[Federal Register: November 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 215)]
[Page 57701-57702]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2009-N178; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, American Samoa

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; announcement of public open house 
meetings; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Rose Atoll 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). We will also prepare an 
environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential effects of 
various CCP alternatives. We provide this notice in compliance with our 
CCP policy to advise the public and other Federal and State agencies 
and Tribes of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information 
on the scope of issues to consider in the planning process. We are also 
announcing public meetings and requesting public comments.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
December 9, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send your written comments or requests for more information 
by any of the following methods.
    E-mail: FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov (include ``Rose Atoll'' in the 
subject line of the message).
    U.S. Mail: Don Palawski, Project Leader, Pacific Remote Islands 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 5-231, 
Honolulu, HI 96850.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Palawski, Project Leader, (808) 
792-9560 (phone).


Refuge Overview

    Rose Atoll Refuge was established in 1973 after a cooperative 
agreement between the Government of American Samoa and the Service was 
signed. The Refuge is part of American Samoa and is located 78 miles 
east-southeast of Tau Island in the Manua Group at latitude 
14[deg]32'52'' south and 168[deg]08'34'' west. The Refuge includes 
approximately 20 acres of land and 1,600 acres of lagoon surrounded by 
a perimeter reef. The lands, submerged lands, waters, and marine 
environment of the Refuge support a dynamic reef ecosystem that is home 
to a very diverse assemblage of terrestrial and marine species, some of 
which are Federally listed as threatened or endangered. One of the 
Refuge's most striking features is the pink hue of the perimeter reef 
caused by the dominance of coralline algae.

National Monument Establishment and Management Responsibilities

    On January 6, 2009, President George W. Bush established the Rose 
Atoll Marine National Monument (MNM, or Monument) by signing 
Presidential Proclamation 8337 (Proclamation) under the authority of 
the Antiquities Act of 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431). The Rose 
Atoll Refuge is part of the Rose Atoll MNM. Rose Atoll MNM consists of 
approximately 13,451 square miles of emergent and submerged lands and 
waters, with an outer boundary that is approximately 50 nautical miles 
from the mean low water line of Rose Atoll, the Monument's center.
    Through the Proclamation, management responsibility for the 
Monument was assigned to the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation 
with the Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary of the Interior delegated 
management responsibility to the Service's Director (Secretary of the 
Interior Order 3284, January 16, 2009). The Director will continue to 
manage Rose Atoll Refuge for the conservation and protection of the 
Refuge's unique and valuable fish and wildlife resources, consistent 
with protection of the Monument's resources identified in the 
    Through the Proclamation, the Secretary of Commerce's National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was assigned primary 
management responsibility for fishery-related activities in the 
Monument's marine areas located seaward of the mean low water line of 
Rose Atoll, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). The Secretary of Commerce was 
also directed in the Proclamation to initiate the process to add the 
marine area of Rose Atoll MNM to the Fagatele Bay National Marine 
Sanctuary in accordance with the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 
U.S.C. 1431 et seq.)
    When completed, the Refuge's CCP and NOAA's Fagatele Bay National 
Marine Sanctuary management plan and fishery regulations will be 
referenced in and will form the foundation of the Monument's management 
plan. Agencies with jurisdiction or special expertise, including the 
U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, and the 
Government of American Samoa, are to be treated as cooperating agencies 
during development of any Rose Atoll MNM management plans.

The CCP Planning Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, 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 for 
conserving wildlife and habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities compatible with each refuge's establishing 
purposes and the NWRS mission, 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 Administration Act.
    Each unit of the NWRS is established for specific purposes. We use 
a refuge's purposes to develop and prioritize its management goals and 
objectives within the NWRS mission, and to determine a refuge's 
compatible public uses. The CCP planning process provides opportunities 
for the public to participate in evaluating our management goals and 
objectives for conserving important wildlife habitat, and providing 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities.
    Throughout our CCP planning process, we provide participation 
opportunities for the public and other agencies and organizations, 
including agencies of the American Samoa government. At this time, we 
encourage input in the form of issues, concerns,

[[Page 57702]]

ideas, and suggestions for the future management of Rose Atoll Refuge.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA Regulations 
(40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other Federal laws and regulations; and our 
policies and procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations.
    We request your input regarding issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions important to you and the future management of the Rose 
Atoll Refuge. Opportunities for additional public input will be 
announced throughout the planning process.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. We have briefly summarized the issues 
below. During public scoping, we may identify additional issues.
     Protect and restore terrestrial habitat for Pisonia 
forest, sea turtle nesting, seabird nesting, and shorebirds.
     Protect and restore marine habitat for coral reefs, giant 
clams, marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and fish.
     Analyze options for issuing permits.
     Identify potential, compatible scientific exploration and 
research opportunities.
     Identify potential locations and stipulations for fishing 
(recreational and traditional indigenous subsistence).
     Identify threats to the islands and reefs (unauthorized 
access, illegal fishing, marine debris, shipwrecks, and invasive 
     Provide wildlife observation and photography and 
environmental education opportunities.
     Identify the Refuge's relationship with Fagatele Bay 
National Marine Sanctuary and opportunities for cooperative activities.
     Develop monitoring and enforcement programs.
     Protect cultural resources.

Public Meetings

    We will hold public open house meetings to provide more information 
about the CCP process and obtain public comments. Public open house 
meetings will be held in the Manu'a Islands during November 2009, 
meeting details will be advertised locally. A public open house meeting 
is scheduled for November 19, 2009, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the 
Convention Center in Utulei, Tutuila, American Samoa.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, 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 
comments to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Dated: November 2, 2009.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E9-26929 Filed 11-6-09; 8:45 am]