[Federal Register: October 17, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 200)]
[Page 61063-61064]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 
Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan, and Draft Land Protection Plan 
for Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge Complex

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan (CCP), and Draft Land Protection Plan (LPP) are 
available for the Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge Complex. 
We prepared this CCP pursuant to 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 (NEPA); and we describe how the Service intends to manage 
this Refuge Complex over the next 15 years. This draft LPP was prepared 
pursuant to Service policy and the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, and would expand the approved acquisition boundary for the four 
refuges within the Complex.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before January 16, 2007.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the Draft EIS, CCP, and LPP is available on a 
compact disk (CD), and you may obtain a copy by writing: Doug St. 
Pierre, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
National Wildlife Refuge System, Southwest Region, Division of 
Planning, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103; or, Andy Loranger, 
Complex Manager, Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 
509 Washington Street, Anahuac, TX 77514. Written comments may be 
mailed to the above addresses or submitted via electronic mail to: 
doug_stpierre@fws.gov. You may also access and download copies of the 

draft document at the following website address: http://southwest.fws.gov/refuges/Plan/index.html


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife System Administration 
Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act 
of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee et seq.) requires a CCP. The purpose in 
developing CCPs 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 science, conservation, legal mandates, and Service 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, the 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 these CCPs at least every 15 years in accordance 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 (42 U.S.C 4321-
    Background: The Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex contains four refuges: Moody National Wildlife Refuge, Anahuac 
National Wildlife Refuge, McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, and Texas 
Point National Wildlife Refuge. The refuges are located along the Texas 

[[Page 61064]]

between Houston, Texas, and the Louisiana state line in Chambers, 
Jefferson, and Galveston Counties, Texas. All four refuges include the 
Migratory Bird Conservation Act as a primary authority and purpose.
    Moody NWR was established in 1961 and today consists of a 
conservation easement on approximately 3,516 acres of coastal marsh. 
Anahuac NWR was established in 1963 and contains 34,339 acres of 
coastal marsh and adjoining uplands in fee title ownership. McFaddin 
NWR was established in 1980 and is 58,861 acres of primarily coastal 
marsh in a mix of fee title and conservation easements. Texas Point NWR 
was established in 1979 and consists of 8,952 acres of coastal marsh in 
fee title ownership.
    The integrated EIS contains two sets of alternatives addressing two 
separate but related Federal Actions: (1) Refuge management 
alternatives for development of a CCP for the Complex, and (2) 
alternatives for expansion of the refuge acquisition boundaries.
    Five refuge management alternatives are proposed and evaluated for 
the Refuge Complex. The first management alternative is the ``No 
Action'' alternative, required by NEPA, which would continue the 
current refuge management activities. Current habitat management 
activities include (1) water management; (2) wetland, prairie, and 
woodlot restoration; (3) moist soil management units; (4) cooperative 
rice farming; (5) fire management; (6) controlled livestock grazing; 
and (7) exotic/invasive species management. The second management 
alternative emphasizes intensifying management of wetland habitats for 
waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and other wetland-dependent 
migratory birds. The third management alternative emphasizes native 
habitat restoration and addressing threats from coastal land loss, 
altered hydrology, exotic species, and contaminants. The fourth 
management alternative, the Service's preferred alternative, emphasizes 
an integrated management approach combining (1) expanded habitat 
management and restoration programs, (2) new research and wildlife 
population monitoring, and (3) increased efforts to address major 
threats to ecosystem health. The fifth management alternative 
emphasizes a passive management approach. All five of these refuge 
management alternatives make wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.
    Four refuge boundary expansion alternatives are proposed and 
evaluated. The first expansion alternative is the ``No Action'' 
alternative, required by NEPA, which would retain the current refuge 
acquisition boundaries. The second expansion alternative would expand 
the refuge boundary for Moody NWR by 5,050 acres; for Anahuac NWR by 
20,500 acres; for McFaddin NWR by 7,190 acres; and for Texas Point NWR 
by 850 acres. The total expansion of 33,590 acres continues the 
historic focus on land acquisition primarily in coastal marsh and 
adjacent agricultural uplands. The third expansion alternative, the 
Service's preferred alternative, would expand the refuge boundary for 
Moody NWR by 7,920 acres; for Anahuac NWR by 47,750 acres; for McFaddin 
NWR by 7,190 acres; and for Texas Point NWR by 1,400 acres. The total 
expansion of 64,260 acres includes all of the coastal marsh and 
adjacent agricultural uplands from the second expansion alternative 
plus two important areas of native coastal prairie. The fourth 
expansion alternative would expand the refuge boundary for Moody NWR by 
7,920 acres, for Anahuac NWR by 64,910, for McFaddin NWR by 29,890 
acres, and for Texas Point NWR by 1,400 acres. The total expansion of 
104,120 acres includes all of the lands in the third expansion 
alternative along with a large freshwater marsh north of the current 
McFaddin NWR and a near-coast bottomland hardwood area important to 
neotropical migratory birds. Lands acquired in the future would be 
managed according to the strategies contained in the Service's 
preferred management alternative.
    Public Meetings: The Service will hold at least two public meetings 
in Chambers and Jefferson Counties, Texas, 30 days after publication of 
this notice to present the draft document, answer questions, and 
receive formal public comments. Notice of the meetings will be posted 
in local newspapers and other media outlets and given through special 
mailings to individuals and organizations that have expressed interest 
in this planning effort.

    Editorial note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register October 11, 2006.

    Dated: April 3, 2006.
Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Acting, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,Albuquerque, 
New Mexico.
 [FR Doc. E6-17087 Filed 10-16-06; 8:45 am]