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Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
Notice of availability.
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announce that our Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (Plan) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Arrowwood national wildlife refuge (Refuge) is available. This Final Plan describes how the Service intends to manage the refuge for the next 15 years.
A copy of the Plan may be obtained by writing to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Refuge Planning, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225; or by download from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Michael Spratt, 303-236-4366 (phone); 303-236-4792 (fax); or Michael_Spratt@fws.gov (e-mail).End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7168 on September 4, 1935, “establishing Arrowwood Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.” Now known as Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge, the 15,973-acre Refuge is in east-central North Dakota. The Refuge covers 14 miles of the James River Valley in Foster and Stutsman counties, approximately 30 miles north of Jamestown. The purposes of the Refuge are for use by migratory birds with emphasis on waterfowl and other water birds; the conservation of fish and wildlife resources; use as an inviolate sanctuary; or for any other management purposes, for migratory birds; and a Refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.
The Refuge lies on the Central Flyway migratory corridor and is an important stopover for many birds. The prairie grassland and wetland complex habitats provide nesting and feeding habitat for waterfowl in the spring and summer. Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl migrate through the area and use the wetlands in the spring and fall for feeding and resting. The Refuge contains approximately 6,000 acres of native prairie; 5,340 acres of seed grasses; 3,850 acres of wetlands; 660 acres of wooded ravines and riparian woodlands; and 125 acres of planted trees including shelterbelts. It is important to note that 3,430 acres of wetlands are managed impoundments and pools. Public use and recreation at the Refuge includes the six priority wildlife-dependent uses: Hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, interpretation, and environmental education.
The draft Plan and environmental assessment (EA) was made available to the public for review and comment following the announcement in the Federal Register on March 22, 2007 (72 FR 13508-13509). The draft Plan and EA identified and evaluated three alternatives for managing the Refuge for the next 15 years. Under Alternative A, the No Action alternative, the Service would manage habitats, wildlife, programs, and facilities at current levels as time, staff, and funds allow. There would be an emphasis on waterfowl migration and reproduction habitat. The Service would not develop any new management, restoration, or education programs at the Refuge. Target elevations of each wetland impoundment would be managed independently to achieve optimal habitat conditions.
Alternative B would maximize the biological potential of the Refuge for both wetland and upland habitats, and support a well-balanced and diverse flora and fauna representative of the Prairie Pothole Region. A scientific-based monitoring program would be developed as part of the habitat management plan (HMP). Public use opportunities would be expanded with the construction of additional facilities Start Printed Page 11661and development of educational programs.
Alternative C, the Proposed Action, would include those features described in Alternative B, as well as including a plan to improve the water quality entering the Refuge, and reducing peak flows in the upper James River watershed during spring runoff and summer rainfall events. This watershed management component would include working with private landowners through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program and other federal, state, and private conservation programs. The focus would be to protect and restore wetlands and grasslands, and reduce the impact on water quality from cropland and livestock operations. Improving the health of the upper James River watershed would not only benefit wildlife habitat in the watershed and at the Refuge, it would also benefit the Jamestown Reservoir and all downstream users.
The Service is furnishing this notice to advise other agencies and the public of the availability of the final Plan, to provide information on the desired conditions for the refuges, and to detail how the Service will implement management strategies. Based on the review and evaluation of the information contained in the EA, the Regional Director has determined that implementation of the Final Plan does not constitute a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment within the meaning of Section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement will not be prepared.Start Signature
Dated: February 26, 2008.
Gary G. Mowad,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-4087 Filed 3-3-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P