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Fish & Wildlife Service seeks input on user forms

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is seeking public input on the forms people need to fill out for special use of its lands and waters. In the Federal Register of Tuesday, May 20, 2014, FWS announced it is asking for public comments on its National Wildlife Refuge Special Use Permit Applications and Reports. FWS' authorization for use of the forms expires on June 30 and it needs routine approval from the Office of Management & Budget(OMB) to continue using them.

FWS will continue to use the existing forms while it takes public input and awaits approval from OMB. If you have any suggestions for improving the information collection, send them by June 19 to the desk officer for the Department of the Interior, fax (202) 395-5806 or email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov. And send a copy to service information collection clearance officer at FWS, MS 2042-PDM, 4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203, hope_grey@fws.gov. Put the OMB control number ``1018-0102'' in the subject line. If you have any questions, email Hope Grey at the above address or call (703)358-2482.

FWS is not proposing any changes to the forms but will consider suggestions. Individuals and groups are required to complete a form if they want to use FWS facilities for various commercial, recreational or agricultural uses. All uses must be compatible with FWS' mission.

FWS uses three different forms: FWS Form 3-1383-G (General Activities Special Use Application) , FWS Form 3-1383-C (Commercial Activities Special Use Application), and FWS Form 3-1383-R (Research & Monitoring Special Use Application).

Anyone must complete a form for agricultural activities such as haying and grazing, special events, group visits, commercial activities such as filming, building cabins in Alaska, research, etc. Applicants must show that they understand the rules, they they are competent to carry out the activities in question, that their activities are consistent with FWS' mission, that the activities are compatible with the specific refuge in question and that the applicants are aware of their legal rights. Sometimes, FWS officials will obtain the information needed from applicants without using a form, through a telephone conversation, a letter or email.

The rules allow people not to answer every question on the form if the land manager determines not all are relevant. But the law does not allow FWS to ask questions that are not included on the relevant form. FWS placed the question up for comments last November and got only two. Now's your last chance.

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