[Federal Register: January 12, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 9)]
[Page 2924-2925]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex; Notice of 

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement 
Act of 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published 
a Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment 
for the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This plan 
describes how the Service intends to manage the five refuges in Rhode 
Island during the next 15 years. These refuges include: Block Island 
NWR, Ninigret NWR, John H. Chafee NWR, Sachuest Point NWR, and Trustom 
Pond NWR.

DATES: Formal public hearings will be held beginning at 7:00 p.m. on 
February 6 in Middletown, RI; February 7 in South Kingstown, RI; and, 
February 8 on Block Island. The hearings will provide an opportunity 
for all interested parties to formally present oral or written 
testimony on the draft document before a hearing officer and court 
reporter. Those wishing to do so will be able to sign up to speak when 
they enter the hearing room. The formal public hearings will be held 

February 6: Middletown High School Cafeteria, 130 Valley Road, 
Middletown, RI 02879
February 7: South Kingstown High School Cafeteria, 215 Columbia Street, 
Wakefield, RI 02879
February 8: Block Island School Library, High Street, New Shoreham, RI 

    Prior to each formal hearing, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., the Service 
will host an Open House to provide an opportunity for public comment on 
a separate Environmental Assessment for the proposed Rhode Island 
Refuge Visitor Center and Administrative Offices which is being 
released concurrently with the draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan.
    All other comments should be sent by either traditional or 
electronic mail, no later than March 2, 2001, to: The Rhode Island 
Refuges CCP Planning Team, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate 
Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035-9589, or FW5RW_CCP@fws.gov.

ADDRESSES: Additional information or copies of an executive summary of 
the plan or the complete document may be obtained by contacting Gary 

[[Page 2925]]

Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Shoreline Plaza Route 
1A, P.O. Box 307, Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813, telephone 401-364-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Environmental Assessment fully describes, evaluates, and compares 
four alternatives for managing the natural resources and public use 
opportunities on the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. One 
of the alternatives represents the Service's Proposed Action. The four 
alternatives are:

Alternative A

    This is the No Action Alternative required by the Council of 
Environmental Quality's regulations on the implementation of the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Selection of this alternative 
would not change our current management programs on any of the five 
refuges. Our land acquisition program would continue to be focused on 
the 735 acres remaining within the currently approved acquisition 
boundaries. We would continue to emphasize management for the federally 
threatened piping plover and restoration of early-successional coastal 
sandplain habitats and wetlands. Public use opportunities would not 
change appreciably.

Alternative B

    Alternative B is the Service's Proposed Action; that is, the 
alternative currently recommended for approval. Selection of this 
alternative would expand all Refuge boundaries, increasing our current 
land acquisition goal by 3,200 acres. Alternative B would increase 
protection and management for endangered, threatened, and other species 
of concern, increase restoration of early-successional native habitats 
and wetlands, and increase biological inventories and monitoring. 
Opportunities would increase for all six priority public uses, which 
include hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, 
environmental education and interpretation. Compatibility 
determinations for the proposed priority public use activities are 
included as an appendix to the document. These compatibility 
determinations establish which public uses support the achievement of 
refuge purposes or the National Wildlife Refuge System mission and 
would be allowed on refuge land.

Alternative C

    This alternative would also increase protection, management, 
restoration, monitoring and inventories of species and habitats similar 
to Alternative B. However, selection of this alternative would increase 
our current land acquisition goal by 11,500 acres. Refuge staff would 
take the lead in accomplishing interagency, watershed-based planning 
initiatives, respective recovery team tasks, and ecosystem team 
priorities. This alternative would eliminate existing incompatible, 
non-wildlife dependent uses by 2002, three years sooner than the other 
alternatives. Environmental education would be emphasized over other 
priority public uses on each refuge.

Alternative D

    This alternative would maintain current biological resource program 
priorities, which include protecting piping plover, and managing early-
successional native habitats and wetlands. Selection of this 
alternative would pursue the current land acquisition goal of 735 
acres, similar to Alternative A. This alternative is distinguished from 
the others by the amount of resources directed towards expanding all 
priority public use opportunities on each refuge.

    Dated: January 8, 2001.
Dr. Mamie A. Parker,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, 
[FR Doc. 01-1021 Filed 1-11-01; 8:45 am]