[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 7 (Wednesday, January 11, 2012)]
[Pages 1716-1717]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-376]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2011-N219; BAC-4311-K9-S3]

James River National Wildlife Refuge, Prince George County, VA

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 James River National Wildlife Refuge (the refuge, 
NWR), which is located in Prince George County, Virginia. 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 refuge.

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/jamesriver/ccphome.html.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    Email: fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov. Include ``James River CCP'' in the 
subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Meghan Carfioli, (804) 829-9606.
    U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Eastern Virginia Rivers 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex--Charles City Sub-Office, 11116 
Kimages Road, Charles City, VA 23030.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours at the address above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Meghan Carfioli, Planning Team Leader, 
(804) 829-5413 (phone) or Andy Hofmann, Project Leader, Eastern 
Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex, (804) 333-1470 
(phone), fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov (email).



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
James River NWR, in Prince George County, Virginia. 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 refuge.


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 to the mission of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), consistent with sound principles of fish 
and wildlife 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 
    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 recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with each refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Federal, 
Tribal, State, and local governments, organizations, and the public. 
Throughout the process, we will have formal comment periods and hold 
public meetings to gather comments, issues, concerns, and suggestions 
for the future management of James River NWR. You may also send 

[[Page 1717]]

during the planning process by mail, email, or fax (see ADDRESSES).
    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.

James River National Wildlife Refuge

    James River NWR is one of four refuges that comprise the Eastern 
Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex. James River NWR lies 
in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and is located along the James River in 
Prince George County, Virginia, approximately 8 miles southeast of the 
City of Hopewell and 30 miles southeast of the City of Richmond.
    The refuge was established in 1991 to protect nationally 
significant nesting and roosting habitat for the bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus). The 4,325-acre refuge consists of riparian, wetland, 
and forested habitats, including loblolly pine plantations. These 
habitats support a variety of songbirds, raptors, rare plants, and 
other species of conservation concern. The federally threatened plant, 
sensitive joint-vetch (Aeschynomene virginica), occurs in wetlands on 
the refuge. The refuge also has a rich cultural history, illustrated by 
the numerous archaeological and historical sites on the refuge.
    James River NWR also provides opportunities for the public to 
engage in wildlife-dependent recreation. Popular activities on the 
refuge include wildlife observation, nature photography, and onsite 
environmental education and interpretive programs. The refuge also 
offers an annual white-tailed deer hunt. Public access to the refuge is 
by permit to limit disturbance to bald eagles, as well as to minimize 
risks to public safety while habitat management activities (e.g., 
prescribed burning, timber management) are underway.

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 
     Opportunities to restore the native southern pine 
ecosystem and maintain a healthy riparian corridor along the James 
River and its tributaries;
     The potential to manage suitable habitat for red-cockaded 
woodpeckers (Picoides borealis), a federally listed species not 
currently known on the refuge but known to occur in an adjacent county;
     The protection of bald eagles and management of their 
nesting and roosting habitat;
     The protection of sensitive joint-vetch, a federally 
threatened wetland plant;
     The protection of cultural resources, including historical 
and archaeological sites;
     The amount and distribution of compatible public uses to 
     The potential for climate change to impact refuge 
     The potential for boundary expansion, including land 
acquisition and conservation easements;
     Opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations 
for interpretation and education programming.
    We expect that members of the public, our conservation partners, 
and Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments may identify 
additional issues during public scoping.

Public Meetings

    During the planning process, we will hold meetings for the public 
to provide comments, issues, concerns, 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/jamesriver/ccphome.html.
    You can also obtain the schedule from the planning team leader or 

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: December 5, 2011.
Salvatore M. Amato,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2012-376 Filed 1-10-12; 8:45 am]