[Federal Register: December 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 243)]
[Page 76678-76679]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-NWRS-2008-N0310; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Island National Wildlife 
Refuges, U.S. Territories

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the final comprehensive conservation 
plans and findings of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) have 
completed Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCPs) and Findings of No 
Significant Impact (FONSIs) for the Baker Island, Howland Island, and 
Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges). The CCPs were 
developed to provide a foundation for the management and use of these 
Refuges. We are furnishing this notice to advise other agencies and the 
public of the availability of the CCPs and FONSIs, and the decision to 
implement Alternative B as described in each CCP. The Service's 
Regional Director for the Pacific Region selected Alternative B for 
managing these Refuges for the next 15 years. The Refuges are U.S. 
Territories in the central Pacific Ocean, located between 1,300 and 
1,600 miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawai'i.

DATES: The CCPs and FONSIs are now available. Implementation of the 
CCPs may begin immediately.

ADDRESSES: Printed copies of the CCPs and FONSIs are available for 
viewing or may be obtained by visiting or writing the Pacific Remote 
Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 5-
211, Honolulu, HI 96850. These documents are also available for viewing 
and downloading on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Donald Palawski, Refuge Manager, Pacific 
Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, phone number (808) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis 
Island Refuges are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System 
administered by the Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966 (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 
668dd-668ee), requires all units of the National Wildlife Refuge System 
to be managed in accordance with an approved CCP. A CCP provides 
management direction and identifies refuge goals, objectives, and 
strategies for achieving refuge purposes. The CCPs and FONSIs for the 
Refuges were prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA), as amended, and its implementing regulations, the Refuge 
Administration Act, and Service policies.
    The Refuges and surrounding marine waters are unincorporated 
territories under the sovereignty of the United States. The Refuges 
straddle the equator in the Central Pacific subregion of the Polynesian 
Region of the Pacific Basin. This subregion, the largest of the four in 
the Polynesian Region, is the most remote part of the tropical Pacific 
and includes only low-lying reef islands, atolls and submerged reefs. 
The dominant wildlife species on these islands includes breeding 
seabirds and migrant shorebirds. In the waters surrounding the Refuges 
there are extremely pristine and unique coral reef and deep water 
ecosystems that exist nowhere else in the United States.

[[Page 76679]]

    During the CCP planning process for these Refuges many elements 
were considered, including wildlife management and habitat protection, 
off-Refuge wildlife-dependent educational opportunities, and 
coordination with Federal agencies and other interested groups. The 
Draft CCPs and associated Environmental Assessments identified and 
evaluated four alternatives for managing these Refuges. The Draft CCPs 
were available for a 45-day public review and comment period. The 
Service received nine comment communications, which were incorporated 
into, or responded to in the final CCPs. No substantive changes were 
required to address public comments.
    Changes to the Refuges' management include a modest increase in the 
frequency of staff visits to monitor seabird abundance and nesting 
status, conducting seabird nesting restoration, conducting marine 
exploration and marine ecosystem monitoring, and preserving cultural 
resource and wilderness resource values at the Refuges. Public access 
to the Refuges will remain closed, and commercial fishing will continue 
to be prohibited within the boundaries of these Refuges.
    The following key actions described in the CCPs will be 
     With assistance from partners, we will conduct management 
activities annually at the Refuges.
     We will continue to conserve, manage, and protect native 
terrestrial and marine communities that are representative of remote 
tropical Pacific islands.
     We will develop baseline data to understand sea turtle and 
seabird use at these Refuges.
     We will take actions to restore breeding populations of 
the Polynesian storm-petrel to the Refuges by using electronic call 
devices to attract and establish nesting colonies.
     We will conduct management actions in a manner that 
maintains and preserves the wilderness character of the terrestrial and 
marine communities at these Refuges.
     In coordination with partners, we will use remote 
surveillance and monitoring techniques to ensure the Refuges' 
biological, cultural, and historic resources are preserved.
     The Service will develop an off-Refuge environmental 
education and interpretation program for the public to learn about 
wilderness values, cultural and historic resources, tropical island 
ecosystems, seabirds, and coral reefs at these and other remote Pacific 
island refuges.

    Dated: August 12, 2008.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.

    Editorial Note: This document was received in the Office of the 
Federal Register on December 11, 2008.

[FR Doc. E8-29721 Filed 12-16-08; 8:45 am]