[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 79 (Wednesday, April 24, 2013)]
[Pages 24228-24229]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09657]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-R-2013-N061; FF06R06000 134 FXRS1265066CCP0]

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Lake Andes, SD; 
Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 
that our final comprehensive conservation plan and finding of no 
significant impact (FONSI) for the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex (Complex), which includes Lake Andes NWR, Karl E. Mundt NWR, 
and Lake Andes Wetland Management District, is available. This final 
plan describes how the Service intends to manage these units for the 
next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan may be obtained by any of the following 
methods. You may request hard copies or a CD-ROM of the plan.
     Email: bernardo_garza@fws.gov. Include ``Lake Andes NWR 
Complex Draft CCP and EA'' in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: Attn: Bernardo Garza, 303-236-4792.
     U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of 
Refuge Planning, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 
     In-Person Pickup: Call 303-236-4377 to make an appointment 
during regular business hours at 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300, 
Lakewood, CO 80228.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bernardo Garza, 303-236-4377, (phone); 
bernardo_garza@fws.gov (email).



    The Complex encompasses three distinct units: Lake Andes National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Lake Andes Wetland Management District (WMD), 
and Karl E. Mundt NWR. The Complex lies within the Plains and Prairie 
Potholes Region (Region) in South Dakota, which is an ecological 
treasure of biological importance for wildlife, particularly waterfowl 
and other migratory birds. This Region alone produces approximately 50 
percent of the continent's waterfowl population. Hunting and wildlife 
observation are the two most prevalent public uses on the Complex.
    Lake Andes NWR was authorized by an Executive Order in 1936, and 
formally established in 1939, to preserve an important piece of 
shallow-water and prairie habitats for waterfowl and other water birds.
    Lake Andes WMD was formed in the 1960s to protect wetland and 
grassland habitat that is critical to our nation's duck population. The 
Complex manages lands located within Aurora, Bon Homme, Brule, Charles 
Mix, Clay, Davison, Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, Lincoln, Turner, Union 
and Yankton Counties in southeastern South Dakota. These lands include 
a variety of grassland.
    Karl E. Mundt NWR was established in 1974 to protect an area 
hugging the eastern bank of the Missouri River in Gregory County, South 
Dakota, and Boyd County, Nebraska, that was supporting nearly 300 
endangered bald eagles each winter. It is the first national wildlife 
refuge specifically established for the conservation of bald eagles, 
and its riparian forests, prairie, and upland habitats provide 
important resting, feeding, breeding, and nesting sites for a wide 
array of neotropical migratory birds, indigenous turkey, and white-
tailed deer. Haying, grazing, prescribed burning, invasive plant 
control, and prairie restoration are used to maintain riparian and 
upland habitats. Cottonwoods and other native tree species have been 
planted in the past to anchor riverine banks in attempts to safeguard 
important bald eagle roosting sites.
    The draft Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) was made available 
to the public for review and comment following the announcement in the 
Federal Register on October 29, 2012

[[Page 24229]]

(77 FR 65574). The public was given 30 days to comment. Six individuals 
and groups provided comments, and appropriate changes were made to the 
final Plan based on substantive comments. The draft Plan and 
Environmental Assessment identified and evaluated four alternatives for 
managing the refuge complex for the next 15 years. Alternative B (the 
proposed action submitted by the planning team) was selected by the 
Regional Director as the preferred alternative, and will serve as the 
final Plan.
    The final Plan identifies goals, objectives, and strategies that 
describe the future management of all three units of the Lake Andes 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Alternative B, the preferred 
alternative, acknowledges the importance of naturally functioning 
ecological communities on the refuge. However, changes to the landscape 
(e.g., human alterations to the landscape and past refuge management 
that created wetlands) prevent managing the refuge solely as a 
naturally functioning ecological community. Because some of these 
changes are significant, some refuge habitats will require ``hands-on'' 
management actions during the life of this Plan, while others will be 
restored. Refuge habitats will continue to be managed utilizing 
prescriptive cattle grazing, prescribed fire, and a combination of 
cropping and native vegetation seeding to restore native prairie. 
Management of the refuge complex will emphasize developing and 
implementing an improved, science-based priority system to restore 
prairie habitats for the benefit of waterfowl, State and federally 
listed species, migratory birds, and other native wildlife.
    The refuge complex staff will focus on high-priority lands and, 
when possible, on lower-priority parcels. The focus is to restore 
ecological processes and native grassland species to the greatest 
extent possible within the parameters of available resources and 
existing constraints. The staff of the refuge complex staff will 
maintain and in some cases expand the existing levels and quality of 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental 
education and interpretation programs. The refuge complex staff will 
continue to work with local groups and agencies to improve the quality, 
and augment the quantity of Lake Andes' water. The refuge complex staff 
will continue to work with the Corps of Engineers and National Park 
Service local staffs to ensure protection of bald eagle and other 
migratory bird roosting and nesting sites from erosion along the banks 
of the Missouri River in the Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge. 
Mechanical, biological, and chemical treatments will be used to control 
invasive plant species. Monitoring and documenting the response to 
management actions will be greatly expanded. Additional habitat and 
wildlife objectives will be clearly stated in step down management 
plans to be completed as this plan is implemented.
    The Service is furnishing this notice to advise other agencies and 
the public of the availability of the final Plan, to provide 
information on the desired conditions for the refuge, and to detail how 
the Service will implement management strategies. Based on the review 
and evaluation of the information contained in the EA, the Regional 
Director has determined that implementation of the Final Plan does not 
constitute a major Federal action that would significantly affect the 
quality of the human environment within the meaning of Section 
102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act. Therefore, an 
Environmental Impact Statement will not be prepared.

    Dated: March 28, 2013.
Matt Hogan,
Deputy Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-09657 Filed 4-23-13; 8:45 am]