[Federal Register: June 17, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 115)]
[Page 28722-28723]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2009-N0102; BAC-4311-K9-S3]

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Rockingham 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 associated National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document for Great Bay National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We provide this notice in compliance with our 
CCP policy to advise other Federal and State 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 July 17, 2009. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media 
announcements will be used to inform the public and State and local 
government agencies of the opportunities for input throughout the 
planning process. A public scoping meeting will be held early in the 
CCP development process. The date, time, and place for the meeting will 
be announced in the local media.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, questions, and requests for information to: 
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, c/o Parker River NWR, 6 Plum Island 
Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950; 978-465-5753 (phone); 978-465-2807 
(fax); fw5rw_prnwr@fws.gov (e-mail); http://www.fws.gov/northeast/
parkerriver (Web site).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mao Lin, Assistant Planner, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035; 
413-253-8556 (phone); 413-253-8468 (fax); northeastplanning@fws.gov (e-



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Great Bay NWR in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, which includes a 
conservation easement in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Both units 
are managed by Parker River NWR in Essex County, Massachusetts. 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 refuge. The purpose for 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 (NWRS), consistent with sound principles of fish and 
wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. In 
addition to outlining broad management direction for 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 refuge of the NWRS was 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 NWRS 
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 
recreational opportunities that are compatible with the refuge's 
establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; other Federal agencies, organizations, 
refuge neighbors, and the public. At this time, we encourage input in 
the form of issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future 
management of Great Bay NWR.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an environmental assessment in

[[Page 28723]]

accordance with the requirements of the 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.
    Great Bay NWR, which encompasses 1,089 acres, was established in 
1992 to encourage natural diversity, protect listed species, and 
preserve and enhance water quality. The refuge is located on a portion 
of the former Pease Air Force Base. Despite past land uses, including 
active military operations, the refuge has a diversity of habitat types 
including oak-hickory forest, grasslands, shrub thickets, fresh and 
saltwater wetlands, and open water habitats. The refuge includes 7 
miles of shoreline and is the largest parcel of protected land on Great 
Bay. In addition, Great Bay NWR includes a 28-acre conservation 
easement in Concord, New Hampshire, with a mix of open pitch pine-
scrub, pine-hardwood, and other scrubland. The easement is managed 
primarily for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Since 
2008, Great Bay NWR and the Karner blue butterfly easement have been 
managed by Parker River NWR in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Public Availability and 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 22, 2009.
James G. Geiger,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, MA 
[FR Doc. E9-14222 Filed 6-16-09; 8:45 am]