[Federal Register: August 4, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 150)]
[Page 45240-45241]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2008-N0147; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Hyde, Tyrrell, and 
Washington Counties, NC

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: Final comprehensive conservation plan 
and finding of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Pocosin Lakes National 
Wildlife Refuge. In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this 
refuge for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the CCP may be obtained by writing to: Howard A. 
Phillips, Refuge Manager, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. 
Box 329, Columbia, NC 27925. The CCP may also be accessed and 
downloaded from the Service's Internet site: http://southeast.fws.gov/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Howard A. Phillips; Telephone: 252/



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Pocosin Lakes 
National Wildlife Refuge. We started this process through a notice in 
the Federal Register on November 3, 2000 (65 FR 66256). For more about 
the process, see that notice.
    Congress established the 12,000-acre Pungo National Wildlife Refuge 
in 1963 by the authorities of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 
1929 and the Fish

[[Page 45241]]

and Wildlife Act of 1956. In 1990, we established Pocosin Lakes 
National Wildlife Refuge, making Pungo Refuge a unit of Pocosin Lakes 
Refuge. The refuge now consists of 110,106 acres. We named the refuge 
for the pocosin habitat that dominates the landscape and for the lakes 
that occur within the pocosin.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) 
requirements. We completed a thorough analysis of impacts on the human 
environment, which we included in the draft comprehensive conservation 
plan and environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA). The CCP will guide us 
in managing and administering Pocosin Lakes Refuge for the next 15 
    The compatibility determinations for hunting; fishing; wildlife 
observation and photography; environmental education and 
interpretation; access for public uses; trapping of selected furbearers 
and feral hogs for nuisance animal management; refuge resource research 
studies; cooperative farming program; commercial photography; 
commercial tours and guiding; wood and reed gathering and cutting; and 
meetings of non-service agencies and organizations are all available in 
the CCP.


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Improvement Act), which amended the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for 
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 every 15 years in accordance with 
the Improvement Act.


    Approximately 130 copies of the Draft CCP/EA were made available 
for a 30-day public review period as announced in the Federal Register 
on July 12, 2007 (72 FR 38097). Twelve agencies and/or individuals 
submitted comments, either in writing or at public forums. Four persons 
spoke at the public forums and eight presented written comments, 
representing state agencies, local government agencies, non-
governmental organizations, businesses, and local citizens.

Selected Alternative

    We developed four alternatives for management of the refuge and 
chose Alternative 2 as the preferred alternative. We selected 
Alternative 2 based on the sound professional judgment of the staff and 
after considering the comments we received on the draft document. The 
primary focus under Alternative 2 will be to optimize management of the 
impoundments very intensively by controlling water levels and 
vegetation to create optimum habitat for migrating waterfowl. 
Implementing the CCP will result in moderate program increases to 
address the refuge's highest priorities. We will manage pine forests 
and marshes with prescribed fire and will manage the vegetative 
composition of habitats in selected areas. Waterfowl will be surveyed 
on a routine basis. We will develop inventory plans for all species and 
implement them in selected habitats. We will develop and implement a 
black bear management plan. The visitor center will be maintained by 
volunteers and cooperating agency personnel supplementing refuge 
personnel. The volunteer program will be expanded by recruiting 
volunteers to contribute 4,000 hours of service. We will construct two 
pads for recreational vehicles in order to attract volunteers. There 
will be 17.5 staff members dedicated to refuge management and 7.5 staff 
members dedicated to fire management. The six priority public uses will 
be allowed, with the refuge staff conducting environmental education 
and interpretation programs to meet local needs.

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

    Dated: June 10, 2008.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-17766 Filed 8-1-08; 8:45 am]