[Federal Register: December 16, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 242)]
[Page 76376-76377]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2008-N0258; 50133-1265-JAHP]

John Hay National Wildlife Refuge, Merrimack County, NH

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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and an associated 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document for John Hay National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We provide this notice in compliance with our 
planning policy to advise other agencies, Tribes, and the public of our 
intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of 
issues to consider. We are also requesting public comments.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by January 15, 2009. We will hold public meetings to begin the CCP 
planning process; see Public Meetings under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. 
We will announce opportunities for public input in local news media 
throughout the CCP planning process, and will announce upcoming public 
meetings in local news media and the refuge Web site.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
one of the following methods:
    Electronic mail: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``John Hay NWR 
CCP/EA'' in the subject line of the message.
    U.S. Postal Service: Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex, 73 Weir 
Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776.
    In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Call 978-443-4661 to make 
an appointment during regular business hours at the Sudbury address.
    Fax: 978-443-2898.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrew French or Barry Parrish, 
Refuge/Project Leader, at 413-558-8002, or Carl Melberg, Planning Team 
Leader, at 978-443-4661.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
John Hay NWR in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. We provide this notice 
in compliance with our planning policy to

[[Page 76377]]

(1) advise other Federal and State agencies and the public of our 
intention to conduct detailed planning on this refuge, and (2) obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of topics to consider in the 
environmental document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(Improvement Act) (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 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 (NWRS), 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 Improvement Act and NEPA.
    We establish each unit of the NWRS for specific purposes. We use 
these purposes as the basis to develop and prioritize management goals 
and objectives for the refuge within the NWRS mission, and to determine 
how the public can use the refuge. The planning process is a way for us 
and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives for the best 
possible conservation approach to 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 NWRS. Our CCP process provides opportunities for Tribal, State, 
and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public to 
participate. At this time, we encourage the public to provide input in 
the form of issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future 
management of John Hay NWR.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this environmental 
assessment in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, 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 laws and regulations.

John Hay National Wildlife Refuge

    John Hay NWR was the former summer estate of historic figure John 
Hay. It was donated to the Service in 1972 by Alice Hay to be used as a 
migratory bird and wildlife reservation. Currently, the refuge consists 
of approximately 80 acres on the shores of Lake Sunapee in Newbury, New 
Hampshire, and consists of upland northern forests, and undeveloped 
shoreline. These areas serve the habitat needs of waterfowl, wading 
birds, and raptors.

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. We have briefly summarized these issues 
below. During public scoping, we may identify additional issues.
    Public use throughout the refuge will be reevaluated in relation to 
wildlife-dependent recreation and other mission compatible uses. These 
include an ADA-compliant interpretive nature trail, overlooks, and a 
trailhead at the Fells parking area. We will also explore different 
visitor use options for the refuge.
    Access to the refuge from the adjacent Fells property needs to be 
coordinated in terms of the use of their parking area or the creation 
of a second parking area, and the establishment of a trailhead or other 
interpretive information on their property.
    We need to address how the Service can create a more visible 
presence at the refuge and the adjacent Fells property. Potential 
avenues are through signs, kiosks, and seasonal staff.

Public Meetings

    We will involve the public through open houses, informational and 
technical meetings, and written comments. We will release mailings, 
news releases, and announcements to provide information about 
opportunities for public involvement in the planning process. You can 
obtain the schedule from the planning team leader or project leader 
(see ADDRESSES). You may also submit comments anytime during the 
planning process by mail, electronic mail, or fax (see ADDRESSES). 
There will be additional opportunities to provide public input once we 
have prepared a draft CCP.
    We anticipate that public meetings will be held in Newbury, New 
Hampshire. For specific information including dates, times, and 
locations, contact the project leader (see ADDRESSES) or visit our Web 
site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/johnhay.

Public Availability of Comments

    Our practice is to make comments, including names, home addresses, 
home phone numbers, and electronic mail addresses of respondents 
available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their names and/or home addresses, etc., but if you wish us to 
consider withholding this information, you must state this prominently 
at the beginning of your comments. In addition, you must present a 
rationale for withholding this information. This rationale must 
demonstrate that disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted 
invasion of privacy. Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. 
In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this 
information will be released. We will always make submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives of or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

    Dated: October 1, 2008.
Wendi Weber,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Hadley, Massachusetts.
[FR Doc. E8-28914 Filed 12-15-08; 8:45 am]