[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 53 (Friday, March 18, 2011)]
[Pages 14984-14985]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-6373]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2011-N006; BAC-4311-K9-S3]

Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Penobscot, Kennebec, 
and Waldo Counties, ME, and Carlton Pond Waterfowl Production Area, 
Waldo County, ME; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental 
assessment (EA) for Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and 
Carlton Pond Waterfowl Production Area (WPA). 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, please send your written comments by 
April 30, 2011. We will announce opportunities for public input in 
local news media throughout the CCP process.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
one of the following methods.
    E-mail: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Sunkhaze Meadows NWR 
CCP'' in the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attention: Lia McLaughlin, 413-253-8468.
    U.S. Mail: Lia McLaughlin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 
Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours at 9 Water Street, Rockland, ME 04841. Comments can also 
be dropped off at Milford Town Hall, 62 Davenport Street, Milford, ME 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Goettel, 207-594-0600 (phone); 
Beth_Goettel@fws.gov (e-mail).



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Sunkhaze Meadows NWR, located in Kennebec, Penobscot, and Waldo 
Counties, ME, and Carlton Pond WPA, located in Waldo County, ME. 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 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 on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
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 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 that will ensure the best possible approach to 
wildlife, plant, and habitat conservation, while providing for 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with 
each refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    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 Sunkhaze Meadows NWR and 
Carlton Pond WPA.
    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.

Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and Carlton Pond Waterfowl 
Production Area

    Sunkhaze Meadows NWR is comprised of three units: The Sunkhaze 
Meadows Unit, the Benton Unit, and the Sandy Stream Unit. The Sunkhaze 
Meadows Unit is the largest of the three, at 11,485 acres. It is 
located in the Town of Milford, Penobscot County, ME, approximately 14 
miles north of Bangor. The Benton Unit is a 334-acre former dairy farm 
in the Town of Benton in Kennebec County. The Sandy Stream Unit is a 
58-acre parcel in the Town of Unity in Waldo County.

[[Page 14985]]

    The refuge was established in 1988 to ensure the ecological 
integrity of the Sunkhaze Meadows peat bog and the continued 
availability of its wetland, stream, forest, and wildlife resources to 
the citizens of the United States. The purpose of acquisition, under 
the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 was ``for the 
development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of 
fish and wildlife resources'' and ``for the benefit of the United 
States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its activities and 
services.'' The Land and Water Conservation Fund was the source of 
funding for the purchase.
    The Sunkhaze Meadows Unit protects the second-largest peatland in 
Maine. Sunkhaze Stream bisects this unit along a northeast-to-southwest 
orientation and, with its six tributaries, creates a diversity of 
wetland communities. The bog and stream wetlands, along with the 
adjacent uplands and associated transition zones, provide important 
habitat for many wildlife species. The Benton Unit is comprised of 
grassland, young mixed softwood-hardwood forest, and small wetland 
habitats. A variety of landbird species of conservation concern are 
known to breed there, including American woodcock, red-winged 
blackbird, and bobolink. The Sandy Stream Unit is mainly comprised of 
upland shrub, abandoned fields, and floodplain forest. The tidewater 
mucket and yellow lampmussel, two mussel species listed as threatened 
by the State of Maine, have been observed at the Sandy Stream Division. 
Combined, the three units provide habitat for at least three plants, 
seven birds, two mollusks, and three invertebrates listed as endangered 
or threatened by the State of Maine.
    Carlton Pond WPA is a 1,055-acre artificial impoundment located in 
the town of Troy in Waldo County. The area was acquired by the Service 
in 1966 to protect the waterfowl and other wildlife associated with 
this area in central Maine. Carlton Pond WPA has historically provided 
good nesting habitat for waterfowl and other birds, and is one of the 
few areas in the State that provides nesting habitat for the black 
tern, which is State-listed as endangered. Many bird species that use 
Carlton Pond have been listed by the Partners-in-Flight organization as 
species that are declining. Slender blue flag iris, a plant species 
listed as threatened by the State of Maine, has also been observed at 
Carlton Pond.

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. We have briefly summarized these issues 
below. During public scoping, we may identify additional issues.
    (1) Ecoregional or ecosystem-wide issues, such as climate change, 
regional land conservation, and protection of water quality throughout 
the Penobscot River watershed;
    (2) Biological program issues, such as habitat and species 
management needs, protection, restoration, monitoring, inventories, and 
    (3) Public use program issues, such as the breadth and quality of 
programs, public access, user conflicts, and use impacts on natural 
    (4) Infrastructure and staffing issues, such as appropriateness of 
facilities, safety, accessibility, and additional staffing needs;
    (5) Community relations and outreach issues and opportunities, such 
as increasing local awareness of the refuge and NWRS;
    (6) Coordination and communication issues and opportunities with 
Federal, State, and Tribal Governments and with nongovernmental 
conservation partners; and
    (7) Potential for both wilderness and wild and scenic rivers 
designations on refuge lands.

Public Meetings

    We will give the public an opportunity to provide input at one or 
more public meetings. You can obtain the schedule from the planning 
team leader or refuge manager (see ADDRESSES). You may also send 
comments anytime during the planning process by mail, e-mail, or fax 
(see ADDRESSES). There will be additional opportunities to provide 
public input once we have prepared a draft CCP.

Public Availability of 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.

    Dated: February 16, 2011.
Salvatore M. Amato,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, MA 
[FR Doc. 2011-6373 Filed 3-17-11; 8:45 am]