[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 57 (Thursday, March 24, 2011)]
[Pages 16636-16637]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-6939]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N240; 40136-1265-0000-S3]

Pine Island, Matlacha Pass, Island Bay, and Caloosahatchee NWRs, 
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 Pine Island, Matlacha Pass, Island Bay, and 
Caloosahatchee NWRs. In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage 
these refuges 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. Alternatively, you may request a copy by sending e-mail to: 
DingDarling@fws.gov. 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 DingDarlingCCP@fws.gov (e-mail).



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Pine Island, 
Matlacha Pass, Island Bay, and Caloosahatchee NWRs. We started this 
process through notices in the Federal Register on June 27, 2007 (72 FR 
35254) and April 2, 2008 (73 FR 17991).
    The four refuges currently total about 1,201 acres: Pine Island NWR 
is 602.24 acres, Matlacha Pass NWR is 538.25 acres, Island Bay NWR is 
20.24 acres, and Caloosahatchee NWR is 40 acres. As part of the largest 
undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States, these four closed 
refuges provide for native wildlife and habitat diversity through a mix 
of habitats, including mangrove islands and shorelines, saltwater 
marshes and ponds, tidal flats, and upland hardwood forests. They also 
provide protection for 13 Federal-listed and 25 State-listed species, 
as well as for wading birds, waterbirds, raptors and birds of prey, 
neotropical migratory birds, shorebirds, and seabirds.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the final CCP and 
FONSI for Pine Island, Matlacha Pass, Island Bay, and Caloosahatchee 
NWRs 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 
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Pine Island, 
Matlacha Pass, Island Bay, and Caloosahatchee NWRs for the next 15 


    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 every15 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 21, 2010 
(75 FR 28643). We received comments from the general public, an 
organization, and governmental agencies, including State and local 
agencies and a national estuary program. Comments were also submitted 
through the State Clearinghouse for State agencies.

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 these four refuges. Increased 
information on a variety of species, suites of species, and habitats 
will enhance decision-making for these refuges. 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 refuges, resolved boundary issues, additional 
special designations, improved management of the Island Bay Wilderness 
Area, improved coordination with the partners to increase awareness and 
understanding of area residents and area visitors of these closed 
refuges, and minimized impacts from adjacent uses. 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 refuge-specific staff to 
address management concerns.
    Alternative C is considered to be the most effective for meeting 
the purposes of the refuges and addressing the priority issues facing 
each refuge, including increasing and changing human population, 
development of the landscape, recreational uses and demands, and 
associated impacts; issues and impacts associated with water 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

[[Page 16637]]

data and lack of a 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. 2011-6939 Filed 3-23-11; 8:45 am]