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Notice

Information Collections Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction Act Grants Programs Authorized by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of information collection; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The collection of information described below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Copies of the specific information collection requirements, related forms and explanatory material may be obtained by contacting the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer at the address provided below.

DATES:

Consideration will be given to all comments received on or before April 8, 2002. OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove information collection but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, to ensure maximum consideration, OMB should receive public comments by the above referenced date.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and suggestions on the requirement should be sent to Rebecca Mullin, Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ms 222—ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

To request a copy of the information collection request, explanatory information and related forms, contact Rebecca A. Mullin at 703/358-2287, or electronically to rmullin@fws.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The OMB regulations at 5 CFR part 1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13), require that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). On May 26, 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) was given regular approval by OMB for collection of information in order to continue the grants programs currently conducted under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (Pub. L. 101-233, as amended; December 13, 1989). The assigned OMB information collection control number is 1018-0100, and approval expires on May 31, 2002. The Service is requesting a three year term of approval for this information collection activity. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Comments are invited on : (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and, (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents.

Title: Information Collection In Support of Grant Programs Authorized by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 (NAWCA).

Approval Number: 1018-0100.

Service Form Number(s): N/A.

Description and Use: The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), first signed in 1986, is a tripartite agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States to enhance, restore and otherwise protect continental wetlands to benefit waterfowl and other wetland associated wildlife through partnerships between and among the private and public sectors. Because the 1986 NAWMP did not carry with it a mechanism to provide for broadly-based and sustained financial support for wetland conservation activities, Congress passed and the President signed into law the NAWCA to fill that funding need. The purpose of NAWCA, as amended, is to promote long-term conservation of North American wetland ecosystems and the waterfowl and other migratory birds, fish and wildlife that depend upon such habitat through partnerships. Principal conservation actions supported by NAWCA are acquisition, enhancement and restoration of wetlands and wetlands-associated habitat.

As well as providing for a continuing and stable funding base, NAWCA establishes an administrative body, made up of a State representative from each of the four Flyways, three representatives from wetlands conservation organizations, the Secretary of the Board of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Director of the Service. This administrative body is chartered, under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, by the U.S. Department of the Interior as the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Council). As such, the purpose of the Council is to recommend wetlands conservation project proposals to the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) for funding.

Subsection (c) of Section 5 (Council Procedures) provides that the “* * * Council shall establish practices and procedures for the carrying out of its functions under subsections (a) and (b) of this section * * *,” which are consideration of projects and recommendations to the MBCC, respectively. The means by which the Council decides which project proposals are important to recommend to the MBCC is through grants programs that are coordinated through the Council Coordinator's office (NAWWO) within the Service.

Competing for grant funds involves applications from partnerships that describe in substantial detail project locations and other characteristics, to meet the standards established by the Council and the requirements of NAWCA. The Council Coordinator's office publishes and distributes Standard and Small Grants instructional booklets that assist the applicants in formulating project proposals for Council consideration. The instructional booklets and other instruments, e.g., Federal Register notices on request for proposals, are the basis for this information collection request for OMB clearance. Information collected under this program is used to respond to such needs as: audits, program planning and management, program evaluation, Government Performance and Results Act reporting, Standard Form 424 (Application For Federal Assistance), grant agreements, budget reports and Start Printed Page 5609justifications, public and private requests for information, data provided to other programs for databases on similar programs, Congressional inquiries and reports required by NAWCA, etc.

In summary, information collection under these programs is required to obtain a benefit, i.e., a cash reimbursable grant that is given competitively to some applicants based on eligibility and relative scale of resource values involved in the projects. The information collection is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act requirements for such activity, which includes soliciting comments from the general public regarding the nature and burden imposed by the collection.

Frequency of Collection: Occasional. The Small Grants program has one project proposal submissions window per year and the Standard Grants program has two per year.

Description of Respondents: Households and/or individuals; business and/or other for-profit; not-for-profit institutions; farms; Federal Government; and State, local and/or Tribal governments.

Estimated Completion Time: The reporting burden, or time involved in writing project proposals, is estimated to be 80 hours for a Small Grants submission and 400 hours for a Standard Grants submission.

Number of Respondents: It is estimated that 150 proposals will be submitted each year, 70 for the Small Grants program and 80 for the Standard Grants program.

Annual Burden Hours: 37,600.

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Dated: January 29, 2002.

Rebecca Mullin,

Information Collection Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-2832 Filed 2-5-02; 8:45 am]

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