[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 114 (Thursday, June 13, 2013)]
[Pages 35640-35641]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-14043]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2013-N264: FF02R06000-FXRS1265022LPP-134]

Establishment of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, 
Bernalillo County, New Mexico

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) has established the Valle de Oro National Wildlife 
Refuge as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Service 
established the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge on September 21, 
2012, with a purchase of 389 acres in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. 
This action completes the first of two acquisition phases, which will 
ultimately provide 570 acres of protected lands for public access, 
recreation, and environmental education.

ADDRESSES: A map depicting the approved boundary and other information 
regarding the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge are available on 
the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/Plan/planindex.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Kettler, Land Protection 
Planner, by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of 
Planning, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103-1306, or by email at 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 21, 2012, the Service purchased 
389 acres of former farm land in Albuquerque's South Valley. 
Acquisition of these lands formally established the Valle de Oro 
National Wildlife Refuge in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. As an urban 
National Wildlife Refuge, a distinction shared by only a handful of 
refuges nationwide and the first for the southwestern United States, 
this refuge will provide

[[Page 35641]]

easy access and key outdoor recreation opportunities to more than 
150,000 students and nearly two-thirds of the entire State population 
and will become a new stop on the nationally recognized Paseo del 
Bosque recreation trail. This refuge strongly emphasizes recreation and 
outdoor education for urban youth. It also serves as a gateway to other 
outdoor venues in the area, as well as to other refuges within the 
State. The project is the result of close cooperation with Bernalillo 
County, the Trust for Public Lands, and many other partners, as well as 
extensive public involvement.
    The Service acquired the property using the acquisition authority 
of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a-j) and the Refuge 
Recreation Act of 1962 (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4). The federal funding 
source to acquire the property is the Land and Water Conservation Fund 
Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l-4-460l-11). Funds received from this act 
are derived primarily from oil and gas leases on the outer continental 
shelf, motorboat fuel tax revenues, and sale of surplus federal 
property. There could be additional funds to acquire lands, waters, or 
interest therein for fish and wildlife conservation purposes through 
other congressional appropriations, donations, or grants from non-
profit organizations and other sources.
    The Service has involved the public, agencies, partners, and 
legislators throughout the planning process for the refuge. In January 
of 2011, the Service initiated public involvement and announced public 
scoping meetings to be held to describe the proposed project and 
solicit feedback. Three public meetings were held in the Albuquerque 
metropolitan area (on February 7, 9, and 12, 2011) during the initial 
scoping process to identify issues to be analyzed for the proposed 
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service prepared an environmental 
assessment that evaluated two alternatives and their potential impacts 
on the project area. The draft environmental assessment and land 
protection plan documents were made available for a 30-day public 
comment period beginning on July 15, 2011. Two public meetings were 
held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on July 27 and 28, 2011, where 
comments were recorded by a court reporter. Over 70 people attended the 
meetings, and the Service received a total of 80 comments during the 
public comment period. Comments received at the meetings and by other 
means throughout the comment period were reviewed, added to the 
administrative record, and, if substantial, addressed in the 
environmental assessment or land protection plan.
    Based on the documentation contained in the environmental 
assessment, a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed on September 
23, 2011, for the establishment the Middle Rio Grande National Wildlife 
Refuge. In September, 2012, that name was officially changed to Valle 
de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. The Service established the Valle de 
Oro National Wildlife Refuge on September 21, 2012, with a purchase of 
389 acres in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.

    Dated: December 3, 2012.
Benjamin N. Tuggle,
Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register June 10, 2013.

[FR Doc. 2013-14043 Filed 6-12-13; 8:45 am]