[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 69 (Thursday, April 10, 2014)]
[Pages 19920-19921]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-07531]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2013-N265; BAC-4311-K9]

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Chatham, MA; Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
environmental impact statement (EIS) for Monomoy National Wildlife 
Refuge (NWR, refuge) for public review and comment. In this draft CCP/
EIS, we describe how we propose to manage the refuge for the next 15 

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by June 9, 2014. We will hold public meetings during a 60-day public 
comment period. In addition, we will use special mailings, newspaper 
articles, internet postings, and other media announcements to inform 
people of opportunities for input, including details on when and where 
public meetings will occur.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
one of the following methods:
     Email: northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Monomoy NWR 
Draft CCP/EIS'' in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: Attention: Libby Herland, Project Leader, 978-443-
     U.S. Mail: Attention: Libby Herland, Project Leader, 
Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 73 Weir Hill 
Road, Sudbury, MA 01776.
     In-Person Drop Off: You may drop off comments during 
regular business hours at the above address.
    You will find the draft CCP/EIS, as well as information about the 
planning process and a summary of the CCP, on the planning Web site: 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Libby Herland, 978-443-4661, x 11.



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Monomoy NWR, 
which officially began on February 24, 1999, when we published a 
Federal Register notice (64 FR 9166) announcing our intent to prepare a 
CCP. The notice indicated that one draft CCP/EIS would be written for 
all eight refuges in the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex (refuge 
complex), of which Monomoy NWR is a part. As our work got under way to 
develop one CCP/EIS for eight refuges, we recognized that each had 
distinct issues and management concerns, and it became apparent that 
combining them all into one plan would prove too challenging. Thus, in 
two separate Federal Register notices--one published on February 15, 
2001 (66 FR 10506), and a second one published on December 13, 2004 (69 
FR 72210)--we explained our intent to reorganize our CCP planning 
effort for the eight refuges, including Monomoy NWR. For more 
information about the initial steps of the planning process and the 
history of this refuge, see the December 13, 2004, notice.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), requires us to develop a 
CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose in developing a CCP 
is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy 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 Service 
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 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 consistent with 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 recreational opportunities that are compatible with 
each refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the NWRS.

CCP Alternatives, Including Selected Alternative

    The draft CCP/EIS, which includes detailed information about the 
planning process, refuge resources, management issues, and management 
alternatives considered and proposed, may be found on our Web site at 
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/monomoy/what_we_do/conservation.html. There 
are three refuge management alternatives considered in the draft CCP/
EIS; the Service's preferred alternative is detailed in the draft plan 
as alternative B. The alternatives analyzed in detail include:

[[Page 19921]]

Alternative A: Current Management (No Action)

    This alternative reflects current management, including activities 
previously undertaken, or already planned or approved, and is the 
baseline for comparing the other two alternatives. In addition to 
actions identified as common to all, under alternative A, there would 
be little or no change in our current refuge programs at Monomoy NWR. 
We would initiate few, if any, new wildlife population, habitat, or 
ecosystem management activities. No new public recreational 
opportunities would be undertaken, and there would be no enhancements 
to existing programs and opportunities. The Monomoy Wilderness would 
continue to be managed to protect wilderness character. The refuge 
would continue its current operations and maintenance activities within 
its current staffing and funding levels.

Alternative B: Enhanced Management of Habitat and Public Uses (Service-
Preferred Alternative)

    Alternative B, in comparison to alternative A, represents an 
extension and progression of all areas of refuge management. Under 
alternative B, new biological program activities would be initiated. 
Special emphasis would be placed on obtaining baseline data to increase 
our knowledge of wildlife populations and habitats in this dynamic 
coastal environment, enhance our ability to evaluate those resources in 
a regional context, and anticipate the effects of climate change. The 
new information would be used to develop the detailed step-down plans 
proposed under this alternative. Wildlife and habitat surveys and 
inventories would be prioritized to provide the data needed to evaluate 
the effectiveness of refuge management, and to adapt management as 
warranted, in order to achieve long-range refuge goals and objectives.
    Under alternative B, new and existing compatible wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities would be provided consistent with refuge 
purposes for protecting migratory birds and wilderness character. 
Special emphasis would be placed on providing enhanced, sustainable, 
and compatible opportunities for all six priority wildlife-dependent 
recreational uses defined in the Administration Act. Staffing would be 
modestly increased to accommodate new programs and activities, and 
proposed new visitor contact facilities would provide better access to 
information and support quality educational and interpretive programs.

Alternative C: Natural Processes

    Alternative C proposes less intensive management on all refuge 
lands. It would be guided by a philosophy of allowing natural processes 
and succession of habitats to progress, consistent with preserving 
wilderness character, and to the extent that it does not compromise 
refuge purposes and goals. Generally, wildlife and habitat management, 
and inventories and monitoring efforts, would be reduced from those 
planned under alternative A. We would manage the refuge visitor 
services program with an emphasis on providing wildlife-dependent 
recreation that uses hand tools and non-motorized equipment, protects 
naturalness, and provides solitude or primitive, unconfined recreation.
    Under all alternatives, the boundary of the refuge would be 
modified to include an area on Nauset/South Beach, approximately 717 
acres, that is within the Cape Cod National Seashore boundary, but 
which accreted and joined the refuge's South Monomoy Island. With this 
addition, the refuge comprises 8,321 acres. We would incorporate the 
Nauset/South Beach addition into, and manage it consistent with, the 
refuge's existing designated wilderness area.

Public Involvement

    We will give the public an opportunity to provide input at public 
meetings. You can obtain the schedule from the address or Web site 
listed in this notice (see ADDRESSES). You may also submit comments 
anytime during the public comment period.

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: March 5, 2014.
Deborah Rocque,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2014-07531 Filed 4-9-14; 8:45 am]