[Federal Register: July 21, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 140)]
[Page 41463-41464]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft CCP/EA) is 
available for review and comment. Also available for review with the 
Draft CCP/EA are the draft compatibility determinations for research 
and monitoring; wildlife observation and photography; environmental 
education and interpretive guided tours; and sport fishing.

DATES: To ensure that the Service has adequate time to evaluate and 
incorporate suggestions and other input into the planning process, 
comments should be received on or before August 21, 2006.

ADDRESSES: For information on obtaining documents and submitting 
comments, see ``Review and Comment'' under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christy Smith, Refuge Manager, (707) 
769-4200, or Winnie Chan, Refuge Planner, (510) 792-0222.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Draft CCP/EA was prepared pursuant to 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.) (Improvement Act), and the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, and describes how the 
Service proposes to manage this Refuge over the next 15 years. Refuge 
management changes proposed in the draft CCP include: Restoration of 
coastal scrub and oak woodland habitats; opportunities for public use 
including wildlife observation, photography, interpretation, and 
environmental education; and cultural resource interpretation and 
    The National Wildlife System Administration Act of 1966, as amended 
by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997, requires the 
Service to develop a CCP for each National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose 
in developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year 
strategy for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the 
mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound 
principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal 
mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining broad 
management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, the CCP 
identifies wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to 
the public, which can include opportunities for hunting, fishing, 
wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and 

Review and Comment

    Copies of the Draft CCP/EA may be obtained by writing to Winnie 
Chan, Refuge Planner, Marin Islands NWR CCP, San Francisco Bay NWR 
Complex, P.O. Box 524, Newark, California 94560. Copies of the Draft 
CCP/EA may be viewed at this address and are also available for viewing 
and downloading online at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/planning/.

    Hard copies of the Draft CCP/EA are also available at the following 
    San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 1 Marshlands 
Road, Newark, CA 94536.
    San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 7715 Lakeville Highway, 
Petaluma, CA 94954.
    Marin County Civic Center Library, 3501 Civic Center Drive 
427, San Rafael, CA 94903.
    Comments on the Draft CCP/EA should be address to: Winnie Chan, 
Refuge Planner, Marin Islands NWR CCP, San Francisco Bay NWR Complex, 
P.O. Box 524, Newark, California 94560. Comments may also be faxed to 
(510) 792-5828 or e-mailed to: sfbaynwrc@fws.gov.


    The Refuge is located off the shoreline of the City of San Rafael, 
Marin County, in San Pablo Bay. The 339-acre Refuge of tidelands and 2 
islands was established in 1992 ``for the development, advancement, 
management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife 
resources''. The various parcels of land within the Refuge are under 
the ownership of the California Department of Fish and Game, California 
State Lands Commission, or the Fish and Wildlife Service. The 
California Department of Fish and Game-owned lands are designated as a 
State Ecological Reserve. These lands and the Service-owned lands are 
designated and administered as the Marin Islands National Wildlife 
Refuge. The Service provides day-to-day management of the

[[Page 41464]]

entire Marin Islands Refuge and State Ecological Reserve under the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as amended, and 
pursuant to a memorandum of understanding with other landowning 
    The Refuge supports one of the largest heron and egret colonies in 
northern California. The primary purpose of the Refuge is ``to protect 
an important existing egret and heron rookery on West Marin Island and 
to increase colonial nesting bird use on East Marin Islands,'' as 
described in the 1992 Environmental Assessment.

Proposed Action

    The Proposed Action is to provide an integrated set of management 
actions consistent with the purposes for which the Refuge was 
established; the mandates of the Refuge System; and the vision, goals, 
and objectives defined in the CCP. The CCP identifies the Refuge's 
roles in support of the mission of the Refuge System and describes the 
Service's proposed management actions. The CCP must be consistent with 
sound principles of fish and wildlife science and conservation, and 
legal mandates and Service policies. In addition to outlining refuge 
management direction for conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs 
identify wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to the 


    The Draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates 3 alternatives for 
managing Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years. 
Each alternative describes a combination of wildlife, habitat, and 
public use management prescriptions designed to achieve Refuge 
purposes. Of the alternatives described below, the Service believes 
Alternative C would best achieve the purposes of the Refuge, and is, 
therefore identified as the Preferred Alternative.
    Alternative A, the no-action alternative, assumes no change from 
current management programs and is considered the baseline to compare 
other alternatives. Under this alternative, the focus of the Refuge 
would be to continue to maintain and restore native coastal scrub and 
oak woodland habitat for migratory birds. The Refuge would remain 
closed to the public other than existing, supervised volunteer 
opportunities and fishing in the Refuge's submerged area. Wildlife 
observation and photography would not be allowed on the Refuge's 
    Alternative B would accelerate habitat restoration of the coastal 
scrub and oak woodland habitat to provide potential habitat for the 
migratory birds that nest at the Refuge. The Refuge would remain closed 
to public access under this Alternative, but fishing from boats would 
continue. Impacts from trespassing would be reduced through increased 
law enforcement monitoring. Raven predation of the heron and egret 
colonies would be monitored to determine declines in the colonies' 
    Alternative C, the preferred alternative, would also include 
accelerated habitat restoration, increased law enforcement monitoring, 
fishing from boats, and raven predation monitoring. In addition, public 
use, environmental education, and cultural resource preservation would 
be provided. Guided tours would be established to provide wildlife 
observation, environmental education, and cultural resource 
interpretation opportunities. Off-refuge environmental education 
opportunities include school and community presentations. Cultural 
resources on the Refuge will be assessed and preserved according to 
regulatory requirements.

Public Comments

    After the review and comment period ends for this Draft CCP/EA, 
comments will be analyzed by the Service and addressed in the Final 
CCP/EA. All comments received from individuals, including names and 
addresses, become part of the official public record and may be 
released. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with 
the Freedom of Information Act, the Council on Environmental Quality's 
NEPA regulations, and Service and Departmental policies and procedures.

Ken McDermond,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. E6-11597 Filed 7-20-06; 8:45 am]