Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Charles M. Russell and UL Bend NWRs. We started this process through a notice in the
Charles M. Russell and UL Bend NWRs encompass nearly 1.1 million acres, including Fort Peck Reservoir in north central Montana. The Refuges extend about 125 air miles west from Fort Peck Dam to the western edge at the boundary of the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument. UL Bend NWR lies within Charles M. Russell NWR. In essence, UL Bend NWR is a
In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) requirements, this notice announces the availability of the ROD for the final CCP and final EIS for Charles M. Russell NWR and UL Bend NWR. We completed a thorough analysis of the environmental, social, and economic considerations associated with our actions. The ROD documents our selection of alternative D, the preferred alternative.
The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Charles M. Russell NWR and UL Bend NWR for the next 15 years. Alternative D, as we described in the final EIS/ROD, is the foundation for the CCP.
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. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration Act.
Our final CCP and final EIS (77 FR 26781; May 7, 2012) addressed several issues. To address these, we developed and evaluated the following alternatives: Alternative A—No Action, Alternative B—Wildlife Population Emphasis, Alternative C—Public Use and Economic Use Emphasis, and Alternative D—Ecological Processes Emphasis.
After consideration of 24,600 comments that we received on the draft CCP and draft EIS and several minor comments we received following the release of the final CCP and final EIS, we have selected alternative D—Ecological Processes Emphasis. It is the alternative that best meets the purposes of the refuges; the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System; the vision and management goals set for the refuge; and also adheres to Service policies and guidelines. It considers the interests and perspectives of many agencies, organization, tribes, and the public. Additionally, it is the environmentally preferred alternative.
Under alternative D and in cooperation with our partners, we would use natural, dynamic, ecological processes, and management activities in a balanced, responsible manner to restore and maintain the biological diversity, biological integrity, and environmental health of the Refuge. Once natural processes are restored, a more passive approach (less human assistance) would be favored. There would be quality wildlife-dependent public uses and experiences. Economic uses would be limited when they are injurious to ecological processes.
In addition to the using any of the methods listed under