Latest News in Developing CCP
Status of Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
We continue to make progress on the final CCP/EIS with plans to release it in late October 2016. The final CCP/EIS will go out for a 30-day review period, in large part, to allow people who submitted comments a chance to see how we responded to their comments, including what changes were made to the Service-preferred alternative C.
Similar to the draft plan, with the final plan's release, we will publish a Federal Register Notice announcing its availability for the 30-day review, make extensive media contacts, send an announcement via our mailing list, and post the document on our website.
After the 30-day review period, a final proposal will be sent to our Director (who is responsible for approving new or major refuge expansions) and to our Regional Director (who is responsible for approving all other aspects of refuge CCPs). The final decision will be documented in a Record of Decision (ROD). The availability of the ROD will be announced in the Federal Register, sent to our media contacts, shared via our mailing list, and posted on our website.
Additional Public Information Session on CCP Planned for New Hampshire on May 3, 2016
We have accepted an invitation to participate in an open house hosted by the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association and the New Hampshire Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Refuge staff will be on-hand to present details of the Conte Refuge draft plan and answer questions. More details are provided here.
Public Comment Period on Draft CCP/EIS Completed
On August 18, 2015, we released a draft CCP/EIS for the Silvio O. Conte NFWR for a 90-day public comment period. We hosted 14 informational sessions across the watershed and held 4 formal public hearings, one in each state, during the comment period. We received over 270 emails and letters, and 73 people provided oral comments at the hearings.
The draft CCP/EIS will remain available on this website. Click here to download the reader’s guide, to help navigate the document, and to access the full text Silvio O. Conte NFWR draft CCP/EIS and it appendixes. The draft CCP/EIS is also available at the following town and city clerk’s offices*:
|*Please contact the town or city clerk before visiting to verify office hours & availability.
Public Hearing Transcripts
St Johnsbury, VT - November 2, 2015
Keene, NH - November 5, 2015
Hadley, MA - November 9, 2015
Burlington, CT - November 12, 2015
Report with All Comments Submitted
All Comments Report
We will spend this winter compiling and summarizing comments and developing our responses. The comment summary and our responses will be included as an appendix in our final CCP/EIS. We estimate a spring 2016 release of the final plan for a 30-day review period. A final decision is expected in summer 2016.
Clarifying Proposed Hunting Opportunities in the Draft CCP/EIS for Vermont
Based on some recent news coverage, we’d like to clarify our proposal in the draft CCP related to hunting on refuge lands in Vermont.
Hunting is a priority use and a proud tradition on national wildlife refuges nationwide.
In the draft CCP, we propose more access to safe hunting opportunities on the Conte refuge in the future. We are not proposing anything that would restrict gun ownership or discourage hunting on refuge lands. If a refuge boundary expansion is eventually approved, and when the Service has funding to buy land within that boundary from willing sellers, we would allow hunting in new refuge areas where it would provide a safe and quality experience that is in line with State of Vermont regulations.
We currently offer hunting opportunities on existing refuge lands at the Nulhegan Basin Division and Putney Mountain Unit. While we do limit shooting along roads that are open to vehicles in the interest of public safety, there are many miles of road closed to vehicles where these restrictions do not apply.
In the draft CCP, we would continue to provide safe, quality hunting experiences, and also opportunities for people to hike, watch birds, snowmobile, cross-country ski, fish, and bike on refuge lands.