[Federal Register: March 12, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 47)]
[Page 11046-11047]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuges 
in the U.S. Virgin Islands

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, intend to gather 
information necessary to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan and 
associated environmental documents for Buck Island, Green Cay, and 
Sandy Point

[[Page 11047]]

National Wildlife Refuges. We furnish this notice in compliance with 
our comprehensive conservation planning policy to advise other agencies 
and the public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and 
information on the scope of issues to be considered in the planning 

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by April 11, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information to Ms. 
Susan Silander, Refuge Manager, Caribbean Islands National Wildlife 
Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 510, Boquer[oacute]n, PR 00622; Telephone: 
787/851-7258; or electronically to: susan_silander@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we initiate the process 
for developing a comprehensive conservation plan for Buck Island, Green 
Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuges with headquarters in 
Boquer[oacute]n, Puerto Rico.
    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), requires the Service to develop a 
comprehensive conservation plan for each national wildlife refuge. The 
purpose in developing a comprehensive conservation plan 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, plans identify wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.
    We establish each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System with 
specific purposes. We use these purposes to develop and prioritize 
management goals and objectives within the National Wildlife Refuge 
System mission, and to guide which public uses will occur on these 
refuges. The planning process is a way for us and the public to 
evaluate management goals and objectives for the best possible 
conservation efforts of these important wildlife habitats, while 
providing for wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are 
compatible with each refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of 
the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    We will conduct a comprehensive conservation planning process that 
will provide opportunity for Tribal, State, and local governments; 
agencies; organizations; and the public to participate in issue scoping 
and public comment. We request input for issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions for the management of the Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy 
Point National Wildlife Refuges, with headquarters in Boquer[oacute]n, 
Puerto Rico. We invite anyone interested to respond to the following 
two questions:
    1. What problems or issues do you want to see addressed in the 
comprehensive conservation plan?
    2. What improvements would you recommend for the Buck Island, Green 
Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuges?
    We have provided the above questions for your optional use; you are 
not required to provide information to us. Our Planning Team developed 
these questions to gather information about individual issues and ideas 
concerning these refuges. Our Planning Team will use comments it 
receives as part of the planning process; however, we will not 
reference individual comments in our reports or directly respond to 
    We will also give the public an opportunity to provide input at an 
open house and public scoping meetings during 2007, to identity issues 
to be addressed in the plan. These events will be advertised through 
local media outlets. You may also submit comments anytime during the 
planning process by writing to the address in the ADDRESSES section. 
All information provided voluntarily by mail, phone, or at public 
meetings becomes part of our official record (i.e., names, addresses, 
letters of comment, input recorded during meeting).
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project 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 parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; 
and our policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations. 
All comments we receive on our environmental assessment become part of 
the official public record. We will handle requests for such comments 
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA [40 CFR 
1506.6(f)], and other Departmental and Service policies and procedures. 
When we receive a request, we generally will provide comment letters 
with the names and addresses of the individuals who wrote the comments.
    Buck Island Refuge was established in 1969, and consists of 45 
acres. It is an unstaffed refuge administered as part of the Caribbean 
Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The island was transferred to 
the Fish and Wildlife Service due to its ``value for migratory birds.'' 
However, little nesting occurs due to the presence of introduced rates. 
Visitors to the refuge may see red-billed tropic birds, frigate birds, 
terns, laughing gulls, and other species in the vicinity of the island.
    Green Cay Refuge was established in 1977, and consists of 14 acres. 
It is an unstaffed refuge administered as part of the Caribbean Islands 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The island provides critical habitat 
for one of only two remaining natural populations of the endangered St. 
Croix ground lizard. Its extirpation from the mainland of St. Croix is 
generally attributed to the introduction of the small Indian mongoose. 
Outcrops of lava, tuffs, and breccias are prominent geological 
features. The island is closed to the public due to fragile habitat and 
easily disturbed wildlife, such as the St. Croix ground lizard.
    Sandy Point Refuge was established in 1984, and consists of 360 
acres. It is a staffed refuge administered as part of the Caribbean 
Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The island hosts the largest 
nesting population of endangered leatherback sea turtles under United 
States jurisdiction. Approximately 11,000 people visit the refuge 

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

    Dated: February 8, 2007.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E7-4369 Filed 3-9-07; 8:45 am]