[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 21 (Wednesday, February 1, 2012)]
[Pages 5044-5045]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2142]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2011-N220; BAC-4311-K9-S3]

Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge, Barnstable County, MA

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 (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental 
assessment (EA) for Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge (the refuge, NWR), 
Barnstable County, Massachusetts. We provide this notice in compliance 
with our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, 
and the public of our intention to conduct detailed planning on this 

DATES: We will announce opportunities for public input throughout the 
CCP process in the Federal Register, local news media, and on our 
refuge planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Eastern%20Mass%203/ccphome.html.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    Email: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Mashpee CCP'' in the 
subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Carl Melberg, (978) 443-2898.
    U.S. Mail: Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 73 Weir Hill Road Sudbury, MA 01776.

[[Page 5045]]

    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours at address above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carl Melberg, Planning Team Leader, 
(978) 443-4661 extension 32 (phone) or Libby Herland, Project Leader, 
978-443-4661 extension 11 (phone), fw5rw_emnrw@fws.gov (email).



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Mashpee NWR, in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. This notice complies 
with our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, 
and the public of our intention to conduct detailed planning on this 


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, 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 
recreational 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. 
Throughout the process, we will have formal comment periods and hold 
public meetings to gather comments, issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions for the future management of Mashpee NWR. You may also send 
comments anytime during the planning process by mail, email, or fax 
    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 (NEPA), as amended (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.
Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge
    Mashpee NWR is one of eight refuges that comprise the Eastern 
Massachusetts NWR Complex. Mashpee NWR is located in the towns of 
Mashpee and Falmouth, Massachusetts. It was established in 1995 for the 
development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of 
fish and wildlife resources. The refuge is cooperatively managed 
through a unique partnership among Federal and State agencies, a Tribe, 
municipalities, and private conservation groups. The approved refuge 
boundary totals 5,871 acres. The refuge includes fee or easement 
interest on 342 acres within that boundary. Refuge habitats include 
salt marsh, cranberry bog, Atlantic white cedar swamp, freshwater 
marsh, and vernal pool habitat. These habitats support a variety of 
migratory waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, and other native 

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified several preliminary issues, concerns, and 
opportunities that we intend to address in the CCP. These include the 
     The refuge's public use program;
     The refuge's prescribed burning program;
     The possibility for additional land protection;
     The possibility of expanding partnership opportunities to 
cooperatively manage the refuge;
     The opportunity to provide and manage New England 
cottontail habitat;
     The impact of climate change on refuge resources;
     The potential to improve community relations and increase 
     The opportunity to increase local awareness of the refuge 
and the NWRS; and
     The potential to improve coordination and communication 
with other Federal and State agencies, and Tribal Governments.
    We expect that during public scoping, members of the public, our 
conservation partners, and Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies 
may identify additional issues.

Public Meetings

    During the planning process, we will hold public meetings for the 
public to provide comments, issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions 
about refuge management. When we schedule formal comment periods and 
public meeting(s), we will announce them in the Federal Register, local 
news media, and on our refuge planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Eastern%20Mass%203/ccphome.html. You can also obtain 
the schedule from the planning team leader or project leader (see 

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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: January 4, 2012.
Paul R. Phifer,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Hadley, Massachusetts.
[FR Doc. 2012-2142 Filed 1-31-12; 8:45 am]