[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 50 (Thursday, March 14, 2013)]
[Pages 16286-16287]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05901]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-R-2012-N262; FXRS1265030000-134-FF03R06000]

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Jasper County, IA; Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact 
for Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR). 
In this final CCP, we describe how we intend to manage the refuge for 
the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You will find the final CCP, a summary of the final CCP, and 
the EA/

[[Page 16287]]

FONSI on the planning Web site: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/nealsmith/index.html. A limited number of hard copies and CD-ROMs are 
available. You may request one by any of the following methods:
     Email: r3planning@fws.gov. Include ``Neal Smith Final 
CCP'' in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 
399, 9981 Pacific Street, Prairie City, IA 50228.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christy Smith, 515-994-3400.



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Neal Smith 
National Wildlife Refuge, which we began by publishing a notice of 
intent in the Federal Register (73 FR 76677) on December 17, 2008. For 
more about the initial process and the history of this refuge, see that 
notice. We released the draft CCP and EA to the public, announcing and 
requesting comments in a notice of availability (77 FR 50155) on August 
20, 2012. The 30-day comment period ended on September 19, 2012. A 
summary of public comments and the agency responses is included in the 
final CCP.


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), 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 toward the mission of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), consistent with sound principles of fish 
and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and Service 
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 and 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will 
review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with 
the Administration Act.
    Each unit of the NWRS was 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 NWRS 
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 that will ensure the best possible approach to 
wildlife, plant, and habitat conservation, while providing for 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with 
each refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.

Additional Information

    The final CCP may be found at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/nealsmith/index.html. The final CCP includes detailed information about 
the planning process, refuge, issues, and management alternative 
selected. The Web site also includes an EA and FONSI, prepared in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (43 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.). The EA/FONSI includes discussion of four alternative 
refuge management options. The Service's selected alternative is 
reflected in the final CCP.
    The selected alternative focuses on increasing the amount and 
diversity of native vegetation on the refuge, and providing the varied 
habitat structure needed to support wildlife, especially declining 
populations of migratory grassland birds. Additional effort is directed 
toward restoring floristic quality on prairie and savanna remnants and 
monitoring and learning from the results of management actions. The 
refuge boundary is expanded to the east and west by 3,210 acres, to 
include all tributaries of Walnut Creek that flow through the refuge. A 
detailed description of objectives and actions included in this 
selected alternative is found in chapter 4 of the final CCP.

Christopher P. Jensen,
Acting Regional Director, Midwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2013-05901 Filed 3-13-13; 8:45 am]