Federal Register: October 9, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 194)
DOCID: fr09oc07-102 FR Doc E7-19798
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
ACTION: Comprehensive conservation plans; availability, etc.:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).
Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce our decision and
the availability of the Final CCP and FONSI for Mississippi Sandhill
Crane Refuge in Jackson County, Mississippi. The CCP was prepared
pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of
1997, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of
1969, and describes how the refuge will be managed for the next 15 years.
Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, MS,
With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, begun as announced in the Federal Register (70 FR 30478; May 26, 2005). For more about the process, see that notice. We released the Draft CCP and Environmental Assessment (EA) to the public, requesting comments in a notice of availability in the Federal Register (71 FR 67627; November 22, 2006).
Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1975 to safeguard the critically endangered Mississippi sandhill crane and its unique disappearing habitat.
With this notice, we announce our decision and the availability of the Final CCP/FONSI in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act [40 CFR Sec. 1506.6(b)] requirements. We completed a thorough analysis of the environmental, social, and economic considerations, which we included in the Final CCP/FONSI. The FONSI documents the selection of Alternative D, the preferred alternative.
The Draft CCP/EA identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing the refuge over the next 15 years. Under Alternative A, the noaction alternative, present management would have continued. Current approaches to managing and protecting cranes, other wildlife and habitats, and allowing for public use would have remain unchanged. Under Alternative B, the refuge would have emphasized its biological program by applying maximum efforts to enhance habitat conditions and increase wildlife populations, particularly the endangered crane. The visitor services program would have remained as it is at present. Under Alternative C, management would have focused on maximizing opportunities for public visitation, increasing both facilities and activities.
We chose Alternative D as the preferred alternative. This determination was made based on the best professional judgment of the planning team and the comments received on the Draft CCP/EA. Under this alternative, the refuge will strive to optimize both its biological program and its visitor services program. With regard to the Mississippi sandhill crane, the refuge's objective will be to provide for a selfsustaining crane population of 130 to 170 individuals, including 3035 nesting pairs, fledging 1015 young annually for at least 10 years.
Over the 15year life of the plan, the staff will increase emphasis on environmental education and interpretation to lead to a better understanding of the importance of wildlife and habitat resources, especially sandhill cranes, savanna, fire ecology, invasive species, endangered species, and migratory birds. Research studies on the refuge will be fostered and partnerships developed with universities and other agencies, providing needed resources and experiment sites, while meeting the needs of the refuge's wildlife and habitat management programs. Research will also benefit conservation efforts throughout coastal Mississippi to conserve, enhance, restore, and manage native habitat. New surveys on birds, reptiles, and amphibians will be initiated to develop baseline information.
Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 10557.
Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the Federal Register on October 3, 2007.
Dated: April 26, 2007.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E719798 Filed 10507; 8:45 am]
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