[Federal Register: November 10, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 217)]
[Page 69123-69124]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N176; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Charleston County, SC; 
Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant 
Impact for Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the environmental 
assessment for Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In the final 
CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Raye Nilius, 
Refuge Manager, Cape Romain NWR, 5801 Highway 17 North, Awendaw, SC 
29429. The CCP may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's 
Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/ under ``Final Documents.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Raye Nilius; telephone: 843/928-3264.



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Cape Romain NWR. 
We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register on 
January 3, 2007 (72 FR 141).
    Established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, Cape Romain NWR 
encompasses a 22-mile segment of the southeast Atlantic coast. The 
refuge contains 66,267 acres and consists of barrier islands, salt 
marshes, intricate coastal waterways, sandy beaches, fresh and brackish 
water impoundments, and maritime forests. Points of interest include 
Bulls Island, Cape Island, and Lighthouse Island. Two lighthouses, 
though no longer operational, still stand on Lighthouse Island. The 
refuge's original objectives were to conserve in public ownership 
habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and resident species. In recent 
years, objectives have expanded to include managing endangered species, 
protecting the 28,000-acre Class 1 Wilderness Area, and conserving the 
Bulls Island and Cape Island forests and associated diverse plant 
communities. Currently, the refuge is actively working to aid in the 
recovery of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle. Recognizing the high 
migratory bird benefits and recreational opportunities served by the 
lands and waters of the refuge, Cape Romain NWR was established under 
the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Fish and Wildlife Act, and the 
Refuge Recreation Act, thus outlining the following primary purposes of 
these lands and waters:
     ``For use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other 
management purpose, for migratory birds'' (16 U.S.C. 715d; Migratory 
Bird Conservation Act);
     ``to conserve and protect migratory birds * * * and other 
species of wildlife that are listed * * * as endangered species or 
threatened species and to restore or develop adequate wildlife 
habitat'' (16 U.S.C. 715i; Migratory Bird Conservation Act);
     ``for the development, advancement, management, 
conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources'' (16 
U.S.C. 742f(a)(4)) ``for the benefit of the United States Fish and

[[Page 69124]]

Wildlife Service, in performing its activities and services. Such 
acceptance may be subject to the terms of any restrictive or 
affirmative covenant, or condition of servitude'' (16 U.S.C. 
742f(b)(1); Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956);
     ``suitable for (1) incidental fish and wildlife-oriented 
recreational development, (2) the protection of natural resources, and 
(3) the conservation of endangered species or threatened species'' (16 
U.S.C. 406k-2 and 16 U.S.C. 406k-4; Refuge Recreation Act, as amended);
     ``so as to provide protection of these areas * * * and to 
ensure * * * the preservation of their wilderness character'' 
(Wilderness Act of 1964; Pub. L. 88-577)
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for Cape Romain NWR in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) 
requirements. We completed a thorough analysis of impacts on the human 
environment, which we included in the Draft Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Cape Romain NWR. 
The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Cape Romain NWR for 
the next 15 years.
    The compatibility determinations for hunting, beach use, 
environmental education and interpretation, surf fishing, wildlife 
observation and photography, and bicycling are available in the CCP.


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 6668dd-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 in 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, 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 Administration 


    We made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public 
review and comment period via a Federal Register notice on April 30, 
2010 (75 FR 22838). We received 16 comments on the Draft CCP/EA.

Selected Alternative

    The Draft CCP/EA identified and evaluated three alternatives for 
managing the refuge. After considering the comments we received, and 
based on the professional judgment of the planning team, we selected 
Alternative C for implementation.
    Under Alternative C, greater effort will be placed on increasing 
overall wildlife and habitat quality. Although management of sea 
turtles, waterfowl, threatened and endangered species, and migratory 
birds will remain a focus of the refuge, wetland habitat manipulations 
will also consider the needs of multiple species, such as marsh and 
wading birds. Maritime forests and fields for neotropical migratory 
birds will be more actively managed. Landscape-level consideration of 
habitats will include identifying areas of importance that will become 
critical to wildlife as sea level rises and reduces habitat currently 
available. Multiple species consideration will include species and 
habitats identified by the South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative and 
the State's Strategic Conservation Plan.
    This alternative will provide additional monitoring and surveying 
of migratory neotropical and breeding songbirds, secretive marsh birds, 
and plants. Monitoring efforts will be increased with the assistance of 
additional staff, trained volunteers, and academic researchers.
    Wildlife-dependent recreational uses of the refuge will continue. 
Hunting and fishing will continue to be allowed; however, hunting will 
be managed with a greater focus on achieving biological needs of the 
refuge, such as deer population management. Environmental education and 
interpretation will continue, with additional education and outreach 
efforts aimed at the importance of climate change, sea level rise, and 
wilderness. A significantly greater effort will be made with outreach 
to nearby developing urban communities and a growing human population. 
Existing environmental education programs, such as the Earth Stewards 
Program conducted in concert with the SEWEE Association, the refuge 
friends group, will be expanded to include additional elementary 
schools, students, and teachers.
    The refuge staff will be increased with the addition of a wildlife 
refuge specialist and two biologists to carry out habitat management 
and monitoring needs. An additional park ranger will be hired to 
enhance visitor services and environmental education programs. Greater 
emphasis will be placed on recruiting and training volunteers, and 
worker/camper opportunities will be expanded to accomplish maintenance 
programs and other refuge goals and objectives. The biological programs 
will actively seek funding and researchers to study primarily 
management-oriented needs.
    Greater emphasis will be placed on developing and maintaining 
active partnerships, including seeking grants to assist the refuge in 
reaching primary objectives.


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

    Dated: September 14, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2010-28340 Filed 11-9-10; 8:45 am]