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Notice

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment for Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in Northwestern Minnesota.

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of intent.

SUMMARY:

This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementing regulations, for the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge located in Marshall County, Minnesota.

The Service is furnishing this notice in compliance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Start Printed Page 8304Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), to achieve the following:

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

(2) Obtain additional suggestions and information on the scope of alternatives and impacts to be considered.

Open house style meetings and focus group meetings will also be held throughout the scoping phase of the CCP development process. In addition, the Service is inviting comments on archaeological, historic, and traditional cultural sites in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act.

Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media announcements will inform people of the opportunities for written input throughout the CCP planning process. Information on the CCP planning process will be posted on the Internet at http://www.midwest.fws.gov/​planning/​agassiz.htm

ADDRESSES:

Address comments to Refuge Manager, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, 22996 290th Street NE., Middle River, MN 56737. Comments may also be submitted electronically at r3planning@fws.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Refuge Manager, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Phone: (218)-449-4115.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

By Federal Law, all lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System are to be managed in accordance with an approved CCP. The CCP guides management decisions and identifies refuge goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for achieving refuge purposes.

The CCP planning process will consider many elements, including wildlife and habitat management, habitat protection and acquisition, wilderness preservation, public recreational activities, industrial use, and cultural resource preservation. Public input into this planning process is essential.

The CCP 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 prepare in Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance with procedures for implementing NEPA found in the Departmental Manual 516 DM 6, Appendix 1.

The Service will contract for a cultural resources overview study in support of the comprehensive conservation plan. The professional study will identify known sites on the refuge. We are also asking the public to identify any cultural sites that are important to them.

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.), NEPA Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, and Service policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations.

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

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Dated: November 8, 2002.

William F. Hartwig,

Regional Director.

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[FR Doc. 03-4027 Filed 2-19-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-M