge and 
shall manage each refuge consistent with the CCP. Each CCP must 
identify and describe the refuge purposes; fish, wildlife, and plant 
populations; cultural resources; areas for administrative or visitor 
facilities; significant problems affecting resources and actions 
necessary; and opportunities for compatible wildlife-dependent 
recreation. We must also develop each CCP through consultation with the 
other States, agencies, and the public, and coordinate with applicable 
State conservation plans.
    Each CCP is guided by the overarching requirement that we manage 
refuges to fulfill the purposes for which they were established and to 
carry out the mission of the Refuge System. In addition, the 
Improvement Act requires that we administer the Refuge System to 
provide for the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plants and their 
habitats, and to ensure their biological integrity, diversity, and 
environmental health.
    We developed the CCP for the refuge in accordance with all 
requirements and in accordance with the consultation and public 
involvement provisions of the Improvement Act. This includes new 
compatibility determinations for interpretation, wildlife observation 
and photography, environmental education, beach-related uses, boating, 
camping, and other allowed recreation. We reference and list these 
compatibility determinations in Appendix E of the Final EIS. We then 
developed this proposed rule to implement portions of the CCP.

Plain Language Mandate

    In this proposed rule, we comply with a Presidential mandate to use 
plain language in regulations. As examples, we use ``you'' to refer to 
the reader and ``we'' to refer to the Service, the word ``allow'' 
instead of ``permit'' when we do not require the use of a permit for an 
activity, and we use active voice whenever possible (i.e., ``We allow 
camping on all lands and waters of the refuge'' rather than ``Camping 
is allowed on all lands and waters of the refuge'').

Statutory Authority

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1977 and the Refuge Recreation Act of 1962 (16 
U.S.C. 460k-460k-4) (Recreation Act) govern the administration and 
public use of refuges.
    This document proposes to codify in the Code of Federal Regulations 
public use and recreation regulations that are applicable to the Upper 
Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. We are proposing 
this to implement the refuge CCP, better inform the general public of 
the regulations at the refuge, increase understanding and compliance 
with these regulations, and make enforcement of these regulations more 
efficient. In addition to finding these regulations in 50 CFR part 26, 
visitors will find them reiterated in literature distributed by the 
refuge and posted on signs at major access points. Visitors will also 
find the boundaries of closed areas or other restricted-use areas 
referenced in these regulations marked by specific signs.
    This proposal includes cross-references to a number of existing 
regulations in 50 CFR parts 26, 27, and 32 to assist visitors with 
understanding safety and other legal requirements on refuges. This 
redundancy is deliberate, with the intention of improving safety and 
compliance in our general public use and recreation programs.

Request for Comments

    You may comment on this proposed rule by any one of several 
    1. You may comment via e-mail to: uppermississippiriver@fws.gov. 
Please include: ``Attn: Recreation Regs.'' and your full name and 
return mailing address in your e-mail message (see ``Public 
Availability of Comments,'' below). If you do not receive a 
confirmation that we have received your e-mail message, contact us 
directly at (507) 452-4232.
    2. You may mail or hand-deliver/courier your comments to: Refuge 
Manager, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, 51 
East Fourth Street, Room 101, Winona, MN 55987.
    3. You may fax comments to: Refuge Manager, Upper Mississippi River 
National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, at (507) 452-0851.
    4. You may submit comments online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for 

submitting comments.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Public Comment

    Department of the Interior policy is, whenever practicable, to 
afford the public a meaningful opportunity to participate in the 
rulemaking process. During preparation of the refuge CCP, we used an 
extensive public information, outreach, and comment process, including 
46 public meetings or workshops attended by 4,500 persons and 80 other 
meetings with State department of natural resources agencies, other 
agencies, interest groups, elected officials, and other Service and 
Department of Interior offices. We received and responded to a total of 
3,230 written comments in the Final EIS. This document, and its 
publication as a proposed rule in the Federal Register, will provide an 
additional opportunity for comment during the 60-day comment period.
    We believe that a 60-day comment period, through this broader 
publication following the earlier public involvement, gives the public 
sufficient time to comment. In addition, in order to continue to 
provide for previously authorized recreation opportunities while at the 
same time providing for adequate resource and visitor protection, we 
must be timely in providing modifications to recreation programs on 
refuges. We also need adequate time to prepare brochures and maps and 
to install signs to properly inform the public of pending changes.
    If adopted, we will incorporate these proposed regulations into 50 
CFR part 26.34 (Minnesota). Part 26 contains general provisions, and 
part 26.34 contains refuge-specific regulations for public use and 
recreation on refuges.

Clarity of This Rule

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 requires each agency to write 
regulations that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how 
to make this proposed rule easier to understand, including answers to 
questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the rule 
clearly stated? (2) Does the rule contain technical language or jargon 
that interferes with its clarity? (3) Does the format of the rule 
(e.g., grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) 
aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to understand 
if it were divided into more (but shorter) sections? (5) Is the 
description of the rule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section 
helpful to you in understanding the rule? (6) What else could we do to 

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the proposed rule easier to understand? Send a copy of any comments on 
how we could make this proposed rule easier to understand to: Office of 
Regulatory Affairs, Department of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240. You may e-mail your comments to: 

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with the criteria in E.O. 12866, we assert that this 
rule is not a significant regulatory action. The Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) makes the final determination under E.O. 12866.
    a. This proposed rule would not have an annual economic effect of 
$100 million or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, 
jobs, the environment, or other units of the government. A cost-benefit 
and full economic analysis is not required. However, a brief assessment 
follows to clarify the costs and benefits associated with this proposed 
    The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement public use and 
recreation regulations on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife 
and Fish Refuge beginning with the spring 2008 recreation season. These 
regulations are derived from and are consistent with the CCP approved 
October 24, 2006. We documented the environmental and socioeconomic 
impacts of the CCP in the Final EIS (available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/uppermiss

Costs Incurred

    Costs incurred by this proposed regulation include sign-posting, 
leaflet preparation and printing to provide information to the public, 
law enforcement, and monitoring. However, these are regular and 
recurring functions on the refuge with or without these proposed 
regulations, and we can handle these functions within normal budget and 
staffing levels. Therefore, we expect any costs to be minor in the 
short term and negligible in the long term.

Benefits Accrued

    These proposed regulations would have several effects on wildlife 
observation, recreational boating, camping, and other beach-related 
uses such as swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing. These public uses 
account for the most annual refuge visits (1.67 million) outside of 
hunting and fishing. All of these uses will continue, although in some 
areas the means of use will change to balance the needs of a diverse 
public who enjoys the refuge in various ways, to safeguard visitors, 
and to safeguard sensitive fish and wildlife habitat.
    We estimate that wildlife observation visits will increase 20 
percent over the 15-year life of the CCP due to overall long-term 
trends in wildlife observation visits, habitat improvements, access 
improvements, and a marked increase in wildlife observation-related 
facilities outlined in the CCP. We predict these regulations to have a 
corresponding increase in positive economic impact as reflected in 
Table 1 below.
    Table 1 shows the expected change by the end of the 15-year life of 
the CCP resulting from the implementation of the 2008 public use and 
recreation regulations compared with FY 2003 for the 19-county area on 
and adjacent to the refuge. We expect annual wildlife observation 
visitation to increase by 20 percent, resulting in 61,403 more wildlife 
observation visits. Retail expenditures associated with this increased 
visitation total $812,658, with total economic output (based on an 
output multiplier of 1.23 for the 19-county region impacted by the 
refuge) of $993,723. An additional 14 jobs with associated income of 
$214,297 would occur, along with an additional $104,531 in Federal and 
State tax revenue.

   Table 1.--Annual Economic Impacts of 2008 Public Use and Recreation
Regulations Compared With FY 2003 Impacts: Wildlife Observation Visitors
                             [2003 dollars]
                                                           (change from
                 Impacts                      FY 2003     FY 2003 for 15-
                                                           year span of
Wildlife Observation Visitors...........         307,013         +61,403
Expenditures............................      $4,063,292       +$812,658
Economic Output.........................      $4,968,614       +$993,723
Jobs....................................              68             +14
Job Income..............................      $1,071,484       +$214,297
Federal and State Taxes.................        $522,657       +$104,531

    These proposed regulations would have several effects on current 
boating opportunities on the refuge. Approximately 140,000 acres of 
water would remain open to boating, but 1,852 acres of backwater areas 
would be designated electric motor only and another 9,370 acres would 
be designated seasonal (March 16 through October 31) slow, no-wake 
areas where boaters must travel at slow, no-wake speed, and we would 
prohibit airboats and hovercraft. Collectively, these areas account for 
8 percent of the water area of the refuge. These areas remain open to 
all allowed uses.
    These proposed regulations would have little effect on camping and 
other beach-related use levels, since the areas open would remain 
virtually unchanged. These proposed regulations could, however, improve 
the quality of the experience by clarifying and fine-tuning existing 
regulations on camping, boat mooring, reserving sites, length of stay, 
campfires, sanitation, and other aspects of the use which can cause 
conflicts among visitors. Also, a regulation banning the possession of 
glass food and beverage containers on beaches and other lands will 
improve visitor safety.
    We expect annual visits for boating, camping, and beach-related 
activities to remain about the same, although we expect visits for 
silent watercraft recreation (canoes and kayaks) to increase an 
estimated 15 percent due to the electric motor areas and slow, no-wake 
areas. We predict the 2008 regulations to have a corresponding modest 
positive change in economic impact as reflected in Table 2.
    Table 2 shows the expected change by the end of the 15-year CCP 
lifespan resulting from the implementation of the 2008 public use and 
recreation regulations compared with FY 2003 in the 19-county area. We 
expect the

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annual number of boating, camping, and beach-related use visitors to 
increase by 2,044, with associated retail expenditures of $52,010 and 
total economic output of $63,400. We associate these expenditures and 
output with 1 job and $213,567 in job-related income. Federal and State 
tax revenue would increase by $6,838.

   Table 2.--Annual Economic Impacts of 2008 Public Use and Recreation
Regulations Compared With FY 2003 Impacts: Recreational Boating, Camping
                  and Other Beach-related Use Visitors
                             [2003 dollars]
                                                           (change from
                 Impacts                      FY 2003     FY 2003 for 15-
                                                           year span of
Boating, Camping, and other Beach Use          1,362,851          +2,044
Expenditures............................     $34,673,216        +$52,010
Economic Output.........................     $42,266,199        +$63,400
Jobs....................................             535              +1
Job Income..............................      $9,044,582       +$213,567
Federal and State Taxes.................      $4,558,847         +$6,838

    b. This proposed rule will not create inconsistencies with other 
agencies' actions. This action pertains solely to the management of the 
Refuge System. The wildlife observation, boating, camping and other 
general recreation activities located on the Upper Mississippi River 
National Wildlife and Fish Refuge account for less than 1 percent of 
the available supply in the United States. Any small, incremental 
change in the supply of recreational opportunities will not measurably 
impact any other agency's existing programs.
    c. This proposed rule will not materially affect entitlements, 
grants, user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of 
their recipients. This proposed rule does not affect entitlement 
programs. There are no grants or other Federal assistance programs 
associated with public use on national wildlife refuges.
    d. This proposed rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues 
that were not addressed in the Final EIS. This proposed rule continues 
the practice of allowing recreational public use of the refuge. Many 
refuges in the Refuge System currently have opportunities for the 
public to engage in interpretation, wildlife observation, and other 
wildlife-dependent uses, and also allow regulated boating, camping, and 
other general recreation.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (as amended by the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act [SBREFA] of 1996) (5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq.), whenever a Federal agency is required to publish a 
notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare 
and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis 
that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
an agency certifies that the rule would not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a 
regulatory flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a 
threshold for ``significant impact'' and a threshold for a 
``substantial number of small entities.'' See 5 U.S.C. 605(b). SBREFA 
amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to 
provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
    This proposed rule does not decrease the number of recreation types 
allowed on the refuge but amends current noncodified regulations on the 
refuge. As a result, opportunities for wildlife observation, boating, 
camping, and other general recreation on the refuge will remain 
abundant and increase over time.
    Many small businesses within the retail trade industry (such as 
hotels, gas stations, outdoor sports shops, etc.) may benefit from some 
increased refuge visitation. A large percentage of these retail trade 
establishments in the majority of affected counties qualify as small 
businesses (Table 3).
    We expect that the incremental recreational opportunities will be 
scattered, and so we do not expect that the rule will have a 
significant economic effect (benefit) on a substantial number of small 
entities in any given community or county. Using the estimate derived 
in the Regulatory Planning and Review section, we expect recreationists 
to spend an additional $865,000 annually in total in the refuges' local 
economies. As shown in Table 3, this represents less than 0.001 percent 
of the total amount of retail expenditures in the 19-county area. For 
comparison purposes, we show the county with the smallest retail 
expenditure total, Buffalo County in Wisconsin. If the entire retail 
trade expenditures associated with the 2008 public use and recreation 
regulations occurred in Buffalo County, this would amount to a 1.48 
percent increase in annual retail expenditures.

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    Table 3.--Comparative Expenditures for Retail Trade Associated With Additional Refuge Visitation From 2008 Public Use and Recreation Regulations
                                                                          Change due to 2008
                                                                            public use and     Change as percent    Total number of     Establishments
                                                        Retail trade in       recreation        of total retail         retail        with fewer than 10
                                                             2002          regulations  (15-         trade          establishments         employees
                                                                           year span of CCP)
19 County Area......................................        $9.8 billion            $864,668              0.0097              24,878              17,957
Buffalo County, WI..................................       $58.3 million            $864,668                1.48                 350                 290

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. We anticipate no 
significant employment or small business effects. This rule:
    a. Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more. By the end of the 15-year CCP lifespan, the additional 
recreational opportunities on the refuge would generate an additional 
$865,000 in visitor expenditures with an economic impact estimated at 
$1.06 million per year (2003 dollars). Consequently, the maximum 
benefit of this rule for businesses both small and large would not be 
sufficient to make this a major rule. The impact would be scattered 
across 19 counties and would most likely not be significant in any 
local area.
    b. Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government 
agencies; or geographic regions. We do not expect this proposed rule to 
affect the supply or demand for wildlife observation, boating, camping, 
and other general recreation opportunities in the United States and, 
therefore, it should not affect prices for related recreation equipment 
and supplies, or the retailers that sell equipment. Additional refuge 
recreation opportunities would account for a virtually undetectable 
percent of the available opportunities in the United States.
    c. Would 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. This 
proposed rule represents only a small proportion of recreational 
spending of a small number of affected wildlife observers, boaters, 
campers and other recreationists, approximately a maximum of $1.06 
million annually in impact (economic output). Therefore, this rule 
would have no measurable economic effect on the wildlife-dependent, 
boating, and camping industries, which have annual sales of equipment 
and travel expenditures of over $120 billion nationwide in 2006.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Since this proposed rule would apply to public use of federally 
owned and managed refuges, it would not impose an unfunded mandate on 
State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector of more than 
$100 million per year. The rule would not have a significant or unique 
effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. A 
statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

Takings (E.O. 12630)

    In accordance with E.O. 12630, this proposed rule would not have 
significant takings implications. This regulation would affect only 
visitors to the refuge and describe what they can do while they are on 
the refuge.

Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    As discussed in the Regulatory Planning and Review and Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act sections above, this proposed rule would not have 
sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment under E.O. 13132. In preparing the CCP for the 
refuge, we worked closely with the four States bordering the refuge, 
and this proposed rule reflects the CCP.

Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has 
determined that the proposed rule would not unduly burden the judicial 
system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order. This proposal would clarify and codify established 
regulations and result in better understanding of the regulations 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. E.O. 
13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when 
undertaking certain actions. Because this proposed rule is a 
modification of existing public use and recreation programs on the 
refuge, it is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 12866, and 
we do not expect it to significantly affect energy supplies, 
distribution, and use. Therefore, this action is a 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 national wildlife 
refuges with Tribal governments having adjoining or overlapping 
jurisdiction before we propose changes to the regulations. During 
scoping and preparation of the Final EIS, we contacted 35 Indian tribes 
to inform them of the process and seek their comments.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This regulation does not contain any information collection 
requirements other than those already approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq.) (OMB Control Number is 1018-0102). See 50 CFR 25.23 for 
information concerning that approval. 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.

Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation

    During preparation of the Final EIS, we completed a section 7 

[[Page 58987]]

and determined that the preferred alternative, which included public 
use and recreation changes reflected in this proposed rule, is not 
likely to adversely affect individuals of listed or candidate species 
or designated critical habitat of such species. The Service's 
Ecological Services Office concurred with this determination. Listed 
species on the refuge are the Higgins eye pearly mussel and candidate 
species are the Eastern massasauga and spectaclecase and sheepnose 
mussels. A copy of the section 7 evaluation and accompanying biological 
assessment is available from the refuge at the location listed in the 
ADDRESSES section of this document.

National Environmental Policy Act

    Concerning the actions that are the subject of this proposed 
rulemaking, we have complied with NEPA through the preparation of a 
Final EIS and Record of Decision which include the major public use and 
recreation changes reflected in this proposed rule. The NEPA documents 
are available on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/uppermiss

Available Information for Specific Districts of the Refuge

    The refuge is divided into four districts for management, 
administrative, and public service effectiveness and efficiency. These 
districts correspond to two or more Mississippi River navigation pools 
created by the series of locks and dams on the river. District offices 
are located in Winona, Minnesota (Pools 4-6); La Crosse, Wisconsin 
(Pools 7-8); McGregor, Iowa (Pools 9-11); and Savanna, Illinois (Pools 
12-14). If you are interested in specific information pertaining to a 
particular electric motor area; slow, no-wake area; or other feature 
discussed in this proposed rule, you may contact the appropriate 
district office listed below:
    Winona District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 51 East Fourth 
Street, Room 203, Winona, MN 55987; Telephone (507) 454-7351.
    La Crosse District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 555 Lester 
Avenue, Onalaska, WI 54650; Telephone (608) 783-8405.
    McGregor District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 460, 
McGregor, IA 52157; Telephone (563) 873-3423.
    Savanna District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 7071 Riverview 
Road, Thomson, IL 61285; Telephone (815) 273-2732.

Primary Author

    Don Hultman, Refuge Manager, Upper Mississippi River National 
Wildlife and Fish Refuge, is the primary author of this rulemaking 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 26

    Recreation and recreation areas, Wildlife refuges.
    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, we propose to amend 
title 50, Chapter I, subchapter C of the Code of Federal Regulations as 


    1. Revise the authority citation for part 26 to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 16 U.S.C. 460k, 664, 668dd-668ee, and 
715i; Pub. L. 96-315 (94 Stat. 958) and Pub. L. 98-146 (97 Stat. 
    2. Revise the heading, add an introductory paragraph, and 
alphabetically add listings for the States of Illinois, Iowa, 
Minnesota, and Wisconsin to Sec.  26.34 to read as follows:

Sec.  26.34  What are the special regulations concerning public access, 
use and recreation for individual national wildlife refuges?

    The following refuge units, listed in alphabetical order by State 
and unit name, have refuge-specific regulations for public access, use, 
and recreation.


Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

    Refer to Sec.  26.34 Minnesota for regulations.


Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

    Refer to Sec.  26.34 Minnesota for regulations.


Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

    (a) Wildlife Observation, Photography, Interpretation, 
Environmental Education, and Other General Recreational Uses. We allow 
wildlife-dependent uses and other recreational uses such as, but not 
limited to, sightseeing, hiking, bicycling on roads or trails, 
picnicking, and swimming, on areas designated by the refuge manager and 
shown on maps available at refuge offices, subject to the following 
    (1) In areas posted and shown on maps as ``No Entry--Sanctuary,'' 
we prohibit entry as specified on signs or maps (see Sec.  32.42 of 
this chapter for list of areas and locations).
    (2) In areas posted and shown on maps as ``Area Closed,'' ``Area 
Closed--No Motors,'' and ``No Hunting Zone'' (Goose Island), we ask 
that you practice voluntary avoidance of these areas by any means or 
for any purpose from October 15 to the end of the respective State duck 
hunting season. In areas marked ``no motors,'' we prohibit the use of 
motors on watercraft from October 15 to the end of the respective State 
duck hunting season (see Sec.  32.42 of this chapter for list of areas 
and locations).
    (3) Commercial tours and filming require a permit issued by the 
refuge or district manager (see Sec.  27.51 of this chapter).
    (4) We allow the collecting of edible fruits, nuts, mushrooms, or 
other plant parts for personal use (no sale or barter allowed). We 
limit the amount you may collect to 2 gallons by volume per person, per 
day (see Sec.  27.51 of this chapter).
    (5) We prohibit the harvest of wild rice; plant and animal 
specimens; and other natural objects, including shed deer antlers, 
rocks, stones, or minerals. We only allow the collection of plants or 
their parts for ornamental use by permit issued by the refuge or 
district manager (see Sec.  27.51 of this chapter).
    (6) We prohibit the cutting, removal, or damage of any tree or 
vegetation, or the possession of a chainsaw on the refuge, without a 
permit from the refuge or district manager. We prohibit attaching 
nails, screws, or other hardware to any tree (see Sec.  27.51 and Sec.  
32.42 of this chapter).
    (7) We prohibit all vehicle use on or across refuge lands at any 
time except on designated routes of travel or on the ice over navigable 
waters accessed from boat landings. We prohibit parking beyond vehicle 
control barriers or on grass or other vegetation. We prohibit parking 
or operating vehicles in a manner that obstructs or impedes any road, 
trail, fire lane, boat ramp, access gate, or other facility, or in a 
manner that creates a safety hazard or endangers any person, property, 
or environmental feature. We may impound any vehicle left parked in 
violation at the owner's expense (see Sec.  27.31(h) of this chapter).
    (8) We allow dogs and other domestic animals on the refuge subject 
to the following conditions:
    (i) We prohibit dogs disturbing or endangering wildlife or people 
while on the refuge.
    (ii) While on the refuge, all dogs must be under the control of 
their owners/handlers at all times or on a leash.
    (iii) We prohibit allowing dogs to roam.

[[Page 58988]]

    (iv) All dogs must be on a leash when on hiking trails, or other 
areas so posted.
    (v) We allow working a dog in refuge waters by tossing a retrieval 
dummy or other object for out-and-back exercise.
    (vi) We encourage the use of dogs for hunting (see Sec.  32.42 of 
this chapter), but we prohibit field trials and commercial/professional 
dog training.
    (vii) Owners/handlers of dogs are responsible for disposal of dog 
droppings in refuge public use concentration areas such as trails, 
sandbars, and boat landings.
    (viii) We prohibit horses and all other domestic animals on the 
refuge unless confined in a vehicle, boat, trailer, kennel or other 
container (see Sec.  26.21 of this chapter).
    (9) We prohibit the carrying, possessing, or discharging of 
firearms (including dog training pistols and dummy launchers), air 
guns, or any other weapons on the refuge, unless you are a licensed 
hunter or trapper engaged in authorized activities during established 
seasons, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations. We 
prohibit target practice on the refuge (see Sec. Sec.  27.42 and 27.43 
of this chapter).
    (10) We prohibit the use or possession of glass food and beverage 
containers on lands within the refuge.
    (11) We require that you keep all refuge lands clean during your 
period of use or occupancy. At all times you must keep all refuse, 
trash, and litter contained in bags or other suitable containers and 
not left scattered on the ground or in the water. You must remove all 
personal property, refuse, trash, and litter immediately upon vacating 
a site. We require that human solid waste and associated material be 
either removed and properly disposed of off-refuge or be buried on site 
to a depth of 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) and at least 50 feet (15 m) from 
water's edge (see Sec.  27.94 of this chapter).
    (b) Watercraft Use. We allow the use of watercraft of all types and 
means of propulsion on all navigable waters of the refuge in accordance 
with State regulations subject to the following conditions:
    (1) In areas posted and shown on maps as ``Electric Motor Area,'' 
we prohibit motorized vehicles and watercraft year-round except 
watercraft powered by electric motors or nonmotorized means. We do not 
prohibit the possession of other watercraft motors in these areas, only 
their use. These areas are named and located as follows:
    (i) Island 42, Pool 5, Minnesota, 459 acres.
    (ii) Snyder Lake, Pool 5A, Minnesota, 182 acres.
    (iii) Mertes Slough, Pool 6, Wisconsin, 222 acres.
    (iv) Browns Marsh, Pool 7, Wisconsin, 827 acres.
    (v) Hoosier Lake, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 162 acres.
    (2) In areas posted and shown on maps as ``Slow No Wake Area,'' we 
require watercraft to travel at slow, no-wake speed from March 16 
through October 31. We apply the applicable State definition of slow, 
no-wake operation in these areas. We also prohibit the operation of 
airboats or hovercraft in these areas from March 16 through October 31. 
These areas are named and located as follows:
    (i) Nelson-Trevino, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 2,626 acres (takes effect 
March 16, 2009).
    (ii) Denzers Slough, Pool 5A, Minnesota, 83 acres.
    (iii) Black River Bottoms, Pool 7, Wisconsin, 815 acres.
    (iv) Blue/Target Lake, Pool 8, Minnesota, 1,834 acres.
    (v) Root River, Pool 8, Minnesota, 695 acres.
    (vi) Reno Bottoms, Pool 9, Minnesota, 2,536 acres.
    (vii) Nine Mile Island, Pool 12, Iowa, 454 acres.
    (viii) Princeton, Pool 14, Iowa, 327 acres.
    (3) In water access and travel routes posted and shown on maps as 
``Slow No Wake Zone,'' we require watercraft to travel at slow, no-wake 
speed at all times unless otherwise posted. We apply the respective 
State definition of slow, no-wake operation in these areas.
    (4) In portions of Spring Lake and Crooked Slough--Lost Mound, Pool 
13, Illinois, posted as ``Slow, 5 mph When Boats Present'' and marked 
on maps as ``Speed/Distance Regulation,'' we require watercraft 
operators to reduce the speed of their watercraft to less than 5 mph (8 
kph) when within 100 feet (30 m) of another watercraft that is anchored 
or underway at 5 mph (8 kph) or less.
    (5) We prohibit the mooring, beaching, or storing of watercraft on 
the refuge without being used at least once every 24 hours. We define 
``being used'' as a watercraft moved at least 100 feet (30 m) on the 
water with operator on board. We prohibit the mooring of watercraft 
within 200 feet (60 m) of refuge boat landings or ramps. We may impound 
any watercraft moored in violation at the owner's expense (see Sec.  
27.32 of this chapter).
    (6) Conditions A1, A2, and A11 apply.
    (c) Camping. We allow camping on all lands and waters of the refuge 
as designated by the refuge manager and shown on maps available at 
refuge offices subject to the following conditions:
    (1) We define camping as erecting a tent or shelter of natural or 
synthetic material, preparing a sleeping bag or other bedding material 
for use, parking of a motor vehicle or mooring or anchoring of a 
vessel, for the apparent purpose of overnight occupancy, or, occupying 
or leaving personal property, including boats or other craft, at a site 
anytime between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.
    (2) We prohibit camping at any one site for a period longer than 14 
days during any 30-consecutive-day period. After 14 days, you must move 
all persons, property, equipment, and boats to a new site located at 
least .5 mile (.8 km) from the previous site.
    (3) We prohibit camping within 100 feet (30 meters) of any refuge 
boat landing, access area, parking lot, structure, road, trail, or 
other recreation or management facility.
    (4) We prohibit camping during waterfowl hunting seasons within 
areas posted ``No Entry--Sanctuary,'' ``Area Closed,'' ``Area Closed--
No Motors,'' and ``No Hunting Zone'' or on any sites not clearly 
visible from the main commercial navigation channel of the Mississippi 
River (see Sec.  32.42 of this chapter).
    (5) You must occupy campsites daily. We prohibit the leaving of 
tents, camping equipment, or other property unattended at any site for 
over 24 hours, and we may impound any equipment left in violation at 
the owner's expense. We define occupy and attended as being present at 
a site for a minimum of 2 hours daily.
    (6) You must remove any tables, fireplaces, or other facilities 
erected upon vacating a camping or day-use site.
    (7) We allow campfires in conjunction with camping and day-use 
activities subject to the following conditions (see Sec.  27.95 and 
Sec.  32.42 of this chapter):
    (i) You may only use dead wood on the ground, or materials brought 
into the refuge such as charcoal or firewood. You must remove any 
unused firewood brought into the refuge upon departure due to the 
threat of invasive insects.
    (ii) We prohibit building, attending, and maintaining a campfire 
without sufficient clearance from flammable materials so as to prevent 
its escape.
    (iii) We prohibit building a fire at any developed facility 
including, but not limited to, boat landings, access areas, parking 
lots, roads, trails or any other recreation or management facility or 
    (iv) We prohibit burying live fires or hot coals.

[[Page 58989]]

    (v) We prohibit burning or attempting to burn any nonflammable 
materials or any materials that may produce toxic fumes or leave 
hazardous waste. These materials include, but are not limited to, metal 
cans, plastic containers, glass, fiberglass, treated wood products, 
wood containing nails or staples, wire, floatation materials, or other 
    (8) Conditions A4 through A11 apply.
* * * * *


Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
    Refer to Sec.  26.34 Minnesota for regulations.

    Dated: October 5, 2007.
David M. Verhey,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E7-20423 Filed 10-16-07; 8:45 am]