[Federal Register: December 8, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 236)]
[Page 71185]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for St. Marks National 
Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor Counties, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact 
for St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla, Jefferson, and 
Taylor Counties, Florida, is available for distribution. The plan was 
prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement 
Act of 1997, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, and describes how the refuge will be managed for the next 
15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan may be obtained by writing: Mary Morris, 
Natural Resources Planner, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 
68, St. Marks, Florida 32355, or by calling: 850/925-6121. The plan may 
also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's Website: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/, or from the refuge's Website: http://


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The availability of the Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment for a 60-day public 
review and comment period was announced in the Federal Register on 
January 20, 2006 (71 FR 3317). Three public meetings were held on 
February 16, 22, and 23, 2006, in Panacea, Crawfordville, and 
Tallahassee, Florida, respectively. At least 56 persons attended these 
public meetings. Numerous letters and e-mails were received from 
individuals and organizations expressing comments on the draft plan and 
environmental assessment. The draft plan and environmental assessment 
was circulated to ten agencies as part of the Florida Clearinghouse 
process. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection found the 
draft plan and environmental assessment consistent with the State's 
Coastal Management Program.
    The draft plan and environmental assessment identified and 
evaluated three alternatives for managing the refuge. Alternative 1, 
the ``status quo'' alternative, would continue current management and 
public use. Alternative 2 would focus on enhancement of wildlife 
populations and related habitats and would provide visitors with more 
opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation. Environmental 
education and outreach would expand under this alternative. Under 
Alternative 3, the biological programs of the refuge would be greatly 
    Based on the environmental assessment and the comments received, 
the Service adopted Alternative 2 as its preferred alternative. The 
priority issues addressed under this alternative are: Habitat 
protection and land conservation; migratory birds; partnerships; fire 
and forest management; exotic, invasive, and nuisance species; wildlife 
inventory and monitoring; imperiled species management; visitor 
services; and wilderness and cultural resources protection.
    The Service believes that Alternative 2 will best achieve national, 
ecosystem, and refuge-specific goals and objectives and positively 
address significant issues and concerns expressed by the public.
    St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1931 as a 
breeding ground for wild animals and birds. The refuge is situated 
along the Gulf coast of northwest Florida, about 25 miles south of 
Tallahassee. It currently covers about 69,155 acres with an approved 
acquisition boundary of 74,469 acres. Refuge personnel also manage 947 
acres of State land and 334 acres of USDA Forest Service land within 
the approved acquisition boundary. The Wilderness Act designated 17,446 
acres as the St. Marks Wilderness. The refuge aims to provide habitat 
for a natural diversity of plants and animals with a primary purpose of 
wildlife habitat conservation. The refuge is also being managed to 
provide opportunity for compatible wildlife-dependent recreation.

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: July 5, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.

    Editorial note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register on 12-5-06.

[FR Doc. 06-9591 Filed 12-7-06; 8:45 am]