[Federal Register: September 10, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 176)]
[Page 52668-52670]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2008-N0163; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Benton County, AR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: final comprehensive conservation plan 
and finding of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Logan Cave National 
Wildlife Refuge. In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this 
refuge for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan may be obtained by writing to: Holla Bend 
National Wildlife Refuge, 10448 Holla Bend Road, Dardanelle, AR 72834. 
The CCP/FONSI may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's 
Web site http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Durwin Carter, Refuge Manager, 
Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge; Telephone: (479) 229-4300; Fax: 
(479) 229-4302.



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Logan Cave 
National Wildlife Refuge. We started this process through a notice in 
the Federal Register on November 23, 2005 (70 FR 70878). For more about 
the process, see that notice.
    Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1989 under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to protect cave inhabitants, 
including the endangered gray bat (Myotis grisescens), Benton cave 
crayfish (Cambarus aculabrum), and the threatened Ozark cavefish 
(Amblyopsis rosae). The cave also has historically provided habitat for 
the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). This 123-acre Ozark 
Mountain refuge, which includes a limestone solution cave with 
approximately 1.5

[[Page 52669]]

miles of passageways, is located 20 miles west of Fayetteville, 
Arkansas, and approximately 2 miles north of U.S. Highway 412. The 
ecology of Logan Cave has been described as the highest quality cave 
habitat in the entire Ozark region. There are only two known entry 
points for the cave: the sinkhole and spring. The sinkhole consists of 
a steep sided funnel shaped depression about 50 feet in diameter 
located on a forested hillside. The spring entrance is located on a 
hillside under an overhang rock bluff. Most of the refuge consists of 
hillsides, which support a mature climax community of oak and hickory.
    Groundwater surfacing within the cave forms a stream that flows 
throughout the cave and at the outfall forms Logan Spring, which drains 
to Osage Creek just south of the refuge. Osage Creek is a major 
tributary of the Illinois River, which is the main drainage in 
southwestern Benton County, and their confluence is about 1.2 miles 
south of the refuge. In past years, spring water from the cave had a 
measured flow of approximately 5 million gallons per day and supplied 
the Logan community, a fish hatchery, and 49 fish ponds.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) 
requirements. We completed a thorough analysis of impacts on the human 
environment, which we included in the draft comprehensive conservation 
plan and environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA). The CCP will guide us 
in managing and administering Logan Cave Refuge for the next 15 years.
    The compatibility determinations for environmental education and 
interpretation, research, and monitoring are available in the CCP.


    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 for 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for 
achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward 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.


    Approximately 120 copies of the Draft CCP/EA were made available 
for a 30-day public review period as announced in the Federal Register 
on January 25, 2008 (73 FR 4615). A public meeting was held on February 
12, 2008, at 6 p.m., at the Logan Community Center. Fifteen individuals 
were in attendance at the meeting. Eight respondents consisting of the 
Service; the State Clearinghouse of Arkansas, Department of Finance and 
Administration; the Ozark Underground Laboratory, Inc.; Natural 
Resources Conservation Service; the Arkansas Natural Heritage 
Commission; and local citizens submitted written comments by mail or e-

Selected Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for management of the refuge and 
chose Alternative 3 as the preferred alternative. This alternative was 
considered to be the most effective for meeting the purposes of the 
refuge by conserving, restoring, and managing the refuge's habitats and 
wildlife while optimizing wildlife-dependent public uses. Alternative 3 
best achieves national, ecosystem, and refuge-specific goals and 
objectives and positively addresses significant issues and concerns 
expressed by the public.
    Under Alternative 3, all refuge management actions will be directed 
toward achieving the refuge's primary purpose to properly administer, 
conserve, and develop the 123-acre area for protection of a unique cave 
ecosystem that provides essential habitat for the endangered gray bat, 
endangered Benton cave crayfish, the threatened Ozark cavefish, and 
other significant cave dwelling wildlife species, while contributing to 
other national, regional, and state goals to protect and restore karst 
habitats and species.
    The primary focus under this alternative will be to add a staff 
person and equipment in order to manage, maintain, restore, and protect 
the refuge's habitats and wildlife species. Wildlife and plant censuses 
and inventory activities will be initiated and maintained to obtain the 
biological information needed to continue current refuge management 
programs and implement crucial management programs on and off the 
    Active habitat management will be implemented to maintain and 
enhance water quality and quantity within the cave system, the recharge 
zone (groundwater recharge areas), and waterways within the bat 
foraging areas through best management practices, easements, and 
partnerships with private landowners and other federal and state 
agencies. Continuous groundwater quality monitoring is crucial to the 
existence of the aquatic species utilizing the cave stream and 
groundwater corridors.
    The Benton cave crayfish and Ozark Cavefish populations will be 
maintained at a minimum of 35 and 40 individuals, respectively. A 
properly trained survey team (no more than 4 observers) will perform 
ocular surveys bi-annually in January or February. During these 
surveys, the occurrence of any Indiana bats will be noted. The refuge 
will study the micro-climate of the cave to determine suitability for 
Indiana bats. Gray bats will be counted annually during July by exit 
counts. At least two trained persons will count bats at the same time 
on the same evening as the bats emerge from the spring and sinkhole 
entrances. Bat guano will be measured each year as soon as possible 
after the maternity colony has left the cave. No more than three 
persons will conduct guano measurements and this will be done in 
conjunction with the crayfish/cavefish surveys when possible. The 
refuge will maintain all other populations of karst species, such as 
pseudoscorpions, isopods, amphipods, beetles, collembolans, and other 
blind insects, adapted to subterranean habitats. The abundance of the 
grotto salamander will also be monitored.
    The refuge will identify and implement strategies to improve 
conditions on and off refuge lands for forest dwelling birds. The 
primary purpose of this effort will be to work with partners and 
private landowners to provide a forest system of sufficient size and 
carrying capacity to reach regional objectives associated with area-
sensitive neotropical migratory birds. This will also help protect and 
enhance foraging area for the gray bats, especially along Osage creek 
and its tributaries.
    Wildlife-dependent recreation activities, such as wildlife 
observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation will be provided. Utilizing various partners, the refuge 
will develop a small environmental education program, focusing on karst

[[Page 52670]]

environments. Although the cave is gated and entrance is limited to 
biological surveys, some cave environmental education can still occur 
(i.e., supervised visits by small groups to observe emergence of gray 
bats from a safe distance during the summer). The refuge will develop a 
community-based volunteer program by establishing a Cave Steward or 
Friends program. Volunteers will be educated on management issues and 
utilized to help complete wildlife and plant surveys, maintenance 
projects, and to conduct public recreation and education programs.

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

    Dated: July 1, 2008.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-20977 Filed 9-9-08; 8:45 am]