[Federal Register: March 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 51)]
[Page 12632-12633]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental 
Assessment for Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge

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

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Assessment 
(EA). It describes how we intend to manage Missisquoi 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 will be available for public review and comment 
for a 30-day period starting with the publication of this notice.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the draft CCP/EA on compact 
diskette 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 by electronic mail at 
northeastplanning@fws.gov, noting in the subject line ``Missisquoi 

National Wildlife Refuge.'' You may also view the draft on the Web at 
http://library.fws.gov/ccps.htm. 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/missisquoirefuge/

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, requires the Service to develop a CCP 
for each refuge. The purpose of developing a CCP is to provide refuge 
managers with

[[Page 12633]]

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 (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 two 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 
underway, and serves as the baseline for comparing Alternative B, our 
preferred alternative. It would maintain our present levels of approved 
refuge staffing and the biological and visitor programs now in place. 
The refuge would continue to pursue acquisition of the eight parcels 
composing 253 acres that remain within the original approved 
acquisition boundary of the refuge, and the occasional parcel that 
becomes available adjacent to the refuge.
    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 
Alternative A. Funding and staffing would need to increase to 
adequately support the program expansions we propose. Key strategies in 
this alternative include greater inventory, monitoring, and management 
of the Missisquoi River Delta wetlands to maintain their ecological 
integrity and diversity of plants and animals on the refuge; increased 
management of high-quality grasslands, shrublands, and other early 
successional habitats for a range of wildlife species of conservation 
concern; enhanced, expanded programs of outreach, and environmental 
education and interpretation; expanded wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography; greater inventory, protection, and interpretation of the 
rich cultural history of the Missisquoi River Delta and enhanced 
partnerships with the local Abenaki Tribe; a new $1.00 Refuge Activity 
Fee that will raise additional funds for trail maintenance, 
informational kiosks, educational programs, and other actions to 
benefit all visitors to the refuge; a critical new law enforcement 
position to enhance staff and visitor safety; other new critical 
positions, including a park ranger, maintenance worker, and biological 
technician. Alternative B also proposes that, within 1 year of CCP 
completion, upon Director's approval, we will conduct a study with our 
partners to determine if undeveloped lands within 5 miles of the refuge 
warrant additional Service protection to conserve Federal trust 
resources and aid in fulfilling the mission of the NWRS and the 
purposes of the refuge.
    A wilderness review of the refuge was completed in 1974. This 
review, based on refuge management needs and public input at the time, 
proposed that Shad Island be designated wilderness under the Wilderness 
Act of 1964. As part of the CCP process, we completed a wilderness 
review, evaluating all refuge land for its current wilderness 
potential. The review concluded no lands at the refuge are suitable for 
inclusion into the National Wilderness Preservation System, and we 
propose to withdraw Shad Island as a proposed wilderness to the U.S. 
    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. 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 2, 2006.
Marvin E. Moriarty,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, MA 01035-

     This document was received at the Office of the Federal 
Register on March 13, 2007.
[FR Doc. E7-4854 Filed 3-15-07; 8:45 am]