[Federal Register: September 16, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 178)]
[Page 47614-47616]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2009-N139; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Orleans Parish, LA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: final comprehensive conservation plan 
and finding of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the environmental 
assessment for Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In the 
final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 

ADDRESSES: A copy of the CCP may be obtained by writing to: Mr. Pon 
Dixson, Deputy Project Leader, Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife 
Refuge Complex, 61389 Highway 434, Lacombe, LA 70445. The CCP may also 
be accessed and downloaded from the Service's Web site: http://

[[Page 47615]]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Pon Dixson; telephone: 985/882-
2014; fax: 985/882-9133; e-mail: pon_dixson@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Bayou Sauvage 
NWR. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register 
on May 16, 2007 (72 FR 27585). For more about the process, see that 
    Bayou Sauvage NWR is located in eastern Orleans Parish, Louisiana, 
and is entirely situated within the corporate limits of the city of New 
Orleans. It is the largest national wildlife refuge located in an urban 
area and is one of the last remaining marsh areas adjacent to the south 
shores of Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. The refuge consists of 24,000 
acres of wetlands and is bordered on three sides by water: Lake 
Pontchartrain to the north, Chef Menteur Pass to the east, and Lake 
Borgne to the south. The western side of the refuge is bordered by the 
Maxent Canal, and lands consisting of bottomland hardwood habitats and 
exotic species, such as Chinese tallow and china berry. Un-leveed 
portions of the refuge consist of estuarine tidal marshes and shallow 
water. The Hurricane Protection Levee System, along with roadbeds, 
created freshwater impoundments, which altered the plant communities as 
well as the fish communities within these impoundments. Small forested 
areas exist on the low, natural ridges formed along natural drainages 
and along manmade canals.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the CCP and FONSI 
for Bayou Sauvage NWR in accordance with National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) [40 CFR 1506.6(b)] requirements. We completed a thorough 
analysis of impacts on the human environment, which we included in the 
draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment 
(Draft CCP/EA). The CCP will guide us in managing and administering 
Bayou Sauvage NWR for the next 15 years. Alternative B is the 
foundation for the CCP.


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop 
a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for developing a 
CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan 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 our policies. In 
addition to outlining broad management direction on 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 Administration 


    We solicited comments on the Draft CCP/EA for Bayou Sauvage NWR as 
announced in the Federal Register on April 24, 2009 (72 FR 18742). Ten 
respondents, consisting of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, local and 
national non-profit organizations, and local citizens, submitted 
written comments by mail or e-mail.

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments we received and based on the 
professional judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative B 
to implement the CCP. The primary focus of the CCP will be to restore 
and improve refuge resources needed for wildlife and habitat management 
and to provide additional public use opportunities. Implementing the 
CCP will allow us to provide law enforcement protection that adequately 
meets the demands of an urban environment.
    We will focus on augmenting wildlife and habitat management to 
identify, conserve, and restore populations of native fish and wildlife 
species, with an emphasis on migratory birds and threatened and 
endangered species. This will partially be accomplished by increased 
monitoring of waterfowl, other migratory birds, and endemic species in 
order to assess and adapt management strategies and actions. The 
restoration of fresh and brackish marsh systems and hardwood forests 
will be crucial to ensuring healthy and viable ecological communities 
as the area recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This 
restoration will require increased wetland vegetation and tree 
plantings, and the use of beneficial dredge, breakwater structures, and 
organic materials to promote reestablishment of emergent marsh and to 
reduce wave energy erosion along Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. 
Improving and monitoring water quality and managing moist soil will 
assist in reestablishing freshwater marsh habitat.
    We will more aggressively control and, where possible, eliminate 
invasive plant species. The control of the Chinese tallow trees and 
cogon grass along the hardwood ridge will be a focal point. The control 
of nuisance wildlife will increase to include yearly population 
evaluations and more aggressive trapping programs for feral hogs and 
    Visitor services will be enhanced by: (1) Improving and providing 
additional fishing opportunities; (2) considering limited hunting 
opportunities on the refuge; (3) providing environmental education that 
emphasizes refuge restoration activities, coastal conservation issues, 
and the diversity of water management regimes in the aftermath of 
Hurricane Katrina; (4) establishing a visitor center or contact 
station; (5) developing and implementing a visitor services management 
plan; and (6) enhancing personal interpretive opportunities. Volunteer 
programs and friends groups also will be expanded to enhance all 
aspects of refuge management and to increase resource availability.
    Land acquisitions within the approved acquisition boundary will be 
based on importance of the habitat for target management species and 
public use value. The refuge headquarters will not only house 
administrative offices, but will offer interpretation of wildlife and 
habitats. We will demonstrate habitat improvements for individual 
landowners. The headquarters facility will be developed as an urban 
public use area with trails; buildings presently not being used and 
landscaping will be refurbished for visitor and community outreach.
    We will enforce all Federal and State laws applicable to the refuge 
in order to protect archaeological and historical sites. We will 
develop a plan to protect all known sites. The allocation of a law 
enforcement officer will not only provide security for these resources, 
but will also ensure visitor safety and public compliance with refuge 


    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105-57.

[[Page 47616]]

    Dated: July 31, 2009.
Jeffrey Fleming,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E9-22303 Filed 9-15-09; 8:45 am]