[Federal Register: July 19, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 137)]
[Page 41879-41880]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2010-N103; 50133-1265-GSMP-S3]

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris County, NJ

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is gathering the 
information needed to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) 
and associated environmental assessment (EA) for Great Swamp National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We publish this notice in compliance with our 
policy of advising other agencies and the public of our intentions to 
conduct detailed planning on refuges and obtain suggestions and 
information about the scope of issues to consider in the planning 

DATES: We will hold two public scoping open house meetings on July 28, 
2010, at the Chatham Township meeting hall. The open houses will be 
held from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a presentation by refuge staff at 
1:30 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a presentation at 6:30 
p.m. The meetings will be announced through our Web site (http://
www.fws.gov/northeast/planning) and a newsletter for our mailing list, 
and through personal contacts. See the Addresses section for 
information about where to submit your comments. To ensure our 
consideration of your written comments regarding the scope of the 
refuge management plan, you should submit them within 30 days of the 
publication of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information on the 
planning process by any of the following methods:
    Electronic mail: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Great Swamp 
NWR'' in the subject line of the message.

[[Page 41880]]

    Facsimile: Attention: Bill Perry, at 413-253-8468.
    U.S. Mail: Bill Perry, Refuge Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035.
    In Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours at the above address.
    For additional questions about the planning process, you may 
contact Bill Perry via the above methods or 413-253-8688 (telephone).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To obtain more information on the 
refuge, contact William Koch, Refuge Manager, at Great Swamp NWR, 241 
Pleasant Plains Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920; 973-425-1222 
(telephone); or fw5rw_gsnwr@fws.gov (electronic mail); or go to http:/



    This notice initiates the comprehensive conservation planning 
process for Great Swamp NWR, located in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), requires us to develop a CCP for each national 
wildlife refuge. The purpose of a CCP is to provide refuge managers 
with a 15-year plan for achieving refuge purposes and contributing to 
the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), consistent 
with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, 
legal mandates, and Service policies. In addition to providing broad 
management direction on conserving wildlife and habitat, the plans 
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 
    We establish each refuge for specific purposes, and use those 
purposes to develop and prioritize its management goals, objectives, 
and public uses. The planning process is one way for us and for the 
public to evaluate those goals and objectives for the best possible 
conservation of important wildlife habitat, while providing 
opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation compatible with those 
purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    We request your input on all issues, concerns, ideas, improvements, 
and suggestions for the future management of Great Swamp NWR. In 
addition to this opportunity to participate in the scoping for the 
project, you may submit additional comments during the planning process 
by writing to the refuge planner (see ADDRESSES above).
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on 
Environmental Quality Regulations on NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), 
other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, and our policies and 
procedures for complying with them. All of the comments we receive on 
either our EAs or our environmental impact statements become part of 
the official public record. We will handle requests for those comments 
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA (40 CFR 
1506.6(f)), and other policies and procedures of the Department of the 
Interior or the Service. When we receive such a request, we will 
provide comment letters with the names and addresses of the individuals 
who wrote them. However, to the extent permissible by law, we will not 
provide the telephone numbers of those individuals.

Great Swamp NWR

    Great Swamp NWR currently includes 7,768 acres of marsh, swamp, 
grassland, shrubland, and forest habitats. The approved refuge 
acquisition boundary encompasses 9,090 acres in the Great Swamp Basin, 
located in Long Hill, Chatham, and Harding Townships, New Jersey. Great 
Swamp is situated within a 55-square-mile watershed comprised of 
portions of 10 municipalities in Morris and Somerset Counties. It is 
located in the headwaters of the Passaic River and is bordered on the 
west by the upper Passaic River. The Great Swamp receives drainage from 
29.2 square miles of the watershed through the tributaries; Primrose, 
Great, Loantaka, and Black Brooks.
    The 7,768-acre Great Swamp NWR was established in 1960, and 
includes 746 acres designated as a research natural area, and 3,660 
acres federally designated as wilderness. In 1966, the refuge was 
designated as a registered National Natural Landmark. The refuge was 
established ``* * * for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other 
management purpose, for migratory birds'' (Migratory Bird Conservation 
Act); for ``* * * the conservation of the wetlands of the Nation in 
order to maintain the public benefits they provide and to help fulfill 
international obligations contained in various migratory bird treaties 
and conventions * * *'' (Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986); and 
is ``* * * suitable for; (1) Incidental fish and wildlife-oriented 
recreational development; (2) the protection of natural resources; (3) 
the conservation of endangered species or threatened species * * *'' 
(Refuge Recreation Act).
    Great Swamp NWR acts as an island of wildlife habitat totally 
surrounded by suburban communities and encroaching urbanization. Great 
Swamp offers one of the last refuges for wildlife and wild habitats in 
northern New Jersey, and becomes increasingly important as surrounding 
natural areas are fragmented or developed. The refuge provides stopover 
habitat for waterfowl during spring and fall migrations, when peak 
numbers reach 10,000-15,000 birds, as well as foraging habitat for over 
100 species of birds that breed on the refuge.
    Maternity colonies of federally listed endangered Indiana bats are 
known to occur on the refuge. Reptile and amphibian species of 
conservation concern at Great Swamp NWR include the federally listed 
threatened bog turtle, State endangered blue-spotted salamander, State 
threatened wood turtle, spotted turtle, eastern box turtle, and 
Fowler's toad. Many State threatened and endangered bird species nest 
on the refuge, including the American bittern, bobolink, Cooper's hawk, 
Red-shouldered hawk, Barred owl, and Red-headed woodpecker. In total, 
over 600 plant, 224 bird, 38 mammal, 23 reptile, 38 fish, and 19 
amphibian species have been identified and confirmed on the refuge.
    The predominant public uses are wildlife observation and 
photography. There are 8.5 miles of walking trails and 1.5 miles of 
boardwalks, three observation blinds, and an auto tour route to 
facilitate those uses. Each November, hunters with permits may access 
portions of the refuge for a 4-day deer hunt, per State regulations.

    Dated: June 4, 2010.
Wendi Weber,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, 
[FR Doc. 2010-17444 Filed 7-16-10; 8:45 am]