[Federal Register: June 8, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 108)]
[Page 27174-27176]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2009-N0074; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, St. Mary Parish, LA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Bayou Teche National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 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 July 8, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, questions, and requests for information to: 
Mr. Paul Yakupzack, Refuge Manager, Bayou Teche NWR, 3599 Bayou Black 
Drive, Houma, LA 70360. The Draft CCP/EA is available on compact disk 
or in hard copy. The Draft CCP/EA is also available at the Service's 
Internet site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Paul Yakupzack; telephone: 985/
853-1078; fax: 985/853-1079; e-mail: paul_yakupzack@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Bayou Teche NWR. 
We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register on 
March 19, 2007 (72 FR 12811).

[[Page 27175]]


    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 strategy 
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.
    Bayou Teche NWR is located near the town of Franklin in St. Mary 
Parish, Louisiana. The refuge contains 9,028 acres and is composed of 
wet bottomland hardwood forests laced with bayous and canals. The 
refuge was established on lands important to the coastal subpopulation 
of the Louisiana black bear. The refuge consists of six separate units, 
ranging in size from 3,724 acres to 80 acres. Bayou Teche NWR is one of 
eight refuges within the Southeast Louisiana NWR Complex, which is 
headquartered in Lacombe, Louisiana.

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 is in the 
Draft CCP/EA. We summarize each alternative below.

Alternative A--No Action Alternative

    Under this alternative, no new actions would be taken to improve or 
enhance the refuge's current habitat, wildlife, and public use 
management programs. Species of Federal responsibility, such as 
threatened and endangered species and migratory birds, would continue 
to be monitored at present levels. Additional species monitoring would 
occur through the use of volunteers as they become available. Current 
programs of marsh management would be maintained, with no improvements 
or adaptations. No progressive wetland restoration projects would be 
implemented. All public use programs of hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation would continue at present levels and with current 
    Acquisition of lands into the refuge would occur when funding is 
appropriated and willing sellers offer land that is quality waterfowl 
or Louisiana black bear habitat. Staff would consist of a refuge 
manager and a wildlife biologist supporting both Bayou Teche NWR and 
Mandalay NWR; a part-time law enforcement officer supporting Bayou 
Teche NWR; and supplementary support from the remainder of the 
Southeast Louisiana NWR Complex staff when needed. The refuge 
headquarters would serve as an administrative office, with no 
enhancement of the grounds for public use.

Alternative B--Resource Focused Management (Proposed Alternative)

    Alternative B would emphasize management of the natural resources 
of Bayou Teche NWR based on maintaining and improving Louisiana black 
bear and wetland habitats, monitoring targeted flora and fauna 
representative of the Lower Atchafalaya River Basin, and providing 
quality wildlife-dependent public use activities. All species occurring 
on the refuge would be considered and certain targeted species would be 
managed and monitored, in addition to species of Federal 
responsibility. These species would be chosen based on the criteria 
that they would be indicators of the health of important habitat or 
species of concern.
    Wetland loss would be documented and, whenever possible, the lost 
wetlands would be restored. Public use programs would be improved by 
offering more facilities and wildlife observation areas. Public use 
facilities would undergo annual reviews for maintenance needs and 
safety concerns. Overall public use would be monitored to determine if 
any uses would negatively impact refuge resources. Education programs 
would be reviewed and improved to complement current refuge management 
and staffing. Archaeological resources would be surveyed.
    Land acquisition within the approved acquisition boundary would be 
based on importance of the habitat for target management species. The 
refuge headquarters would house a small administrative office. We would 
offer interpretation of refuge wildlife and habitats, as well as 
demonstrate habitat improvements for individual landowners. The main 
interpretive facilities would be housed at the Southeast Louisiana NWR 
Complex Headquarters in Lacombe, Louisiana.
    In general, under Alternative B, management decisions and actions 
would support wildlife species and habitats occurring on the refuge 
based on well-planned strategies and sound scientific judgment. Quality 
wildlife-dependent recreational uses and environmental education and 
interpretation programs would be offered to support and explain the 
natural resources of the refuge.

Alternative C--Maximized Public Use

    Alternative C would emphasize the management of natural resources 
of Bayou Teche NWR for maximized public use activities. The majority of 
staff time and efforts would support hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation. Federal trust species and archaeological resources 
would be monitored as mandated.
    All refuge programs for conservation of wildlife and habitats, such 
as monitoring, surveying, and managing marsh, would support species and 
resources of importance for public use. More emphasis would be placed 
on interpreting and demonstrating these programs. Access, through means 
such as trails for walking and dredged areas for boat access, would be 
maximized, and we would provide public use facilities throughout the 
    Land acquisition within the approved acquisition boundary would be 
based on importance of the habitat for public use. The refuge 
headquarters at Mandalay NWR would provide a small administrative 
office and a visitor center, which would be developed for public use 
    In general, Alternative C would focus on expanding public use 
activities to the fullest extent possible and conducting only mandated 
resource protection.

Next Step

    After the comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and 
address them.

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

[[Page 27176]]

information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105-57.

    Dated: May 9, 2009.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E9-13329 Filed 6-5-09; 8:45 am]