[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 19 (Friday, January 28, 2011)]
[Pages 5194-5196]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-1867]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N172; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Henry, Benton, Decatur, and 
Humphreys Counties, TN; 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 Tennessee 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: Mr. Troy 
Littrell, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, 3006 Dinkins Lane, Paris, 
Tennessee 38242. The CCP may also be accessed and downloaded from the 
Service's Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/, under ``Final 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Troy Littrell; telephone: 731/642-
2091; fax: 731/644-3351; e-mail: troy_littrell@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Tennessee NWR. We 
started this process through a notice in the Federal Register on April 
2, 2008 (73 FR 17994).
    On December 28, 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive 
Order No. 9670, establishing the Tennessee NWR. The following day, the 
Department of the Interior and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 
entered into an agreement that the lands would henceforth be reserved 
for use as a wildlife refuge. Tennessee NWR runs

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along 65 miles of the Tennessee River in Henry, Benton, Decatur, and 
Humphreys Counties, Tennessee. The refuge is comprised of three units: 
the Duck River Unit (26,738 acres), Big Sandy Unit (21,348 acres), and 
Busseltown Unit (3,272 acres), for a total of 51,358 acres.
    The establishing and acquisition authorities for Tennessee NWR 
include the Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715-715r) and 
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667). In addition, 
Public Land Order 4560 identified the purposes of the refuge to be ``to 
build, operate and maintain sub-impoundment structures; produce food 
crops or cover for wildlife; to regulate and restrict hunting, trapping 
and fishing and to otherwise manage said lands and impoundment areas 
for the protection and production of wildlife and fish populations'' 
(Public Land Order, 1962).
    The refuge provides valuable wintering habitat for migrating 
waterfowl. It provides habitat and protection for threatened and 
endangered species such as the gray bat, Indiana bat, least tern, 
piping plover, pink mucket pearlymussel, ring pink mussel, orangefoot 
pimpleback pearlymussel, and rough pigtoe and pigmy madtom mussels. The 
refuge also supports an abundance of wildlife, including over 650 
species of plants, 303 species of birds, and 280 species of mammals, 
fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for Tennessee NWR in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act (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 Tennessee NWR. The CCP will guide us in 
managing and administering Tennessee NWR for the next 15 years.
    The compatibility determinations for (1) Wildlife observation and 
photography, (2) environmental education and interpretation, (3) 
fishing, (4) hunting, (5) cooperative farming, (6) scientific research, 
(7) commercial fishing to remove rough fish from impounded waters, (8) 
horseback riding and horse-drawn conveyance, and (9) bicycling are also 
available within the CCP. The compatibility determination for marina 
concessions was removed from the CCP for further environmental analysis 
and public comment.


    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, 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 Federal Register notice on June 7, 2010 
(75 FR 32201). We received 43 comments on the Draft CCP/EA.

Selected Alternative

    The Draft CCP/EA identified and evaluated four alternatives for 
managing the refuge. After considering the comments we received, and 
based on the professional judgment of the planning team, we selected 
Alternative D for implementation.
    Under Alternative D, we will enhance both wildlife management and 
public use at Tennessee NWR. We will provide adequate habitats to meet 
the foraging needs of 121,000-182,000 ducks for 110 days and other 
habitats that are needed for loafing, roosting, molting, etc. Under 
this alternative, we will create and enhance existing habitat for 
secretive marshbirds, sufficient to support 15-25 nesting territories 
for king rail pairs. Within 10 years of CCP approval, we will provide 
at least 100 acres of foraging sites in multiple impoundments for both 
northbound and southbound shorebirds during migration. We will conduct 
population and habitat surveys to evaluate shorebird use and 
invertebrate densities within managed and unmanaged habitat. To benefit 
long-legged wading birds, we will continue to provide for both secure 
nesting sites and ample foraging habitat. We will develop and implement 
baseline inventories for non-game mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, 
and invertebrates. We will also consider providing 50-100 acres in 1-3 
tracts for the Henslow's sparrow and other grassland species on the Big 
Sandy Unit.
    Under Alternative D, we will intensify existing habitat management 
programs, practices, and actions. We will improve the moist-soil 
management program on about 1,600 acres by expanding the invasive 
exotic plant control program, water management capabilities, and the 
use of management techniques that set back plant succession. In 
cooperation with partners, we will reactivate the forest management 
program on the refuge for the benefit of priority forest interior 
migratory birds and resident game species. Alternative D will 
incorporate a comprehensive fire management program into forest 
    Over the life of the CCP, Alternative D will redirect management 
actions to sustain the acreage of unharvested cropland to meet foraging 
needs of waterfowl and habitat for other native species. It will also 
increase acreage of hard mast producing bottomland hardwood forest 
species. We will improve water management capabilities by subdividing 
existing impoundments, creating new impoundments, and increasing water 
supply (i.e., pumps, wells, and structures) for migratory birds.
    We will aim to increase wildlife observation/photography 
opportunities with the construction of new public use facilities, and 
within 2 years of CCP approval, will open a seasonal wildlife drive in 
the Duck River Bottoms. We will continue to provide environmental 
education services to the public, including limited visits to schools, 
environmental education workshops, and on-site and off-site 
environmental education programs, as well as work with partners to 
expand environmental education facilities and opportunities on and near 
the refuge. The existing interpretive program will be expanded.
    We will work to construct a combined headquarters and visitor 
center, incorporating ``green'' technology on the Big Sandy Unit. 
Within 15 years of CCP approval, we will build a visitor contact 
station at the Duck River Unit. We will expand the current staff by 
twelve, including a forester, a forestry technician, two engineering 
equipment operators, a tractor operator, two refuge rangers, a law 
enforcement officer, an assistant manager, two biological technicians, 
and an office assistant. We will strengthen our volunteer programs, 
friend's group, and partnerships by

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investing an increased portion of staff time into nurturing these 
promising relationships.

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: September 14, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2011-1867 Filed 1-27-11; 8:45 am]