[Federal Register: November 14, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 219)]
[Page 64084-64086]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Information Collection Sent to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for Approval; National Wildlife Refuge System Evaluation: 
Surveys of State Agencies, Indian Tribes, and Local Partners

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY:  We (Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information 
Collection Request (ICR) to OMB for review and approval. The ICR, which 
is summarized below, describes the nature of the collection and the 
estimated burden and cost. We 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.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before December 14, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this ICR to the Desk 
Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-
6566 (fax) or OIRA_DOCKET@OMB.eop.gov

[[Page 64085]]

(e-mail). Please provide a copy of your comments to Hope Grey, 
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 
222-ARLSQ, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail); (703) 
358-2269 (fax); or hope_grey@fws.gov (e-mail).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information 
about this ICR, contact Hope Grey by mail, fax, or e-mail (see 
ADDRESSES) or by telephone at (703) 358-2482.

    OMB Control Number: None. This is a new collection.
    Title: National Wildlife Refuge System Evaluation: Surveys of State 
Agencies, Indian Tribes, and Local Partners.
    Service Form Number(s): None.
    Type of Request: New collection.
    Affected Public: Organizations that collaborate with national 
wildlife refuges, including, but not limited to, State fish and 
wildlife agencies, volunteer groups, local and national conservation 
organizations, hunting and fishing groups, and other civic 
    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.
    Frequency of Collection: One time.

                                   Number of annual    Number of annual   Completion time per    Annual burden
            Activity                  respondents          responses            response             hours
Local Partner Survey............                 400                 320  20 minutes.........                107
State/Indian Tribe Survey.......                 150                 120  20 minutes.........                 40
    Totals......................                 550                 440  ...................                147

    We have contracted with Management Systems International to perform 
an independent evaluation of the National Wildlife Refuge System 
(NWRS). Although the NWRS has existed for more than 100 years, it has 
never undergone an independent evaluation of its overall effectiveness 
in achieving its conservation mission. We are now seeking such an 
evaluation to identify program strengths and weaknesses, as well as 
gaps in performance information. Such evaluations are an important 
element of the OMB Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) assessments, 
and this evaluation will satisfy the PART requirements. The evaluation 
includes two data collection components involving the public:
    (1) An online survey of local partners (e.g., volunteer groups, 
local conservation organizations, hunting and fishing groups, and other 
civic organizations).
    (2) An online survey of Indian tribes and State fish and wildlife 
agency officials.
    The perspective and observations of NWRS partners are critical to 
fully understand the issues and questions that the independent 
evaluation will explore. The surveys will collect data in two broad 
    (1) The quality of NWRS partnerships with external organizations, 
    (2) Partnering organizations' views as to the effectiveness of the 
NWRS in achieving NWRS objectives.
    Comments: On February 22, 2007, we published in the Federal 
Register a notice (72 FR 8004) of our intent to request that OMB renew 
approval for this information collection. In that notice, we solicited 
comments for 60-days, ending on April 23, 2007. We received three 
comments that are summarized below.
    Comment 1: Individual questions if: (1) the evaluation 
team assembled has the required expertise to conduct a sound and 
independent evaluation; (2) the partners identified will be able to 
provide responses indicative of the American public and not be hand 
picked to provide glowing reports; and (3) the information collection 
is necessary and requests a copy of the survey instrument.
    Response: We provided a copy of the draft survey instrument to this 
individual as well as a link to Management System International's 
website so that biographical information of MSI technical staff could 
be accessed.
    Comment 2: The individual (same from Comment 1 
above) acknowledges receipt of the survey instrument and then states 
that MSI does not have the proper experience to conduct this 
evaluation. The individual also states that hunting programs receive a 
disproportionate amount of attention in the NWRS given the wider U.S. 
    Response: Since 1995, MSI has been approved by the General Services 
Administration (GSA) to provide management related contracting services 
to Federal agencies under the Mission Oriented Business Integrated 
Services (MOBIS) contract and also has significant experience 
conducting evaluations for Federal agencies. MOBIS contractors offer a 
full range of management and consulting services that can improve a 
Federal agency's performance and their endeavor in meeting mission 
goals. MOBIS contractors possess the necessary expertise to facilitate 
how the Federal Government responds to a continuous stream of new 
mandates and evolutionary influences including the President's 
Management Agenda; Government Performance and Results Act; Federal 
Acquisition Streamlining Act; OMB Circular A-76; Federal Activities 
Inventory Reform Act; and government reinvention initiatives such as 
benchmarking and streamlining.
    MSI will be investigating refuge usage of the six wildlife-
dependent activities. These activities include hunting, fishing, 
environmental education, environmental interpretation, wildlife viewing 
and nature photography. These issues will be explored in terms of their 
fit with the NWRS's mission and mandates and the quality of the 
programs provided.
    Comment 3: Individual states that the public groups 
identified as partners and stakeholders (including volunteer groups, 
local and national conservation organizations, nonprofit organizations, 
and State fish and game officials) that are to be included in the 
broader evaluation data collection efforts exclude an important group, 
Indian tribes. The individual volunteers that the tribe (s)he 
represents be included in the evaluation survey.
    Response: Indian tribes are important stakeholders and partners to 
the NWRS. We will include Indian tribes in the online survey and intend 
to collect information in such a way that will enable us to 
disaggregate responses by representatives of tribes. This will enable 
the evaluation team to analyze the satisfaction levels of tribes in 
interacting with the NWRS and, as appropriate, provide a process to 
explore ways to improve the working relationship between tribes and the 
    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:
    (1) whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
    (2) the accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection 
of information;

[[Page 64086]]

    (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
    (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. 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 OMB in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it 
will be done.

    Dated: August 22, 2007
Hope Grey,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E7-22202 Filed 11-13-07; 8:45 am]

Billing Code 4310-55-S