[Federal Register: October 21, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 203)]
[Page 56800-56801]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Associated Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) is preparing a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) 
and an Environmental Impact Statement for Texas Chenier Plain National 
Wildlife Refuge Complex, Chambers, Galveston and Jefferson Counties, 
Texas. The Service is furnishing this notice in compliance with Service 
CCP policy and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 
implementing regulations for the following purposes: (1) To advise 
other agencies and the public of our intentions; (2) to obtain 
suggestions and information to be included in the EIS; and (3) to 
announce public open house meetings.

DATES: Submit comments on or before December 31, 1999. See 

[[Page 56801]]

Information for meeting dates and locations.

ADDRESSES: Address comments and requests for more information to: Louis 
J. Bridges, Project Manager, Research Management Consultants, Inc., 
P.O. Box 71, (412 Nevava Street), Hot Sulfur Springs, Colorado 80451.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andy Loranger, Refuge Complex Manager 
(409) 267-3337; John Slown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist/
Planner (505) 248-7458.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started 
the process of developing a Habitat Stewardship Program for the Texas 
Chenier Plain ecosystem in southeast Texas in 1994. This Program 
included potential expansion through land acquisition of the Texas 
Chenier Plain NWR Complex. This Refuge Complex encompasses the Anahuac, 
McFaddin, Moody and Texas Point National Wildlife Refuges. Open houses 
and public meetings were held in 1994 and 1996.
    Persons and organizations involved in the scoping process for the 
Habitat Stewardship Program included: the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service; U.S. Department of 
the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, Texas Parks and 
Wildlife Department; Texas General Land Office; U.S. Army, Corps of 
Engineers; members of national, state and local conservation 
organizations; grazing permittees; inholders and neighboring 
landowners; and other interested citizens. Comments and concerns 
received have been used to identify issues for the upcoming 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and EIS.
    Major issues to be addressed in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and associated EIS include management of the Refuge Complex and 
potential expansion of the Complex' refuges through land acquisition. 
Specific refuge management issues include management of public 
recreational uses such as hunting, fishing and wildlife observation, 
and habitat management strategies (grazing, cooperative rice farming, 
prescribed burning, water management) for wetland, grassland and 
woodland habitats. The plan will include the following topics: (a) An 
assessment of existing biological, physical, and cultural resources, 
and their condition; (b) identification of the long term goals and 
objectives of the refuge, consistent with the National Wildlife Refuge 
System mission; (c) strategies for habitat management, including 
actions for wetlands, grasslands and woodlands; (d) strategies for 
management of public access and uses, including hunting, fishing, 
wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and 
interpretation; (e) strategies for land acquisition or cooperative 
agreements with adjacent land owners to further the conservation goals 
of the plan.
    Public open houses to allow opportunities for direct public input 
on the scope of the document will be held at a time and place to be 
determined. For information concerning these open houses, please 
contact Louis J. Bridges, at the address provided above.
    All comments received from individuals on Environmental Assessments 
and Environmental Impact Statements become part of the official public 
record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with 
the Freedom of Information Act, the Council on Environmental Quality's 
NEPA regulations [40 CFR 1506.6(f)], and other Service and Departmental 
policy and procedures. When requested, the Service generally will 
provide comment letters with the names and addresses of the individuals 
who wrote the comments. However, the telephone number of the commenting 
individual will not be provided in response to such requests to the 
extent permissible by law. Additionally, public comment letters are not 
required to contain the commentator's name, address, or other 
identifying information. Such comments may be submitted anonymously to 
the Service.
    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), NEPA Regulations (40 
CFR 1500-1508), other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and Service 
policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations.
    We estimate that the draft CCP/Environmental Impact Statement will 
be available in November, 2001.

    Dated: October 7, 1999.
Stephen W. Perry,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 99-27550 Filed 10-20-99; 8:45 am]