[Federal Register: April 4, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 66)]
[Page 18552-18553]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2008-N0029; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Jones and Jasper Counties, GA

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 associated National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for Piedmont National 
Wildlife Refuge. We provide this notice in compliance with our CCP 
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 in the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by May 5, 2008. A public scoping meeting will be held on April 1, 2008. 
The location of the meeting will be announced in the local media.

ADDRESSES: Comments, questions, and requests for information should be 
sent to: Laura Housh, Regional Planner, Okefenokee National Wildlife 
Refuge, Route 2, Box 3330, Folkston, GA 31537; Telephone: 912/496-7366, 
Ext. 244; Fax: 912/496-3332; or electronic mail: laura_housh@fws.gov. 
You may find additional information concerning the refuge at the 
refuge's Internet site: http://www.fws.gov/piedmont.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carolyn Johnson, Assistant Refuge 
Manager, Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge; Telephone: 478/986-5441; or 
electronic mail: Carolyn_Johnson@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Jones and Jasper Counties, GA.
    This notice complies with our CCP policy to (1) advise other 
Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to 
conduct detailed planning on this refuge; and (2) obtain suggestions 
and information on the scope of issues to consider in the environmental 
document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    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 in 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy 
for achieving refuge purposes and contributing to 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.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System is established for 
specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for 
developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
determine how the public can use each 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 each refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
At this time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, 
and suggestions for the future management of Piedmont National Wildlife 
Refuge. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media outlets 
will be used to announce opportunities for input throughout the 
planning process.
    We will conduct the environmental assessment in accordance with the 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (NEPA) (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.
    Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 as a 
``combination wildlife and game-management demonstration area'' to 
demonstrate that wildlife could be restored on worn out, eroded lands. 
By implementing good forest management practices, the 35,000-acre 
refuge hosts loblolly pines on the ridges, with hardwoods found along 
creek bottoms and in scattered upland coves. The refuge is in central 
Georgia, approximately 25 miles north of Macon, and 18 miles east of 
Forsyth. The refuge is primarily forested and provides

[[Page 18553]]

habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and associated 
wildlife species of concern. Prescribed burning and timber thinning are 
used to ensure that quality pine habitat is maintained for red-cockaded 
woodpeckers, neotropical migratory songbirds, and other native 
wildlife. Hardwood stands provide excellent habitat for neotropical 
migratory songbirds, turkeys, squirrels, and other woodland wildlife. 
Open fields, maintained by burning and mowing, provide feeding and 
nesting areas for many species of birds and mammals. Numerous clear-
flowing creeks and beaver ponds provide wetlands for waterfowl and 
other wildlife.

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: February 8, 2008.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
 [FR Doc. E8-7000 Filed 4-3-08; 8:45 am]