[Federal Register: July 12, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 133)]
[Page 39337-39338]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: Final comprehensive conservation plan 
and finding of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and 
Finding of No Significant Impact for the Shawangunk Grasslands National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Prepared in conformance with the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the plan describes how we 
intend to manage that refuge over the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of this CCP on compact disk or in 
print by writing to Wallkill River NWR, 1547 County Route 565, Sussex, 
New Jersey, 07461, or by calling 973-702-7266. You

[[Page 39338]]

can also access and download a copy from the Web site http://library.fws.gov/ccps.htm

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward Henry, Refuge Manager, Wallkill 
River NWR, at 973-702-7266, or by e-mail at Edward_Henry@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 requires CCPs for all refuges to provide refuge 
managers with 15-year strategies for achieving refuge purposes and 
furthering the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. 
Developing CCPs is done according to the sound principles of fish and 
wildlife science and laws, while adhering to Service planning and 
related policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction 
on conserving refuge wildlife and habitat, 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 this CCP at least once every 15 years.
    The 566-acre refuge lies in the Town of Shawangunk, Ulster County, 
New York. Its purpose is ``carrying out the national migratory bird 
management program'' (16 U.S.C. 667b). State and regional conservation 
plans identify its regional importance for breeding and migrating 
grassland birds and wintering raptors. In 1999, we accepted a transfer 
of land from the United States Military Academy at West Point through 
the General Services Administration. That transfer occurred under the 
legislative authority of the Transfer of Certain Real Property for 
Wildlife Conservation Purposes Act (16 U.S.C. 667b) and the Federal 
Property and Administrative Services Act (40 U.S.C. 471 et seq.; 
repealed by Public Law 107-217, August 21, 2002). Since then, we have 
not added any land to the refuge.
    In December 2005, we distributed a draft CCP/EA for public review 
and comment for 57 days between December 5, 2005, and January 31, 2006. 
Its distribution was announced in the Federal Register on December 5, 
2005 (70 FR 72463). That draft analyzed three alternatives for managing 
the refuge. We also held one public meeting on January 17, 2006, to 
obtain public comments. We received 590 responses. Appendix I of the 
final CCP includes a summary of those comments and our responses to 
    We selected Alternative B (the Service-preferred alternative) from 
the draft CCP/EA as the alternative for implementation. Our final CCP 
fully describes its details. Staff from the Wallkill River NWR 
headquarters office in Sussex, New Jersey, will continue to administer 
the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR. A small, seasonally staffed visitor 
contact facility and an improved parking area and kiosk will increase 
opportunities for visitor outreach and improve the visibility of the 
Service. Other highlights of the final CCP include:
    (1) Managing 430 acres of grassland habitat using a diversity of 
tools and techniques with the objective to sustain high quality habitat 
for wintering raptors and nesting, foraging, and migrating grassland-
dependent birds;
    (2) Opening the refuge to fishing in the small pond;
    (3) Initiating an archery hunt for white-tailed deer in the fall;
    (4) Constructing an interpretive trail with observation platforms 
and photography blinds;
    (5) Reducing the scope of the original proposed restoration of the 
former military airport runways and taxiways to grassland to account 
for areas being used effectively by nesting grassland birds, and look 
for opportunities to recycle waste materials onsite or nearby;
    (6) Restoring the natural hydrology of the area, to the extent it 
does not impede grasslands management, and
    (7) Identifying a 3,486-acre Shawangunk Grasslands Focus Area, 
where the Service will participate in cooperative conservation 

    Dated: June 14, 2006.
Richard O. Bennett,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, 
[FR Doc. E6-10915 Filed 7-11-06; 8:45 am]