[Federal Register: March 30, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 60)]
[Page 16299-16300]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Roanoke River National 
Wildlife Refuge in Bertie County, North Carolina.


SUMMARY: This notice announces that a Draft Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Roanoke River National 
Wildlife Refuge are available for review and comment. The National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires the 
Service to develop a comprehensive conservation plan for each national 
wildlife refuge. The purpose in developing a comprehensive conservation 
plan is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy 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 Service 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, the plan identifies wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation.

DATES: Meetings will be held in early 2005 in Windsor and Halifax, 
North Carolina, to present the plan to the public. Mailings, newspaper 
articles, and posters will be the avenues to inform the public of the 
dates and times of the meetings. Individuals wishing to comment on the 
Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge should do so 
within 90 days following the date of this notice. Public comments were 
requested, considered, and incorporated throughout the planning process 
in numerous ways. Public outreach has included scoping meetings, a 
review of the biological program, an ecosystem planning team 
newsletter, and a Federal Register notice.

ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement should be addressed to Bob 
Glennon, Natural Resource Planner, Ecosystem Planning Office, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 1106 West Queen Street, Edenton, N.C. 27932; 
Telephone 252/482-2364; Fax 252/482-3885. Comments on the draft may be 
submitted to the above address or via electronic mail to: 
bob_glennon@fws.gov. Our practice is to make comments, including names and 

home addresses of respondents, available for public review during 
regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their home addresses from the record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service analyzed three alternatives for 
future management of the refuge and chose alternative 3 as the 
preferred alternative.
    Proposed goals for the refuge include:
     Protecting, maintaining, and enhancing healthy and viable 
populations of indigenous migratory birds, wildlife, fish, and plants 
including Federal and State threatened and endangered species;
     Restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the health and 
biodiversity of forested wetland habitats to ensure improved ecological 
     Providing the public with safe, quality wildlife-dependent 
recreational and educational opportunities that focus on the wildlife 
and habitats of the refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System; 
Continuing to participate in local efforts to achieve a sustainable 
level of economic activity; including nature-based tourism;
     Protecting refuge resources by limiting the averse impacts 
of human activities and development; and
     Acquiring and managing adequate funding, human resources, 
facilities, equipment, and infrastructure to accomplish the other 
refuge goals.
    Also available for review are draft compatibility determinations 
for recreational hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation.


    The proposed action is to adopt and implement a comprehensive 
conservation plan for the refuge that best achieves the refuge's 
purpose, vision, and goals; contributes to the National Wildlife Refuge 
System mission; addresses the significant issues and relevant mandates; 
and is consistent with principles of sound fish and wildlife 
management. The Service analyzed three alternatives for future 
management and chose Alternative 3 as the one to best achieve all of 
these elements. It advances the refuge program considerably and 
outlines programs that would meet the biological needs of refuge 
resources and the needs of the public.
    Alternative 1 was a proposal to maintain the status quo; i.e., no 
change from current management of the refuge. The staff would not 
actively manage habitat or the refuge. The staff would survey 
populations of neotropical migratory songbirds and forest health and 
regeneration in bottomland hardwood forests. The refuge would allow the 
six priority public use activities: Hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation. The staff would conduct environmental education and 
interpretation on a request basis only. The zone law enforcement 
officer would enforce regulations on the refuge and supervise the law 
enforcement officers on other nearby refuges.
    Alternative 2 proposes moderate program increases. The refuge would 
develop a habitat management plan and manage all habitats on the 
refuge. The staff would survey a wide range of wildlife on the refuge. 
The six priority public use activities would continue to be allowed 
with the refuge having the capacity to increase the number of 
opportunities. The staff would conduct regularly scheduled 
environmental education and interpretation programs. The Service would 
build a shop and equipment storage facility.
    Alternative 3 proposes substantial program increases. The refuge 
would develop a habitat management plan and manage all habitats on the 
refuge and selected easements large enough to warrant consideration. 
The staff would survey all wildlife on the refuge. The refuge would 
increase further the number of public use opportunities beyond the 
level proposed in Alternative 2. The Service would build a shop and 
equipment storage facility.

[[Page 16300]]

Actions Common to All Alternatives

    All three alternatives share the following concepts and techniques 
for achieving the goals of the refuge:
     Cooperating with State and Federal agencies, non-
government organizations, and Dominion Power Company to evaluate the 
effects of managed flows on the Roanoke River floodplain on the 
refuge's natural resources;
     Cooperating with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources 
Commission to administer a hunting program on the refuge;
     Cooperating with the Partnership for the Sounds and 
Roanoke River Partners to promote nature-based tourism;
     Monitoring populations of neotropical songbirds and the 
health of bottomland hardwood forest stands; and
     Encouraging scientific research on the refuge.

    Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge, in northeastern North 
Carolina, consists of 20,978 acres, of which 13,824 acres are 
baldcypress-water tupelo swamp and 7,154 acres are bottomland hardwood 
forests. These forests support a variety of wildlife species, including 
neotropical migratory songbirds, waterfowl, colonial nesting birds, 
deer, turkey, and squirrels.
    The refuge hosts 20,000 visitors annually who participate in 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: January 19, 2005.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 05-6255 Filed 3-29-05; 8:45 am]