[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 57 (Thursday, March 24, 2011)]
[Pages 16637-16638]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-6937]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N241; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

J.N. ``Ding'' Darling NWR, Lee County, FL; Final Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for 
Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the 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 J.N. ``Ding'' Darling National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In 
the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 
15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing via U.S. mail 
to: Mr. Paul Tritaik, Project Leader, 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, FL 
33957, or DingDarling@fws.gov (e-mail). The CCP may also be accessed 
and downloaded from the Service's Web site: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/planning/under ``Final Documents.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Paul Tritaik, at 239/472-1100 
(telephone) or DingDarling@fws.gov (e-mail); or Ms. Cheri M. Ehrhardt, 
at 321/861-2368 (telephone) or DingDarling@fws.gov (e-mail).



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for J.N. ``Ding'' 
Darling NWR. We started this process through notices in the Federal 
Register on June 27, 2007 (72 FR 35254) and April 2, 2008 (73 FR 
    The 6,406-acre refuge supports hundreds of species of wildlife and 
plants, providing protection for 14 Federal-listed and 49 State-listed 
species, migratory birds, and native wildlife and habitat diversity 
through a mix of habitats, including tropical hardwood forests, 
beaches, mangrove swamps, mixed wetland shrubs, salt marshes, open 
waters and seagrass beds, and lakes and canals. The refuge holds 
several special designations, including Wilderness Area, Research 
Natural Area, Marine Protected Area, Florida Important Bird Area, and 
Outstanding Florida Water. Annual visitation to the refuge exceeds 
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for J.N. ``Ding'' Darling NWR in accordance with the 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 J.N. ``Ding'' 
Darling NWR for the next 15 years. The following compatibility 
determinations are available in the CCP: (1) Wildlife observation and 
photography--including walking, hiking, motorized and non-motorized 
boating, and motorized and non-motorized trail use; (2) environmental 
education and interpretation--including walking, hiking, motorized and 
non-motorized boating, and motorized and non-motorized trail use; (3) 
fishing--including motorized and non-motorized boating and non-
motorized trail use; (4) research; (5) commercial services; (6) 
commercial photography; (7) mosquito control; and (8) commercial bait 
fishing--including phasing out this use within the 15-year life of the 


    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 made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public 
review and comment period via a Federal Register notice on May 17, 2010 
(75 FR 27576). We received comments from local citizens, a local 
business, organizations, and State and local governmental agencies. 
Comments were also submitted through the State Clearinghouse for State 

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments we received, we have selected 
Alternative C for implementation. The primary focus under Alternative C 
is migratory birds. Implementing Alternative C is expected to result in 
increased protection for breeding, nesting, resting, roosting, 
foraging, and migrating birds on the refuge. Increased information on a 
variety of species, suites of species, and habitats will enhance 
decision-making for the refuge. Further benefits will be realized from 
increased control of exotic, invasive, and nuisance species. We will 
coordinate with the partners to address concerns related to the impacts 
from water quality, quantity, and timing of flows and from climate 
change and sea level rise. Resource protection will be enhanced, 
including through increased information about cultural resources on the 
refuge, increased protection of cultural resources, additional special 
designations, improved management of the J.N. ``Ding'' Darling 
Wilderness Area, improved coordination with the partners to increase 
ethical outdoor behavior, enhanced visitor services programs, and 
addition of visitor facilities. To achieve this, we will work with 
governmental and non-governmental partners, area communities, the 
``Ding'' Darling Wildlife Society, and local businesses, and we will 
pursue the addition of staff to address management concerns.
    Alternative C is considered to be the most effective for meeting 
the purposes of the refuge and addressing the priority issues facing 
the refuge, including increasing and changing human population, 
development of the landscape, recreational uses and demands, and 
associated impacts; issues and impacts associated with water

[[Page 16638]]

quality, water quantity, and timing of flows; invasion and spread of 
exotic, invasive, and nuisance species; climate change impacts; need 
for long-term protection of important resources; declines in and 
threats to rare, threatened, and endangered species; insufficient 
baseline wildlife and habitat data and lack of comprehensive habitat 
management plan; and lack of resources to address refuge needs.


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

    Dated: November 22, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director.

    Editorial Note: This document was received in the Office of the 
Federal Register on March 21, 2011.
[FR Doc. 2011-6937 Filed 3-23-11; 8:45 am]