[Federal Register: May 10, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 90)]
[Page 26641-26642]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No 
Significant Impact for Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Marin 
County, CA

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

[[Page 26642]]

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) Final Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) 
are available for distribution. The CCP, prepared pursuant to the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act as amended, and in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
describes how the Service will manage the Refuge for the next 15 years. 
The compatibility determinations for Research and Monitoring; Wildlife 
Observation and Photography; Environmental Education and Interpretive 
Staff-led Tours; and Sport Fishing are also included in the CCP.

DATES: The Final CCP and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) are 
available now. The FONSI was signed on September 26, 2006. 
Implementation of the CCP may begin immediately.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final CCP and FONSI may be obtained by writing 
to the San Francisco Bay NWR Complex, Attn: Winnie Chan, 9500 Thornton 
Avenue, Newark, California, 94560, or via e-mail at sfbaynwrc@fws.gov.
    Hard copies of the CCP/EA are also available at the following 

San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 1 Marshlands Road, 
Newark, CA 94536
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 7715 Lakeville Highway, 
Petaluma, CA 94954
Marin County Civic Center Library, 3501 Civic Center Drive 
427, San Rafael, CA 94903
San Rafael Public Library, 1100 E Street, San Rafael, CA 94901

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christy Smith, Refuge Manager, (707) 
769-4200, or Winnie Chan, Refuge Planner, (510) 792-0222.

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 the Service to develop 
a CCP for each National Wildlife Refuge. A CCP is also prepared in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
U.S.C. 4321-4370d). The purpose in developing a CCP 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 CCP identifies wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. 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 
review and update these CCPs at least every 15 years. Revisions to the 
CCP will be prepared in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969.


    The Refuge is located off the shoreline of the City of San Rafael, 
Marin County, in San Pablo Bay. The 339-acre Refuge of tidelands and 2 
islands was established in 1992 ``for the development, advancement, 
management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife 
resources, and for the benefit of the United States Fish and Wildlife 
Service, in performing its activities and services.'' The various 
parcels of land within the Refuge are under the ownership of the 
California Department of Fish and Game, California State Lands 
Commission, or the Fish and Wildlife Service. The California Department 
of Fish and Game owned lands are designated as a State Ecological 
Reserve. These lands and the Service-owned lands are designated and 
administered as the Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The Service 
provides day-to-day management of the entire Marin Islands Refuge and 
State Ecological Reserve under the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act, as amended, and pursuant to a memorandum of 
understanding with other landowning agencies. The Refuge ``protects an 
important egret and heron colony on West Marin Island and seeks to 
increase colonial nesting bird use on East Marin Islands,'' as 
described in a 1992 Environmental Assessment Proposing the Marin 
Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
    The Draft CCP and Environmental Assessment (EA) was available for a 
30-day public review and comment period, which was announced via 
several methods, including press releases, updates to constituents, and 
a Federal Register notice on July 21, 2006 (71 FR 41463). The Draft 
CCP/EA identified and evaluated three alternatives for managing the 
Refuge for the next 15 years. Alternative A was the no-action 
alternative, which described current Refuge management activities. 
Under Alternative B, management would have focused on expanding habitat 
restoration and continued to prohibit public access. Under Alternative 
C (the preferred plan), the Refuge would expand habitat restoration, 
provide public use on the Refuge, and conduct environmental education 
off the Refuge.
    The Service received 2 comment letters on the Draft CCP and EA 
during the comment period. The comments received were incorporated into 
the CCP, when possible, and are responded to in an appendix to the CCP. 
In the FONSI, Alternative C was selected for implementation and is the 
basis for the Final CCP. The FONSI documents the decision of the 
Service and is based on the information and analysis contained in the 
    Under the selected alternative, the Service will restore 75 percent 
of East Marin Island to coastal scrub and oak woodland plant 
communities to enhance nesting habitat for herons, egrets and other 
migratory birds. The Service will continue to maintain 95 percent of 
the existing native coastal scrub and oak woodland plant communities on 
West Marin Island, which support heron and egret colonies. Other 
habitat management activities include developing a needs assessment for 
management of sub-tidal areas of the Refuge. The Service will also 
study the effects of raven predation on the heron and egret population 
on the Refuge. While the Refuge's islands will continue to be closed to 
the public, some public use and environmental education would be 
provided. Guided tours would be established on East Marin Island to 
provide wildlife observation, environmental education, and cultural 
resource interpretation opportunities. Fishing will continue to be 
permitted in the Refuge's waters. Off-refuge environmental education 
opportunities include school and community presentations. Cultural 
resources on the Refuge will be assessed and preserved according to 
regulatory requirements. Full implementation of the selected plan will 
be subject to available funding and staffing.
    The selected alternative best meets the purposes of the Refuge, the 
Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and 
the goals of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Toni M. Deery,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. E7-8948 Filed 5-9-07; 8:45 am]