[Federal Register: January 27, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 17)]
[Page 4414]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2009-N187; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Lanier County, GA

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 the environmental 
assessment for Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In the final 
CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Ms. Laura 
Housh, Regional Planner, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 
Suwannee Canal Road, Folkston, GA 31537. You may also access and 
download the document from the Service's Web site: http://

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Laura Housh; telephone: 912/496-
7366, Extension 244; E-mail: laura_housh@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Banks Lake NWR. 
We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register on 
December 6, 2007 (72 FR 68892). For more about the process, see that 
    Established in 1985, Banks Lake NWR is located near the city of 
Lakeland, Lanier County, Georgia. The refuge lies in the Grand Bay-
Banks Lake (GBBL) ecosystem, an area that comprises the second-largest 
freshwater wetland system in Georgia. The 3,559-acre refuge includes a 
diversity of habitats consisting of open water, cypress-gum swamp, 
herbaceous marsh, scrub/shrub, and evergreen forested wetlands. Banks 
Lake is a prominent feature of the refuge, with many anglers seeking 
bass and other fish. Other recreational opportunities include wildlife 
observation and wildlife photography. The refuge hosts several listed 
species, migratory birds, and a variety of other wildlife, many of 
which are aquatic.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for Banks Lake NWR 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 Banks Lake NWR for the next 15 years.
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Banks Lake 
National Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years. Alternative B, as we 
described in the final CCP, is the foundation for the CCP.
    The compatibility determinations for fishing; wildlife observation; 
wildlife photography; environmental education and interpretation; 
research studies and scientific collection; special events that advance 
outdoor recreation or conservation; commercial guided services for 
wildlife observation, photography, and interpretation; guided sport 
fishing; vegetation control on refuge shoreline by adjacent landowners; 
and fishing tournaments are available in the CCP.


    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, 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 Administration 


    Approximately 50 copies of the Draft CCP/EA were made available for 
a 30-day public review period as announced in the Federal Register on 
June 4, 2009 (74 FR 26883). Approximately 25 comments were received 
from local citizens and the State.

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments we received, we have selected 
Alternative B for implementation. The primary focus under Alternative B 
will be to expand management of all refuge resources. Monitoring 
efforts for listed species, general fish and wildlife, habitats, and 
water quality will be increased in order to gain a better understanding 
of their status and trends. The refuge boundary will be surveyed. We 
will conduct additional surveys to increase the understanding and 
protection of cultural resources. Public use opportunities will be 
    Alternative B is considered to be the most effective for meeting 
the purposes of the refuge by protecting rare, threatened, and 
endangered species; maintaining biodiversity; and improving visitor 


    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105-57.

    Dated: September 30, 2009.
Jacquelyn B. Parrish,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2010-1575 Filed 1-26-10; 8:45 am]