[Federal Register: August 17, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 159)]
[Page 47511-47512]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: draft comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Assessment 
(EA). It describes how we intend to manage Rachel Carson NWR during the 
next 15 years. We prepared this Draft CCP/EA in conformance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act, as amended.

DATES: The Draft CCP/EA is available for public review and comment. We 
must receive your comments on or before September 18, 2006. During the 
30-day comment period, we plan to host public meetings in the local 
area. We will post the details of each meeting at least 2 weeks in 
advance to our project mailing list in local papers, at the refuge, and 
at our Web site, http://www.fws.gov/northeast/rachelcarsonrefuge/.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the draft CCP/EA on compact disk or 
in print by writing to Carl Melberg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Northeast Regional Office, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, 
Massachusetts 01035-9589, or e-mailing northeastplanning@fws.gov. You 
may also view the draft on the Web at http://library.fws.gov/ccps.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carl Melberg, 413-253-8521.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), requires the 
Service to develop a CCP for each refuge. The purpose of developing a 
CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy for achieving 
refuge purposes and contributing to the mission of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), in conformance with the sound principles 
of fish and wildlife science, natural resources conservation, legal 
mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining broad 
management direction on conserving wildlife and habitats, CCPs identify 
wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, 
including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, and environmental interpretation and education. The 
Service will review and update each CCP at least once every 15 years, 
in accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act 
of 1997 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
4321-4370d) (NEPA).
    This Draft CCP/EA identifies goals, long-range objectives, and 
strategies for achieving the purposes for which this refuge was 
established. The document poses three management alternatives:
    Alternative A (Current Management): This alternative is the no 
action alternative required by NEPA. Alternative A defines our current 
management activities, including those planned, funded, or under way, 
and serves as the baseline against which to compare the other two 
action alternatives. It would maintain our present levels of approved 
refuge staffing and the biological and visitor programs now in place. 
Three new facilities are incorporated in this alternative to support 
current and approved management, staffing, and administrative 
obligations. The refuge would continue to acquire the 3,833 acres 
remaining within its current approved boundary.
    Alternative B (the Service-preferred alternative): This alternative 
represents the combination of actions that we believe will most 
effectively achieve the purposes and goals of the refuge and address 
the major issues. It builds on the programs identified under current 
management. Funding and staffing would need to increase to adequately 
support the program expansions we propose. We propose to expand the 
refuge by 5,558 acres beyond its current approved boundary of 9,126 
acres. We would add acreage to Brave Boat Harbor, Upper Wells, 
Spurwink, Biddeford, Mousam River, Little River, and Moody Divisions, 
and we would establish a new York River Division, encompassing the 
largest undeveloped salt marsh south of Portland. Alternative B also 
includes removing 101 parcels totaling 164 acres from the current 
approved boundary that are no longer suitable for Service acquisition. 
The refuge would continue to acquire the 3,833 acres remaining within 
its current approved boundary. This proposal increases the protection 
and management of migratory wildlife, endangered and threatened 
species, and other species of concern by protecting additional aquatic 
and upland habitat. It includes expanded management and additional 
public use opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation such as 
hunting and fishing, as well as wildlife observation, photography, and 
interpretation. A new administrative complex, including office space, 
maintenance facilities, and visitor contact station, will be built. 
This alternative includes combining the Moody, Lower Wells, Upper 
Wells, and Mousam River Divisions into one, the Wells Bay Division. 
This alternative will also increase the number and quality of wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities, and allow us to use Rachel Carson 
NWR's proximity to Portland and urban communities to better promote 
NWRS principles and improve public support for national wildlife 
    Alternative C is the same as alternative B, however, it proposes to 
expand the refuge by 11,397 acres beyond the current approved boundary. 
That 11,397-acre expansion includes the 5,558 acres in Alternative B. 
It would add acreage to Brave Boat Harbor, Upper Wells, Spurwink, 
Biddeford, and Moody Divisions, and would establish a new York River 
Division, encompassing the largest undeveloped salt marsh south of 
Portland. This alternative will also increase the number and quality of 
wildlife-dependent recreational

[[Page 47512]]

opportunities, especially hunting and fishing, further protect 
threatened and endangered species, and control invasive species.
    After the 30-day review and comment period ends, we will analyze, 
address, and consider all comments received and prepare a final CCP. 
Availability of the final CCP will be published in the Federal 
Register. The Director must approve the proposed refuge boundary 
expansion before the Regional Director considers approving the 
    All comments, including names and addresses, become part of the 
official public record. Requests for the public record of this plan 
will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the 
Council on Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations, and other Service 
and Departmental policies and procedures.

    Dated: August 11, 2006.
Marvin E. Moriarty,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, MA 01035-
[FR Doc. E6-13558 Filed 8-16-06; 8:45 am]