[Federal Register: May 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 94)]
[Page 27588-27589]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Laguna Cartagena 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 
associated environmental documents for the Laguna Cartagena 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 June 15, 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 Laguna Cartagena 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 Laguna Cartagena 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 Laguna Cartagena 
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

[[Page 27589]]

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 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.
    The Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge was established in 
1989 through a lease agreement with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 
The present lagoon is a remnant of what was once a large open expanse 
of water and one of the most important freshwater habitats for 
migrating waterfowl and aquatic birds in Puerto Rico. Due to 
agricultural practices, about 90 percent of the lagoon is covered with 
cattail. In addition to the lagoon, there are uplands that include 
pastureland, abandoned sugar cane fields, and 263 acres in the 
foothills of the Sierra Bermeja. The total area of the refuge is 1,059 
acres. The refuge objectives are to restore and maintain this locally 
important wetland ecosystem for the benefit of endangered species and 
migratory birds. These issues and the objectives along with others 
identified during the scoping process will be addressed during the 
development of the Draft CCP/EA.

    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.

    Editorial Note: This document was received in the Office of the 
Federal Register on May 11, 2007.
 [FR Doc. E7-9403 Filed 5-15-07; 8:45 am]