[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 8 (Wednesday, January 12, 2011)]
[Pages 2132-2133]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-453]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N258; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Notice of Intent To Prepare Land Protection Plan and Associated 
NEPA Documents for the Proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife 
Refuge and the Proposed Everglades Headwaters Conservation Area

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to prepare a 
land protection plan (LPP) and associated National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) documents pursuant to NEPA and its implementing regulations 
to establish the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 
and the Everglades Headwaters Conservation Area. The Service is 
furnishing this notice in compliance with the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act of 1966, as amended, to achieve the 
following: advise other agencies, Tribal governments, and the public of 
our intentions and obtain suggestions and information on the scope of 
issues to include in the environmental documents. Special mailings, 
newspaper articles, and other media announcements will inform people of 
the opportunities for input throughout the planning process.

DATES: We are soliciting written comments and will hold public scoping 
meetings in January and February 2011.

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests for further 
information to the following: Cheri M. Ehrhardt, AICP, Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Planner, P.O. Box 2683, Titusville, 
FL 32781-2683. You may find additional information concerning the 
proposed refuge and conservation area at the Service's Internet site: 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheri M. Ehrhardt; telephone: 321/861-
2368; fax: 321/861-8913; e-mail: 



    With this notice, the Service proposes to establish a new 
Everglades Headwaters NWR and the Everglades Headwaters Conservation 
Area. The proposed refuge would consist of a core area within the upper 
Kissimmee River Basin, where the Service would work with willing 
landowners to acquire, protect, and manage up to 50,000 acres through 
fee title purchases, leases, conservation easements, conservation and 
mitigation banks, lands set aside through habitat conservation plans, 
and/or cooperative agreements from willing sellers. The proposed 
conservation area would be an area adjacent and complementary to the 
proposed refuge and other conservation lands within this landscape, 
where the Service and its partners, in cooperation with willing 
landowners, would protect some 100,000 acres through conservation 
easements, conservation and mitigation banks, lands set aside through 
habitat conservation plans, and/or cooperative agreements.
    The proposal represents the convergence of conservation efforts of 
a variety of agencies and organizations and is a partnership effort 
amongst local, State, Federal, and Tribal governmental entities; area 
landowners and ranchers; and non-governmental organizations. The 
proposal is biologically based, targeting the cooperative conservation 
of an important Florida landscape, supporting various conservation 
plans and initiatives, and protecting, restoring, and conserving 
habitat for at least 88 Federal- and State-listed species and species 
designated by the State of Florida as Species of Greatest Conservation 
Need. This proposal helps address broad public concerns over the loss 
of wildlife, habitat, access to natural lands and waters, and working 
landscapes in Florida's heartland. The proposal would help preserve a 
part of Florida's heritage and a national treasure.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
outlines six priority public uses (e.g., hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation) that are to be facilitated on national wildlife 
refuges, where compatible.
    Public input into the land protection planning process is essential 
for the Service to understand the public's concerns within this 
landscape and about the proposed refuge and conservation area. 
Following and based on this period of public scoping, the Service will 
develop a LPP and associated NEPA document to propose the refuge and 
conservation area, including a no action alternative (i.e., do not 
propose a refuge and conservation area) and one or more action

[[Page 2133]]

alternatives. The Service will then request public review and comment 
on the LPP and NEPA document.


    This area is one of the great grassland and savanna landscapes of 
eastern North America. Still largely rural, this area is a mosaic of 
seasonally wet grasslands, longleaf pine savannas, and cattle ranches 
that sustains one of the most important assemblages of imperiled 
vertebrate wildlife in the southeastern United States and a large 
portion of the unprotected natural habitat remaining in peninsular 
Florida. The proposed refuge and conservation area would help conserve 
and restore imperiled species habitat, protect the headwaters of the 
Everglades and clean water resources, create and connect a matrix of 
conservation lands and important wildlife corridors to help mitigate 
the anticipated effects of global climate change, and provide 
opportunities for wildlife-dependent education and recreation 
experiences, while also conserving the rural agricultural and ranching 
landscape that is so important to the existing wildlife resources of 
the area.

Public Availability of 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.


    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d).

    Dated: November 22, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2011-453 Filed 1-11-11; 8:45 am]