[Federal Register: January 29, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 18)]
[Page 4017-4018]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Refuge

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Hobe Sound National 
Wildlife Refuge in Martin County, Florida.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact 
for Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge are available for distribution. 
The plan was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997, and in accordance with the National 
Environment Policy Act of 1969, and describes how the refuge will be 
managed for the next 15 years. The compatibility determinations for 
fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental 
education and interpretation, research, and pets are also available 
within the plan.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan may be obtained by writing to the Refuge 
Manager, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, 13640 SE. Federal 
Highway, Hobe Sound, Florida 33455. The plan may also be accessed and 
downloaded from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge is in 
Martin County, Florida, about 20 miles south of Stuart, Florida, and 30 
miles north of West Palm Beach, Florida. The refuge covers a total of 
1,160 acres within the acquisition boundary. The refuge consists of a 
300-acre River Lagoon. The primay vegetation classes on the Mainland 
Tract consist mainly of sand pine scrub, wetland, mangrove, and hammock 
habitats. The Jupiter Island Tract has a 3.5-mile sea turtle nesting 
beach--one of the most productive in Florida--and several hardwood 
hammocks and mangrove wetlands. Annually, more than 120,000 visitors 
participate in refuge and nature center activities.
    The availability of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Environmental Assessment for a 45-day public review and comment period 
was announced in the Federal Register on January 26, 2004, (69 FR 
3590). The plan and Environmental assessment identified and evaluated 
four alternatives for managing the refuge over the next 15 years. 
Alternative 1, the ``No Action'' alternative, would have continued 
current management of the refuge within the approved acquisition 
boundary. Under Alternative 2 (Ecosystem Emphasis), refuge lands would 
be protected, maintained, and enhanced by adding more staff, equipment, 
and facilities in order to restore and manage the unique habitats and 
more than 40 threatened and endangered species. Alternative 3 
(Biological Emphasis) would add more staff, equipment, and facilities 
in order to maximize the biological program. Alternative 4 (Public Use 
Emphasis) would add more staff, equipment, and facilities in order to 
foster the refuge's public use program.
    Based on the environmental assessment and the comments received, 
the Service adopted a modified version of Alternative 2 (Ecosystem 
Emphasis) as its preferred alternative. This alternative was considered 
to be the most effective for meeting the purposes of the refuge by 
enhancing habitat for threatened and endangered species, and by 
downsizing selected projects to help maintain the unique qualities of 
the refuge that make it so special to the community. The overriding 
concern reflected in this alternative is that wildlife conservation 
assumes first priority in refuge management; wildlife-dependent 
recreational uses (e.g., fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation) will be 
emphasized and encouraged as long as they are compatible with wildlife 
conservation. Altnerative 2 best achieves national, ecosystem, and 
refuge-specific goals and objectives and positively addresses 
significant issues and concerns expressed by the public.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margo Stahl, Refuge Manager, Hobe 
Sound National Wildlife Refuge Complex, telephone: 772/546-6141; fax: 
772/545-7572; e-mail: margo_stahl@fws.gov; or by writing to the Refuge 
Manager at the address in the ADDRESSES section.

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge

[[Page 4018]]

System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105-57.

    Dated: June 5, 2006.
Sam D. Hamilton,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 07-347 Filed 1-26-07; 8:45 am]