Notice of availability; request for comments.
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental assessment (EA) for the Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR) for public review and comment. In this draft CCP/EA we describe how we propose to manage the refuge for the next 15 years.
To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments by September 28, 2012. We will hold open house-style meetings during the comment period to receive comments and provide information on the draft plan. In addition, we will use special mailings, newspaper articles, Internet postings, and other media announcements to inform people of opportunities for input.
Send your comments or requests for more information by any one of the following methods:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “Hamden Slough Draft CCP/EA” in the subject line of the message.
Fax: Attention: Refuge Manager, Hamden Slough NWR, 218-847-4156.
U.S. Mail: Attention: Ryan Frohling, Refuge Manager, Hamden Slough NWR (managed by Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District), 26624 N. Tower Road, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.
In-Person Drop Off: You may drop off comments during regular business hours at the above addresses.
You will find the draft CCP/EA, as well as information about the planning process and a summary of the CCP, on the planning Web site: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/hamdenslough/index.html.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ryan Frohling, 218-847-4431.
With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, which we began by publishing a notice of intent in the Federal Register (75 FR 7289) on February 18, 2010. For more about the initial process and the history of this refuge, see that notice.
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) (Administration Act), requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose in developing a CCP 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 (NWRS), 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, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration Act.
Each unit of the NWRS was established for specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for each refuge within the NWRS mission, and to determine how the public can use each refuge. The planning process is a way for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives that will ensure the best possible approach to wildlife, plant, and habitat conservation, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with each refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
The draft CCP/EA may be found at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/hamdenslough/index.html. That document incorporates an EA, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (43 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The draft CCP/EA includes detailed information about the planning process, refuge, issues, and management alternatives considered and proposed. The EA includes discussions of three alternative refuge management options. The Service's preferred alternative is reflected in the draft CCP.
The alternatives analyzed in detail include:
- Alternative A: Current Management (No Action)—This alternative reflects the current management direction of Hamden Slough NWR. It provides the baseline against which to compare other alternatives. For NEPA purposes, this is referred to as the “No Action” alternative.
- Alternative B: Wetland Focus—This alternative would focus on increasing the quantity and quality of habitat for waterfowl. Acquisition and full restoration of Pierce Lake would be emphasized over the next 15 years. The hydrologic regime would better emulate natural seasonal and long-term variability. More diverse, sustainable vegetation patterns would be restored on Refuge wetlands.
- Alternative C: Wetland and Prairie Focus (Preferred Alternative)—This alternative would focus on increasing the quantity and quality of habitat for wetland and grassland birds. Acquisition and full restoration of Pierce Lake would be emphasized over the next 15 years. The hydrologic regime would better emulate natural seasonal and long-term variability. More diverse, sustainable vegetation patterns would be restored on Refuge wetlands and prairies. A detailed description of objectives and actions included in this preferred alternative is found in chapter 4 of the Draft CCP.
We will give the public an opportunity to provide input at a public meeting. You can obtain the schedule from the address or Web site listed in this notice (see ADDRESSES). You may also submit comments anytime during the comment period.
Public Availability of Comments
Before including your address, phone number, email 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.
Assistant Regional Director, Midwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-21301 Filed 8-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P