[Federal Register: October 18, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 200)]
[Page 63851]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R9-R-2009-N279; [93261-1263-000-5C]

Draft Friends Organizations Policy

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
establish a policy to guide Service employees to increase efficiency 
and effectiveness in achieving the Service's mission through 
partnerships with Friends organizations (volunteer/advocate). Today, 
Friends organizations play a vital role in helping to fulfill the 
Service's mission of ``working with others, to conserve, protect and 
enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the 
continuing benefit of the American people.''
    This draft policy provides guidance for Service employees who work 
with Friends organizations to increase community involvement in our 
programs. Specifically, it includes guidance regarding financial and 
administrative practices, Friends Partnership Agreements, and revenue 
generating operations. We propose to incorporate this draft policy as 
Part 633, chapters 1-4 of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
December 2, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this draft policy by any of the 
following methods:
    U.S. Mail or Hand Delivery: Kevin Kilcullen, Visitor Services, 
National Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 
North Fairfax Drive, Room 635, Arlington, VA 22203;
    Fax: 703-358-2517; or
    E-mail: refugesystempolicycomments@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Kilcullen, at address or fax 
above, or telephone: 703-358-2382.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The draft guidance document which is the 
subject of this notice is available at: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and Community 
Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C. 742f) amended the Fish 
and Wildlife Act of 1956 to promote volunteer programs and community 
partnerships for the benefit of national wildlife refuges. The Act 
states that we will ``encourage the use of volunteers in the management 
of refuges and facilitate partnerships between the Refuge System and 
non-Federal entities to promote public awareness of the resources of 
the Refuge System and public participation in the conservation of those 
resources.'' The National Fish Hatchery System Volunteer Act of 2006 
(16 U.S.C. 760aa) provides for the expansion of volunteer projects and 
community partnerships of the National Fish Hatchery System. The Act 
states that we will ``enhance an existing volunteer program of the 
United States Fish and Wildlife Service and promote community 
partnerships for the benefit of national fish hatcheries and fisheries 
program offices.'' Both Acts direct us to work with volunteers and 
partners to promote public awareness and participation in our 
conservation programs. This draft policy for Friends organizations was 
based on these statutory requirements.
    The National Friends Program was established in 1996 to encourage 
and organize community involvement in Service activities. The program 
works to expand the number and effectiveness of community-based Friends 
organizations which assist us in delivering our mission. During the 
last decade, the Friends program has grown substantially in size and 
complexity. There are more than 230 Friends organizations, with an 
estimated total of 40-60,000 members. These organizations significantly 
strengthen the work of refuges, waterfowl production areas, and fish 
hatcheries and program offices across the country.

Draft Policy

    We recognize that Friends provide many vital services to our sites 
and programs. This draft policy provides guidance on roles and 
responsibilities for both the Service and Friends organizations. The 
purpose of this draft policy is to provide Service employees with 
guidance when working with Friends organizations.
    Chapter 1 of this draft policy identifies the authorities for 
working with Friends organizations; describes the relationship between 
the Service and Friends organizations; and describes the 
responsibilities of Service employees and Friends organizations.
    Chapter 2 describes the information we need when we consider the 
financial and administrative activities under Friends agreements, 
including the practices and activities that the Service may allow on 
Government property.
    Chapter 3 describes the major components of, and process for 
developing and modifying, the legal Friends Partnership Agreement 
between Friends organizations and the Service.
    Chapter 4 describes how we work with Friends organizations to 
manage revenue-generating operations on Service property.

Request for Public Comments

    We seek public comments on the draft Friends policy, and will 
consider comments and any additional information we receive during the 
comment period (see DATES). You may submit comments to any of the 
places cited in ADDRESSES. Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII 
file, avoiding the use of special characters and any form of 

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.

    Dated: October 4, 2010.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Deputy Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-26080 Filed 10-15-10; 8:45 am]