[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 78 (Wednesday, April 23, 2014)]
[Pages 22697-22698]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09241]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2013-N175; FXRS12650400000S3-123-FF04R02000]

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Collier County, Florida

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to prepare 
a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) revision and associated 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for Florida Panther 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located in Collier County in southwest 
Florida. We provide this notice in compliance with

[[Page 22698]]

our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State agencies, Native 
American Tribes, and the public of our intentions and to obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to be considered in 
the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration of your comments in the development of 
the refuge's CCP revision, we must receive your written comments by May 
23, 2014. One or more public scoping meetings will be scheduled to help 
engage the public in this planning process; please contact Florida 
Panther NWR for the date(s): FloridaPantherCCP@fws.gov or 239-353-8442. 
Information will also be posted on the refuge's Web site: http://www.fws.gov/floridapanther/.

ADDRESSES: An online public engagement platform will be used for the 
engagement of the public and the submission of public comments; to 
access this forum, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/floridapanther/ccp.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: You may also send comments, questions, 
and requests for information to Cheri Ehrhardt, AICP, Natural Resource 
Planner, P.O. Box 2683, Titusville, FL 32781-2683; 
FloridaPantherCCP@fws.gov; 321.861.1276 (fax); or 321-861-2368.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP 
revision for Florida Panther NWR in Collier County, Florida. This 
notice complies with our CCP policy to: (1) Advise other Federal and 
State agencies, Native-American tribes, and the public of our intention 
to conduct detailed planning on this refuge and (2) obtain suggestions 
and information on the scope of issues to consider in the environmental 
document and during development of the CCP.


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 original CCP for Florida 
Panther NWR was completed in 2000. Since much has changed in the 
intervening time, the Service has determined that the CCP for Florida 
Panther NWR needs to be revised. The purpose for revising the CCP is to 
provide refuge managers with an updated 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 
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System 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 National Wildlife Refuge System 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 
for the best possible conservation approach to this important wildlife 
habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with the refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
We encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions for the future management of Florida Panther NWR.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project 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 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and 
regulations; and our policies and procedures for compliance with those 
laws and regulations.

Purposes of Florida Panther NWR

    Established in 1989 and encompassing 26,605 acres, Florida Panther 
NWR's purposes are to conserve fish, wildlife, and plants that are 
listed as threatened or endangered species (Endangered Species Act of 
1973) and for the development, advancement, management, conservation, 
and protection of fish and wildlife resources (Fish and Wildlife Act of 
1956). Two key Service documents played a strong role in defining the 
purposes of Florida Panther NWR; they prioritize the protection and 
recovery of the Florida panther: (1) The 1985 Fakahatchee Strand 
Environmental Assessment, which clearly states that the refuge area 
should be acquired for the benefit and recovery of the endangered 
Florida panther; and (2) the 1995 and subsequent 2008 revisions of the 
Florida Panther Recovery Plan, which states that the refuge is 
essential to the survival of the Florida panther and that the refuge 
should enhance habitat conditions for the panther and its prey species.

Public Availability and 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.


    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et 

    Dated: March 11, 2014.
Jacquelyn B. Parrish,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2014-09241 Filed 4-22-14; 8:45 am]