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Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge

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Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.


Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment for Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge in Iberia Parish, Louisiana.


The Fish and Wildlife Service intends to gather information necessary to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment for Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge. This notice is furnished in compliance with the Service's comprehensive conservation planning policy to advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to be considered in the planning process.


To ensure consideration, comments must be received by July 27, 2007.


Address comments, questions, and requests for further information to the following: Tina Chouinard, Refuge Planner, Central Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 401 Island Road, Marksville, Louisiana 71351; Fax: 318/253-7139; or e-mail at You may find additional information concerning the refuge at the refuge's Internet site​shellkeys/​.

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The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), requires the Service to develop a comprehensive conservation plan for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose in developing a comprehensive conservation plan is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, plans identify wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation. Public input in this planning process is essential.

Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System is established with specific purposes. These purposes are used to develop and prioritize management goals and objectives within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to guide which public uses will occur on the refuge. The planning process is a means for the Service and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives for the best possible conservation efforts of this important wildlife habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with the refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

A comprehensive conservation planning process will be conducted that will provide opportunities for Tribal, State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public to participate in issue scoping and public comment. The Service invites anyone interested to respond to the following questions:

1. What problems or issues do you want to see addressed in the comprehensive conservation plan?

2. What improvements would you recommend for the Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge?

The above questions have been provided for your optional use. You are not required to provide any information. The Planning Team developed these questions to gather information about individual issues and ideas concerning the refuge. The Planning Team will use comments it receives as part of the planning process; however, it will not reference individual comments or directly respond to them.

A public scoping meeting will be held as part of the comprehensive conservation plan development process. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media announcements will be used to inform the public and State and local government agencies of the opportunities for input throughout the planning process.

The environmental 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); and other appropriate Federal laws and regulations. All comments received become part of the official public record. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Congress established Shell Keys Refuge in August 1907 by Executive Order 682. The refuge's five acres are located in the offshore waters to the west of the Atchafalaya River Delta, and south of Marsh Island Wildlife Management Area, Iberia Parish, Louisiana. Shell Keys Refuge provides habitat for concentrations of shorebirds and colonial sea birds. The refuge is a bird sanctuary and is only accessible by boat.

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Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-57.

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Dated: May 25, 2007.

Cynthia K. Dohner,

Acting Regional Director.

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[FR Doc. E7-12449 Filed 6-26-07; 8:45 am]