[Federal Register: April 8, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 66)]
[Page 16002]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2009-N0041; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, Franklin and Gulf Counties, 

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, intend to prepare a 
comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and associated National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for St. Vincent 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 May 8, 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: 
Monica Harris, Natural Resource Planner, St. Vincent NWR, P.O. Box 447, 
Apalachicola, FL 32329.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Monica Harris, Natural Resource 
Planner; telephone: 910/378-6689; e-mail: monica_harris@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
St. Vincent NWR in Franklin and Gulf Counties, Florida. 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, 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 unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System 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 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 the 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 St. Vincent NWR.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an EA 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.
    St. Vincent NWR, which encompasses 12,490 acres, was established in 
1968 as a waterfowl sanctuary. The primary feature of the refuge is the 
4-mile-wide, 9-mile-long, 12,358-acre barrier island known as St. 
Vincent Island. In addition, the refuge includes a 46-acre island known 
as Pig Island in St. Joseph Bay, as well as an 86-acre mainland tract 
of land known as 14-mile site, south of County Road 30A. Management 
activities focus on managing and conserving the natural barrier island 
and associated native plant and animal communities. St. Vincent NWR 
provides habitat for numerous fresh and marine water species and 
thousands of birds, including wading and water birds (e.g., herons, 
egrets, and wood storks), as well as shorebirds (e.g., snowy plovers, 
American oystercatchers, and red knots). Many neotropical migratory 
songbirds breed on the refuge and use it during migration. Since 1990, 
the refuge has supported the recovery of the endangered red wolf by 
providing St. Vincent Island as a propagation site. Other species, 
including deer, squirrel, raccoon, alligator, snake, and sea turtle, 
can be found on the refuge.

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: March 12, 2009.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E9-7937 Filed 4-7-09; 8:45 am]