Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Stafford, KS; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, 23778-23780 [2013-09348]

Download as PDF 23778 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 77 / Monday, April 22, 2013 / Notices [FR Doc. 2013–09385 Filed 4–19–13; 8:45 am] identified by Congress and generally fall into two categories: Economic Development Initiative—Special Project (EDI—SP) grantees and Neighborhood Initiative (NI) grantees. The agency has used the application, semi-annual reports and close-out reports to track grantee performance in the implementation of approved projects. DATES: Comments Due Date: May 22, 2013. BILLING CODE 4210–67–P ADDRESSES: Total Estimated Burden Hours: 160. Status: Reinstatement without change of a previously approved collection. Authority: Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 35, as amended. Dated: April 17, 2013. Colette Pollard, Department Reports Management Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5683–N–31] Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Comment Request: Congressional Earmark Grants Office of the Chief Information Officer, HUD. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The proposed information collection requirement described below has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. HUD is soliciting public comments on the subject proposal. HUD’s Congressional Grants Division and its Environmental Officers in the field use this information to make funds available to entities directed to receive funds appropriated by Congress. This information is used to collect, receive, review and monitor program activities through applications, semi-annual and close-out reports. The information that is collected is used to assess performance. Grantees are units of state and local government, nonprofits and Indian tribes. Respondents are initially SUMMARY: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB approval Number (2506–0179) and should be sent to: HUD Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503; fax: 202–395–5806. Email: OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov; fax: 202–395–5806. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colette Pollard, Reports Management Officer, QDAM, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20410; email Colette Pollard at Colette.Pollard@hud.gov. or telephone (202) 402–3400. This is not a toll-free number. Copies of available documents submitted to OMB may be obtained from Ms. Pollard. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice informs the public that the HUD has submitted to OMB a request for approval of the Information collection described below. This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affecting agencies concerning the proposed collection of information to: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including Number of respondents 777 Reporting Burden ................................................................. Annual responses 1 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Authority: Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 35, as amended. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Total Estimated Burden Hours: 1,554. Status: Reinstatement with change of a previously approved collection. [FWS–R6–R–2012–N235; FF06R06000 134 FXRS1265066CCP0] Dated: April 17, 2013. Colette Pollard, Department Reports Management Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 2013–09386 Filed 4–19–13; 8:45 am] 17:03 Apr 19, 2013 Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Stafford, KS; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. Notice of availability; request for comments. ACTION: BILLING CODE 4210–67–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 Fish and Wildlife Service AGENCY: Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00044 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 through 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 Proposed: Congressional Earmark Grants. OMB Approval Number: 2506–0179. Form Numbers: HUD 27056, HUD 27054, SF 424, SF 425, SF LLL, SF 1199, HUD–27053. Description of the need for the information and proposed use: HUD’s Congressional Grants Division and its Environmental Officers in the field use this information to make funds available to entities directed to receive funds appropriated by Congress. This information is used to collect, receive, review and monitor program activities through applications, semi-annual and close-out reports. The information that is collected is used to assess performance. Grantees are units of state and local government, nonprofits and Indian tribes. Respondents are initially identified by Congress and generally fall into two categories: Economic Development Initiative—Special Project (EDI—SP) grantees and Neighborhood Initiative (NI) grantees. The agency has used the application, semi-annual reports and close-out reports to track grantee performance in the implementation of approved projects. Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Hours per response Burden hours 2 × 1,554 We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce that our draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental assessment (EA) for Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is available. This draft CCP/EA describes how the Service intends to manage this refuge for the next 15 years. SUMMARY: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments on the draft CCP/EA by May 20, 2013. Submit comments by one of the methods under ADDRESSES. DATES: E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 77 / Monday, April 22, 2013 / Notices Send your comments or requests for more information by any of the following methods. Email: toni_griffin@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Quivira NWR’’ in the subject line of the message. Fax: Attn: Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader, 303–236–4792. U.S. Mail: Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader, Suite 300, 134 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, CO 80228. Document Request: A copy of the CCP/EA may be obtained by writing to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Refuge Planning, 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300, Lakewood, Colorado 80228; or by download from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/ planning. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Toni Griffin, 303–236–4378 (phone); 303– 236–4792 (fax); or toni_griffin@fws.gov (email); or David C. Lucas, 303–236– 4366 (phone); 303–236–4792 (fax); or david_c_lucas@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: Introduction With this notice, we continue the CCP process for the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (75 FR 8394, February 24, 2010). The 22,135-acre Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and is located in Reno, Rice, and Stafford Counties in south-central Kansas. The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1955 to provide wintering and migration stopover habitat for migratory birds along the Central Flyway of North America. Wetlands large and small are present throughout the refuge, with approximately 7,000 acres of wetlands with slightly to moderately saline water. Thousands of Canada geese, ducks, and other migratory birds such as sandhill cranes and shorebirds use these wetlands as they pass through the refuge on their annual migrations. The refuge provides critical habitat for the federally listed whooping crane and State-listed western snowy plover. Bald eagles winter and nest on the refuge, and Interior least terns nest on the refuge. The refuge also provides numerous opportunities for the public, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, interpretation and environmental education for students and visitors. The Quivira Refuge manages the Great Plains Nature Center located in Wichita, which compliments and supports the purpose of the refuge. The refuge has many special designations, including the following: It VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:03 Apr 19, 2013 Jkt 229001 is a Ramsar Site (Wetlands of International Importance), it is in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), and it is an Important Bird Area (IBA, National Audubon Society) and Research Natural Area. Background The CCP Process The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee) (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 hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration Act. Public Outreach We started the CCP for Quivira Refuge in February 2010. At that time and throughout the process, we requested public comments and considered and incorporated them in the planning process. Public outreach has included a news release, planning update, and three scoping meetings. Comments we received cover topics such as habitat management, threatened and endangered species, and public use. We have considered and evaluated all of these comments, with many incorporated into the various alternatives addressed in the draft CCP and the EA. CCP Alternatives We Are Considering Alternative A—Current Management (No Action) Funding, staff levels, and management activities at the refuge would not change. Habitats would be managed to increase and maintain resilience through conservation of native communities. Baseline monitoring of habitat conditions that could potentially be related to the effects of climate change would PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23779 continue. Staff would continue to seek information and maintain communications with others regarding current and potential future conservation issues impacting the refuge, while periodically assessing the role of the refuge at different landscape scales. The hydrology of the Big Salt Marsh would be allowed to fluctuate with natural climate variations, and use of Rattlesnake Creek water would be limited. The Little Salt Marsh would continue to be used to serve the dual roles of providing waterbird habitat and storing water from Rattlesnake Creek to facilitate management of other refuge wetlands. Migratory birds would continue to be the focus of refuge management, with a primary focus of wetland management to provide migration, resting, and nesting habitat for a diversity of waterbirds, especially waterfowl, cranes, shorebirds, and rails. Upland habitats would continue to be managed to provide migratory and nesting habitat, primarily favoring native wildlife communities characteristic of open sand prairie. Quivira Refuge would continue to manage habitats in support of Federal and State threatened and endangered species, Federal candidate species, and State species in need of conservation, especially those species with designated critical habitat on Quivira Refuge lands and those that most commonly depend on refuge resources. Staffing would consist of nine full-time permanent refuge funded employees, one permanent part-time employee and two fire-funded staff. In addition, one permanent employee would be stationed at the GPNC. The Service would continue to support the GPNC through its partnership with the City of Wichita Department of Park and Recreation and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Level of Service staffing at the GPNC would remain the same. Alternative B—Proposed Action Management would focus on restoring native communities that benefit focal resources, or focal species and their respective habitats, and increasing public use opportunities for hunting. Increased attention would be given to understanding and minimizing effects of management among habitat types, such as habitat changes in meadow and adjacent uplands resulting from water management in created wetlands. This should enhance awareness of the connectedness of habitats and areas throughout the refuge. To achieve this alternative, relatively minor changes in the refuge’s operations; inventory, E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1 23780 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 77 / Monday, April 22, 2013 / Notices monitoring, and research; staffing; and infrastructure would likely be required. Alternative C The intent of alternative C would be to promote self-sustaining natural processes to the extent possible. Key values of restoring natural ecological processes are achieving long-term sustainability of native communities and lowering maintenance costs on some aspects of management. Management efforts, such as prescribed fire, grazing, and invasive species control, would be focused on maintaining native plant community composition and diversity, with the assumption that native wildlife would benefit from these activities. Relative to other alternatives, habitat conditions would be allowed to fluctuate more with climatically driven wet and dry cycles; however, some management would still be required to mitigate the effects of past land use on the refuge and in the watershed that have permanently altered some ecological processes. Initially, considerable time would be required to assess current ecological functions, identify key elements that should be restored, and evaluate potential restoration options that could be implemented within the constraints imposed by biological, economic, social, political, and legal considerations. Implementation of this alternative would occur in stages over many years, and changes in refuge research and monitoring, staffing, operations, and infrastructure would be required. In addition, the success of actions implemented under this alternative would be influenced greatly by the ability of management to develop new and expanded partnerships with a diversity of stakeholders in the Rattlesnake Creek watershed. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Public Meetings Opportunity for public input will be provided at public meetings. The specific dates and times for the public meetings are yet to be determined, but will be announced via local media and a planning update. Next Steps After the public reviews and provides comments on the draft CCP and EA, the planning team will present this document along with a summary of all substantive public comments to the Regional Director. The Regional Director will consider the environmental effects of each alternative, including information gathered during public review, and will select a preferred alternative for the draft CCP and EA. If VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:03 Apr 19, 2013 Jkt 229001 the Regional Director finds that no significant impacts would occur, the Regional Director’s decision will be disclosed in a finding of no significant impact included in the final CCP. If the Regional Director finds a significant impact would occur, an environmental impact statement will be prepared. If approved, the action in the preferred alternative will compose the final CCP. Public Availability of Comments All public comment information provided voluntarily by mail, by phone, or at meetings (e.g., names, addresses, letters of comment, input recorded during meetings) becomes part of the official public record. If requested under the Freedom of Information Act by a private citizen or organization, the Service may provide copies of such information. Authority The environmental review of this project will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508, 43 CFR part 46); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; Executive Order 12996; the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies and procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations. Dated: October 29, 2012. Noreen E. Walsh, Acting Regional Director, Mountain Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2013–09348 Filed 4–19–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–ES–2013–0061; FXES11120200000F2–112–FF02ENEH00] Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Renewal and Amendment to the Barton Springs Pool Habitat Conservation Plan, City of Austin, Travis County, Texas Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the draft environmental assessment and the draft amendment to the Barton Springs Pool Habitat Conservation Plan (BSPHCP), under the National Environmental Policy Act of SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1969. The City of Austin (applicant) has applied for a renewal of their existing Endangered Species Act incidental take permit, with a major amendment to add the Austin blind salamander, which is proposed as endangered, as an additional covered species; to increase the amount of take for Barton Springs salamander; and to extend the permit term for an additional 20 years. DATES: Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before June 21, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. Any comments that we receive after the closing date may not be considered in the final decisions on these actions. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: • Internet: You may obtain copies of the all of documents on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket Number FWS–R2–ES–2013–0061), or on the Service’s Web site at http:// www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/. The draft BSHCP is available on the City of Austin’s ftp site at ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/wre/BSHCP/. • U.S. Mail: A limited number of CD– ROM and printed copies of the draft EA and draft HCP are available, by request, from Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758–4460; telephone 512–490–0057; fax 512–490–0974. Please note that your request is in reference to the BSPHCP (TE–839031). The ITP application is available by mail from the Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103. • In-Person: Copies of the draft EA and draft BSHCP are also available for public inspection and review at the following locations, by appointment and written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Æ Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 1849 C. St. NW., Washington, DC 20240. Æ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Avenue SW., Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87102. Æ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758. Comment submission: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: • Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R2–ES–2013–0061, which is the docket number for this notice. Then, E:\FR\FM\22APN1.SGM 22APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 77 (Monday, April 22, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23778-23780]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09348]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-R-2012-N235; FF06R06000 134 FXRS1265066CCP0]


Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Stafford, KS; 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 
that our draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental 
assessment (EA) for Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is available. This 
draft CCP/EA describes how the Service intends to manage this refuge 
for the next 15 years.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
on the draft CCP/EA by May 20, 2013.
    Submit comments by one of the methods under ADDRESSES.

[[Page 23779]]


ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    Email: toni_griffin@fws.gov. Include ``Quivira NWR'' in the 
subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader, 303-236-4792.
    U.S. Mail: Toni Griffin, Planning Team Leader, Suite 300, 134 Union 
Boulevard, Lakewood, CO 80228.
    Document Request: A copy of the CCP/EA may be obtained by writing 
to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Refuge Planning, 134 
Union Boulevard, Suite 300, Lakewood, Colorado 80228; or by download 
from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Toni Griffin, 303-236-4378 (phone); 
303-236-4792 (fax); or toni_griffin@fws.gov (email); or David C. 
Lucas, 303-236-4366 (phone); 303-236-4792 (fax); or david_c_lucas@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for the Quivira 
National Wildlife Refuge. We started this process through a notice in 
the Federal Register (75 FR 8394, February 24, 2010).
    The 22,135-acre Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is part of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System and is located in Reno, Rice, and 
Stafford Counties in south-central Kansas. The Quivira National 
Wildlife Refuge was established in 1955 to provide wintering and 
migration stopover habitat for migratory birds along the Central Flyway 
of North America. Wetlands large and small are present throughout the 
refuge, with approximately 7,000 acres of wetlands with slightly to 
moderately saline water. Thousands of Canada geese, ducks, and other 
migratory birds such as sandhill cranes and shorebirds use these 
wetlands as they pass through the refuge on their annual migrations. 
The refuge provides critical habitat for the federally listed whooping 
crane and State-listed western snowy plover. Bald eagles winter and 
nest on the refuge, and Interior least terns nest on the refuge. The 
refuge also provides numerous opportunities for the public, including 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, interpretation 
and environmental education for students and visitors. The Quivira 
Refuge manages the Great Plains Nature Center located in Wichita, which 
compliments and supports the purpose of the refuge. The refuge has many 
special designations, including the following: It is a Ramsar Site 
(Wetlands of International Importance), it is in the Western Hemisphere 
Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), and it is an Important Bird Area 
(IBA, National Audubon Society) and Research Natural Area.

Background

The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (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 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration 
Act.

Public Outreach

    We started the CCP for Quivira Refuge in February 2010. At that 
time and throughout the process, we requested public comments and 
considered and incorporated them in the planning process. Public 
outreach has included a news release, planning update, and three 
scoping meetings. Comments we received cover topics such as habitat 
management, threatened and endangered species, and public use. We have 
considered and evaluated all of these comments, with many incorporated 
into the various alternatives addressed in the draft CCP and the EA.

CCP Alternatives We Are Considering

Alternative A--Current Management (No Action)

    Funding, staff levels, and management activities at the refuge 
would not change. Habitats would be managed to increase and maintain 
resilience through conservation of native communities. Baseline 
monitoring of habitat conditions that could potentially be related to 
the effects of climate change would continue. Staff would continue to 
seek information and maintain communications with others regarding 
current and potential future conservation issues impacting the refuge, 
while periodically assessing the role of the refuge at different 
landscape scales. The hydrology of the Big Salt Marsh would be allowed 
to fluctuate with natural climate variations, and use of Rattlesnake 
Creek water would be limited. The Little Salt Marsh would continue to 
be used to serve the dual roles of providing waterbird habitat and 
storing water from Rattlesnake Creek to facilitate management of other 
refuge wetlands.
    Migratory birds would continue to be the focus of refuge 
management, with a primary focus of wetland management to provide 
migration, resting, and nesting habitat for a diversity of waterbirds, 
especially waterfowl, cranes, shorebirds, and rails. Upland habitats 
would continue to be managed to provide migratory and nesting habitat, 
primarily favoring native wildlife communities characteristic of open 
sand prairie. Quivira Refuge would continue to manage habitats in 
support of Federal and State threatened and endangered species, Federal 
candidate species, and State species in need of conservation, 
especially those species with designated critical habitat on Quivira 
Refuge lands and those that most commonly depend on refuge resources. 
Staffing would consist of nine full-time permanent refuge funded 
employees, one permanent part-time employee and two fire-funded staff. 
In addition, one permanent employee would be stationed at the GPNC. The 
Service would continue to support the GPNC through its partnership with 
the City of Wichita Department of Park and Recreation and the Kansas 
Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Level of Service staffing at 
the GPNC would remain the same.

Alternative B--Proposed Action

    Management would focus on restoring native communities that benefit 
focal resources, or focal species and their respective habitats, and 
increasing public use opportunities for hunting. Increased attention 
would be given to understanding and minimizing effects of management 
among habitat types, such as habitat changes in meadow and adjacent 
uplands resulting from water management in created wetlands. This 
should enhance awareness of the connectedness of habitats and areas 
throughout the refuge. To achieve this alternative, relatively minor 
changes in the refuge's operations; inventory,

[[Page 23780]]

monitoring, and research; staffing; and infrastructure would likely be 
required.

Alternative C

    The intent of alternative C would be to promote self-sustaining 
natural processes to the extent possible. Key values of restoring 
natural ecological processes are achieving long-term sustainability of 
native communities and lowering maintenance costs on some aspects of 
management. Management efforts, such as prescribed fire, grazing, and 
invasive species control, would be focused on maintaining native plant 
community composition and diversity, with the assumption that native 
wildlife would benefit from these activities. Relative to other 
alternatives, habitat conditions would be allowed to fluctuate more 
with climatically driven wet and dry cycles; however, some management 
would still be required to mitigate the effects of past land use on the 
refuge and in the watershed that have permanently altered some 
ecological processes.
    Initially, considerable time would be required to assess current 
ecological functions, identify key elements that should be restored, 
and evaluate potential restoration options that could be implemented 
within the constraints imposed by biological, economic, social, 
political, and legal considerations. Implementation of this alternative 
would occur in stages over many years, and changes in refuge research 
and monitoring, staffing, operations, and infrastructure would be 
required. In addition, the success of actions implemented under this 
alternative would be influenced greatly by the ability of management to 
develop new and expanded partnerships with a diversity of stakeholders 
in the Rattlesnake Creek watershed.

Public Meetings

    Opportunity for public input will be provided at public meetings. 
The specific dates and times for the public meetings are yet to be 
determined, but will be announced via local media and a planning 
update.

Next Steps

    After the public reviews and provides comments on the draft CCP and 
EA, the planning team will present this document along with a summary 
of all substantive public comments to the Regional Director. The 
Regional Director will consider the environmental effects of each 
alternative, including information gathered during public review, and 
will select a preferred alternative for the draft CCP and EA. If the 
Regional Director finds that no significant impacts would occur, the 
Regional Director's decision will be disclosed in a finding of no 
significant impact included in the final CCP. If the Regional Director 
finds a significant impact would occur, an environmental impact 
statement will be prepared. If approved, the action in the preferred 
alternative will compose the final CCP.

Public Availability of Comments

    All public comment information provided voluntarily by mail, by 
phone, or at meetings (e.g., names, addresses, letters of comment, 
input recorded during meetings) becomes part of the official public 
record. If requested under the Freedom of Information Act by a private 
citizen or organization, the Service may provide copies of such 
information.

Authority

    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA 
Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508, 43 CFR part 46); other appropriate 
Federal laws and regulations; Executive Order 12996; the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies 
and procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations.

    Dated: October 29, 2012.
Noreen E. Walsh,
Acting Regional Director, Mountain Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-09348 Filed 4-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P