[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 158 (Thursday, August 15, 2013)]
[Pages 49762-49763]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19808]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2013-N059; FXRS12650400000S3-123-FF04R02000]

Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge, PR; Final Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for the 
Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the final comprehensive conservation plan and finding 
of no significant impact for the environmental assessment (Final CCP/
FONSI) for Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the municipality 
of Mayag[uuml]ez, Puerto Rico. In the Final CCP/EA, we describe how we 
will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the Final CCP/FONSI by writing to: 
Ms. Susan Silander, via U.S. mail at P.O. Box 510, Boquer[oacute]n, PR 
00622. Alternatively, you may download the document from our Internet 
Site at http://southeast.fws.gov/planning under ``Final Documents.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Susan Silander at 787/851-7258 



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Desecheo NWR. We 
started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on 
December 19, 2008 (73 FR 77828). For more about the refuge and planning 
process, please see that notice.
    Desecheo NWR is a 360-acre island located in the Mona Passage, 
approximately 12 miles west of Rinc[oacute]n, Puerto Rico.


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, 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 Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Environmental Assessment (Draft CCP/EA) available for a 30-day public 
review and comment period via a Federal Register notice on July 11, 
2012 (77 FR 40893). We provided copies of the Draft CCP/EA to a number 
of individuals, non-governmental organizations, and government 
agencies. Several comments were received, mostly dealing with the 
safety of the refuge regarding the removal of unexploded ordnance.

CCP Alternatives, Including Our Preferred Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge 
(Alternatives A, B, and C), with Alternative C selected for 
    Over the 15-year life of the CCP, we will provide the conditions 
for reestablishment of nesting seabird colonies. Routine monitoring and 
life-history studies of terrestrial reptiles will be conducted and 
habitat improvements will be made. We will continue periodic surveys of 
turtles and implement seasonal surveys of migratory landbirds. We will 
pursue opportunities for propagation, reintroduction, and removal of 
threats to the Higo Chumbo cactus.
    We will increase monitoring and, if necessary, efforts to remove 
invasive species. The number of vegetation plots and frequency of 
monitoring will be increased to improve restoration efforts. Over the 
15-year life of the CCP, we will complete the removal of all invasive 
animal species. We will also develop and implement a plan for 
monitoring and mitigating the effects of climate change on the refuge.
    Under our preferred action, the levels of surveillance and 
enforcement with partners will be increased, and we will also provide 
additional equipment to improve enforcement capabilities on the refuge.
    We will increase off-site environmental education and outreach to 
mainland communities and schools, and we will increase the availability 
of interpretive materials, such as brochures and fact sheets. Subject 
to safety concerns being met, we will increase on-site interpretation 
through signage and brochures and provide limited opportunities for 
refuge-guided wildlife observation and photography. We will continue to 
respond to special requests for non-wildlife-dependent uses that are 
appropriate and compatible.
    We will continue to work with cooperating agencies and partners to 
increase safety on the refuge through the

[[Page 49763]]

removal of unexploded ordnance. Safety will be ensured by only 
permitting controlled, refuge-guided activities in cleared areas. We 
will acquire an open-water boat capable of reaching the island to 
provide for extended visits.
    This alternative will add a half-time public use or park ranger 
position and a half-time manager position to be shared with the 
Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex.


    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et 

    Dated: April 25, 2013.
Mike Oetker,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-19808 Filed 8-14-13; 8:45 am]