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Notice of Intent To Prepare Comprehensive Conservation Plans, and Conduct Biological, Public Use, and Wilderness Reviews for the Central Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Complex Includes Yazoo Refuge in Washington County; Panther Swamp Refuge in Yazoo County; Hillside and Morgan Brake Refuges in Holmes County; and Mathews Brake Refuge in Leflore County

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This notice advises the public that the Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, intends to gather information necessary to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and associated environmental documents pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and implementing regulations to achieve the following:

(1) Advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and

(2) To obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to include in the environmental documents.


Written comments should be received within 60 days of this publication.


Address comments and requests for more information to the following:

Ms. Laura Reid, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 728 Yazoo Refuge Road, Hollandale, Mississippi 38748, (662) 839-2638.

If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any one of several methods. You may mail comments to the above address. You may also comment via the Internet to the following address: Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include your name and return address in your Internet message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your Internet message, contact us directly at the above address. Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also my be circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

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By Federal law, all lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System are to be managed in accordance with an approved comprehensive conservation plan. These plans will guide management decisions and identify refuge goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for achieving refuge purposes. The planning process will consider many elements, including habitat and wildlife management, habitat protection and acquisition, public use, and cultural resources. Public input into this planning process is essential. The plan will provide other agencies and the public with a clear understanding of the desired conditions for the refuge and how the Service will implement management strategies.

The Service will solicit information from the public via open houses, meetings, and written comments. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and announcements will inform people in the general refuge area of the time and place of such opportunities for public involvement. Review of this project will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), National Environmental Policy Act Regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, including the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Executive Order 12996, and Service policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations.Start Printed Page 59862

We estimate that the draft environmental documents will be available in January 2003.

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Dated: September 28, 2000

H. Dale Hall,

Acting Regional Director.

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[FR Doc. 00-25680 Filed 10-05-00; 8:45 am]