[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 6 (Tuesday, January 10, 2012)]
[Pages 1500-1501]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-293]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2011-N218; BAC-4311-K9-S3]

Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge, Poquoson, VA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental 
assessment (EA) for Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge (the 
refuge, NWR), which is located in Poquoson, VA. We provide this notice 
in compliance with our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State 
agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to conduct detailed 
planning on this refuge.

DATES: We will announce opportunities for public input throughout the 
CCP process in the Federal Register, local news media, and on our 
refuge planning Web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/plumtreeisland/refuge_planning.html.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    Email: fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov. Include ``Plum Tree Island CCP'' in 
the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Meghan Carfioli, (804) 829-9606.
    U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Eastern Virginia Rivers 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex--Charles City Sub-Office, 11116 
Kimages Road, Charles City, VA 23030.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours at the address above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Meghan Carfioli, Planning Team Leader, 
(804) 829-5413 (phone) or Andy Hofmann, Project Leader, Eastern 
Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex, (804) 333-1470 
(phone), fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov (email).



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Plum Tree Island NWR, in the city of Poquoson, VA. This notice complies 
with our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, 

[[Page 1501]]

the public of our intention to conduct detailed planning on this 


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 of developing 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 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 and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration 
    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, 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 Federal, 
Tribal, State, and local governments, agencies, organizations, and the 
public. Throughout the process, we will have formal comment periods and 
hold public meetings to gather comments, issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions for the future management of Plum Tree Island NWR. You may 
also send comments during the planning process by mail, email, or fax 
    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.

Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge

    Plum Tree Island NWR is one of four refuges that comprise the 
Eastern Virginia Rivers NWR Complex. The 3,502-acre refuge is located 
along the Atlantic Flyway in the city of Poquoson, VA. It was 
established in 1972 to conserve wetlands and important migratory bird 
habitat in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The refuge's salt marsh, scrub-
shrub, and forest habitats support a variety of native wildlife 
species, including waterfowl, marshbirds, and shorebirds. The refuge's 
beaches are also home to the federally threatened northeastern beach 
tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis).
    The U.S. Department of Defense previously administered the refuge 
lands and used all but the refuge's 200-acre Cow Island Tract as a 
gunnery and bombing range. Extensive unexploded ordnance remains on the 
refuge, posing serious safety concerns. Most of the refuge is closed to 
public access. The only public use offered is an annual, permit-only, 
waterfowl hunt on the Cow Island Tract.

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified several preliminary issues, concerns, and 
opportunities that we intend to address in the CCP. These include the 
     Unexploded ordnance on the refuge and its implications for 
refuge management and public access;
     The potential for climate change to impact refuge 
     The potential for land acquisition and conservation 
easements within the existing, approved boundary;
     Opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations 
for off-refuge interpretation and education programming.
    We expect that members of the public, our conservation partners and 
Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments may identify additional 
issues during public scoping.

Public Meetings

    During the planning process, we will hold public meetings for 
individuals, organizations, and agencies to provide comments, issues, 
concerns, and suggestions about refuge management. When we schedule 
formal comment periods and public meeting(s), we will announce them in 
the Federal Register, local news media, and on our refuge planning Web 
site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/plumtreeisland/refuge_planning.html.
    You can also obtain the schedule from the planning team leader or 

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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.

    Dated: December 5, 2011.
Salvatore M. Amato,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2012-293 Filed 1-9-12; 8:45 am]