[Federal Register: July 3, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 129)]
[Page 38242-38243]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2008-N0117; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, Hyde County, NC

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; draft comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Swanquarter National 
Wildlife Refuge for public review and comment. In this Draft CCP/EA, we 
describe the alternative we propose to use to manage this refuge for 
the 15 years following approval of the final CCP.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by August 4, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Request for copies of the Draft CCP/EA should be addressed 
to: Bruce Freske, Refuge Manager, Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, 
38 Mattamuskeet Road, Swan Quarter, NC 27885. The Draft CCP/EA may also 
be accessed and downloaded from the Service's Internet Site: http://
southeast.fws.gov/planning. Comments on the Draft CCP/EA may be 
submitted to the above address or via electronic mail to: Bruce 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bruce Freske; Telephone: 252/926-4021; 
or Fax: 252/926-1743.



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Swanquarter 
National Wildlife Refuge. We started the process through a notice in 
the Federal Register on November 3, 2000 (65 FR 66256).
    Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, on Pamlico Sound in Hyde 
County, NC, was established by Presidential Order on June 23, 1932. The 
Service has acquired all of the property within the refuge's 
acquisition boundary. The refuge consists of 16,411 acres of saltmarsh 
islands and forested wetlands interspersed with potholes, creeks, and 
drains. Marsh vegetation is dominated by black needlerush and sawgrass. 
The mainland is forested by loblolly pine, pond pine, and bald cypress. 
Approximately 8,800 acres of the refuge have been designated as 
wilderness. An additional 27,082 acres of adjacent, non-refuge open 
water are closed by presidential proclamation to the taking of 
migratory birds. The purposes of the refuge are: ``for use as an 
inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory 
birds;'' ``for the development, advancement, management, conservation, 
and protection of fish and wildlife resources * * * for the benefit of 
the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its 
activities and services;'' and for the supplemental purpose of 
protecting and providing a wilderness area.
    Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge is in the South Atlantic 
Coastal Plain Ecosystem and is part of the migration corridor for 
migratory birds that use the Atlantic Flyway. Wildlife species of 
management concern on the refuge include the American black duck, 
lesser scaup, canvasback, redhead, surf scoter, seaside sparrow, shard-
tailed sparrow, brown-headed nuthatch, black-throated green warbler, 
black rail, yellow rail, clapper rail, Forster's tern, peregrine 
falcon, bald eagle, osprey, black bear, red wolf, Carolina pygmy 
rattlesnake, and American alligator. The white-tailed deer is also a 
resident game species.


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, 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, wildlife photography, and environmental education 
and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least

[[Page 38243]]

every 15 years in accordance with the Improvement Act and NEPA.
    Significant issues addressed in the Draft CCP/EA include: 
Management of waterfowl and neotropical migratory birds, the wilderness 
area, and invasive species; recovery and protection of threatened and 
endangered species (particularly the red-cockaded woodpecker, red wolf, 
and American alligator); regional habitat loss and fragmentation; 
turbidity in open waters; land acquisition to include a minor boundary 
expansion; and public uses of the refuge.

CCP Alternatives, Including Our Proposed Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge and chose 
Alternative B as the proposed alternative.


    A full description of each alternative is in the Draft CCP/EA. We 
summarize each alternative below.
Alternative A: No Action Alternative
    Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, present management 
of the refuge would continue at the current level. The refuge would 
provide habitat for migratory birds and threatened and endangered 
species, particularly the red-cockaded woodpecker, the red wolf, and 
the American alligator. Current surveying and monitoring for waterfowl, 
wading and colonial nesting birds, and land birds would continue, and 
no active surveying or monitoring of other birds, mammals, reptiles, 
amphibians, or fish would be conducted by refuge staff. There would be 
few public use and environmental education and outreach programs. 
Fishing and hunting of waterfowl would continue as currently managed.
Alternative B: Moderately Expand Programs (Proposed Alternative)
    Under Alternative B, the proposed alternative, the refuge would 
continue to provide habitat for migratory birds, threatened and 
endangered species, and other waterfowl and fauna. Surveying and 
monitoring would be expanded to obtain baseline data on other species, 
and would include other birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. 
The refuge would monitor the effects of management activities on flora 
and fauna and adapt as needed. The public use and environmental 
education and outreach programs would be increased to include 
conducting two to ten programs for local school groups. Fishing and 
hunting opportunities would be expanded by increasing the number of use 
days and introducing deer hunting with archery equipment. An 
interpretive trail or boardwalk would be developed to provide greater 
access to the public.
Alternative C: Optimally Expand Programs
    Under Alternative C, the activities under Alternative B would be 
further expanded. More wildlife and habitat surveying and monitoring 
would be conducted; environmental education and outreach programs would 
be increased to include conducting ten to fifteen programs for local 
school groups; hunting and fishing use days would increase and deer 
hunting with both archery equipment and primitive firearms would be 
introduced; an interpretive trail or boardwalk would be developed, as 
well as a canoe trail; and a photo blind would be constructed. In 
addition, development and management of moist-soil units for migratory 
birds would be considered.

Next Step

    After the comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and 
address them in the form of a final CCP and Finding of No Significant 

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

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

    Dated: May 19, 2008.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-15117 Filed 7-2-08; 8:45 am]