Four (4) Compatibility Determinations (CDs) addressing various economic and/or commercial uses of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Refuge), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been finalized. (**Note: the final CDs can be found directly using this link: https://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147614047**)
The four compatible uses include:
- Commercial Fishing Floats
- Commercially Guided Wildlife/Wildlands Observation
- Guided Sport Fishing
- Guided Waterfowl Hunting
In addition to finalizing these CDs, the Refuge has also finalized regulations for permitting these uses. The final program requirements and stipulations include:
- Commercial Fishing Float Permit Conditions and Standards (2018 through 2023)
- Commercial Wildlife/Wildlands Observation Guide Services on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge – Program Requirements and Stipulations (2018 through 2023)
- Fishing Guide Services on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge – Program Requirements and Stipulations (2018 through 2023)
- Waterfowl Hunting Guide Services on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge – Program Requirements and Stipulations (2018 through 2023)
Implementation of these programs will be phased over the next year. The Waterfowl Hunting Guide Services program will be implemented immediately because a new application cycle was originally scheduled to begin this year. The due date for submission of permit applications is June 15, 2018.
Currently permitted commercial fishing float operators will continue to operate under their existing permits with new program implementation beginning in 2019. Similarly, commercial wildlife/wildlands observation guides will continue to operate under their existing permits until 2019. Any new applications for wildlife observation guides will fall under the newly established guidelines.
Due to the fact fishing guides have not previously been under a permit system by Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the Fishing Guide Services Program will be implemented in 2019. More information about implementation will follow in the form of mailings to currently operating guides and outreach throughout the year.
All of the above listed documents are available at the Refuge Headquarters, 51 East 4th Street, Winona, MN; on the refuge webpage at www.fws.gov/refuge/upper_mississippi_river; or can be mailed or emailed to interested parties by contacting 507-494-6219.
The purposes for establishing, acquiring, and managing the refuge is “as a refuge and breeding place for migratory birds included in the terms of the convention between the United States and Great Britain for the protection of migratory birds, concluded August 16, 1916, and (b) to such extent as the Secretary of the Interior by regulations, prescribe, as a refuge and breeding place for other wild birds, game animals, fur-bearing animals, and for the conservation of wild flowers and aquatic plants, and (c) to such extent as the Secretary of the Interior may, by regulations, prescribe a refuge and breeding place for fish and other aquatic animal life.”