Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, Hyde County, NC, 41371-41373 [E8-16424]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 139 / Friday, July 18, 2008 / Notices Property Number: 77200830008 Status: Excess Reasons: Secured Area Bldgs. 983, 1459 Naval Air Station North Island CA Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77200830009 Status: Excess Reasons: Secured Area Bldg. 33005 Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake CA 93555 Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77200830011 Status: Excess Reasons: Secured Area; Within 2000 ft. of flammable or explosive material; Extensive deterioration Unsuitable Properties Building California Motor Life Boat Pier USCG Station Samoa Co: Humboldt CA 95564 Landholding Agency: Coast Guard Property Number: 88200830001 Status: Unutilized Reasons: Extensive deterioration North Carolina Frying Pan Light Station Atlantic Ocean NC Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54200830004 Status: Excess GSA Number: 4–U–NC–0749 Reasons: Floodway Not accessible by road Pennsylvania Bldg. 00257 Carlisle Barracks Cumberland PA 17013 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21200830001 Status: Excess Reasons: Extensive deterioration Unsuitable Properties Land Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, Hyde County, NC Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge for public review and comment. In this Draft CCP/EA, we describe the alternative we propose to use to manage this refuge for the 15 years following approval of the Final CCP. DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments by August 18, 2008. Mailings, a news release, newspaper articles, appearances on broadcast media, and the Southeast Region’s planning Web site will be the avenues by which the public is informed of the availability of the Draft CCP/EA for comment. ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Draft CCP/EA should be addressed to: Bruce Freske, Refuge Manager, Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, 38 Mattamuskeet Road, Swan Quarter, NC 27885; Telephone: 252/926–4021. The Draft CCP/EA may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service’s Internet Site: http://southeast.fws.gov/ planning. Comments on the Draft CCP/ EA may be submitted to the above address or by e-mail to Mr. Freske at: bruce_freske@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: South Carolina dwashington3 on PRODPC61 with NOTICES3 [FWS–R4–R–2008–N0120; 40136–1265– 0000–S3] Bruce Freske; Telephone: 252/926– 4021. 274.71 acres Berlin Co: Coos NH 03570 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54200830005 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–J–NH–0501 Reasons: Other—landlocked Laurel Bay Tract Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort SC Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77200830010 Status: Excess Reasons: Secured Area [FR Doc. E8–16135 Filed 7–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P 15:36 Jul 17, 2008 Fish and Wildlife Service FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: New Hampshire VerDate Aug<31>2005 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Jkt 214001 Introduction With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. We started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on February 7, 2001 (66 FR 9353). Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southern end of a broad, swampy peninsula in northeastern North Carolina. It was established in 1934 to protect and conserve migratory birds and other wildlife resources through the protection of wetlands, particularly the PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41371 40,000-acre Lake Mattamuskeet itself. This water body, the largest natural lake in the state, comprises almost 80 percent of the 50,180-acre refuge. While the lake averages only two feet in depth, it is 18 miles long and five to six miles wide. In addition to Lake Mattamuskeet, the refuge’s other main habitats are wet pine flatwoods, moist-soil units, natural lake shoreline, and cypress-gum swamp. Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is exceptionally important for wintering waterfowl, particularly tundra swan, the Atlantic population of Canada geese, northern pintail, green-winged teal, gadwall, widgeon, mallard, and black duck. Background The CCP Process The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee), which amended the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, 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 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 wildlifedependent 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 Improvement Act and NEPA. Significant issues addressed in the Draft CCP/EA include: Waterfowl conservation; shorebirds; threatened and endangered species; habitat protection; neotropical migratory birds; conservation of open water habitat in Lake Mattamuskeet; visitor services (e.g., hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation); funding and staffing; cultural resources; land acquisition; and invasive species management. CCP Alternatives, Including Our Proposed Alternative We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge and chose Alternative B as the proposed alternative. A full description of each E:\FR\FM\18JYN1.SGM 18JYN1 41372 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 139 / Friday, July 18, 2008 / Notices dwashington3 on PRODPC61 with NOTICES3 alternative is in the Draft CCP/EA. We summarize each alternative below. Alternative A—Continue Current Management Direction (No Action Alternative) This alternative represents the status quo (i.e., no change from current management). During fall and winter, the refuge would continue to furnish habitat and sanctuary for 20–30 percent of North Carolina’s tundra swans; 40,000–60,000 northern pintails and American green-winged teals; 5,000 Canada geese (Atlantic Population); and 40,000–60,000 other ducks, including 2,000–4,000 black ducks. Protection of fish and their habitats and cooperation with universities, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), and other agencies would continue, as would winter counts of bald eagles and Christmas bird counts. On a rotating basis, moist-soil management units would be managed to benefit shorebirds during spring migration. Deer herd health would be studied once every five years. Collaboration with the red wolf recovery program and assistance with partners on studies of reptiles and amphibians would continue. Existing habitats would be maintained, including 40,276 acres of open water habitat in Lake Mattamuskeet and associated canals; 2,300 acres of freshwater marsh; 2,000 acres in 12 moist-soil units; and 572 acres of three forested impoundments. We would also maintain existing areas of mixed pine hardwood (1,300 acres), wet pine flatwoods (1,000 acres), cypress gum swamp (266 nonimpounded acres), as well as 191 acres of cropland in corn and soybeans and 189 acres of cropland in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Refuge resources would be protected by limiting the negative impacts of human activity and invasive species on and around the refuge. These efforts would include minor purchases, water quality monitoring with NCWRC, and protection of cultural and historic resources. The refuge would continue to control common reed, alligatorweed, and nutria. A range of visitor services without the guidance of an overall visitor services’ plan would continue for all six priority public uses, including hunting for deer (6,000 acres), waterfowl (1,000 acres) (including a program for youth), and resident Canada geese. Fishing facilities and opportunities would remain the same and support 20,000 angler visits annually. Environmental education efforts would include hosting Environmental VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:36 Jul 17, 2008 Jkt 214001 Field Day, environmental educator workshops, and university student activities on the refuge. The refuge would continue to provide approximately 10,000 interpretation opportunities annually and would construct a new visitor contact station with several interpretive exhibits (at the new refuge headquarters) by 2010. Wildlife observation and photography opportunities would include maintaining a boardwalk, fishing piers, observation decks, a photo blind, and a wildlife drive. These facilities would serve an estimated 90,000 visitors annually. By 2010, a new refuge headquarters/ visitor contact station and maintenance workshop would be constructed, and two staff houses would be replaced. The refuge would continue to partner with a number of governmental and nongovernmental institutions, as well as with volunteers. Alternative B—Proposed Action The Service’s proposed alternative enhances or slightly expands various aspects of Alternative A. With regard to wintering waterfowl, for example, the objectives for tundra swan and northern pintail are the same as Alternative A, but the Canada goose objective is 5,000 higher and the duck objective 40,000 to 60,000 higher under Alternative B than Alternative A. Alternative B would replicate most elements and expand upon other aspects of Alternative A’s fisheries management, increasing cooperation with universities and other agencies to monitor fish population status and increasing applied research especially with regard to baseline surveys and carp management. Alternative B would implement each action proposed under Alternative A with respect to management of raptors, passerine birds, shorebirds, marsh and wading birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Alternative A would differ from Alternative B by re-initiating nest counts of ospreys and implementing passerine point counts in different refuge habitats to evaluate the effects of habitat management actions on passerine diversity and populations. Furthermore, alternative management strategies for moist-soil units would be evaluated as to their benefit for spring and fall migration of shorebirds. Also, ground surveys for marsh and wading birds would be re-instituted. Alternative B aims to expand on Alternative A’s habitat objectives. The refuge would investigate the desirability and feasibility of restoring Salyer’s Ridge pinewoods. In addition, it would consider new management options for PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the CRP cropland when the contract expires in 2011. Alternative B would expand resource protection by increasing the control of invasive plant and animal species, such as common reed, alligatorweed, and nutria. The refuge would also prepare and begin to implement a Cultural Resources Management Plan. To enhance law enforcement, the refuge would obtain one full-time law enforcement officer dedicated solely to Mattamuskeet Refuge. To better support public use, under Alternative B, the refuge would prepare and implement a Visitor Services’ Plan. Existing hunts would continue and we would explore how to increase youth hunting opportunities for deer and waterfowl and cooperate with NCWRC to conduct activities promoting hunter recruitment and retention. Fishing opportunities would increase by adding one boat ramp to support an additional 5,000 angler visits annually. In terms of environmental education, Nature Week would be re-instituted and the refuge would begin to host ten K– 12 school programs annually. Interpretation opportunities would be expanded by adding kiosks, annually revised brochures, and interpretive signage along the wildlife drive and New Holland boardwalk trail. Opening and staffing the visitor contact station with volunteer(s) on weekends would also promote further interpretation. Alternative B would reinstall an 8mile canoe and kayak loop trail and construct an additional photo-blind. Like Alternative A, the refuge would cooperate with partners to encourage commercial ecotours. We would also increase outreach. Facilities and partnerships would be the same as Alternative A. Alternative C—Moderately Expanded Program This alternative would represent a moderate expansion over the refuge’s existing program; Alternative C is also somewhat more expansive than Alternative B, the Service’s proposed alternative. With regard to wintering waterfowl, for example, the objectives for tundra swan and northern pintail are the same as Alternative B, but the Canada goose objective is 5,000 higher and the duck objective 80,000 to 120,000 higher under Alternative C than Alternative B. Alternative C would aim for the same objectives as Alternative B in other aspects of wildlife and fisheries management. Where these two alternatives differ is that Alternative C generally proposes more studies and surveys. E:\FR\FM\18JYN1.SGM 18JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 139 / Friday, July 18, 2008 / Notices Alternative C’s habitat management objectives are identical to Alternative B and quite similar to Alternative A. Concerning resource protection, Alternative C would replicate Alternative B’s objectives, but in addition, would install and maintain one or more remote automated water quality monitoring devices/stations and further increase control of invasive species, including monitoring for the presence of kudzu and feral swine. Alternative C would provide increased visitor services over those offered by the first two alternatives, and provide for increases in each of the six priority public uses. As in Alternative B, visitor services would be under the guidance of a Visitor Services’ Plan. A park ranger would annually offer 30 interpretive programs, including offering or hosting interpreted kayak excursions. The refuge would further expand outreach by increasing offrefuge programs, news releases, and Web site updates. Next Step After the comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and address them in the form of a Final CCP and Finding of No Significant Impact. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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. Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105–57. Dated: May 22, 2008. Cynthia K. Dohner, Acting Regional Director. [FR Doc. E8–16424 Filed 7–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management dwashington3 on PRODPC61 with NOTICES3 [WY–922–1320–EL, WYW176470] Coal Exploration License, WY Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Invitation for Coal Exploration License AGENCY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:36 Jul 17, 2008 Jkt 214001 SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 2(b) of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended by section 4 of the Federal Coal Leasing Amendments Act of 1976, 90 Stat. 1083, 30 U.S.C. 201 (b), and to the regulations adopted as 43 CFR 3410, all interested parties are hereby invited to participate with Jacobs Ranch Coal Company on a pro rata cost sharing basis in its program for the exploration of coal deposits owned by the United States of America in the followingdescribed lands in Campbell County, WY: 41373 after publication of this invitation in the Federal Register. The foregoing is published in the Federal Register pursuant to 43 CFR 3410.2–1(c)(1). Dated: July 9, 2008. Pamela J. Lewis, Acting Deputy State Director, Minerals and Lands. [FR Doc. E8–16069 Filed 7–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–22–P T. 44 N., R. 70 W., 6th P.M., Wyoming Sec. 3: Lots 7–10, 14–19; Sec. 4: Lots 5–20; Sec. 5: Lots 5–20; Sec. 6: Lots 8–10, 13–18, 21–23; Sec. 7: Lots 5–20; Sec. 8: Lots 1–16; Sec. 9: Lots 1–10, 13–15; Sec. 10: Lots 4, 5, 11, 12; Sec. 15: Lots 3–5, 7–10; T. 45 N., R. 70 W., 6th P.M., Wyoming Sec. 31: Lots 13, 14, 19, 20; Sec. 32: Lots 9–16; Sec. 33: Lots 9–16; Sec. 34: Lots 9–16. Containing 5,623.02 acres, more or less. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR All of the coal in the above-described land consists of unleased Federal coal within the Powder River Basin Known Coal Leasing Area. The purpose of the exploration program is to obtain geotechnical data and coal quality data to assist with the planning of future expansions to the Jacobs Ranch Mine. ADDRESSES: Copies of the exploration plan are available for review during normal business hours in the following offices (serialized under number WYW176470): Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office, 5353 Yellowstone Road, P.O. Box 1828, Cheyenne, WY 82003; and, Bureau of Land Management, Casper Field Office, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, WY 82604. The written notice should be sent to the following addresses: Jacobs Ranch Coal Company, c/o Rio Tinto Energy America, Attn: Tom Suchomel, Caller Box 3009, Gillette, WY 82717, and the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office, Branch of Solid Minerals, Attn: Mavis Love, P.O. Box 1828, Cheyenne, WY 82003. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of invitation will be published in The News-Record of Gillette, WY, once each week for two consecutive weeks beginning the week of July 14, 2008, and in the Federal Register. Any party electing to participate in this exploration program must send written notice to both the Bureau of Land Management and Jacobs Ranch Coal Company, as provided in the ADDRESSES section above, no later than thirty days SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is scheduled to file the plat of survey of the lands described below thirty (30) calendar days from the date of this publication in the BLM Wyoming State Office, Cheyenne, Wyoming. PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Bureau of Land Management [WY–957–08–1420–BJ–TRST] Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey, Nebraska AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior. Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey, Nebraska. ACTION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bureau of Land Management, 5353 Yellowstone Road, P.O. Box 1828, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003. These surveys were executed at the request of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and are necessary for the management of these lands. The lands surveyed are: The plat and field notes representing the dependent resurvey of portions of the west boundary, the subdivisional lines, and the subdivision of certain sections; and the survey of the subdivision of certain sections, Township 25 North, Range 8 East, of the Sixth Principal Meridian, Nebraska, Group No. 164 was accepted July 7, 2008. Copies of the preceding described plat and field notes are available to the public at a cost of $1.10 per page. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: July 11, 2008. John P. Lee, Chief Cadastral Surveyor, Division of Support Services. [FR Doc. E8–16422 Filed 7–17–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4467–22–P E:\FR\FM\18JYN1.SGM 18JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 139 (Friday, July 18, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41371-41373]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-16424]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2008-N0120; 40136-1265-0000-S3]


Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, Hyde County, NC

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; draft comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Mattamuskeet National 
Wildlife Refuge for public review and comment. In this Draft CCP/EA, we 
describe the alternative we propose to use to manage this refuge for 
the 15 years following approval of the Final CCP.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by August 18, 2008. Mailings, a news release, newspaper articles, 
appearances on broadcast media, and the Southeast Region's planning Web 
site will be the avenues by which the public is informed of the 
availability of the Draft CCP/EA for comment.

ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Draft CCP/EA should be addressed 
to: Bruce Freske, Refuge Manager, Mattamuskeet National Wildlife 
Refuge, 38 Mattamuskeet Road, Swan Quarter, NC 27885; Telephone: 252/
926-4021. The Draft CCP/EA may also be accessed and downloaded from the 
Service's Internet Site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning. Comments on 
the Draft CCP/EA may be submitted to the above address or by e-mail to 
Mr. Freske at: bruce_freske@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bruce Freske; Telephone: 252/926-4021.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Mattamuskeet 
National Wildlife Refuge. We started the process through a notice in 
the Federal Register on February 7, 2001 (66 FR 9353).
    Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southern 
end of a broad, swampy peninsula in northeastern North Carolina. It was 
established in 1934 to protect and conserve migratory birds and other 
wildlife resources through the protection of wetlands, particularly the 
40,000-acre Lake Mattamuskeet itself. This water body, the largest 
natural lake in the state, comprises almost 80 percent of the 50,180-
acre refuge. While the lake averages only two feet in depth, it is 18 
miles long and five to six miles wide. In addition to Lake 
Mattamuskeet, the refuge's other main habitats are wet pine flatwoods, 
moist-soil units, natural lake shoreline, and cypress-gum swamp.
    Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is exceptionally important 
for wintering waterfowl, particularly tundra swan, the Atlantic 
population of Canada geese, northern pintail, green-winged teal, 
gadwall, widgeon, mallard, and black duck.

Background

The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), which amended the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, 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 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 Improvement Act and NEPA.
    Significant issues addressed in the Draft CCP/EA include: Waterfowl 
conservation; shorebirds; threatened and endangered species; habitat 
protection; neotropical migratory birds; conservation of open water 
habitat in Lake Mattamuskeet; visitor services (e.g., hunting, fishing, 
wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education 
and interpretation); funding and staffing; cultural resources; land 
acquisition; and invasive species management.

CCP Alternatives, Including Our Proposed Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge and chose 
Alternative B as the proposed alternative. A full description of each

[[Page 41372]]

alternative is in the Draft CCP/EA. We summarize each alternative 
below.

Alternative A--Continue Current Management Direction (No Action 
Alternative)

    This alternative represents the status quo (i.e., no change from 
current management). During fall and winter, the refuge would continue 
to furnish habitat and sanctuary for 20-30 percent of North Carolina's 
tundra swans; 40,000-60,000 northern pintails and American green-winged 
teals; 5,000 Canada geese (Atlantic Population); and 40,000-60,000 
other ducks, including 2,000-4,000 black ducks.
    Protection of fish and their habitats and cooperation with 
universities, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), 
and other agencies would continue, as would winter counts of bald 
eagles and Christmas bird counts. On a rotating basis, moist-soil 
management units would be managed to benefit shorebirds during spring 
migration. Deer herd health would be studied once every five years. 
Collaboration with the red wolf recovery program and assistance with 
partners on studies of reptiles and amphibians would continue.
    Existing habitats would be maintained, including 40,276 acres of 
open water habitat in Lake Mattamuskeet and associated canals; 2,300 
acres of freshwater marsh; 2,000 acres in 12 moist-soil units; and 572 
acres of three forested impoundments. We would also maintain existing 
areas of mixed pine hardwood (1,300 acres), wet pine flatwoods (1,000 
acres), cypress gum swamp (266 non-impounded acres), as well as 191 
acres of cropland in corn and soybeans and 189 acres of cropland in the 
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
    Refuge resources would be protected by limiting the negative 
impacts of human activity and invasive species on and around the 
refuge. These efforts would include minor purchases, water quality 
monitoring with NCWRC, and protection of cultural and historic 
resources. The refuge would continue to control common reed, 
alligatorweed, and nutria.
    A range of visitor services without the guidance of an overall 
visitor services' plan would continue for all six priority public uses, 
including hunting for deer (6,000 acres), waterfowl (1,000 acres) 
(including a program for youth), and resident Canada geese. Fishing 
facilities and opportunities would remain the same and support 20,000 
angler visits annually.
    Environmental education efforts would include hosting Environmental 
Field Day, environmental educator workshops, and university student 
activities on the refuge. The refuge would continue to provide 
approximately 10,000 interpretation opportunities annually and would 
construct a new visitor contact station with several interpretive 
exhibits (at the new refuge headquarters) by 2010. Wildlife observation 
and photography opportunities would include maintaining a boardwalk, 
fishing piers, observation decks, a photo blind, and a wildlife drive. 
These facilities would serve an estimated 90,000 visitors annually.
    By 2010, a new refuge headquarters/visitor contact station and 
maintenance workshop would be constructed, and two staff houses would 
be replaced. The refuge would continue to partner with a number of 
governmental and non-governmental institutions, as well as with 
volunteers.

Alternative B--Proposed Action

    The Service's proposed alternative enhances or slightly expands 
various aspects of Alternative A. With regard to wintering waterfowl, 
for example, the objectives for tundra swan and northern pintail are 
the same as Alternative A, but the Canada goose objective is 5,000 
higher and the duck objective 40,000 to 60,000 higher under Alternative 
B than Alternative A.
    Alternative B would replicate most elements and expand upon other 
aspects of Alternative A's fisheries management, increasing cooperation 
with universities and other agencies to monitor fish population status 
and increasing applied research especially with regard to baseline 
surveys and carp management.
    Alternative B would implement each action proposed under 
Alternative A with respect to management of raptors, passerine birds, 
shorebirds, marsh and wading birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. 
Alternative A would differ from Alternative B by re-initiating nest 
counts of ospreys and implementing passerine point counts in different 
refuge habitats to evaluate the effects of habitat management actions 
on passerine diversity and populations. Furthermore, alternative 
management strategies for moist-soil units would be evaluated as to 
their benefit for spring and fall migration of shorebirds. Also, ground 
surveys for marsh and wading birds would be re-instituted.
    Alternative B aims to expand on Alternative A's habitat objectives. 
The refuge would investigate the desirability and feasibility of 
restoring Salyer's Ridge pinewoods. In addition, it would consider new 
management options for the CRP cropland when the contract expires in 
2011.
    Alternative B would expand resource protection by increasing the 
control of invasive plant and animal species, such as common reed, 
alligatorweed, and nutria. The refuge would also prepare and begin to 
implement a Cultural Resources Management Plan. To enhance law 
enforcement, the refuge would obtain one full-time law enforcement 
officer dedicated solely to Mattamuskeet Refuge.
    To better support public use, under Alternative B, the refuge would 
prepare and implement a Visitor Services' Plan. Existing hunts would 
continue and we would explore how to increase youth hunting 
opportunities for deer and waterfowl and cooperate with NCWRC to 
conduct activities promoting hunter recruitment and retention. Fishing 
opportunities would increase by adding one boat ramp to support an 
additional 5,000 angler visits annually.
    In terms of environmental education, Nature Week would be re-
instituted and the refuge would begin to host ten K-12 school programs 
annually. Interpretation opportunities would be expanded by adding 
kiosks, annually revised brochures, and interpretive signage along the 
wildlife drive and New Holland boardwalk trail. Opening and staffing 
the visitor contact station with volunteer(s) on weekends would also 
promote further interpretation.
    Alternative B would reinstall an 8-mile canoe and kayak loop trail 
and construct an additional photo-blind. Like Alternative A, the refuge 
would cooperate with partners to encourage commercial ecotours. We 
would also increase outreach. Facilities and partnerships would be the 
same as Alternative A.

Alternative C--Moderately Expanded Program

    This alternative would represent a moderate expansion over the 
refuge's existing program; Alternative C is also somewhat more 
expansive than Alternative B, the Service's proposed alternative. With 
regard to wintering waterfowl, for example, the objectives for tundra 
swan and northern pintail are the same as Alternative B, but the Canada 
goose objective is 5,000 higher and the duck objective 80,000 to 
120,000 higher under Alternative C than Alternative B.
    Alternative C would aim for the same objectives as Alternative B in 
other aspects of wildlife and fisheries management. Where these two 
alternatives differ is that Alternative C generally proposes more 
studies and surveys.

[[Page 41373]]

    Alternative C's habitat management objectives are identical to 
Alternative B and quite similar to Alternative A. Concerning resource 
protection, Alternative C would replicate Alternative B's objectives, 
but in addition, would install and maintain one or more remote 
automated water quality monitoring devices/stations and further 
increase control of invasive species, including monitoring for the 
presence of kudzu and feral swine.
    Alternative C would provide increased visitor services over those 
offered by the first two alternatives, and provide for increases in 
each of the six priority public uses. As in Alternative B, visitor 
services would be under the guidance of a Visitor Services' Plan. A 
park ranger would annually offer 30 interpretive programs, including 
offering or hosting interpreted kayak excursions. The refuge would 
further expand outreach by increasing off-refuge programs, news 
releases, and Web site updates.

Next Step

    After the comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and 
address them in the form of a Final CCP and Finding of No Significant 
Impact.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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.

    Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 
105-57.

    Dated: May 22, 2008.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
 [FR Doc. E8-16424 Filed 7-17-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P