[Federal Register: October 31, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 209)]
[Page 62322]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Roanoke River National 
Wildlife Refuge in Bertie County, NC

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that the Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for 
Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge are available for distribution. 
The plan and environmental impact statement were prepared pursuant to 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and 
describe how the refuge will be managed over the next 15 years. The 
compatibility determinations for hunting, fishing, environmental 
education and interpretation, trapping of selected furbearers for 
management, forest management, and resource research studies are also 
available within the plan.

DATES: A Record of Decision may be signed on or after November 30, 

ADDRESSES: A copy of the plan and environmental impact statement is 
available by writing to Harvey Hill, Refuge Manager, 114 West Water 
Street, Windsor, North Carolina 27983; Telephone: 252/794-3808; Fax: 
252/794-3780; or by e-mail at harvey_hill@fws.gov. The plan and 
environmental impact statement may also be accessed and downloaded from 
the Service's Web site http://southeast.fws.gov/planning.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge, in 
northeastern North Carolina, consists of 20,978 acres, of which 13,824 
acres are bald cypress-water tupelo swamp and 7,154 acres are 
bottomland hardwood forest. The refuge supports a variety of wildlife 
species, including neotropical migratory songbirds, waterfowl, colonial 
nesting birds, deer, turkeys, and squirrels.
    The refuge hosts 20,000 visitors annually who participate in 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.
    Implementing the comprehensive conservation plan will enable the 
refuge to fulfill its critical role in the conservation and management 
of fish and wildlife resources in the Roanoke River Valley, and to 
provide quality environmental education and wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities for refuge visitors. The Service analyzed 
three alternatives for managing the refuge and selected Alternative 3 
to guide management direction over the next 15 years.
    Alternative 3 advances the refuge program considerably and outlines 
programs that will meet both the biological needs of refuge resources 
and needs of the public. The refuge will develop a habitat management 
plan and manage all habitats and selected easements large enough to 
warrant consideration. The staff will survey all wildlife on the 
refuge. The number of public use opportunities will increase. Pending 
the availability of funds, a shop and equipment storage facility will 
be constructed.
    Two changes were made to the final plan. One change related to the 
Service's role in addressing the managed-flow issue on the Roanoke 
River. The river has managed flows from both flood control dams and 
hydroelectric power generation. The Service has been involved in 
negotiations regarding the re-licensing agreement between Dominion 
Power Company and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Service 
is involved in discussions to study the impacts of the flood control 
projects under section 216 of the Flood Control Act. The Service's 
Ecological Services Field Office in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the 
lead office on the managed-flow issue. The South Atlantic Fisheries 
Coordination Office also participates in the negotiations and studies. 
The other change related to the waterfowl hunting season on the refuge. 
The refuge will now end its waterfowl hunting season on the same date 
the state waterfowl hunting season ends.
    Public comments were requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process. Public outreach has included open 
houses, public meetings, a biological review, planning update mailings, 
and Federal Register notices. Five previous notices were published in 
the Federal Register concerning the comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental impact statement (65 FR 66256, November 3, 2000; 66 FR 
23042, May 7, 2001; 67 FR 13793, March 26, 2002; 70 FR 16299, March 30, 
2005; 70 FR 32610, June 3, 2005). During the comment period on the 
draft plan, the Service received fifteen public responses. All 
substantive issues raised have been addressed either through changes 
incorporated into the final plan or through the responses to the public 
comments, which are included in Appendix XIII of the plan.

    Dated: September 8, 2005.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 05-21607 Filed 10-28-05; 8:45 am]