[Federal Register: May 8, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 90)]
[Page 26139-26140]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2008-N0049; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Ouachita Parish, LA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and associated National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for Black Bayou Lake National 
Wildlife Refuge. We provide this notice in compliance with our CCP 
policy to advise other agencies, Tribes, and the public of our 
intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of 
issues to consider in the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by June 23, 2008. An open house meeting will be held during the scoping 
phase of the Draft CCP development process. The date, time, and place 
for the meeting will be announced in the local media.

ADDRESSES: Comments, questions, and requests for information should be 
sent to: Tina Chouinard, Natural Resource Planner, Hatchie National 
Wildlife Refuge, 6772 Highway 76 South, Stanton, TN 38069.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tina Chouinard, Natural Resource 
Planner; Telephone: 318/305-0643; Fax: 771/772-7839; E-mail: tina--



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Ouachita Parish, LA.
    This notice complies with our CCP policy to (1) advise other 
Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to 
conduct detailed planning on this refuge; and (2) obtain suggestions 
and information on the scope of issues to consider in the environmental 
document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Improvement Act), which amended the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose in 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy 
for achieving refuge purposes and contributing to the mission of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of 
fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will 
review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with 
the Improvement Act.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System is established for 
specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for 
developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
determine how the public can use each refuge. The planning process is a 
way for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives 
for the best possible conservation approach to this important wildlife 
habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with the refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
At this time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, 
and suggestions for the future management of Black Bayou Lake National 
Wildlife Refuge. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media 
outlets will be used to announce opportunities for input throughout the 
planning process.
    We will conduct the environmental assessment in accordance with the 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 
1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; and our 
policies and procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations.
    The Black Bayou Lake Refuge is a unit of the North Louisiana 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Other refuges in the Complex include 
D'Arbonne, Upper Ouachita, Handy Brake, and Red River, and the 
Louisiana Wetlands Management District. The refuge, established in 
1997, is three miles north of Monroe, Louisiana, just east of Highway 
165 in Ouachita Parish. The refuge contains 4,522 acres of lacustrine, 
bottomland hardwood, and upland mixed pine/hardwood habitats. Although 
the suburban sprawl of Monroe surrounds much of its boundary, the 
refuge, itself, is home to a diversity of plants and animals. The 
refuge is situated in the Mississippi Flyway, the West Gulf Coastal 
Plain Bird Conservation Region, and the Lower Mississippi River 
    Black Bayou Lake Refuge was established for ``. . .the conservation 
of the wetlands of the Nation in order to maintain the public benefits 
they provide and to help fulfill international obligations contained in 
various migratory bird treaties and conventions. . .'' (16 U.S.C. 
3901(b)) (Wetlands Resources Act).
    The central physical feature of the refuge is the lake itself. 
Black Bayou

[[Page 26140]]

Lake, approximately 1,500 acres in size, is studded with baldcypress 
and water tupelo trees. The western half of the lake is open and 
deeper, unlike the eastern side, which is thick with trees and emergent 
vegetation. The lake is owned by the city of Monroe, which manages the 
water level as a secondary source of municipal water. The Service has a 
99-year free lease on the lake and some of its surrounding land, 
constituting a total of 1,620 acres. The refuge owns the remaining 
2,902 acres.
    Three species of special concern that utilize the refuge include 
the alligator snapping turtle, the Rafinesque's big-eared bat, and the 
southeastern Myotis bat.
    The refuge offers the six priority wildlife-dependent recreational 
activities as identified in the Improvement Act. Resident game and 
migratory game bird hunting occurs on the refuge. Black Bayou Lake is 
popular with the public, especially nearby residents. The lake attracts 
many fishermen during spring and summer, most fishing for bream, 
crappie, and bass.

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.

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

    Dated: March 17, 2008.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-10344 Filed 5-7-08; 8:45 am]