[Federal Register: March 16, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 50)]
[Page 12563-12564]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2010-N019; BAC-4311-K9 S3]

Patuxent Research Refuge, Anne Arundel and Prince George's 
Counties, MD

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental 
assessment (EA) for Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Maryland. 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. We are also announcing public 
meetings and requesting public comments.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
March 31, 2010. We will announce opportunities for public input in 
local news media throughout the CCP process.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    Electronic mail: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Patuxent 
Research Refuge CCP'' in the subject line of the message.
    Facsimile: Attention: Nancy McGarigal, 413-253-8468.
    U.S. Mail: 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 Patuxent Research Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, 
Laurel, MD 20708.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Knudsen, Refuge Manager, Patuxent 
Research Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708; phone: 
301-497-5580; electronic mail: brad_knudsen@fws.gov.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Patuxent Research Refuge, in Anne Arundel and Prince George's Counties, 
Maryland. 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 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 (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, photography, 
and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and 
update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the 
Administration Act.
    Each unit of the NWRS 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 NWRS 
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 that will ensure the best possible approach to 
wildlife, plant, and habitat conservation while providing for wildlife-
dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with each 
refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.
    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 Patuxent Research Refuge.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an EA 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.

Patuxent Research Refuge

    Established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt, a major portion of Patuxent Research Refuge is to support 
wildlife research. Today most of the research on

[[Page 12564]]

the refuge is conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey through the 
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
    With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers 
between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland, the refuge has grown 
from the original 2,670 acres to its present size of 12,841 acres, and 
encompasses land formerly managed by the Departments of Agriculture and 
Defense. Refuge habitats consist of forested floodplain and mixed 
hardwood uplands, managed impoundments, fields, and shrublands. The 
impressive breadth of research that has occurred over the years 
includes projects involving issues such as environmental contaminants, 
captive propagation of endangered species, including the whooping 
crane, and bird population monitoring techniques. The refuge is home to 
the National Wildlife Visitor Center, a first-class facility for 
environmental education, interpretation, and scientific information 
exchange. There are over 24 miles of hiking trails on the refuge, and a 
variety of opportunities for hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation 

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    The planning team has identified some preliminary issues, concerns, 
and opportunities to address in the CCP. We list below the categories 
for issues we have preliminarily identified. During public scoping, we 
expect additional issues may be raised.
    (1) Ecoregional or ecosystem-wide issues, such as climate change, 
land conservation, and protection of water quality throughout the 
    (2) Biological program issues, such as habitat and species 
management, protection, restoration, monitoring, inventories, and 
    (3) Public-use program issues, such as the breadth and quality of 
programs, public access, user conflicts, and use impacts on natural 
    (4) Infrastructure and staffing issues, such as appropriateness of 
facilities, safety, accessibility, and additional staffing needs;
    (5) Community relations and outreach issues and opportunities, such 
as tourism, and local economic impacts; and
    (6) Coordination and communication issues and opportunities with 
other Service programs and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Public Meetings

    We will give the public an opportunity to provide input at public 
meetings. You can obtain the schedule from the planning team leader or 
project leader (see ADDRESSES). You may also send comments anytime 
during the planning process by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile (see 
ADDRESSES). There will be additional opportunities to provide public 
input once we have prepared a draft CCP.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, electronic mail 
address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, 
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.

    Dated: February 11, 2010.
Wendi Weber,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2010-5632 Filed 3-15-10; 8:45 am]