[Federal Register: June 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 126)]
[Page 36890-36891]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Chambers, 
Jefferson, and Galveston Counties, TX, Consisting of Moody National 
Wildlife Refuge, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, McFaddin National 
Wildlife Refuge, and Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: Final environmental impact statement, 
comprehensive conservation plan, and land protection plan.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), and Final Land Protection Plan 
(LPP) for the Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 
Complex. In this final EIS/CCP/LPP, we describe how we will manage this

[[Page 36891]]

Refuge Complex for the next 15 years and expand the refuge boundaries 
for each of the four refuges within the Refuge Complex.

DATES: We will sign a record of decision (ROD) no sooner than 30 days 
after publication of this notice.

ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the final EIS, CCP, and LPP 
by any of the following methods:
     Agency Web Site: Download a copy of the document at http:/
     Mail: Doug St. Pierre, Division of Planning, P.O. Box 
1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103.
     In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Call 409-267-3337 to make an 
appointment during regular business hours at Texas Chenier Plain NWR 
Complex Headquarters, 509 Washington Street, Anahuac, TX.
     Local Libraries: The final document is also available at 
the Public Libraries located in the project area of Chambers and 
Jefferson Counties, TX.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doug St. Pierre, 505-248-6636 (phone); 
mail to: doug_stpierre@fws.gov (e-mail).



    With this notice, we complete the CCP process, except for the ROD, 
for Texas Chenier Plain NWR Complex begun in our October 21, 1999, 
Federal Register notice (64 FR 56800). For more about the process, see 
that notice. We released the draft EIS/CCP/LPP to the public, 
announcing it and requesting comments in a notice of availability in 
the Federal Register (71 FR 61063; October 17, 2006).
    The Texas Chenier Plain Refuge Complex is located along the upper 
Texas Gulf Coast between Houston, TX, and the Louisiana border. This 
coastal ecosystem includes important freshwater, estuarine marshes, 
tallgrass prairie with small depressional wetlands, and coastal 
woodlots. These habitats are an important part of the primary wintering 
area for Central Flyway ducks and geese, and, additionally, are 
critical staging areas for neotropical landbirds migrating to and from 
Central and South America.
    With this notice, we announce our decision and the availability of 
the final EIS/CCP/LPP for Texas Chenier Plain NWR Complex in accordance 
with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) 
requirements. We completed a thorough analysis of the environmental, 
social, and economic considerations, which we included in the final 
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Moody, Anahuac, 
McFaddin, and Texas Point Refuges for the 15 years following 
publication of the final CCP. Refuge Management Alternative D, as we 
described in the final EIS, is the foundation for the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), which amended the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966 (NWRSAA), requires us to develop a CCP for 
each national wildlife refuge. The purpose in developing a CCP is to 
provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan 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 our policies. In addition 
to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife and 
their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the NWRSAA, as 
amended, and NEPA.


    We solicited comments on the draft EIS/CCP/LPP for Texas Chenier 
Plain NWR Complex from October 17, 2006, to January 16, 2007 (71 FR 
61063). We received 18 written comments by mail or e-mail, in addition 
to the 5 comments we recorded at the Service's two public hearings held 
on November 28 and 30, 2006, in Port Arthur and Hankamer, TX. In 
Chapter 6 of the final EIS/CCP/LPP, we documented and responded to all 
of the substantive comments received and noted editorial changes to the 
final document in response to these comments where appropriate. All of 
the comments received were considered in the decision-making process to 
select the two preferred alternatives.

Our Preferred Alternatives

    After considering the comments we received, we have chosen two 
Preferred Alternatives, one from each of the two separate sets of 
Alternatives analyzed and considered.
    Preferred Refuge Management Alternative D--Emphasis on an 
integrated management approach combining: (1) Expanded habitat 
management and restoration programs, (2) New research and wildlife 
population monitoring, and (3) Increased efforts to address major 
threats to the ecosystem.
    Preferred Refuge Boundary Expansion Alternative C--a 7,920 acre 
expansion of the Moody NWR boundary, a 47,750 acre expansion of the 
Anahuac NWR boundary, a 7,190 acre expansion of the McFaddin NWR 
boundary, and a 1,400 acre expansion of the Texas Point NWR boundary.

    Dated: June 24, 2008.
Christopher Todd Jones,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico.
[FR Doc. E8-14741 Filed 6-27-08; 8:45 am]