[Federal Register: August 28, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 168)]
[Page 50834-50835]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-R-2008-N0091; 60138-1265-6CCP-S3]

Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Twelve National 
Wildlife Refuges, North Dakota

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


[[Page 50835]]

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announce that 
our Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for the twelve National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges) are 
available. The twelve Refuges are combined and evaluated as one group 
and program under the CCP. The twelve Refuges include Audubon, Chase 
Lake, Kellys Slough, Lake Alice, Lake Ilo, Lake Nettie, Lake Zahl, 
McLean, Shell Lake, Stump Lake, Stewart Lake, and White Lake all 
located throughout the State of North Dakota. This Draft CCP/EA 
describes how the Service intends to manage these Refuges for the next 
15 years.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
on the draft CCP/EA by September 29, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Please provide written comments to John Esperance, Planning 
Team Leader, Division of Refuge Planning, P.O. Box 25486, Denver 
Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225; via facsimile at 303-236-4792; 
or electronically to John_Esperance@fws.gov. A copy of the CCP/EA may 
be obtained by writing to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of 
Refuge Planning, 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300, Lakewood, Colorado 
80228; or by download from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Esperance, 303-236-4369 (phone); 
303-236-4792 (fax); or John_Esperance@fws.gov (e-mail).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: All twelve Refuges were established under 
authority to provide breeding ground for migratory birds and other 
wildlife. The twelve National Wildlife Refuges conserve, restore, and 
enhance the ecological diversity of grasslands and wetlands of the 
North Dakota prairie to support healthy populations of ducks and geese, 
other migratory birds, and native species. Through this work, the 
twelve Refuges provide vital resting and breeding habitat.
    This draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates three alternatives for 
managing the Refuges for the next 15 years.
    Alternative A: Funding, staff levels, and management activities at 
the Refuges would not change. Programs would follow the same direction, 
emphasis, and intensity as they do at present. The Service would 
prioritize management of wildlife habitat and associated species on 
Refuges' lands into high, medium, and low areas. Only high priority 
lands receive consistent management. Refuge staffs conduct limited, 
issue-driven research and limited monitoring and inventory of birds and 
vegetation. On a multiyear rotation among Refuges, the staffs conduct 
public use events and workshops with such groups as school districts, 
youth groups, and conservation groups.
    Alternative B: The Service's proposedaction. Wildlife habitat 
management would provide for enhanced wetland and upland management, 
where warranted, on Refuge lands. Management objectives for various 
habitat types would be based on habitat preferences of groups of target 
species, such as waterfowl, migratory shore birds, grassland bird 
species and priority species. Refuge staff will focus on high priority 
tracts and medium priority tracts. The Refuge staff will implement 
compatible production enhancement techniques for targeted migratory 
bird populations. The Refuge staff will maintain existing environmental 
education and public use programs, with additional waterfowl emphasis. 
The Service proposes, at a future date, a new environmental learning 
center for Audubon NWR and interpretive panels are planned for Lake 
Alice NWR.
    Alternative C: Refuge staff would apply more intensive and 
widespread management that targets native prairie/wetland complexes. 
Refuge staff would seek out restoration projects that expand and return 
grasslands to a quality native prairie. This alternative would have the 
potential to provide additional management options to address habitat 
requirements and needs of specific groups of water dependent birds (for 
example, waterfowl and shorebirds). The staff would develop new 
environmental education and visitor services programs. The Service 
proposes, at a future date, a new environmental learning center for 
Audubon NWR and interpretive panels are planned for Lake Alice NWR.
    Opportunity for public input will be provided by the Service. All 
public comment information provided voluntarily by mail, by phone, or 
at meetings (for example, names, addresses, letters of comment, input 
recorded during meetings) becomes part of the official Public Record. 
If requested under the Freedom of Information Act by a private citizen 
or organization, the Service may provide copies of such information. 
The Environmental Review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA 
Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws 
and regulations; Executive Order 12996; the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies and procedures for 
compliance with those laws and regulations.

    Dated: April 23, 2008.
Stephen Guertin,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-19724 Filed 8-27-08; 8:45 am]