[Federal Register: June 8, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 108)]
[Page 27173-27174]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2009-N0081; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, Citrus and Hernando 
Counties, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, intend to prepare a 
comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and associated National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for Chassahowitzka National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We provide this notice in compliance with our 
CCP policy to advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the 
public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on 
the scope of issues to consider in the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by July 8, 2009. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media 
announcements will be used to inform the public and State and local 
government agencies of the opportunities for input throughout the 
planning process. A public scoping meeting will be held early in the 
CCP development process. The date, time, and place for the meeting will 
be announced in the local media.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, questions, and requests for information to: 

[[Page 27174]]

Mary Morris, Natural Resource Planner, Chassahowitzka NWR, 1502 
Southeast Kings Bay Drive, Crystal River, FL 34429.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Mary Morris, Natural Resource 
Planner; telephone: 850/567-6202; e-mail: ChassCCP@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Chassahowitzka NWR in Citrus and Hernando Counties, Florida. This 
notice complies with our CCP policy to: (1) Advise other Federal and 
State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to conduct 
detailed planning on this refuge; and (2) obtain suggestions and 
information on the scope of issues to consider in the environmental 
document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Improvement Act), which amended the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each refuge. The purpose for 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, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife 
management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. In addition 
to outlining broad management direction for conserving wildlife and 
their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Improvement Act.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was established 
for specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for 
developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
determine how the public can use each refuge. The planning process is a 
way for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives 
for the best possible conservation approach to this important wildlife 
habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with the refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
At this time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, 
and suggestions for the future management of Chassahowitzka NWR.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an environmental assessment in accordance with the requirements 
of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other 
appropriate Federal laws and regulations; and our policies and 
procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations.
    Located in the southwestern corner of Citrus County and the 
northwestern corner of Hernando County, approximately 65 miles north of 
Tampa, the 30,843-acre Chassahowitzka NWR was established by authority 
of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act on June 15, 1943, as ``an 
inviolate sanctuary'' for wintering waterfowl and other migratory 
birds. In 1976, we designated 16,893 acres in Citrus County and 6,736 
acres in Hernando County as ``Wilderness.'' The refuge's diverse 
ecosystem, including prime estuarine habitat, is home for an incredible 
variety and abundance of flora and fauna. The marshlands, swamplands, 
shallow bays, and tidal streams provide both the quantity and quality 
of aquatic plant and animal life required to support thousands of 
wintering waterfowl, marsh and waterbirds, shorebirds, fishes, and a 
variety of animal species that depend on a marine environment. 
Additionally, the refuge includes 2,560 acres of hardwood swamplands 
and 250 acres of upland forest that form its eastern boundary. Notable 
imperiled species include Florida manatees, whooping cranes, Gulf 
sturgeon, and smalltooth sawfish. The endangered whooping crane was 
introduced to the refuge's marsh habitats. A highly visible partnership 
program has been in place for several years.

Public Availability and Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying 
information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority:  This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 

    Dated: May 5, 2009.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E9-13291 Filed 6-5-09; 8:45 am]