[Federal Register: March 16, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 49)]
[Page 11129-11130]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 11129]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2009-N0001; BAC 4311-K9; S3]

Umbagog (Formerly ``Lake Umbagog'') National Wildlife Refuge, 
Coos County, NH and Oxford County, ME

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of decision and availability of record of decision.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
decision and availability of the record of decision (ROD) for the final 
comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental impact 
statement (EIS) for the Umbagog (formerly ``Lake Umbagog'') National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The refuge is located in Coos County, New 
Hampshire, and Oxford County, Maine. We completed a thorough analysis 
of the environmental, social, and economic considerations and presented 
it in our final CCP/EIS, which we released to the public through a 
Federal Register notice on December 3, 2008. The ROD documents our 
decision to adopt and implement the final CCP/EIS Alternative B, 
Management for Particular Habitats and Focal Species as the CCP for 
Umbagog NWR. Alternative B was identified as the Service-preferred 
alternative in the final CCP/EIS. The Regional Director, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Northeast Region, signed the ROD on January 9, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the ROD and final CCP/EIS 
by any of the following methods:
    Agency Web site: Download a copy of the documents at http://
    Electronic mail: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Umbagog NWR 
ROD'' in the subject line of the message.
    Mail: Paul Casey, Refuge Manager, Umbagog NWR, P.O. Box 240, Route 
16 North, Errol, NH 03579.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Phone to make an appointment at refuge 
headquarters during regular business hours; 603-482-3415 (phone).
    Local Libraries: The final documents are available for review at 
the libraries listed under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Casey, Refuge Manager, Umbagog 
NWR, P.O. Box 240, Route 16 North, Errol, New Hampshire 03579; (603) 
482-3415 (phone); paul_casey@fws.gov (e-mail).



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Umbagog NWR 
(formerly ``Lake Umbagog'' NWR). The CCP will guide us in managing and 
administering the refuge for the next 15 years. We started this process 
in a Federal Register notice (67 FR 46682; July 16, 2002). We released 
the draft CCP/EIS to the public, announcing and requesting comments in 
a notice of availability in the Federal Register (72 FR 37041; July 6, 
2007). We extended the public comment period through another Federal 
Register notice (72 FR 45044; August 10, 2007). The full public review 
period lasted 77 days. We announced the availability of the final CCP/
EIS in the Federal Register (73 FR 73661; December 3, 2008). Public 
review of that document lasted 33 days.
    Umbagog NWR is a 21,650-acre refuge, which lies in Coos County, New 
Hampshire, and Oxford County, Maine. It contains widely diverse upland 
and wetland habitat types surrounding the 8,500-acre Umbagog Lake. The 
refuge was established to provide long-term protection to unique 
wetlands, threatened and endangered species, and migratory birds of 
conservation concern, and to sustain regionally significant 
concentrations of wildlife. Since establishing the refuge in 1992, we 
have focused our management emphasis on conserving lands within the 
approved boundary; monitoring the occupancy and productivity of common 
loon, bald eagle, and osprey nesting sites and protecting them from 
human disturbance; conducting baseline biological inventories; and 
providing wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities.
    In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 
1506.6(b)) requirements, this notice announces our decision and the 
availability of the ROD for the final CCP/EIS for Umbagog NWR. We 
evaluated three alternatives and completed a thorough analysis of the 
environmental, social, and economic considerations in the final CCP/
EIS. The ROD documents our selection of Alternative B, Management for 
Particular Habitats and Focal Species, which we modified in the final 
document in response to public comments we received on the draft 
document. The ROD details those modifications made in the final 
document. Alternative B, as we describe in the ROD and final CCP/EIS, 
now serves as the foundation for the approved CCP.


    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 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 (NWRS), 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 and 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will 
review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with 
the Improvement Act.

Basis for Selected Alternative

    Both our draft and final CCP/EIS identified 18 major issues 
generated by the public, other state or federal agencies, and the 
planning team. To address those issues, we developed and evaluated 
three alternatives in detail: Alternative A, Current Management; 
Alternative B, Management for Particular Habitats and Focal Species 
(Service-preferred alternative); and, Alternative C, Management to 
Create Natural Landscape Composition, Patterns, and Processes. 
Alternative B was identified as the Service-preferred alternative in 
both the draft and final CCP/EIS. Although the alternatives differ in 
many ways, they also share some similarities. Both their common 
elements and their distinctions were most recently outlined in the 
final CCP/EIS Summary document available at http://www.fws.gov/
    Our decision is to adopt Alternative B, as described in the ROD and 
final CCP/EIS. The ROD details the basis of our decision, which we made 
after considering the following: The impacts identified in Chapter 4 of 
the draft and final CCP/EIS; the results of public and other agency 
comments; how well the alternative addresses the relevant issues, 
concerns, and opportunities identified during the planning process; and 
other relevant factors, including fulfilling the purposes for which the 
refuge was established, contributing to the mission

[[Page 11130]]

and goals of the NWRS, and statutory and regulatory guidance. We have 
determined that Alternative B also includes the suite of activities 
that best achieves the stated purpose and need for action and the seven 
goals presented in the final CCP/EIS Chapter 1. Compared to the other 
two alternatives, Alternative B meets those needs and goals through the 
most balanced and integrated approach, considering both the biological 
and human environment. It will also provide the means to better respond 
to changing ecological and socioeconomic conditions within the 
surrounding environment using an adaptive management approach.
    In summary, Alternative B was selected for implementation because 
it provides the greatest number of opportunities for the refuge to make 
a significant contribution to the conservation of fish, wildlife, and 
habitat needs in the region, as well as make a positive contribution to 
the local and regional communities.

Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to the methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain 
documents at the following locations:
    Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Lake%20Umbagog/
    At the following libraries:

                 Library                                Address                            Phone No.
Errol Public Library.....................  Route 26, Errol, NH 03579........  603-482-7720
Berlin Public Library....................  270 Main Street, Berlin, NH 03570  603-752-5210
White Mountains Community College........  2020 Riverside Drive Berlin, NH    603-752-1113
Gorham Public Library....................  35 Railroad Street, Gorham, NH     603-466-2525
Bethel Public Library....................  5 Broad Street, Bethel, ME 04217.  207-824-2520

    Dated: January 9, 2009.
Marvin E. Moriarty,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, MA 01035.
 [FR Doc. E9-5592 Filed 3-13-09; 8:45 am]