2009-2010 Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, 41351-41356 [E9-19590]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 157 / Monday, August 17, 2009 / Rules and Regulations (b) The Contractor shall deliver under this contract only such of the following commercial or non-commercial items, either as end products or components, that have been grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States: (1) Clothing and the materials and components thereof, other than sensors, electronics, or other items added to, and not normally associated with, clothing and the materials and components thereof; or (2) Tents, tarpaulins, covers, textile belts, bags, protective equipment (such as body armor), sleep systems, load carrying equipment (such as fieldpacks), textile marine equipment, parachutes or bandages. (c) The Contractor shall deliver under this contract only such of the following noncommercial items, either as end products or components, that have been grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States: (1) Cotton and other natural fiber products. (2) Woven silk or woven silk blends. (3) Spun silk yarn for cartridge cloth. (4) Synthetic fabric or coated synthetic fabric (including all textile fibers and yarns that are for use in such fabrics). (5) Canvas products. (6) Wool (whether in the form of fiber or yarn or contained in fabrics, materials, or manufactured articles). (7) Any item of individual equipment manufactured from or containing any of the fibers, yarns, fabrics, or materials listed in this paragraph (c). (d) This clause does not apply— (1) To items listed in (FAR) 48 CFR 25.104, or other items for which the Government has determined that a satisfactory quality and sufficient quantity cannot be acquired as and when needed at United States market prices; (2) To incidental amounts of cotton, other natural fibers, or wool incorporated in an end product, for which the estimated value of the cotton, other natural fibers, or wool is not more than 10 percent of the total price of the end product; or (3) To items that are eligible products per (FAR) 48 CFR Subpart 25.4. (End of clause.) [FR Doc. E9–19647 Filed 8–13–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–9B–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Parts 25 and 32 [Docket No. FWS–R3–NSR–2009–0007] [32579–1261–0000–4A] erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with RULES RIN 1018–AW48 2009–2010 Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) amends the VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:15 Aug 14, 2009 Jkt 217001 regulations for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (refuge) that pertain to existing programs for migratory game bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting. These changes take effect with the 2009–2010 season, implement portions of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge approved in 2006, and amend other regulations. We also make amendments to reflect recent OMB approval of new hunting and fishing application forms and activity reports for national wildlife refuges. DATES: This rule is effective August 17, 2009. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Frietsche, (507) 452–4232; Fax (507) 452–0851. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to allow uses of refuge areas, including hunting and/ or sport fishing, upon a determination that such uses are compatible with the purposes of the refuge and National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) mission. The action also must be in accordance with provisions of all laws applicable to the areas, developed in coordination with the appropriate State fish and wildlife agency(ies), and consistent with the principles of sound fish and wildlife management and administration. These requirements ensure that we maintain the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of the Refuge System for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. The law requires the Secretary to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for each refuge and to manage each refuge in a manner consistent with the CCP. Each CCP is guided by the overarching requirement that refuges are to be managed to fulfill the purposes for which they were established and the mission of the Refuge System. In addition, we must administer the Refuge System to provide for the conservation of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitat and to ensure their biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health. Each CCP must identify and describe the refuge’s purposes; fish, wildlife, and plant populations; cultural resources; areas for administrative or visitor facilities; significant problems affecting resources and actions necessary; and PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 41351 opportunities for compatible wildlifedependent recreation. Each CCP must also be developed through consultation with the States, other Federal agencies, and the public, and be coordinated with applicable State conservation plans. Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (refuge) encompasses 240,000 acres in a moreor-less continuous stretch of 261 miles of Mississippi River floodplain in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Congress established the refuge in 1924 to provide a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds, fish, other wildlife, and plants. The refuge is perhaps the most important corridor of habitat in the central United States due to its species diversity and abundance and is the most visited refuge in the United States with 3.7 million annual visitors. Approximately 187,000 acres of the refuge is open to all hunting, and approximately 140,000 acres of surface water is open to year-round fishing. On July 11, 2006, we published a notice of availability of our Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and CCP for the refuge (71 FR 39125), and we accepted public comments on the Final EIS for 30 days. On August 24, 2006, the Regional Director of the Midwest Region of the Fish and Wildlife Service signed the Record of Decision that documented the selection of Alternative E, the Preferred Alternative presented in the Final EIS. We published a notice of availability of that Record of Decision on November 2, 2006 (71 FR 64553). In accordance with the Record of Decision, we prepared a CCP based on Alternative E. The CCP was approved on October 24, 2006. The Final EIS and CCP are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/ uppermiss/. We developed the CCP for the refuge in accordance with all requirements including the consultation and public involvement provisions of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act. These include new compatibility determinations for hunting and fishing, which are referenced and listed in Appendix E of the Final EIS (which includes recreational and commercial fishing, migratory bird and big game hunting, wildlife observation and photography). We completed hunting and fishing regulations in 2007 to implement the goals, objectives, and strategies described in the CCP pertaining to hunting and fishing and related uses. We published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on June 28, 2007 (72 FR 35380), and a final rule was E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 41352 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 157 / Monday, August 17, 2009 / Rules and Regulations erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with RULES effective on September 7, 2007 (72 FR 51534). We based these compatibility determinations on all changes anticipated in the CCP, including the changes described in this rule, and they remain valid as approved in 2006. We then developed this rule to complete implementation of the hunting- and fishing-related portions of the CCP. Even after we enact the changes, opportunities for waterfowl hunting on the 240,000-acre refuge will remain abundant with 49,239 acres closed to waterfowl or other hunting compared to a pre-CCP total of 48,099 acres. Proposed Rule On April 28, 2009, we published a proposed rule (74 FR 19318) to make four changes to the existing refuge regulations (see our final rule of September 7, 2007 (72 FR 51534), for more details on closure restrictions). We proposed to modify the refuge’s Waterfowl Hunting Closed Areas and/or No Hunting Zones in Pool 4; add a new No Hunting Zone in Pool 5A as scheduled in the CCP; make permanent an interim No Hunting or Trapping Zone on the recently acquired Mathy Tract (75 acres) on Brice Prairie near Pool 7, which would be used as a future office and visitor contact facility; and add a regulation on the immediate retrieval of waterfowl taken during hunting that would be applicable refuge-wide. We made no substantive changes in this final rule. However, we are making a minor edit to correct an administrative error. In the Statutory Authority section we are correcting the date in the reference to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1977 to 1997. In addition, on January 15, 2009, OMB approved the use of nine new hunting and fishing application forms and activity reports for use on national wildlife refuges (control #1018–0140). Therefore, we are also amending 50 CFR 25.23 to reflect the addition of these forms to those already used on national wildlife refuges. The retrieval regulation resulted from discussions we had with State law enforcement personnel and was endorsed by 33 of 35 participants at a public waterfowl hunting workshop in February 2007. This regulation is designed to reduce the loss of downed waterfowl by adding a time element (i.e., ‘‘immediately’’) to existing State retrieval regulations and to reduce the crippling loss of waterfowl by discouraging hunters from shooting at birds that are beyond effective shotgun range. The change in Pool 5A is the addition of a 24-acre Fountain City Bay VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:15 Aug 14, 2009 Jkt 217001 No Hunting Zone encompassing a backwater bay adjacent to Merrick State Park, Wisconsin. This new zone, identified in the CCP, is designed to reduce conflicts with park users and will also provide a resting and feeding area for migrating puddle ducks such as mallards and blue-winged teal. The most significant of the changes above is the modification of the Waterfowl Hunting Closed Areas in Pool 4 of the refuge, a change described and scheduled for the 2009–2010 season in the CCP. This pool currently has 6,884 acres designated as closed areas, and under this rule the acreage will drop to 3,500 acres designated as closed areas or no hunting zones. The entire Nelson– Trevino closed area will be open to hunting (3,773 acres), and a new closed area will be established that encompasses Big Lake (2,210 acres). The current Peterson Lake closed area of 3,111 acres will be reduced to 1,290 acres and also divided into more recognizable subunits, namely Peterson Lake closed area (572 acres), Rieck’s Lake closed area (499 acres), and Buffalo River no hunting zone (219 acres). These changes, although resulting in more acreage open to hunting in Pool 4, are predicted to dramatically improve the effectiveness of Pool 4 in providing waterfowl secure resting and feeding areas based on an analysis of aquatic foods and bird use patterns completed for the Final EIS and CCP. An effective system of strategically located waterfowl closed areas on the 261-mile-long refuge is critical to waterfowl using the Mississippi Flyway, and allows hunting to remain compatible. We will monitor the effectiveness of the modification to Pool 4 and will make future changes if warranted by waterfowl use surveys. Finally, we make corrections to some acreage figures for the ‘‘No Entry— Sanctuary,’’ ‘‘Area Closed,’’ ‘‘Area Closed—No Motors,’’ ‘‘No Hunting Zone’’ and ‘‘No Hunting or Trapping Zone’’ listings in the respective sections of this rule to reflect increased accuracy based on actual signing and mapping in the field and subsequent Geographic Information System analysis since we published the 2007–08 Hunting and Fishing final rule. These are considered administrative changes since the corrections match the areas shown on maps provided to the public since 2007. We have summarized these administrative changes below: No Entry—Sanctuary Areas Pool Slough, Pool 9, Minnesota/Iowa, from 1,112 to 1,126 acres Spring Lake, Pool 13, Illinois, from 3,686 to 3,697 acres PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Areas Closed and Areas Closed—No Motors Big Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, from 2,626 to 2,210 acres Peterson Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, from 672 to 572 acres Spring Lake, Pool 5, Wisconsin, from 243 to 254 acres Polander Lake, Pool 5A, Minnesota/ Wisconsin, from 1,907 to 1,873 acres Lake Onalaska, Pool 7, Wisconsin, from 7,369 acres to 7,366 acres Wisconsin Islands, Pool 8, Minnesota/ Wisconsin, from 6,510 to 6,538 acres Wisconsin River Delta, Pool 10, Wisconsin, from 1,406 to 1,414 acres 12-Mile Island, Pool 11, Iowa, from 1,145 to 1,139 acres Kehough Slough, Pool 12, Illinois, from 343 to 333 acres Pleasant Creek, Pool 13, Iowa, from 2,067 to 2,191 acres Elk River, Pool 13, Iowa, from 1,237 to 1,248 acres Beaver Island, Pool 14, Iowa, from 717 to 864 acres No Hunting or No Hunting or Trapping Zones Upper Halfway Creek Marsh, Pool 7, Wisconsin, from 141 to 143 acres Goose Island, Pool 8, Wisconsin, from 986 to 984 acres Goetz Island Trail, Pool 11, Iowa, from 32 to 31 acres Crooked Slough Backwater, Pool 13, Illinois, from 2,467 to 2,453 acres Crooked Slough Proper, Pool 13, Illinois, from 192 to 270 acres Response to Public Comment In the April 28, 2009, proposed rule (74 FR 19318), we invited public comments on the proposed amendments to the refuge-specific regulations for the refuge. We reviewed and considered all comments received by May 28, 2009, the end of the 30–day comment period. We received four comments on the proposed rule. Since comments were often similar or commenters covered multiple topics, we have treated the comments/responses by major issue area. Comment 1: Two commenters expressed their disapproval of hunting programs on refuges in general. Response 1: We understand some citizens’ concern with hunting on national wildlife refuges. However, hunting on refuges remains an important form of outdoor recreation for millions of citizens and a use which we are to facilitate when compatible with the purpose of the refuge and the mission of the Refuge System per the National Wildlife Refuge System Administrative Act (Refuge E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 157 / Monday, August 17, 2009 / Rules and Regulations Administration Act). We have taken care to ensure the right balance between the needs of wildlife and people on the refuge in keeping with the Refuge Administration Act and Service policy and regulation. We have also determined in a compatibility determination that hunting, with stipulations such as a system of hunting closed areas included in this and previous rules, is a compatible use on the refuge. We made no change to the rule as a result of these comments. Comment 2: A commenter suggested that we include a clause requiring the use of steel shot in shotshells for hunting on the refuge. Response 2: This rule amends existing regulations for hunting on the refuge. The full regulations not cited in this amendment require the use of steel or other nontoxic shot. The actual regulations in 50 CFR 32.42, Section A.8 (migratory bird hunting) and Section B.7 (upland game hunting) read: ‘‘You may possess only approved nontoxic shot shells while in the field’’ and ‘‘You may only use or possess approved nontoxic shot shells while in the field, including shot shells used for hunting wild turkey.’’ We made no change to the rule as a result of this comment. Comment 3: One commenter was opposed to the hunting program changes in Pool 4 of the refuge citing loss of a traditional waterfowl hunting area, lack of reason for the change, and saying there were plenty of other closed areas available for waterfowl. Response 3: We understand that changes to the system of Waterfowl Hunting Closed Areas of the refuge reflected in this rule are generally met with resistance since some of the changes affect long-standing patterns of use by waterfowl hunters and others. However, we thoroughly documented the issue, the science, and the need for change in the Draft and Final EIS. We added Appendix Q in the Final EIS, which gives details on each closed area and rationale for changes based on public questions and concerns. The system of Waterfowl Hunting Closed Areas has remained virtually unchanged since 1958, and we believe we need the adjustments reflected in the CCP and in this rule based on current habitat conditions, waterfowl population and use data, human disturbance studies, and energetics modeling. These changes also allow waterfowl hunting and other uses to remain compatible. We made no change to the rule based on these comments. VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:15 Aug 14, 2009 Jkt 217001 Available Information for Specific Districts of the Refuge The refuge is divided into four districts for management, administrative, and public service effectiveness and efficiency. These districts correspond to two or more Mississippi River pools created by the series of locks and dams on the river. District offices are located in Winona, Minnesota (Pools 4–6), La Crosse, Wisconsin (Pools 7–8), McGregor, Iowa (Pools 9–11), and Savanna, Illinois (Pools 12–14). If you are interested in specific information pertaining to a specific area encompassed in this rule, you may contact the appropriate district office listed below: Winona District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 51 East Fourth Street, Room 203, Winona, MN 55987; Telephone (507) 454–7351. La Crosse District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 555 Lester Avenue, Onalaska, WI 54650; Telephone (608) 783–8405. McGregor District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 460, McGregor, IA 52157; Telephone (563) 873–3423. Savanna District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 7071 Riverview Road, Thomson, IL 61285; Telephone (815) 273–2732. Fish Advisory For health reasons, anglers should review and follow State-issued consumption advisories before enjoying recreational sport fishing opportunities on Service-managed waters. You can find information about current fish consumption advisories on the internet at: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/ fish/. Plain Language Mandate In this rule, we comply with a Presidential mandate to use plain language in regulations. As examples, we use ‘‘you’’ to refer to the reader and ‘‘we’’ to refer to the Service, the word ‘‘allow’’ instead of ‘‘permit’’ when we do not require the use of a permit for an activity, and we use active voice whenever possible (i.e., ‘‘We allow hunting of upland game on designated areas’’ vs. ‘‘Upland game hunting in designated areas is allowed’’). Effective Date This rule is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. We have determined that any further delay in implementing these refuge-specific hunting and sport fishing regulations would not be in the public interest as a delay would disrupt goals, objectives, and strategies described in the CCP. All PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 41353 changes in the refuge’s hunting program found in this rule were described in the CCP. A description of the comprehensive coordination of these regulations with the public through the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and CCP is found in the ‘‘Background’’ section of this document. Implementing these regulations immediately will allow the Service to better manage refuge resources in time for the opening of the various seasons. These regulations also improve the conservation of resources and a delay would lessen the management effectiveness of this regulation- the requirement for a reasonable attempt at immediate retrieval of downed waterfowl reduces waste, while closing portions of pool 4 will provide additional secure waterfowl resting and feeding areas. This rule does not impact the public generally in terms of requiring lead time for compliance. These regulations implement management decisions made and published in the final CCP adopted October 24, 2006, giving refuge users and the affected public significant advance notice (see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION). Therefore, we find good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule effective upon publication. Statutory Authority The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act), (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee) and the Refuge Recreation Act of 1962 (16 U.S.C. 460k–460k-4) (Recreation Act) govern the administration and public use of refuges. In addition, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C 703–711) grants authority for management of migratory birds and the closing of any areas to migratory bird hunting. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) designates the protection of migratory birds as a Federal responsibility. The MBTA enables the setting of seasons, and other regulations including the closing of areas, Federal and non-Federal, to the hunting of migratory birds. You can find regulations stemming from the MBTA pertaining to migratory bird hunting in 50 CFR part 20. This document codifies in the Code of Federal Regulations amended hunting and sport fishing regulations that are applicable to the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. We are amending these regulations to implement the refuge CCP, better inform the general public of the regulations at E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 41354 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 157 / Monday, August 17, 2009 / Rules and Regulations the refuge, increase understanding and compliance with these regulations, and make enforcement of these regulations more efficient. In addition to finding these regulations in 50 CFR part 32, visitors will find them reiterated in literature distributed by the refuge and posted on signs at major access points. Visitors will also find the boundaries of closed areas or other restricted-use areas referenced in this document marked by specific signs. Regulatory Planning and Review The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866 (E.O. 12866). OMB bases its determination on the following four criteria: (a) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government. (b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal agencies’ actions. (c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, use fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. (d) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues. Regulatory Flexibility Act Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act [SBREFA] of 1996) (5 U.S.C. 601, et seq.), whenever a Federal agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies that the rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a regulatory flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a threshold for ‘‘significant impact’’ and a threshold for a ‘‘substantial number of small entities.’’ See 5 U.S.C. 605(b). SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule does not increase the number of recreation types allowed on the refuge but amends hunting and fishing regulations on the refuge. As a result, opportunities for hunting and fishing recreation on the refuge will remain abundant and increase over time based on analysis done in the Final EIS and CCP for the refuge. Many small businesses within the retail trade industry (such as hotels, gas stations, taxidermy shops, bait and tackle shops, etc.) may benefit from some increased refuge visitation. A large percentage of these retail trade establishments in the majority of affected counties qualify as small businesses (see table below). We expect that the incremental recreational opportunities will be scattered, and so we do not expect that the rule will have a significant economic effect (benefit) on a substantial number of small entities in any given community or county. We expect recreationists to spend an additional $2 million annually in total in the refuges’ local economies. As shown in the table below, this represents 0.02 percent of the total amount of retail expenditures in the 19county area. For comparison purposes, the county with the smallest retail expenditure total, Buffalo County in Wisconsin, is shown. If the entire retail trade expenditures associated with the hunting and fishing regulations occurred in Buffalo County, this would amount to 3.4 percent increase in annual retail expenditures. TABLE: COMPARATIVE EXPENDITURES FOR RETAIL TRADE ASSOCIATED WITH ADDITIONAL REFUGE VISITATION 2009–2010 HUNTING AND FISHING REGULATIONS Retail Trade in 2002 Change Due to 2009–2010 Hunting and Fishing Regulations (15–year span of CCP) Change as Percent of Total Retail Trade Total Number of Retail Establishments 19-County Area $9.8 billion $1,999,216 0.02% 24,878 17,957 Buffalo County, WI $58.3 million $1,999,216 3.4% 350 290 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with RULES Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. We anticipate no significant employment or small business effects. This rule: a. Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. By the end of the 15–year CCP lifespan, the additional fishing and hunting opportunities on the refuge would generate an additional $2 million in angler and hunter expenditures with an economic impact estimated at $2.5 million per year (2003 dollars). Consequently, the maximum benefit of VerDate Nov<24>2008 19:00 Aug 14, 2009 Jkt 217001 this rule for businesses both small and large would not be sufficient to make this a major rule. The impact would be scattered across 19 counties and would most likely not be significant in any local area. b. Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government agencies; or geographic regions. We do not expect this rule to affect the supply or demand for fishing and hunting opportunities in the United States, and, therefore, it should not affect prices for fishing and hunting equipment and supplies, or the retailers that sell equipment. PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Establishments with fewer than 10 Employees c. Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This rule represents only a small proportion of recreational spending of a small number of affected hunters. Therefore, this rule would have virtually no economic effect on the wildlife-dependent industry, which has annual sales of equipment and travel expenditures of over $72 billion nationwide. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Since this rule would apply to public use of federally owned and managed E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 157 / Monday, August 17, 2009 / Rules and Regulations refuges, it would not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule would not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required. Takings (E.O. 12630) In accordance with E.O. 12630, this rule would not have significant takings implications. This rule would affect only visitors to the refuge and describe what they can do while they are on the refuge. Federalism (E.O. 13132) As discussed in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act section above, this rule would not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment under E.O. 13132. In preparing the CCP for the refuge, we worked closely with the four States bordering the refuge, and this rule reflects the CCP. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988) In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has determined that this rule would not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. This rule would clarify established regulations and result in better understanding of the regulations by refuge visitors. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with RULES Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (E.O. 13211) On May 18, 2001, the President issued E.O. 13211 on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and use. E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. Because this rule is a modification of an existing hunting and fishing program on the refuge, we do not expect it to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. Therefore, this action is a not a significant energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required. Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (E.O. 13175) In accordance with E.O. 13175, we have evaluated possible effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no effects. We coordinate recreational use on national wildlife refuges with Tribal governments having adjoining or VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:15 Aug 14, 2009 Jkt 217001 overlapping jurisdiction before we propose changes to the regulations. During scoping and preparation of the Final EIS, we contacted 35 Indian tribes to inform them of the process and seek their comments. Only the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma provided comment on the Draft EIS, saying they have an historic presence in counties adjacent to the refuge, and they wish to be kept informed of any artifact discoveries as we implement refuge plans. We replied in the Final EIS that we appreciated their interest in the refuge and would keep them informed of any cultural resource issues and discoveries. Paperwork Reduction Act This rule does not contain any information collection requirements other than those already approved by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (OMB Control Numbers 1018–0102 and 1018–0140). See 50 CFR 25.23 for information concerning that approval. 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. Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation During preparation of the Final EIS, we completed a section 7 consultation and determined that the preferred alternative, which included hunting and fishing changes reflected in this rule, is not likely to adversely affect individuals of listed or candidate species or designated critical habitat of such species. The Service’s Ecological Services Office concurred with this determination. The listed species on the refuge is the Higgins eye mussel; candidate species are the Eastern massasauga and spectaclecase and sheepnose mussels. A copy of the section 7 evaluation and accompanying biological assessment is available from the refuge at the locations listed in the ‘‘Available Information for Specific Districts of the Refuge’’ section of this document. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) Concerning the actions that are the subject of this rulemaking, we have complied with NEPA through the preparation of a Final EIS and Record of Decision, which include the major hunting changes reflected in this rule. An Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for the 75-acre No Hunting and Trapping Zone on Brice Prairie near Pool 7. The NEPA documents are PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 41355 available on or through our website at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/ UpperMississippiRiver/. Then click on Current Topics on the left, which will bring you to the Mathy Tract EA. Primary Author Don Hultman, Refuge Manager, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, is the primary author of this rulemaking document. List of Subjects 50 CFR Part 25 Administrative practice and procedure, Concessions, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Safety, Wildlife refuges. 50 CFR Part 32 Fishing, Hunting, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Wildlife, Wildlife refuges. Regulation Promulgation For the reasons set forth in the preamble, we amend title 50, Chapter I, subchapter C of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: ■ PART 25—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 16 U.S.C. 460k, 664, 668dd, and 715i, 3901 et seq.; and Pub. L. 102–402, 106 Stat. 11961. ■ 2. Revise § 25.23 to read as follows: § 25.23 What are the general regulations and information collection requirements? The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements contained in subchapter C, parts 25, 32, and 36 under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and assigned the following control numbers: 1018–0014 for Special Use Permit Applications on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska; 1018–0102 for Special Use Permit Applications on National Wildlife Refuges Outside Alaska; and 1018–0140 for Hunting and Fishing Application Forms and Activity Reports for National Wildlife Refuges. We collect information to assist us in administering our programs in accordance with statutory authorities that require that recreational or other uses be compatible with the primary purposes for which the areas were established. Send comments on any aspect of these forms to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222 ARLSQ, Washington, DC 20240. E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 41356 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 157 / Monday, August 17, 2009 / Rules and Regulations PART 32—[AMENDED] 3. The authority citation for part 32 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 16 U.S.C. 460k, 664, 668dd–668ee, and 715i. 4. Amend § 32.42 Minnesota by revising paragraphs A.2., A.3., A.4., and A.6. of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge to read as follows: ■ § 32.42 * * Minnesota. * * * Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge A. Migratory Game Bird Hunting. * * * * * * * 2. In areas posted and shown on maps as ‘‘No Entry—Sanctuary,’’ we prohibit migratory bird hunting at all times and all public entry except as specified. These areas are named and located as follows: i. Pool Slough, Pool 9, Minnesota/ Iowa, 1,126 acres. ii. Bertom Island, Pool 11, Wisconsin, 31 acres. iii. Guttenberg Ponds, Pool 11, Iowa, 252 acres. iv. Spring Lake, Pool 13, Illinois, 3,697 acres. 3. In areas posted and shown on maps as ‘‘Area Closed’’ and ‘‘Area Closed—No Motors,’’ we prohibit migratory bird hunting at all times. We ask that you practice voluntary avoidance of these areas by any means or for any purpose from October 15 to the end of the respective State duck season. In areas also marked ‘‘no motors,’’ we prohibit the use of motors on watercraft from October 15 to the end of the respective State duck season. These ‘‘Area(s) Closed’’ are named and located as follows: i. Big Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 2,210 acres. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with RULES * VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:15 Aug 14, 2009 Jkt 217001 ii. Weaver Bottoms/Lost Island, Pool 5, Minnesota/Wisconsin, 3,508 acres. iii. Polander Lake, Pool 5A, Minnesota/Wisconsin, 1,873 acres. iv. Lake Onalaska, Pool 7, Wisconsin, 7,366 acres (voluntary avoidance on 3,365 acres until mid-November). v. Wisconsin Islands, Pool 8, Minnesota/Wisconsin, 6,538 acres. vi. Harpers Slough, Pool 9, Iowa/ Wisconsin, 5,209 acres. vii. Wisconsin River Delta, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 1,414 acres (closed November 1 to end of duck season). viii. 12-Mile Island, Pool 11, Iowa, 1,139 acres. ix. Bertom–McCartney, Pool 11, Wisconsin, 2,384 acres (no voluntary avoidance provision). x. Pleasant Creek, Pool 13, Iowa, 2,191 acres. xi. Elk River, Pool 13, Iowa, 1,248 acres. The ‘‘Area(s) Closed—No Motors’’ are named and located as follows: xii. Peterson Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin 572 acres. xiii. Rieck’s Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 499 acres. xiv. Spring Lake, Pool 5, Wisconsin, 254 acres. xv. Sturgeon Slough, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 340 acres. xvi. 12-Mile Island, Pool 10, Iowa, 540 acres. xvii. John Deere Marsh, Pool 11, Iowa, 439 acres. xviii. Kehough Slough, Pool 12, Illinois, 333 acres. xiv. Beaver Island, Pool 14, Iowa, 864 acres. 4. In areas posted and shown on maps as ‘‘No Hunting Zone’’ or ‘‘No Hunting or Trapping Zone,’’ we prohibit migratory bird hunting at all times. These areas are named and located as follows: i. Buffalo River, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 219 acres. PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ii. Fountain City Bay, Pool 5A, Wisconsin, 24 acres. iii. Upper Halfway Creek Marsh, Pool 7, Wisconsin, 143 acres. iv. Mathy Tract (Brice Prairie), Pool 7, Wisconsin, 75 acres. v. Hunter’s Point, Pool 8, Wisconsin, 82 acres. vi. Goose Island, Pool 8, Wisconsin, 984 acres (also no motors and voluntary avoidance as in condition A3). vii. Sturgeon Slough, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 66 acres. viii. Goetz Island Trail, Pool 11, Iowa, 31 acres. ix. Crooked Slough Backwater, Pool 13, Illinois, 2,453 acres. x. Crooked Slough Proper, Pool 13, Illinois, 270 acres. xi. Frog Pond, Pool 13, Illinois, 64 acres. xii. Ingersoll Learning Center, Pool 13, Illinois, 41 acres. * * * * * 6. You must immediately make a reasonable attempt to retrieve downed waterfowl unless the bird lies in plain sight of you, is clearly dead, and there is no risk of the bird drifting off due to wind or current. You may retrieve dead or wounded game from areas posted ‘‘Area Closed,’’ ‘‘No Hunting Zone,’’ and ‘‘No Hunting or Trapping Zone’’ provided you do not attempt to chase birds from the area. You may not use a motor to aid in the retrieval of game in areas posted ‘‘Area Closed—No Motors.’’ You may not retrieve birds or other game from areas posted ‘‘No Entry—Sanctuary.’’ * * * * * Dated: August 6, 2009. Jane Lyder, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. E9–19590 Filed 8–14–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–S E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 157 (Monday, August 17, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 41351-41356]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-19590]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Parts 25 and 32

[Docket No. FWS-R3-NSR-2009-0007] [32579-1261-0000-4A]
RIN 1018-AW48


2009-2010 Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations for the Upper 
Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) amends the 
regulations for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish 
Refuge (refuge) that pertain to existing programs for migratory game 
bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting. These changes 
take effect with the 2009-2010 season, implement portions of the 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge approved in 2006, and 
amend other regulations. We also make amendments to reflect recent OMB 
approval of new hunting and fishing application forms and activity 
reports for national wildlife refuges.

DATES: This rule is effective August 17, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Frietsche, (507) 452-4232; Fax 
(507) 452-0851.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary) to allow uses of refuge areas, including hunting and/or 
sport fishing, upon a determination that such uses are compatible with 
the purposes of the refuge and National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge 
System) mission. The action also must be in accordance with provisions 
of all laws applicable to the areas, developed in coordination with the 
appropriate State fish and wildlife agency(ies), and consistent with 
the principles of sound fish and wildlife management and 
administration. These requirements ensure that we maintain the 
biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of the Refuge 
System for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
    The law requires the Secretary to prepare a Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan (CCP) for each refuge and to manage each refuge in a 
manner consistent with the CCP. Each CCP is guided by the overarching 
requirement that refuges are to be managed to fulfill the purposes for 
which they were established and the mission of the Refuge System. In 
addition, we must administer the Refuge System to provide for the 
conservation of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitat 
and to ensure their biological integrity, diversity, and environmental 
health. Each CCP must identify and describe the refuge's purposes; 
fish, wildlife, and plant populations; cultural resources; areas for 
administrative or visitor facilities; significant problems affecting 
resources and actions necessary; and opportunities for compatible 
wildlife-dependent recreation. Each CCP must also be developed through 
consultation with the States, other Federal agencies, and the public, 
and be coordinated with applicable State conservation plans.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

    The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge 
(refuge) encompasses 240,000 acres in a more-or-less continuous stretch 
of 261 miles of Mississippi River floodplain in Minnesota, Wisconsin, 
Iowa, and Illinois. Congress established the refuge in 1924 to provide 
a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds, fish, other wildlife, 
and plants. The refuge is perhaps the most important corridor of 
habitat in the central United States due to its species diversity and 
abundance and is the most visited refuge in the United States with 3.7 
million annual visitors. Approximately 187,000 acres of the refuge is 
open to all hunting, and approximately 140,000 acres of surface water 
is open to year-round fishing.
    On July 11, 2006, we published a notice of availability of our 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and CCP for the refuge (71 
FR 39125), and we accepted public comments on the Final EIS for 30 
days. On August 24, 2006, the Regional Director of the Midwest Region 
of the Fish and Wildlife Service signed the Record of Decision that 
documented the selection of Alternative E, the Preferred Alternative 
presented in the Final EIS. We published a notice of availability of 
that Record of Decision on November 2, 2006 (71 FR 64553). In 
accordance with the Record of Decision, we prepared a CCP based on 
Alternative E. The CCP was approved on October 24, 2006. The Final EIS 
and CCP are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/uppermiss/
.
    We developed the CCP for the refuge in accordance with all 
requirements including the consultation and public involvement 
provisions of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act. 
These include new compatibility determinations for hunting and fishing, 
which are referenced and listed in Appendix E of the Final EIS (which 
includes recreational and commercial fishing, migratory bird and big 
game hunting, wildlife observation and photography). We completed 
hunting and fishing regulations in 2007 to implement the goals, 
objectives, and strategies described in the CCP pertaining to hunting 
and fishing and related uses. We published a proposed rule in the 
Federal Register on June 28, 2007 (72 FR 35380), and a final rule was

[[Page 41352]]

effective on September 7, 2007 (72 FR 51534).
    We based these compatibility determinations on all changes 
anticipated in the CCP, including the changes described in this rule, 
and they remain valid as approved in 2006. We then developed this rule 
to complete implementation of the hunting- and fishing-related portions 
of the CCP. Even after we enact the changes, opportunities for 
waterfowl hunting on the 240,000-acre refuge will remain abundant with 
49,239 acres closed to waterfowl or other hunting compared to a pre-CCP 
total of 48,099 acres.

Proposed Rule

    On April 28, 2009, we published a proposed rule (74 FR 19318) to 
make four changes to the existing refuge regulations (see our final 
rule of September 7, 2007 (72 FR 51534), for more details on closure 
restrictions). We proposed to modify the refuge's Waterfowl Hunting 
Closed Areas and/or No Hunting Zones in Pool 4; add a new No Hunting 
Zone in Pool 5A as scheduled in the CCP; make permanent an interim No 
Hunting or Trapping Zone on the recently acquired Mathy Tract (75 
acres) on Brice Prairie near Pool 7, which would be used as a future 
office and visitor contact facility; and add a regulation on the 
immediate retrieval of waterfowl taken during hunting that would be 
applicable refuge-wide.
    We made no substantive changes in this final rule. However, we are 
making a minor edit to correct an administrative error. In the 
Statutory Authority section we are correcting the date in the reference 
to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1977 to 1997. 
In addition, on January 15, 2009, OMB approved the use of nine new 
hunting and fishing application forms and activity reports for use on 
national wildlife refuges (control 1018-0140). Therefore, we 
are also amending 50 CFR 25.23 to reflect the addition of these forms 
to those already used on national wildlife refuges.
    The retrieval regulation resulted from discussions we had with 
State law enforcement personnel and was endorsed by 33 of 35 
participants at a public waterfowl hunting workshop in February 2007. 
This regulation is designed to reduce the loss of downed waterfowl by 
adding a time element (i.e., ``immediately'') to existing State 
retrieval regulations and to reduce the crippling loss of waterfowl by 
discouraging hunters from shooting at birds that are beyond effective 
shotgun range. The change in Pool 5A is the addition of a 24-acre 
Fountain City Bay No Hunting Zone encompassing a backwater bay adjacent 
to Merrick State Park, Wisconsin. This new zone, identified in the CCP, 
is designed to reduce conflicts with park users and will also provide a 
resting and feeding area for migrating puddle ducks such as mallards 
and blue-winged teal.
    The most significant of the changes above is the modification of 
the Waterfowl Hunting Closed Areas in Pool 4 of the refuge, a change 
described and scheduled for the 2009-2010 season in the CCP. This pool 
currently has 6,884 acres designated as closed areas, and under this 
rule the acreage will drop to 3,500 acres designated as closed areas or 
no hunting zones. The entire Nelson-Trevino closed area will be open to 
hunting (3,773 acres), and a new closed area will be established that 
encompasses Big Lake (2,210 acres). The current Peterson Lake closed 
area of 3,111 acres will be reduced to 1,290 acres and also divided 
into more recognizable subunits, namely Peterson Lake closed area (572 
acres), Rieck's Lake closed area (499 acres), and Buffalo River no 
hunting zone (219 acres). These changes, although resulting in more 
acreage open to hunting in Pool 4, are predicted to dramatically 
improve the effectiveness of Pool 4 in providing waterfowl secure 
resting and feeding areas based on an analysis of aquatic foods and 
bird use patterns completed for the Final EIS and CCP. An effective 
system of strategically located waterfowl closed areas on the 261-mile-
long refuge is critical to waterfowl using the Mississippi Flyway, and 
allows hunting to remain compatible. We will monitor the effectiveness 
of the modification to Pool 4 and will make future changes if warranted 
by waterfowl use surveys.
    Finally, we make corrections to some acreage figures for the ``No 
Entry--Sanctuary,'' ``Area Closed,'' ``Area Closed--No Motors,'' ``No 
Hunting Zone'' and ``No Hunting or Trapping Zone'' listings in the 
respective sections of this rule to reflect increased accuracy based on 
actual signing and mapping in the field and subsequent Geographic 
Information System analysis since we published the 2007-08 Hunting and 
Fishing final rule. These are considered administrative changes since 
the corrections match the areas shown on maps provided to the public 
since 2007. We have summarized these administrative changes below:
No Entry--Sanctuary Areas
    Pool Slough, Pool 9, Minnesota/Iowa, from 1,112 to 1,126 acres
    Spring Lake, Pool 13, Illinois, from 3,686 to 3,697 acres
Areas Closed and Areas Closed--No Motors
    Big Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, from 2,626 to 2,210 acres
    Peterson Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, from 672 to 572 acres
    Spring Lake, Pool 5, Wisconsin, from 243 to 254 acres
    Polander Lake, Pool 5A, Minnesota/Wisconsin, from 1,907 to 1,873 
acres
    Lake Onalaska, Pool 7, Wisconsin, from 7,369 acres to 7,366 acres
    Wisconsin Islands, Pool 8, Minnesota/Wisconsin, from 6,510 to 6,538 
acres
    Wisconsin River Delta, Pool 10, Wisconsin, from 1,406 to 1,414 
acres
    12-Mile Island, Pool 11, Iowa, from 1,145 to 1,139 acres
    Kehough Slough, Pool 12, Illinois, from 343 to 333 acres
    Pleasant Creek, Pool 13, Iowa, from 2,067 to 2,191 acres
    Elk River, Pool 13, Iowa, from 1,237 to 1,248 acres
    Beaver Island, Pool 14, Iowa, from 717 to 864 acres
No Hunting or No Hunting or Trapping Zones
    Upper Halfway Creek Marsh, Pool 7, Wisconsin, from 141 to 143 acres
    Goose Island, Pool 8, Wisconsin, from 986 to 984 acres
    Goetz Island Trail, Pool 11, Iowa, from 32 to 31 acres
    Crooked Slough Backwater, Pool 13, Illinois, from 2,467 to 2,453 
acres
    Crooked Slough Proper, Pool 13, Illinois, from 192 to 270 acres

Response to Public Comment

    In the April 28, 2009, proposed rule (74 FR 19318), we invited 
public comments on the proposed amendments to the refuge-specific 
regulations for the refuge. We reviewed and considered all comments 
received by May 28, 2009, the end of the 30-day comment period. We 
received four comments on the proposed rule. Since comments were often 
similar or commenters covered multiple topics, we have treated the 
comments/responses by major issue area.
    Comment 1: Two commenters expressed their disapproval of hunting 
programs on refuges in general.
    Response 1: We understand some citizens' concern with hunting on 
national wildlife refuges. However, hunting on refuges remains an 
important form of outdoor recreation for millions of citizens and a use 
which we are to facilitate when compatible with the purpose of the 
refuge and the mission of the Refuge System per the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administrative Act (Refuge

[[Page 41353]]

Administration Act). We have taken care to ensure the right balance 
between the needs of wildlife and people on the refuge in keeping with 
the Refuge Administration Act and Service policy and regulation. We 
have also determined in a compatibility determination that hunting, 
with stipulations such as a system of hunting closed areas included in 
this and previous rules, is a compatible use on the refuge. We made no 
change to the rule as a result of these comments.
    Comment 2: A commenter suggested that we include a clause requiring 
the use of steel shot in shotshells for hunting on the refuge.
    Response 2: This rule amends existing regulations for hunting on 
the refuge. The full regulations not cited in this amendment require 
the use of steel or other nontoxic shot. The actual regulations in 50 
CFR 32.42, Section A.8 (migratory bird hunting) and Section B.7 (upland 
game hunting) read: ``You may possess only approved nontoxic shot 
shells while in the field'' and ``You may only use or possess approved 
nontoxic shot shells while in the field, including shot shells used for 
hunting wild turkey.'' We made no change to the rule as a result of 
this comment.
    Comment 3: One commenter was opposed to the hunting program changes 
in Pool 4 of the refuge citing loss of a traditional waterfowl hunting 
area, lack of reason for the change, and saying there were plenty of 
other closed areas available for waterfowl.
    Response 3: We understand that changes to the system of Waterfowl 
Hunting Closed Areas of the refuge reflected in this rule are generally 
met with resistance since some of the changes affect long-standing 
patterns of use by waterfowl hunters and others. However, we thoroughly 
documented the issue, the science, and the need for change in the Draft 
and Final EIS. We added Appendix Q in the Final EIS, which gives 
details on each closed area and rationale for changes based on public 
questions and concerns. The system of Waterfowl Hunting Closed Areas 
has remained virtually unchanged since 1958, and we believe we need the 
adjustments reflected in the CCP and in this rule based on current 
habitat conditions, waterfowl population and use data, human 
disturbance studies, and energetics modeling. These changes also allow 
waterfowl hunting and other uses to remain compatible. We made no 
change to the rule based on these comments.

Available Information for Specific Districts of the Refuge

    The refuge is divided into four districts for management, 
administrative, and public service effectiveness and efficiency. These 
districts correspond to two or more Mississippi River pools created by 
the series of locks and dams on the river. District offices are located 
in Winona, Minnesota (Pools 4-6), La Crosse, Wisconsin (Pools 7-8), 
McGregor, Iowa (Pools 9-11), and Savanna, Illinois (Pools 12-14). If 
you are interested in specific information pertaining to a specific 
area encompassed in this rule, you may contact the appropriate district 
office listed below:
    Winona District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 51 East Fourth 
Street, Room 203, Winona, MN 55987; Telephone (507) 454-7351.
    La Crosse District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 555 Lester 
Avenue, Onalaska, WI 54650; Telephone (608) 783-8405.
    McGregor District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 460, 
McGregor, IA 52157; Telephone (563) 873-3423.
    Savanna District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 7071 Riverview 
Road, Thomson, IL 61285; Telephone (815) 273-2732.

Fish Advisory

    For health reasons, anglers should review and follow State-issued 
consumption advisories before enjoying recreational sport fishing 
opportunities on Service-managed waters. You can find information about 
current fish consumption advisories on the internet at: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/.

Plain Language Mandate

    In this rule, we comply with a Presidential mandate to use plain 
language in regulations. As examples, we use ``you'' to refer to the 
reader and ``we'' to refer to the Service, the word ``allow'' instead 
of ``permit'' when we do not require the use of a permit for an 
activity, and we use active voice whenever possible (i.e., ``We allow 
hunting of upland game on designated areas'' vs. ``Upland game hunting 
in designated areas is allowed'').

Effective Date

    This rule is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. We 
have determined that any further delay in implementing these refuge-
specific hunting and sport fishing regulations would not be in the 
public interest as a delay would disrupt goals, objectives, and 
strategies described in the CCP. All changes in the refuge's hunting 
program found in this rule were described in the CCP. A description of 
the comprehensive coordination of these regulations with the public 
through the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and 
CCP is found in the ``Background'' section of this document. 
Implementing these regulations immediately will allow the Service to 
better manage refuge resources in time for the opening of the various 
seasons. These regulations also improve the conservation of resources 
and a delay would lessen the management effectiveness of this 
regulation- the requirement for a reasonable attempt at immediate 
retrieval of downed waterfowl reduces waste, while closing portions of 
pool 4 will provide additional secure waterfowl resting and feeding 
areas. This rule does not impact the public generally in terms of 
requiring lead time for compliance. These regulations implement 
management decisions made and published in the final CCP adopted 
October 24, 2006, giving refuge users and the affected public 
significant advance notice (see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION). Therefore, 
we find good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule effective 
upon publication.

Statutory Authority

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 
(Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act), (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) and 
the Refuge Recreation Act of 1962 (16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4) (Recreation 
Act) govern the administration and public use of refuges. In addition, 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C 703-711) grants authority for 
management of migratory birds and the closing of any areas to migratory 
bird hunting.
    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) designates the protection of 
migratory birds as a Federal responsibility. The MBTA enables the 
setting of seasons, and other regulations including the closing of 
areas, Federal and non-Federal, to the hunting of migratory birds. You 
can find regulations stemming from the MBTA pertaining to migratory 
bird hunting in 50 CFR part 20.
    This document codifies in the Code of Federal Regulations amended 
hunting and sport fishing regulations that are applicable to the Upper 
Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. We are amending 
these regulations to implement the refuge CCP, better inform the 
general public of the regulations at

[[Page 41354]]

the refuge, increase understanding and compliance with these 
regulations, and make enforcement of these regulations more efficient. 
In addition to finding these regulations in 50 CFR part 32, visitors 
will find them reiterated in literature distributed by the refuge and 
posted on signs at major access points. Visitors will also find the 
boundaries of closed areas or other restricted-use areas referenced in 
this document marked by specific signs.

Regulatory Planning and Review

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866 (E.O. 12866). OMB 
bases its determination on the following four criteria:
    (a) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.
    (b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions.
    (c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
use fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients.
    (d) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (as amended by the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act [SBREFA] of 1996) (5 
U.S.C. 601, et seq.), whenever a Federal agency is required to publish 
a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare 
and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis 
that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
an agency certifies that the rule would not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a 
regulatory flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a 
threshold for ``significant impact'' and a threshold for a 
``substantial number of small entities.'' See 5 U.S.C. 605(b). SBREFA 
amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to 
provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule 
would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
    This rule does not increase the number of recreation types allowed 
on the refuge but amends hunting and fishing regulations on the refuge. 
As a result, opportunities for hunting and fishing recreation on the 
refuge will remain abundant and increase over time based on analysis 
done in the Final EIS and CCP for the refuge.
    Many small businesses within the retail trade industry (such as 
hotels, gas stations, taxidermy shops, bait and tackle shops, etc.) may 
benefit from some increased refuge visitation. A large percentage of 
these retail trade establishments in the majority of affected counties 
qualify as small businesses (see table below).
    We expect that the incremental recreational opportunities will be 
scattered, and so we do not expect that the rule will have a 
significant economic effect (benefit) on a substantial number of small 
entities in any given community or county. We expect recreationists to 
spend an additional $2 million annually in total in the refuges' local 
economies. As shown in the table below, this represents 0.02 percent of 
the total amount of retail expenditures in the 19-county area. For 
comparison purposes, the county with the smallest retail expenditure 
total, Buffalo County in Wisconsin, is shown. If the entire retail 
trade expenditures associated with the hunting and fishing regulations 
occurred in Buffalo County, this would amount to 3.4 percent increase 
in annual retail expenditures.

         Table: Comparative Expenditures for Retail Trade Associated with Additional Refuge Visitation 2009-2010 Hunting and Fishing Regulations
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Change Due to 2009-
                                                                2010 Hunting and      Change as Percent of     Total Number of      Establishments with
                                      Retail Trade in 2002     Fishing Regulations     Total Retail Trade   Retail Establishments      fewer than 10
                                                              (15-year span of CCP)                                                      Employees
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
19-County Area                       $9.8 billion            $1,999,216              0.02%                  24,878                 17,957
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Buffalo County, WI                   $58.3 million           $1,999,216              3.4%                   350                    290
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. We anticipate no 
significant employment or small business effects. This rule:
    a. Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more. By the end of the 15-year CCP lifespan, the additional fishing 
and hunting opportunities on the refuge would generate an additional $2 
million in angler and hunter expenditures with an economic impact 
estimated at $2.5 million per year (2003 dollars). Consequently, the 
maximum benefit of this rule for businesses both small and large would 
not be sufficient to make this a major rule. The impact would be 
scattered across 19 counties and would most likely not be significant 
in any local area.
    b. Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government 
agencies; or geographic regions. We do not expect this rule to affect 
the supply or demand for fishing and hunting opportunities in the 
United States, and, therefore, it should not affect prices for fishing 
and hunting equipment and supplies, or the retailers that sell 
equipment.
    c. Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This 
rule represents only a small proportion of recreational spending of a 
small number of affected hunters. Therefore, this rule would have 
virtually no economic effect on the wildlife-dependent industry, which 
has annual sales of equipment and travel expenditures of over $72 
billion nationwide.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Since this rule would apply to public use of federally owned and 
managed

[[Page 41355]]

refuges, it would not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
Tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per 
year. The rule would not have a significant or unique effect on State, 
local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. A statement 
containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

Takings (E.O. 12630)

    In accordance with E.O. 12630, this rule would not have significant 
takings implications. This rule would affect only visitors to the 
refuge and describe what they can do while they are on the refuge.

Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    As discussed in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act section above, 
this rule would not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant 
the preparation of a Federalism Assessment under E.O. 13132. In 
preparing the CCP for the refuge, we worked closely with the four 
States bordering the refuge, and this rule reflects the CCP.

Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has 
determined that this rule would not unduly burden the judicial system 
and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the 
Order. This rule would clarify established regulations and result in 
better understanding of the regulations by refuge visitors.

Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (E.O. 13211)

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued E.O. 13211 on regulations 
that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and use. E.O. 
13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when 
undertaking certain actions. Because this rule is a modification of an 
existing hunting and fishing program on the refuge, we do not expect it 
to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. 
Therefore, this action is a not a significant energy action and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (E.O. 
13175)

    In accordance with E.O. 13175, we have evaluated possible effects 
on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there 
are no effects. We coordinate recreational use on national wildlife 
refuges with Tribal governments having adjoining or overlapping 
jurisdiction before we propose changes to the regulations. During 
scoping and preparation of the Final EIS, we contacted 35 Indian tribes 
to inform them of the process and seek their comments. Only the Iowa 
Tribe of Oklahoma provided comment on the Draft EIS, saying they have 
an historic presence in counties adjacent to the refuge, and they wish 
to be kept informed of any artifact discoveries as we implement refuge 
plans. We replied in the Final EIS that we appreciated their interest 
in the refuge and would keep them informed of any cultural resource 
issues and discoveries.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain any information collection requirements 
other than those already approved by the Office of Management and 
Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (OMB 
Control Numbers 1018-0102 and 1018-0140). See 50 CFR 25.23 for 
information concerning that approval. 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.

Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation

    During preparation of the Final EIS, we completed a section 7 
consultation and determined that the preferred alternative, which 
included hunting and fishing changes reflected in this rule, is not 
likely to adversely affect individuals of listed or candidate species 
or designated critical habitat of such species. The Service's 
Ecological Services Office concurred with this determination. The 
listed species on the refuge is the Higgins eye mussel; candidate 
species are the Eastern massasauga and spectaclecase and sheepnose 
mussels. A copy of the section 7 evaluation and accompanying biological 
assessment is available from the refuge at the locations listed in the 
``Available Information for Specific Districts of the Refuge'' section 
of this document.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    Concerning the actions that are the subject of this rulemaking, we 
have complied with NEPA through the preparation of a Final EIS and 
Record of Decision, which include the major hunting changes reflected 
in this rule. An Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for the 75-
acre No Hunting and Trapping Zone on Brice Prairie near Pool 7. The 
NEPA documents are available on or through our website at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/UpperMississippiRiver/. Then click on Current 
Topics on the left, which will bring you to the Mathy Tract EA.

Primary Author

    Don Hultman, Refuge Manager, Upper Mississippi River National 
Wildlife and Fish Refuge, is the primary author of this rulemaking 
document.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 25

    Administrative practice and procedure, Concessions, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Safety, Wildlife refuges.

50 CFR Part 32

    Fishing, Hunting, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Wildlife, Wildlife refuges.

Regulation Promulgation

0
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, we amend title 50, Chapter 
I, subchapter C of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 25--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 16 U.S.C. 460k, 664, 668dd, and 715i, 
3901 et seq.; and Pub. L. 102-402, 106 Stat. 11961.

0
2. Revise Sec.  25.23 to read as follows:


Sec.  25.23  What are the general regulations and information 
collection requirements?

    The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information 
collection requirements contained in subchapter C, parts 25, 32, and 36 
under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and assigned the following control 
numbers: 1018-0014 for Special Use Permit Applications on National 
Wildlife Refuges in Alaska; 1018-0102 for Special Use Permit 
Applications on National Wildlife Refuges Outside Alaska; and 1018-0140 
for Hunting and Fishing Application Forms and Activity Reports for 
National Wildlife Refuges. We collect information to assist us in 
administering our programs in accordance with statutory authorities 
that require that recreational or other uses be compatible with the 
primary purposes for which the areas were established. Send comments on 
any aspect of these forms to the Information Collection Clearance 
Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222 ARLSQ, Washington, DC 
20240.

[[Page 41356]]

PART 32--[AMENDED]

0
3. The authority citation for part 32 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 16 U.S.C. 460k, 664, 668dd-668ee, and 
715i.

0
4. Amend Sec.  32.42 Minnesota by revising paragraphs A.2., A.3., A.4., 
and A.6. of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge 
to read as follows:


Sec.  32.42  Minnesota.

* * * * *

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

A. Migratory Game Bird Hunting. * * *

* * * * *
    2. In areas posted and shown on maps as ``No Entry--Sanctuary,'' we 
prohibit migratory bird hunting at all times and all public entry 
except as specified. These areas are named and located as follows:
    i. Pool Slough, Pool 9, Minnesota/Iowa, 1,126 acres.
    ii. Bertom Island, Pool 11, Wisconsin, 31 acres.
    iii. Guttenberg Ponds, Pool 11, Iowa, 252 acres.
    iv. Spring Lake, Pool 13, Illinois, 3,697 acres.
    3. In areas posted and shown on maps as ``Area Closed'' and ``Area 
Closed--No Motors,'' we prohibit migratory bird hunting at all times. 
We ask that you practice voluntary avoidance of these areas by any 
means or for any purpose from October 15 to the end of the respective 
State duck season. In areas also marked ``no motors,'' we prohibit the 
use of motors on watercraft from October 15 to the end of the 
respective State duck season. These ``Area(s) Closed'' are named and 
located as follows:
    i. Big Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 2,210 acres.
    ii. Weaver Bottoms/Lost Island, Pool 5, Minnesota/Wisconsin, 3,508 
acres.
    iii. Polander Lake, Pool 5A, Minnesota/Wisconsin, 1,873 acres.
    iv. Lake Onalaska, Pool 7, Wisconsin, 7,366 acres (voluntary 
avoidance on 3,365 acres until mid-November).
    v. Wisconsin Islands, Pool 8, Minnesota/Wisconsin, 6,538 acres.
    vi. Harpers Slough, Pool 9, Iowa/Wisconsin, 5,209 acres.
    vii. Wisconsin River Delta, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 1,414 acres (closed 
November 1 to end of duck season).
    viii. 12-Mile Island, Pool 11, Iowa, 1,139 acres.
    ix. Bertom-McCartney, Pool 11, Wisconsin, 2,384 acres (no voluntary 
avoidance provision).
    x. Pleasant Creek, Pool 13, Iowa, 2,191 acres.
    xi. Elk River, Pool 13, Iowa, 1,248 acres.
    The ``Area(s) Closed--No Motors'' are named and located as follows:
    xii. Peterson Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin 572 acres.
    xiii. Rieck's Lake, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 499 acres.
    xiv. Spring Lake, Pool 5, Wisconsin, 254 acres.
    xv. Sturgeon Slough, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 340 acres.
    xvi. 12-Mile Island, Pool 10, Iowa, 540 acres.
    xvii. John Deere Marsh, Pool 11, Iowa, 439 acres.
    xviii. Kehough Slough, Pool 12, Illinois, 333 acres.
    xiv. Beaver Island, Pool 14, Iowa, 864 acres.
    4. In areas posted and shown on maps as ``No Hunting Zone'' or ``No 
Hunting or Trapping Zone,'' we prohibit migratory bird hunting at all 
times. These areas are named and located as follows:
    i. Buffalo River, Pool 4, Wisconsin, 219 acres.
    ii. Fountain City Bay, Pool 5A, Wisconsin, 24 acres.
    iii. Upper Halfway Creek Marsh, Pool 7, Wisconsin, 143 acres.
    iv. Mathy Tract (Brice Prairie), Pool 7, Wisconsin, 75 acres.
    v. Hunter's Point, Pool 8, Wisconsin, 82 acres.
    vi. Goose Island, Pool 8, Wisconsin, 984 acres (also no motors and 
voluntary avoidance as in condition A3).
    vii. Sturgeon Slough, Pool 10, Wisconsin, 66 acres.
    viii. Goetz Island Trail, Pool 11, Iowa, 31 acres.
    ix. Crooked Slough Backwater, Pool 13, Illinois, 2,453 acres.
    x. Crooked Slough Proper, Pool 13, Illinois, 270 acres.
    xi. Frog Pond, Pool 13, Illinois, 64 acres.
    xii. Ingersoll Learning Center, Pool 13, Illinois, 41 acres.
* * * * *
    6. You must immediately make a reasonable attempt to retrieve 
downed waterfowl unless the bird lies in plain sight of you, is clearly 
dead, and there is no risk of the bird drifting off due to wind or 
current. You may retrieve dead or wounded game from areas posted ``Area 
Closed,'' ``No Hunting Zone,'' and ``No Hunting or Trapping Zone'' 
provided you do not attempt to chase birds from the area. You may not 
use a motor to aid in the retrieval of game in areas posted ``Area 
Closed--No Motors.'' You may not retrieve birds or other game from 
areas posted ``No Entry--Sanctuary.''
* * * * *

    Dated: August 6, 2009.
Jane Lyder,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E9-19590 Filed 8-14-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-S