[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 65 (Tuesday, April 5, 2011)]
[Pages 18775-18777]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-7962]




Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2009-N265; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument; Monument 
Management Plan, Comprehensive Conservation Plans, and Environmental 

AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), intend to prepare the 
monument management plan (MMP) for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine 
National Monument (Monument), established by Presidential Proclamation 
8336. Additionally, the FWS also intends to prepare new or revised 
comprehensive conservation plans (CCPs) for the following national 
wildlife refuges (Refuges) contained therein: Baker Island, Howland 
Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, and 
Wake Atoll. When the draft MMP is complete, we will advertise its 
availability and again seek public comment. We furnish this notice to 
advise the public and other Federal agencies of our intentions, and to 
obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider 
during the planning process.
    An environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential effects 
of various management alternatives will also be prepared. The EA will 
provide resource managers with the information needed to determine if 
the potential effects may be significant and warrant preparation of an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or if the potential impacts lead 
to a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your comments by May 5, 

ADDRESSES: Additional information about the Monument and its seven 
Refuge units is available at http://www.fws.gov/pacificremoteislandsmarinemonument/ and http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/MNM/mnm_index.html. Please send your written comments or requests for more 
information by any of the following methods:
    E-mail: Pacific_Reefs@fws.gov.
    Fax: (808) 792-9586.
    U.S. Mail: Susan White, Project Leader, Pacific Reefs National 
Wildlife Refuge Complex, 300 Ala Moana Blvd. Room 5-231, Honolulu, HI 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan White, Project Leader, (808) 



Monument Establishment and Management Responsibilities

    On January 6, 2009, President George W. Bush issued Proclamation 
No. 8336 (Proclamation), establishing the Monument under the authority 
of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Monument incorporates approximately 
86,888 square miles within its boundaries, which extend 50 nautical 
miles (nmi) from the mean low water lines of Baker, Howland, and Jarvis 
Islands; Johnston, Palmyra, and Wake Atolls; and Kingman Reef. The 
Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of 
Commerce, has responsibility for management of the Monument, including 
out to 12 nmi from the mean low water lines of Baker, Howland, and 
Jarvis Islands; Johnston, Palmyra, and Wake Atolls; and Kingman Reef, 
pursuant to applicable legal authorities. The Secretary of Commerce, 
through NOAA, and in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, 
has primary responsibility for management of the Monument seaward from 
12 to 50 nmi with respect to fishery-related activities regulated 
pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), the Proclamation, 
and other applicable legal authorities.
    The Proclamation requires the Secretaries of the Interior and 
Commerce to prepare management plans within their respective 
authorities for the Monument, and promulgate implementing regulations 
that address specific actions necessary for the proper care and 
management of the Monument. With this notice, the Department of the 
Interior and Department of Commerce (Departments) are commencing 
development of the MMP. The Departments will work cooperatively under 
the Fish and Wildlife Service's lead in this process. The Commerce 
Department, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, is 
working with the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council pursuant to 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and 
Proclamation to develop a fisheries ecosystem plan amendment and 
related regulations. To the extent they relate to waters within the 
Monument, the plan amendment and implementing regulations will be one 
component of the MMP. The Departments intend to cooperate and 
coordinate in the development and timing of these planning and 
management processes.
    To carry out his responsibilities from the President under the 
Proclamation, on January 16, 2009, the Secretary of the Interior 
delegated his authority for Monument management to the FWS Director, 
and extended the boundaries of the Baker Island, Howland Island, and 
Jarvis Island Refuges from 3 nmi to 12 nmi from the mean low water 
lines of the emergent land. The Secretary also extended the Johnston 
Atoll Refuge boundary to 12 nmi from the mean low water line of the 
emergent land, and added the emergent and submerged lands and waters of 
Wake Island out to 12 nmi as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge 
System (NWRS). In accordance with the Proclamation, the Director will 
not commence management of emergent lands at Wake Island unless and 
until a use agreement between the Secretary of the Air Force and the 
Secretary of the Interior is terminated. The Secretary of Defense also 
continues to manage those portions of the emergent lands of Johnston 
Atoll under the administrative jurisdiction of the Defense Department 
until such administrative jurisdiction is terminated, at which time 
those emergent lands shall be administered as part of the Johnston 
Atoll Refuge.
    Within the boundaries of the Monument, the FWS also continues to 
administer pre-existing refuges at Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands; 
Johnston and Palmyra Atolls; and Kingman Reef, in accordance with the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration

[[Page 18776]]

Act of 1966 (Refuge System Administration Act) (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), 
as amended.

Refuges Overview and Previous Planning Efforts

    Howland Island, Baker Island, and Jarvis Island are unique places 
for climate change research and other research conducted at the 
equator. These areas have deep-water corals, coral reefs, corals in 
near-pristine condition, and predator-dominated marine ecosystems with 
a biomass of top predators that exceeds the Great Barrier Reef's. At 
the conclusion of a 3-year planning process, CCPs were completed for 
the Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Island Refuges on 
September 24, 2008 (73 FR 76678; December 17, 2008). For the current 
MMP/CCP planning process, we will focus on appropriate conservation and 
management regimes for the three Refuges, based on their inclusion in 
the Monument and their expanded boundaries. The existing CCPs for the 
three Refuges will be revised as needed.
    Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll have relatively undisturbed coral 
reefs, with the highest levels of coral diversity in the central 
Pacific Ocean. Kingman Reef has the greatest known fish biomass and 
proportion of apex predators of any coral reef ecosystem that has been 
scientifically studied in the world. We received public comments 
regarding management of the Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll Refuges 
during our CCP public scoping period held in June 2007. We will review 
those comments again as part of the current MMP/CCP planning and public 
involvement process.
    Johnston Atoll's coral reefs help connect the Hawaiian archipelago 
reef communities to others in the Pacific. They are the originating 
source for much of the larvae for the Hawaiian Islands' corals, 
invertebrates, and other reef fauna. The Atoll's reefs have the deepest 
reef-building corals on record. Wake Atoll encompasses possibly the 
oldest living coral atoll in the world, and has healthy and abundant 
coral and fish populations. No previous CCP planning occurred for the 
Johnston Atoll and Wake Atoll Refuges.

The MMP and CCP Planning Process

    The MMP's format will include elements similar to a NWRS CCP, and 
the planning process will be conducted in a manner similar to the CCP 
planning and public involvement process for those elements. The Refuge 
System Administration Act requires that a CCP be developed for each 
national wildlife refuge or planning unit. The purpose for developing a 
CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year direction for 
achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the 
NWRS, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, 
conservation, legal mandates, and applicable policies. In addition to 
outlining broad management direction for conserving wildlife and 
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 MMP and CCPs at least 
every 15 years consistent with the Refuge System Administration Act.
    Each unit of the NWRS was established for specific purposes. We use 
a refuge's purposes as the foundation for developing and prioritizing 
the management goals and objectives for each refuge within the mission 
of the NWRS, and to determine how the public can use each refuge. The 
CCP 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 
recreational opportunities that are compatible with each refuge's 
establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    We will conduct environmental reviews of various alternatives 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 
applicable policies and procedures for compliance with those laws and 
    The Fish and Wildlife Service, as lead agency for NEPA purposes, 
will also designate and involve as a cooperating agency the Department 
of Commerce, through NOAA, in accordance with NEPA and Executive Order 
13352 of August 26, 2004, titled Facilitation of Cooperative 

Public Involvement

    The FWS and NOAA will conduct the planning process in a manner that 
will provide participation opportunities for the public, Federal 
agencies, and other interested parties. At this time, we encourage 
input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the 
future management of the Monument and the Refuges. Opportunities for 
additional public input will be announced throughout the planning 
process. We may hold public meetings to help share information and 
obtain comments.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified the following preliminary issues, concerns, and 
opportunities that we may address in the MMP/CCPs. We may identify 
additional issues during public scoping.
     Climate change impacts and adaptation.
     Marine debris impacts and removal.
     Invasive species prevention and control.
     Other potential threats to the ecosystem (e.g., trespass; 
illegal fishing; and shipwrecks, groundings, and spills).
     Emergency response to natural and manmade disasters and 
natural resources damage assessments.
     Operational capabilities for effective ecosystem 
monitoring, surveillance, and enforcement.
     Habitat conservation and restoration.
     Biological and abiotic inventory and monitoring.
     Protected resources and their habitats, including coral 
reefs, marine clams, apex predators, marine mammals, sea turtles, 
seabirds, and fishes.
     Historic and cultural resources, including maritime 
     Public education and outreach.
     International programs and collaboration.
     Scientific exploration and research opportunities.
     Past and current use of military sites.
     Methods for protecting the physical, biological, and 
cultural resources for the long term, while providing high-quality 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities.
     Marine and terrestrial wildlife and habitat management.
     Visitor services management.
     Facilities maintenance.
     Develop an appropriate permitting regime for activities in 
the Monument, where necessary.
     Determine if bioprospecting is appropriate and compatible.

Next Steps

    The FWS and NOAA will be considering your comments during the 
development of the Draft MMP/CCPs/EA.

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

[[Page 18777]]

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.

Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
Margo Schultz-Haugen,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-7962 Filed 4-4-11; 8:45 am]