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Complex accepting comments on annual public use permit fee

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex is accepting comments on the proposed fee structure for the initiation of refuge user fees.
Since 1981, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had authority to collect recreation fees. Since 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has retained fees collected at authority of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. The act was established to provide funding for recreation program improvements.
The fee rates proposed by Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex are as follows:
—$20 – Annual public use permit for Bayou Sauvage, Big Branch Marsh, Bogue Chitto and Delta National Wildlife refuges.
—$5 – Daily public use permit for Bayou Sauvage, Big Branch Marsh, Bogue Chitto and Delta National Wildlife refuges.
—$20 – Annual public use permit for Bayou Teche, Cat Island and Mandalay National Wildlife refuges.
—$5 – Daily public use permit for Bayou Teche, Cat Island and Mandalay National Wildlife refuges.
—$40 - Lottery alligator tags on Atchafalaya, Bayou Sauvage, Bayou Teche, Bogue Chitto, Delta and Mandalay National Wildlife refuges.
A fee analysis has been conducted by the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex with the fee proposed based on rates requested on nearby public lands. Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex is proposing to make fee changes effective Sept. 1, 2020. Collected fees will be used to maintain and promote visitor amenities on Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex public use locations. These amenities include activities such as road and parking lot maintenance, informational brochures, public outreach and educational programs, law enforcement support, etc. The proposal provides for annual public use permit sales to be conducted through RecAccess, the online U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vendor along with permit sales at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center in Lacombe.
The legal harvest of surplus alligators is a useful tool for managing these renewable wildlife resources.
The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex is proposing a Lottery Alligator Harvest Program, similar to the Lottery Alligator Harvest Program on public lakes and state wildlife management areas.
The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex is interested in hearing from the public affected by the changes proposed and is requesting public comments through Jan. 9, 2020. The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex requests comments to be as specific as possible with an explanation of the comments basis. In addition, please include sufficient information with your comments to allow it to authenticate any scientific or
commercial data you reference or provide. Such information may lead to a final decision that differs from this proposal.
The remaining public forums are as follows:
—Friday, 5 p.m. at West Feliciana Parish Library, 5114 Burnett Road, St. Francisville.
—Tuesday, 5 p.m. at Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex Headquarter Conservation Room, 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe.
—Wednesday, 5 p.m., East New Orleans Regional Library; 5641 Read Boulevard, New Orleans.
Please submit written comments to Project Leader, Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex, 61389 Hwy 434, Lacombe, LA 70445. All relevant comments and additional information will be reviewed and considered before a final decision is made on the implementation of the proposed fee structure and permit processing. All comments and recommendations, including names and addresses, will become part of the public administrative record.

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