[Federal Register: October 20, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 203)]
[Page 62006]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental impact.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is preparing a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) for Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge 
(NFWR). This notice advises the public that the Service intends to 
gather information necessary for preparing the CCP and EIS pursuant to 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, 
and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Service is 
furnishing this notice in compliance with Service policy to achieve the 
following: (1) Advise other Federal and State agencies and the public 
of our intention to conduct detailed planning on this refuge; and, (2) 
obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to include in 
the environmental document.
    The Service will involve the public through open houses, 
informational and technical meetings, and written comments. Special 
mailings, newspaper articles, and announcements will provide 
information about opportunities for public involvement in the planning 

DATES: We are soliciting written comments and will hold a number of 
public scoping meetings throughout the four-State watershed. All 
meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. We will also announce these 
meetings at least 2 weeks in advance in special mailings and on the 
refuge's planning Web page at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Conte/ccphome.html

ADDRESSES: Silvio O. Conte NFWR, 52 Avenue A, Turners Falls, 
Massachusetts, 01376; telephone 413-863-0209; fax 413-863-3070; Web 
site: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Conte/ccphome.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Goldstein, Refuge Planner, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, 
Massachusetts 01035; telephone 413-253-8564; fax 413-253-8468; e-mail 
northeastplanning@fws.gov. Use ``Conte NFWR'' in the subject title of 

your e-mail.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under 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-668ee), the Service is 
to manage all lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System in 
accordance with an approved CCP. The plan guides management decisions 
and identifies refuge goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for 
achieving refuge purposes over a 15-year period.
    The planning process will cover many elements, including wildlife 
and habitat protection and management, wildlife-dependent visitor and 
recreational activities, cultural resource protection, and facilities 
and infrastructure. Compatibility determinations will be completed for 
all applicable refuge uses. We will also conduct a wilderness review 
and a wild and scenic rivers evaluation to determine whether any areas 
on the refuge qualify for those Federal designations.
    Public input into the planning process is essential. The comments 
we receive will help identify key issues and develop refuge goals and 
objectives for managing refuge resources and visitor use. Additional 
opportunities for public participation will arise throughout the 
planning process, which we expect to complete in 2008. Data collection 
has already begun to compile up-to-date information on refuge resources 
and serve as a foundation for science-based resource decisions. We will 
prepare the EIS in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality 
procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d).
    Congress established Silvio O. Conte NFWR in 1997 to protect 
populations of migratory fish and birds, threatened and endangered 
plants and animals, and other native species throughout the 7.2-
million-acre Connecticut River watershed. The Connecticut River 
supports the Northeast's most extensive network of diverse and high-
quality fresh, brackish, and salt marshes. Silvio O. Conte NFWR 
conserves these valuable areas by supporting habitat protection, 
management and research, invasive plant control, and salt marsh 
restoration. The refuge encompasses 32,179 acres at specific locations 
in the four watershed States of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New 
Hampshire, and Vermont.
    Refuge visitors engage in wildlife observation and photography, 
environmental education, hunting, and fishing. The refuge headquarters 
is presently located in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

    Dated: October 11, 2006.
Kathleen A. Bangert,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, 
[FR Doc. E6-17561 Filed 10-19-06; 8:45 am]