[Federal Register: March 12, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 47)]
[Page 11047-11048]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, Boquer[oacute]n, PR

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 

[[Page 11048]]

environmental documents for the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. 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 process.

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 
comprehensive conservation plan for Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge 
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 this 
refuge. The planning process is a way for us and the public to evaluate 
management goals and objectives for the best possible conservation 
efforts of this important wildlife habitat, while providing for 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with 
the 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 Cabo Rojo National Wildlife 
Refuge 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 Cabo Rojo National 
Wildlife Refuge?
    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 this refuge. 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 them.
    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 the public 
meeting 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.
    The Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 when 
587 acres of land were transferred from the Foreign Broadcast 
Information Service of the Central Intelligence Agency to the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service. The 1,249-acre Cabo Rojo Salt Flats, previously 
under private ownership, were purchased and added to the refuge in 1999 
for a total of 1,836 acres.
    The refuge land was used for cattle ranching, agriculture, and salt 
production for almost two centuries prior to Service ownership. During 
that time, much of the native vegetation was replaced by exotic and 
invasive plants from other regions.
    Management of the refuge focuses on restoring native forest 
vegetation, managing hydrologic conditions in the salt flats, 
controlling exotic and invasive species, and providing suitable habitat 
for neotropical migratory birds and native species, such as the 
endangered yellow-shouldered blackbird.

    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. E7-4371 Filed 3-9-07; 8:45 am]