Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Randall County, TX; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, 65011-65015 [2012-26083]

Download as PDF 65011 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 206 / Wednesday, October 24, 2012 / Notices Number of respondents Total annual responses Hours per response Total hours Applicants ........................................................................................................ Quarterly Reports ............................................................................................ Final Reports ................................................................................................... Recordkeeping ................................................................................................. 10 2 2 2 10 8 2 2 60 6 2 4 600 48 4 8 Total .......................................................................................................... 26 22 72 660 Status of the proposed information collection: Pending OMB approval. Authority: Section 3506 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended. Dated: October 17, 2012. Erika C. Poethig, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. [FR Doc. 2012–26230 Filed 10–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5607–N–33] Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Comment Request; FHAInsured Mortgage Loan Servicing Involving the Loss Mitigation Programs Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing, HUD. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The proposed information collection requirement described below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Department is soliciting public comments on the subject proposal. DATES: Comments Due Date: December 24, 2012. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: Reports Liaison Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410, Room 9120 or the number for the Federal Information Relay Service (1– 800–877–8339). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ivery W. Himes, Director, Office of Single Family Program Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410, telephone (202) 708–1672 x5628 (this is not a toll free number) for copies of the proposed forms and other available information. wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Oct 23, 2012 Jkt 229001 The Department is submitting the proposed information collection to OMB for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended). This Notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information to: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond; including the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. This Notice also lists the following information: Title of Proposal: FHA-Insured Mortgage Loan Servicing Involving the Loss Mitigation Programs. OMB Control Number, if applicable: 2502–0589. Description of the need for the information and proposed use: FHA insurance is an important source of mortgage credit for low and moderateincome borrowers and neighborhoods. Providing assistance, as needed, to enable families to cure their delinquencies and retain their homes stabilizes neighborhoods that might otherwise suffer from deterioration and problems associated with vacant and abandoned properties. Avoidance of foreclosure and the resultant costs also serve to further stabilize the mortgage insurance premiums charged by FHA and the Federal budget receipts generated from those premiums. The information collection request for OMB review seeks to extend OMB 2502–0589, a currently established OMB collection, for an additional three years. Agency form numbers, if applicable: HUD–1 Settlement Statement, HUD– 27011 Single Family Application for Insurance Benefits, HUD–90035 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Information/Disclosure, HUD–90041 Request for Variance, Pre-foreclosure sale procedure, HUD–90045 Approval to Participate, HUD–90051 Sale Contract Review, HUD–90052 Closing Worksheet, HUD–PA–426 How to Avoid Foreclosure. Estimation of the total numbers of hours needed to prepare the information collection including number of respondents, frequency of response, and hours of response: The number of burden hours is 1,520,216, the number of respondents is 303,718, the number of responses is 1,169,033, the frequency of response is on occasion, and the burden hour per response is from 15 minutes to 4 hours depending upon the activity. Status of the proposed information collection: This is an extension of a currently approved collection. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C., Chapter 35, as amended. Dated: October 18, 2012. Laura M. Marin, Acting General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing-Acting General Deputy Federal Housing Commissioner. [FR Doc. 2012–26229 Filed 10–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–R–2012–N019: FXRS12610200000S3–123–FF02R06000] Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Randall County, TX; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and an environmental assessment (EA) for the Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR), located approximately 30 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas, for public review and comment. The SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1 65012 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 206 / Wednesday, October 24, 2012 / Notices Draft CCP/EA describes our proposal for managing the refuge for the next 15 years. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by November 23, 2012. We will announce upcoming public meetings in local news media. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more information by any of the following methods. You may request hard copies or a CD–ROM of the documents. Please contact Lynn Nymeyer, Refuge Manager, or Joseph Lujan, Natural Resource Planner. Email: Joseph_Lujan@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Buffalo Lake NWR draft CCP and EA’’ in the subject line of the message. Fax: Attn: Joseph Lujan, 505–248– 6803. U.S. Mail: Joseph Lujan, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NWRS Division of Planning, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103. In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at 500 Gold Street SW., 4th Floor Room 4305. Albuquerque, NM 87102. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Nymeyer, Refuge Manager, Buffalo Lake NWR, CCP—Project, P. O. Box 179, Umbarger, TX 79091; phone: 806–499– 3382; fax: 806–499–3254. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction With this notice, we continue the CCP process for the Buffalo Lake NWR. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (63 FR 33693; June 19, 1998). The Buffalo Lake NWR, which consists of over 7,677 acres, is located approximately 30 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas. The primary purpose of the refuge is to protect wintering waterfowl and short-grass prairie habitat. The refuge was officially established on November 17, 1959, and continues to provide critical habitat for migratory waterfowl and grassland bird species. Background The CCP Process The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee) (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan 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 our policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlifedependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least A—No-action alternative (current practices) Alternatives every 15 years in accordance with the Refuge Administration Act. Public Outreach Formal scoping began with publication of a notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment (EA) in the Federal Register on June 19, 1998 (63 FR 33693). Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was formally invited to participate in the development of the CCP. We received input from TPWD on September 16, 2004, and have continued to involve them throughout the planning process. Information sheets were sent to the public, and news releases were sent to a variety of media outlets. A public open house meeting was held December 15, 2009, at the refuge. Additional written comments were received prior to these open house meetings. A variety of stakeholders contributed feedback at the open house meetings and via written comments; we used the feedback in development of the CCP. CCP Alternatives We Are Considering During the public scoping process with which we started work on this draft CCP, we, other governmental partners, Tribes, and the public, raised multiple issues. Our draft CCP addresses them. A full description of each alternative is in the EA. To address these issues, we developed and evaluated the following alternatives, summarized below. B—Improved habitat management and public use alternative C—Optimal habitat management and public use (proposed action) alternative Habitat Management No current management direction Habitat Fragmentation ................... wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with Climate Change ............................. Limit the amounts and types of all new infrastructures such as roads and trails on the refuge. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Oct 23, 2012 Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Establish a baseline dataset for Same as Alternative B. refuge resources. From this dataset, a decision-based research and monitoring program will be developed to track any potential impacts climate change may have on the refuge. Same as Alternative A, plus the Same as Alternative B. development of a Land Protection Plan of an additional 20,000 acres would guide land acquisition for the refuge and further conservation efforts in the area and reduce human encroachment on the refuge. Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 206 / Wednesday, October 24, 2012 / Notices Alternatives A—No-action alternative (current practices) B—Improved habitat management and public use alternative Wind Energy Research .................. Conduct a diurnal avian activity survey and acoustic monitoring in order to track any changes in habitat and wildlife. Prairie Management and Restoration. Use grazing and prescribed fire to promote and maintain prairie habitat. Same as Alternative A, plus actively track wind energy development projects in and around Randal County to assist the refuge in anticipating potential changes in habitat and wildlife. Same as Alternative A, plus supplement current management with reseeding parts of the refuge with native short grasses. Invasive Flora Species ................... Remove invasive flora through chemical means. Moist Soil Management ................. Maintain 40-acre Moist Soil Unit .. Lakebed Management ................... Cooperatively farm 581 acres of the dry lakebed. Water Quality ................................. Continue to utilize the current water retention structure at Umbarger Dam. C—Optimal habitat management and public use (proposed action) alternative Same as Alternative B. Cease using grassland leasing for livestock grazing and permit native fauna species, whose populations would be permitted to increase under this alternative, to graze freely without competition on the refuge. The 7-year prescribed fire program as described in Alternative A would continue. Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative A, plus the refuge would utilize additional chemical treatment on invasive flora species through the use of aircraft application, followed by the mechanical removal of aboveground systems. Same as Alternative A, plus the Developed sufficient moist soil addition of three 40-acre moist units to maintain the level availsoil units and the related pumpable to wildlife prior to the ing infrastructure. The water Ogallala Aquifer receding due source, like the current moist to human activity and use. soil units, will be a well from the Santa Rosa Aquifer with filters to insure no Ogallala water is used. Reduce all farming activities to Remove all farming activity from approximately half of current the refuge and convert farming management; this would limit lands to native vegetation. farming activities to no more than 300 acres. Additionally, previously farmed lands would be converted back to natural vegetation. Same as Alternative A, plus the Same as Alternative A. installation of bio-filters and necessary groundwater pump infrastructure in order to remove coli forms from surface and ground water flowing from adjacent and nearby cattle operations. This infrastructure would be located on the Refuge. Wildlife Management Native Fauna ................................. Invasive Fauna .............................. Maintain current levels of prairie dogs, mule deer and white tailed deer. Manage invasive fauna throughout the refuge. Same as Alternative A .................. Same as Alternative A. Same as Alternative A .................. Same as Alternative A. Visitor Services Issues wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with Hunting ........................................... There is currently no hunting permitted on the refuge and a hunt plan has not been developed. Fishing ........................................... Currently, no fishing in the refuge VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Oct 23, 2012 Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 65013 Introduce hunting to the refuge to assist in controlling invasive fauna species as well as control the populations of native fauna species. Construct a 6+/¥acre public fishing pond near existing viewing blind by the lake bed and Stewart Marsh. Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B. 24OCN1 65014 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 206 / Wednesday, October 24, 2012 / Notices A—No-action alternative (current practices) Alternatives Wildlife Observation and Photography. Environmental Education and Interpretation. Camping ......................................... B—Improved habitat management and public use alternative Maintain hiking trails and the Same as Alternative A, plus the auto-tour route, observation installation of six additional decks, viewing blinds, and sceblinds, near moist soil units, nic overlooks. The refuge mainprairie dog town, and Unit 12 tains two viewing blinds, one at (for deer). Stewart Marsh and another overlooking the prairie dog town. The refuge hosts and annual edu- Same as Alternative A, plus incation day for school children crease the number of education from surrounding communities. days (as requested) to a maxRefuge staff maintains an enviimum of one per month. The ronmental education area for refuge would also develop and education/interpretation proconstruct 20 interpretive panels. grams; both the education area Expansion of existing auto tour and the staff are available upon route would open areas of the request to provide environrefuge that are closed to the mental education and interprepublic due to safety concerns. tation presentations. Maintain interpretation on the auto-tour route and self-guided hiking trails. The refuge currently permits Same as Alternative A .................. primitive camping in a designated 25-site campground that has picnic tables and restroom facilities. C—Optimal habitat management and public use (proposed action) alternative Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative A. Facilities Administrative Facilities ................. Maintain headquarters and Visitors Center. Same as Alternative A, plus develop an Administrative Complex to include headquarters, Visitors Center, biological lab, and maintenance and storage facility. Public Use Facilities ....................... Limited public use facilities include photo blinds, four parking lots, six vault toilets. Quality and Safety Roadways. Maintain current road infrastructure. Same as Alternative A, plus expand construction and maintenance of two additional hiking trails, one near the Prairie Dog town and the other through grassland prairie habitat near the campground. The refuge would also replace and/or rehabilitate the existing chemical toilet facilities adjacent to the campground with facilities that can remain open year round. Same as Alternative A, plus the rehabilitation of the entrance road from Farm to Market 168 to headquarters with a two lane paved road with adequate shoulders. Resurfacing of the remaining refuge roads with new caliche. of Refuge wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with Public Availability of Documents In addition to using any methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain documents at the following locations: VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Oct 23, 2012 Jkt 229001 • Buffalo Lake NWR Headquarters Office, Umbarger, TX 79091, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Same as Alternative B, plus increase infrastructure to provide the refuge with sufficient water sources to mimic the amount as historically provided by the natural spring. This would provide the same habitat that was available to wildlife prior to the Ogallala Aquifer receding due to human activity and use. Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B. • Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/ southwest/refuges/Plan/ publicinvolvement.html. • The following public libraries: E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 206 / Wednesday, October 24, 2012 / Notices 65015 Library Address Phone No. Deaf Smith County Library ......................................................... Canyon Public Library ................................................................. Amarillo Southwest Library ......................................................... 211 East 4th Street, Herford, TX 79045 .................................... 1501 3rd Avenue, Canyon, TX 79015 ....................................... 6801 Southwest 45th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79109 ........................ 806–364–1206 806–655–5015 806–359–2094 Submitting Comments/Issues for Comment We consider comments substantive if they: • Question, with reasonable basis, the accuracy of the information in the document; • Question, with reasonable basis, the adequacy of the environmental assessment (EA); • Present reasonable alternatives other than those presented in the EA; and/or • Provide new or additional information relevant to the assessment. Next Steps After this comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and address them in the form of a final CCP and finding of no significant impact. 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. Dated: September 13, 2012. Joy E. Nicholopoulos, Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region. [FR Doc. 2012–26083 Filed 10–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P Natural History that meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects under 25 U.S.C. 3001. This notice is published as part of the National Park Service’s administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American cultural items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice. This notice corrects the cultural affiliation determination reported in the Notice of Intent to Repatriate published in the Federal Register (77 FR 11567– 11568, February 27, 2012). In the Federal Register (77 FR 11568, February 27, 2012), paragraph nine is replaced with the following paragraph: The cultural affiliation of the 34 cultural items is Hutsnuwu Tlingit, as indicated through museum records and consultation with representatives of Angoon Community Association, Kootznoowoo Incorporated, and Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Chaik Bay lies within the traditional territory of the Hutsnuwu Tlingit. These cultural items were claimed on behalf of the Da_l’aweidi clan. In the Federal Register (77 FR 11568, February 27, 2012), paragraph 12 is replaced with the following: • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the unassociated funerary objects and the Angoon Community Association and the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Additional Requestors and Disposition DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–WASO–NAGPRA–10396; 2200–1100– 665] Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; Correction National Park Service, Interior. Notice; correction. AGENCY: wreier-aviles on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with ACTION: Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent to repatriate cultural items in the possession of the American Museum of VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:21 Oct 23, 2012 Jkt 229001 Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to be culturally affiliated with the unassociated funerary objects should contact Nell Murphy, Director of Cultural Resources, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, telephone (212) 769– 5837, before November 23, 2012. Repatriation of the unassociated funerary objects to the Angoon Community Association and Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska may proceed after that date if no additional claimants come forward. The American Museum of Natural History is responsible for notifying the Angoon Community Association and Central Council Tlingit and Haida PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Indian Tribes of Alaska that this notice has been published. Dated: October 16, 2012. Sherry Hutt, Manager, National NAGPRA Program. [FR Doc. 2012–26223 Filed 10–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–50–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 731–TA–894 (Second Review)] Ammonium Nitrate From Ukraine; Notice of Commission Determination To Conduct a Full Five-year Review and Scheduling of a Full Five-year Review Concerning the Antidumping Duty Order on Ammonium Nitrate From Ukraine United States International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Commission hereby gives notice of its determination to conduct, and scheduling of, a full review pursuant to section 751(c)(5) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1675(c)(5)) (the Act) to determine whether revocation of the antidumping duty order on ammonium nitrate from Ukraine would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time. For further information concerning the conduct of this review and rules of general application, consult the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, part 201, subparts A through E (19 CFR part 201), and part 207, subparts A, D, E, and F (19 CFR part 207). SUMMARY: DATES: Effective: October 17, 2012. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Merrill (202–205–3188), Office of Investigations, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436. Hearingimpaired persons can obtain information on this matter by contacting the Commission’s TDD terminal on 202– 205–1810. Persons with mobility impairments who will need special assistance in gaining access to the Commission should contact the Office of the Secretary at 202–205–2000. General information concerning the E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 206 (Wednesday, October 24, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65011-65015]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26083]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2012-N019: FXRS12610200000S3-123-FF02R06000]


Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Randall County, TX; 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and an 
environmental assessment (EA) for the Buffalo Lake National Wildlife 
Refuge (Refuge, NWR), located approximately 30 miles southwest of 
Amarillo, Texas, for public review and comment. The

[[Page 65012]]

Draft CCP/EA describes our proposal for managing the refuge for the 
next 15 years.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
November 23, 2012. We will announce upcoming public meetings in local 
news media.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more 
information by any of the following methods. You may request hard 
copies or a CD-ROM of the documents. Please contact Lynn Nymeyer, 
Refuge Manager, or Joseph Lujan, Natural Resource Planner.
    Email: Joseph_Lujan@fws.gov. Include ``Buffalo Lake NWR draft CCP 
and EA'' in the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Joseph Lujan, 505-248-6803.
    U.S. Mail: Joseph Lujan, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, NWRS Division of Planning, P.O. Box 1306, 
Albuquerque, NM 87103.
    In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: In-Person Drop-off: You may 
drop off comments during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 
at 500 Gold Street SW., 4th Floor Room 4305. Albuquerque, NM 87102.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Nymeyer, Refuge Manager, Buffalo 
Lake NWR, CCP--Project, P. O. Box 179, Umbarger, TX 79091; phone: 806-
499-3382; fax: 806-499-3254.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for the Buffalo Lake 
NWR. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register 
(63 FR 33693; June 19, 1998).
    The Buffalo Lake NWR, which consists of over 7,677 acres, is 
located approximately 30 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas. The 
primary purpose of the refuge is to protect wintering waterfowl and 
short-grass prairie habitat. The refuge was officially established on 
November 17, 1959, and continues to provide critical habitat for 
migratory waterfowl and grassland bird species.

Background

The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan 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 our 
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 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 Refuge 
Administration Act.

Public Outreach

    Formal scoping began with publication of a notice of intent to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment 
(EA) in the Federal Register on June 19, 1998 (63 FR 33693). Texas 
Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was formally invited to 
participate in the development of the CCP. We received input from TPWD 
on September 16, 2004, and have continued to involve them throughout 
the planning process. Information sheets were sent to the public, and 
news releases were sent to a variety of media outlets. A public open 
house meeting was held December 15, 2009, at the refuge. Additional 
written comments were received prior to these open house meetings. A 
variety of stakeholders contributed feedback at the open house meetings 
and via written comments; we used the feedback in development of the 
CCP.

CCP Alternatives We Are Considering

    During the public scoping process with which we started work on 
this draft CCP, we, other governmental partners, Tribes, and the 
public, raised multiple issues. Our draft CCP addresses them. A full 
description of each alternative is in the EA. To address these issues, 
we developed and evaluated the following alternatives, summarized 
below.

 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            C--Optimal habitat
                                             A--No-action         B--Improved habitat     management and public
             Alternatives               alternative  (current    management and public    use  (proposed action)
                                              practices)            use alternative            alternative
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Habitat Management
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Climate Change.......................  No current management    Establish a baseline     Same as Alternative B.
                                        direction.               dataset for refuge
                                                                 resources. From this
                                                                 dataset, a decision-
                                                                 based research and
                                                                 monitoring program
                                                                 will be developed to
                                                                 track any potential
                                                                 impacts climate change
                                                                 may have on the refuge.
Habitat Fragmentation................  Limit the amounts and    Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
                                        types of all new         plus the development
                                        infrastructures such     of a Land Protection
                                        as roads and trails on   Plan of an additional
                                        the refuge.              20,000 acres would
                                                                 guide land acquisition
                                                                 for the refuge and
                                                                 further conservation
                                                                 efforts in the area
                                                                 and reduce human
                                                                 encroachment on the
                                                                 refuge.

[[Page 65013]]

 
Wind Energy Research.................  Conduct a diurnal avian  Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
                                        activity survey and      plus actively track
                                        acoustic monitoring in   wind energy
                                        order to track any       development projects
                                        changes in habitat and   in and around Randal
                                        wildlife.                County to assist the
                                                                 refuge in anticipating
                                                                 potential changes in
                                                                 habitat and wildlife.
Prairie Management and Restoration...  Use grazing and          Same as Alternative A,   Cease using grassland
                                        prescribed fire to       plus supplement          leasing for livestock
                                        promote and maintain     current management       grazing and permit
                                        prairie habitat.         with reseeding parts     native fauna species,
                                                                 of the refuge with       whose populations
                                                                 native short grasses.    would be permitted to
                                                                                          increase under this
                                                                                          alternative, to graze
                                                                                          freely without
                                                                                          competition on the
                                                                                          refuge. The 7-year
                                                                                          prescribed fire
                                                                                          program as described
                                                                                          in Alternative A would
                                                                                          continue.
Invasive Flora Species...............  Remove invasive flora    Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
                                        through chemical means.  plus the refuge would
                                                                 utilize additional
                                                                 chemical treatment on
                                                                 invasive flora species
                                                                 through the use of
                                                                 aircraft application,
                                                                 followed by the
                                                                 mechanical removal of
                                                                 aboveground systems.
Moist Soil Management................  Maintain 40-acre Moist   Same as Alternative A,   Developed sufficient
                                        Soil Unit.               plus the addition of     moist soil units to
                                                                 three 40-acre moist      maintain the level
                                                                 soil units and the       available to wildlife
                                                                 related pumping          prior to the Ogallala
                                                                 infrastructure. The      Aquifer receding due
                                                                 water source, like the   to human activity and
                                                                 current moist soil       use.
                                                                 units, will be a well
                                                                 from the Santa Rosa
                                                                 Aquifer with filters
                                                                 to insure no Ogallala
                                                                 water is used.
Lakebed Management...................  Cooperatively farm 581   Reduce all farming       Remove all farming
                                        acres of the dry         activities to            activity from the
                                        lakebed.                 approximately half of    refuge and convert
                                                                 current management;      farming lands to
                                                                 this would limit         native vegetation.
                                                                 farming activities to
                                                                 no more than 300
                                                                 acres. Additionally,
                                                                 previously farmed
                                                                 lands would be
                                                                 converted back to
                                                                 natural vegetation.
Water Quality........................  Continue to utilize the  Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative A.
                                        current water            plus the installation
                                        retention structure at   of bio-filters and
                                        Umbarger Dam.            necessary groundwater
                                                                 pump infrastructure in
                                                                 order to remove coli
                                                                 forms from surface and
                                                                 ground water flowing
                                                                 from adjacent and
                                                                 nearby cattle
                                                                 operations. This
                                                                 infrastructure would
                                                                 be located on the
                                                                 Refuge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Wildlife Management
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Native Fauna.........................  Maintain current levels  Same as Alternative A..  Same as Alternative A.
                                        of prairie dogs, mule
                                        deer and white tailed
                                        deer.
Invasive Fauna.......................  Manage invasive fauna    Same as Alternative A..  Same as Alternative A.
                                        throughout the refuge.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Visitor Services Issues
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hunting..............................  There is currently no    Introduce hunting to     Same as Alternative B.
                                        hunting permitted on     the refuge to assist
                                        the refuge and a hunt    in controlling
                                        plan has not been        invasive fauna species
                                        developed.               as well as control the
                                                                 populations of native
                                                                 fauna species.
Fishing..............................  Currently, no fishing    Construct a 6+/-acre     Same as Alternative B.
                                        in the refuge.           public fishing pond
                                                                 near existing viewing
                                                                 blind by the lake bed
                                                                 and Stewart Marsh.

[[Page 65014]]

 
Wildlife Observation and Photography.  Maintain hiking trails   Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
                                        and the auto-tour        plus the installation
                                        route, observation       of six additional
                                        decks, viewing blinds,   blinds, near moist
                                        and scenic overlooks.    soil units, prairie
                                        The refuge maintains     dog town, and Unit 12
                                        two viewing blinds,      (for deer).
                                        one at Stewart Marsh
                                        and another
                                        overlooking the
                                        prairie dog town.
Environmental Education and            The refuge hosts and     Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
 Interpretation.                        annual education day     plus increase the
                                        for school children      number of education
                                        from surrounding         days (as requested) to
                                        communities. Refuge      a maximum of one per
                                        staff maintains an       month. The refuge
                                        environmental            would also develop and
                                        education area for       construct 20
                                        education/               interpretive panels.
                                        interpretation           Expansion of existing
                                        programs; both the       auto tour route would
                                        education area and the   open areas of the
                                        staff are available      refuge that are closed
                                        upon request to          to the public due to
                                        provide environmental    safety concerns.
                                        education and
                                        interpretation
                                        presentations.
                                        Maintain
                                        interpretation on the
                                        auto-tour route and
                                        self-guided hiking
                                        trails.
Camping..............................  The refuge currently     Same as Alternative A..  Same as Alternative A.
                                        permits primitive
                                        camping in a
                                        designated 25-site
                                        campground that has
                                        picnic tables and
                                        restroom facilities.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Facilities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Administrative Facilities............  Maintain headquarters    Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B,
                                        and Visitors Center.     plus develop an          plus increase
                                                                 Administrative Complex   infrastructure to
                                                                 to include               provide the refuge
                                                                 headquarters, Visitors   with sufficient water
                                                                 Center, biological       sources to mimic the
                                                                 lab, and maintenance     amount as historically
                                                                 and storage facility.    provided by the
                                                                                          natural spring. This
                                                                                          would provide the same
                                                                                          habitat that was
                                                                                          available to wildlife
                                                                                          prior to the Ogallala
                                                                                          Aquifer receding due
                                                                                          to human activity and
                                                                                          use.
Public Use Facilities................  Limited public use       Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
                                        facilities include       plus expand
                                        photo blinds, four       construction and
                                        parking lots, six        maintenance of two
                                        vault toilets.           additional hiking
                                                                 trails, one near the
                                                                 Prairie Dog town and
                                                                 the other through
                                                                 grassland prairie
                                                                 habitat near the
                                                                 campground. The refuge
                                                                 would also replace and/
                                                                 or rehabilitate the
                                                                 existing chemical
                                                                 toilet facilities
                                                                 adjacent to the
                                                                 campground with
                                                                 facilities that can
                                                                 remain open year round.
Quality and Safety of Refuge Roadways  Maintain current road    Same as Alternative A,   Same as Alternative B.
                                        infrastructure.          plus the
                                                                 rehabilitation of the
                                                                 entrance road from
                                                                 Farm to Market 168 to
                                                                 headquarters with a
                                                                 two lane paved road
                                                                 with adequate
                                                                 shoulders. Resurfacing
                                                                 of the remaining
                                                                 refuge roads with new
                                                                 caliche.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to using any methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or 
obtain documents at the following locations:
     Buffalo Lake NWR Headquarters Office, Umbarger, TX 79091, 
between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
     Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/Plan/publicinvolvement.html.
     The following public libraries:

[[Page 65015]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Library                      Address             Phone No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deaf Smith County Library......  211 East 4th Street,       806-364-1206
                                  Herford, TX 79045.
Canyon Public Library..........  1501 3rd Avenue,           806-655-5015
                                  Canyon, TX 79015.
Amarillo Southwest Library.....  6801 Southwest 45th        806-359-2094
                                  Ave, Amarillo, TX
                                  79109.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Submitting Comments/Issues for Comment

    We consider comments substantive if they:
     Question, with reasonable basis, the accuracy of the 
information in the document;
     Question, with reasonable basis, the adequacy of the 
environmental assessment (EA);
     Present reasonable alternatives other than those presented 
in the EA; and/or
     Provide new or additional information relevant to the 
assessment.

Next Steps

    After this comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and 
address them in the form of a final CCP and finding of no significant 
impact.

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.

    Dated: September 13, 2012.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2012-26083 Filed 10-23-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P