Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Henry, Benton, Decatur, and Humphreys Counties, TN, 32201-32205 [2010-13520]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 108 / Monday, June 7, 2010 / Notices Dated: May 28, 2010. Tammi Hines, Acting Director, Records Management Division, Mission Support Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2010–13616 Filed 6–4–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–23–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA–2010–0011] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request, OMB No. 1660–0033; Residential Basement Floodproofing Certification AGENCY: Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS. ACTION: Notice; 30-day notice and request for comments; revision of a currently approved information collection; OMB No. 1660–0033; FEMA Form 086–0–24, Residential Basement Floodproofing Certificate. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has submitted the information collection abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget for review and clearance in accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The submission describes the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e., the time, effort and resources used by respondents to respond) and cost, and the actual data collection instruments FEMA will use. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before July 7, 2010. ADDRESSES: Submit written comments on the proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. Comments should be addressed to the Desk Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and sent via electronic mail to oira.submission@ omb.eop.gov or faxed to (202) 395–5806. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection should be made to Director, Records Management Division, 1800 South Bell Street, Arlington, VA 20598–3005, facsimile number (202) 646–3347, or email address FEMA–InformationCollections-Management@dhs.gov. WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:27 Jun 04, 2010 Jkt 220001 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Collection of Information Title: Residential Basement Floodproofing Certification. Type of information collection: Revision of a currently approved information collection. OMB Number: 1660–0033. Form Titles and Numbers: FEMA Form 086–0–24, Residential Basement Floodproofing Certificate. Abstract: The Residential Basement Floodproofing Certification is completed by an engineer or architect and certifies that the basement floodproofing meets the minimum floodproofing specifications of FEMA. This certification is for residential structures located in non-coastal Special Flood Hazard Areas in communities that have received an exception to the requirement that structures be built at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Residential structures with certification showing the building is flood proofed to at least 1 foot above the BFE are eligible for lower rates on flood insurance. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit. Estimated Number of Respondents: 100. Frequency of Response: On occasion. Estimated Average Hour Burden per Respondent: 3.25 Hours. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 325 Hours. Estimated Cost: The annual operations and maintenance cost for the services of the engineer or contractor is $35,000. There are no annual capital or start-up costs associated with this collection. Dated: June 2, 2010. Tammi Hines, Acting Director, Records Management Division, Mission Support Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2010–13608 Filed 6–4–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–11–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–R–2010–N050; 40136–1265–0000– S3] Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Henry, Benton, Decatur, and Humphreys Counties, TN AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability: Draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment; request for comments. PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32201 SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 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 July 7, 2010. ADDRESSES: Send comments, questions, and requests for information to: Ms. Tina Chouinard, Refuge Planner, Fish and Wildlife Service, 6772 Highway 76 South, Stanton, TN 38069. The Draft CCP/EA is available on compact disk or in hard copy. You may also access and download a copy of the Draft CCP/EA from the Service’s Internet Web Site: https://southeast.fws.gov/planning/ under ‘‘Draft Documents.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Tina Chouinard; telephone: 731/432– 0981. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Tennessee NWR. We started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on April 2, 2008 (73 FR 17994). On December 28, 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order No. 9670 establishing the Tennessee NWR. The following day, the Department of the Interior and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) entered an agreement that the lands would henceforth be reserved for use as a wildlife refuge. Tennessee NWR runs along 65 miles of the Tennessee River in Henry, Benton, Decatur, and Humphreys Counties, Tennessee. The refuge is comprised of three units: Duck River Unit (26,738 acres), Big Sandy Unit (21,348 acres), and Busseltown Unit (3,272 acres), for a total acreage of 51,358 acres. Big Sandy is the northern-most unit, located at the junction of the Big Sandy and Tennessee Rivers, about 12 miles north of the town of Big Sandy. Most of the lands on this unit are upland and forested with little wetland management capabilities. Waterfowl management activities primarily consist of providing sanctuary on the waters and mudflats of Kentucky Lake and agriculture crops for foraging habitats. The Duck River Unit is located at the junction of the Duck and Tennessee Rivers in Humphreys and Benton Counties. A wide variety of habitats is E:\FR\FM\07JNN1.SGM 07JNN1 32202 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 108 / Monday, June 7, 2010 / Notices available for waterfowl and other waterbirds, including agriculture, moistsoil, mudflats, forested wetlands, and scrub-shrub. The Busseltown Unit is located along the western bank of the Tennessee River, in Decatur County roughly 5 miles northeast of Parsons, Tennessee. It is primarily managed for waterfowl by providing agriculture foraging habitats. Some moist-soil and scrub-shrub habitats are also available. All three units were used extensively for agriculture in the 1800s and early 1900s. The two northern units were named for the rivers which run through them, while the much smaller Busseltown Unit was named after Johnse Bussel, an earlier settler to the area who established a store and home in the area that later became known as Busseltown. The mixture of open water, wetlands, woodlands, croplands, and grasslands creates a mosaic of wildliferich habitats. The refuge provides valuable wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl. It also provides habitat and protection for threatened and endangered species. The establishing and acquisition authorities for Tennessee NWR include the Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715–715r) and Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661–667). In addition, Public Land Order 4560 identified the purposes of the refuge to be ‘‘to build, operate and maintain subimpoundment structures; produce food crops or cover for wildlife; to regulate and restrict hunting, trapping and fishing and to otherwise manage said lands and impoundment areas for the protection and production of wildlife and fish populations’’ (Public Land Order 1962). The refuge also supports an abundance of wildlife, including over 650 species of plants, 303 species of birds, and 280 species of mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Background WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with NOTICES The CCP Process The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee), 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 for 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 VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:27 Jun 04, 2010 Jkt 220001 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 Administration Act. Significant issues addressed in this Draft CCP/EA include: (1) Managing for invasive species, migratory birds, and species of special concern; (2) managing mixed pine upland and bottomland hardwood forests; (3) enhancing wildlife-dependent public uses, especially environmental education and interpretation programs; (4) addressing climate change; and (5) increasing permanent staff. CCP Alternatives, Including Our Proposed Alternative We developed four alternatives for managing the refuge and chose Alternative D as the proposed alternative. A full description of each alternative is in the Draft CCP/EA. We summarize each below: Alternative A—Current Management (No Action) In general, Alternative A would maintain current management direction. Public use patterns would remain relatively unchanged from those that exist at present. The refuge would continue to contribute to healthy and viable native wildlife and fish populations representative of the Lower TennesseeCumberland River Ecosystem, with special emphasis on waterfowl and other migratory birds. We would continue the moist-soil management program on about 1,600 acres. There would be no active forest management, but we would continue evaluation of past forest treatments for increasing habitat for priority species on the Big Sandy peninsula. The cooperative farming and refuge staff (force account) program would continue cultivating crops on about 3,000 acres for the benefit of waterfowl and resident game species. Bottomland hardwood forest habitat would not be actively managed, but we would continue current water management of about 5,160 acres of impounded water management units. Working with partners, we would continue to provide mudflats during August–September for shorebird and early migratory waterfowl, scrub-shrub habitat, and desirable aquatic plants. We PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 would also continue annual spraying and biological control of alligatorweed, privet species, sesbania, purple loosestrife, encroaching woody vegetation, spatterdock, and parrot feather. Mechanical control (i.e., mowing and disking) of certain upland plants would be conducted as needed. There would be no active monitoring, management, or education related to climate change. We would continue to manage cultural resources consistent with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The refuge’s size and boundaries would not change. Under Alternative A, we would continue to provide visitor services under the existing public use review and development plan approved in 1986. We would continue to allow managed, limited hunting for deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose, as well as to provide opportunities for fishing. We would continue to offer opportunities for wildlife observation and photography throughout the refuge, and to provide environmental education services to the public, including limited visits to schools, environmental education workshops, and on-site and off-site environmental education programs. Under Alternative A, we would maintain the current staff of 13, including the refuge manager, deputy refuge manager, two refuge biologists, refuge ranger, refuge planner, two law enforcement officers, three heavy equipment operators, administrative officer, and assistant refuge manager. The current office, bunkhouse, storage, and maintenance shop at the Duck River Unit and the existing inventory of heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control structures, and pumps would be maintained. We would maintain our existing partnerships. Alternative B—Public Use Emphasis In general, Alternative B would emphasize enhanced public use on the refuge. With regard to native fish and wildlife, this alternative would be quite similar to Alternative A in many respects. Alternative B would differ from Alternative A by developing partnerships with non-governmental organizations and the public in efforts to inventory non-game and aquatic species and possibly in certain habitat management activities. Alternative B would be very similar to the actions described under Alternative A in aiming to maintain existing habitat management programs, practices, and actions. Under Alternative B, we would increase water management efforts E:\FR\FM\07JNN1.SGM 07JNN1 WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 108 / Monday, June 7, 2010 / Notices toward increasing sport fishing opportunities within the 5,160 acres of impoundments. We would also offer additional education and interpretation of importance of early drawdowns of Kentucky Lake to shorebirds and other migratory birds. Under Alternative B, we would provide additional education and interpretation of invasive species for the public. With regard to climate change, under Alternative B the refuge would relate climate change to the Service’s wildlife mission in environmental education programs. However, there would still be no active monitoring or management related to climate change. Under Alternative B, we would manage cultural resources consistent with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. We would prioritize areas for possible minor boundary expansions to accommodate and better serve refuge visitors. Alternative B would emphasize wildlife-dependent public use more than any other alternative. Under Alternative B, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would draft, approve, and begin to implement a new visitor services plan using the current format for such documents. Hunting opportunities would be increased for deer and maintained for turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose, and new hunts would be considered. We would provide opportunities for fishing by furnishing adequate launching facilities, bank fishing areas, and over the life of the CCP, provide additional ADA-compliant piers to accommodate anglers of all abilities. We would continue to offer opportunities for wildlife observation and photography throughout the refuge. We would also aim to increase wildlife observation/photography opportunities with blinds and a boardwalk, and within 2 years of CCP approval, open a seasonal wildlife drive in the Duck River Bottoms. We would continue to provide environmental education services to the public, including limited visits to schools, workshops, and on-site and off-site programs, as well as work with partners to expand environmental education facilities and opportunities on and near the refuge. The existing interpretive program would be expanded. Under Alternative B, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would work with partners to construct a combined headquarters and visitor center, incorporating ‘‘green’’ technology, on the Big Sandy Unit. Within 15 years of CCP approval, we would build a visitor contact station at the Duck River Unit. Alternative B would maintain the office, VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:27 Jun 04, 2010 Jkt 220001 storage, and maintenance facilities at Duck River Unit, and the existing inventory of heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control structures, and pumps. The bunkhouse would also be replaced. Under Alternative B, we would maintain our current staff of 13. Four new staff members would be added, including two refuge rangers, one law enforcement officer, and one office assistant. Under Alternative B, we would strengthen our volunteer programs, friend’s group, and partnerships by investing an increased portion of staff time into nurturing these promising relationships. Alternative C—Wildlife Management Emphasis Alternative C aims to intensify and expand wildlife and habitat management on the refuge. This would increase benefits for wildlife species, which fulfills the refuge purpose and goals. Public use opportunities and our efforts to provide visitor services would remain approximately as they are now. Concerning waterfowl, under Alternative C, we would provide adequate habitats to meet the foraging needs of 182,000 ducks for 110 days and other habitats that are needed for loafing, roosting, molting, etc. This is a 50 percent increase in the number of ducks under Alternatives A and B. Alternative C would also maintain seasonally closed waters, roads, and land areas to provide sanctuary for waterfowl. In addition, Alternative C would increase seasonally closed areas, including the closure of Busseltown and Honey Point Ferry roads. Alternative C would provide adequate corn and wheat browse to meet the needs of about 16,000 migratory Canada geese for 90 days, the same as Alternatives A and B. In contrast with these two alternatives, however, Alternative C would also readjust population levels as suggested by future needs; that is, it would follow adaptive management principles. To promote wood duck reproduction, Alternative C would maintain 200–250 nesting boxes (compared to 175 boxes in Alternatives A and B), expanding the program to the Big Sandy and Busseltown Units. It would also continue to meet the banding goals of the Mississippi Flyway Council. Under this alternative, we would create and enhance existing habitat for secretive marshbirds, sufficient to support 25 nesting territories for king rail pairs. Within 10 years of CCP approval, we would provide at least 200–300 acres of foraging sites in multiple impoundments for both PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32203 northbound and southbound shorebirds during migration, and we would conduct population and habitat surveys to evaluate shorebird use and invertebrate densities within managed and unmanaged habitat. To benefit longlegged wading birds, as under Alternative A, we would continue to provide for both secure nesting sites and ample foraging habitat. While neither Alternative A nor B would conduct active management for grassland birds, Alternative C would consider providing 50–100 acres in 1–3 tracts for Henslow’s sparrow and other grassland species in the Big Sandy Unit. We would strive to increase the quality of forest habitat to provide for a sustainable increase in the populations of priority forest interior migratory birds. We would also continue to monitor and protect bald eagle nesting sites and count wintering bald eagles on the refuge. We would continue to manage populations of resident game species such as deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose, as under Alternatives A and B. Within 10 years of CCP approval, we would develop and implement more baseline inventories for non-game mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Similarly, within 15 years of CCP approval, we would aim to determine species composition, distribution, and relative abundance of fishes and invertebrates occurring on the refuge. Alternative C would continue to protect all Federal listed species, in particular the Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels, under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, it would endeavor to determine the distribution and abundance of Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels on the refuge and protect and enhance, if possible, the habitat needed by these species. As necessary, we would continue and expand nuisance animal species control using approved techniques to help achieve refuge conservation goals and objectives. Alternative C would expand or intensify existing habitat management programs, practices, and actions. We would improve the moist-soil management program on about 1,600 acres by expanding the invasive exotic plant control program, water management capabilities, and the use of management techniques that set back plant succession. In cooperation with partners, we would reactivate the forest management program for the benefit of priority forest interior migratory birds and resident game species. E:\FR\FM\07JNN1.SGM 07JNN1 WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with NOTICES 32204 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 108 / Monday, June 7, 2010 / Notices Over the life of the CCP, Alternative C would eliminate cooperative farming and reduce total farmed acreage, while increasing the acreage of unharvested cropland through force account or contract farming to meet foraging needs of waterfowl and habitat for other native species. It would also increase acreage of hard mast producing bottomland hardwood forest species. We would increase water management capabilities by subdividing existing impoundments, creating new impoundments, and increasing water supply (i.e., pumps, wells, and structures) for migratory birds. Working with partners, we would continue to provide mudflats during AugustSeptember for shorebird and early migratory waterfowl, scrub-shrub habitat, and desirable aquatic plants, as in Alternative A. We would expand control efforts of invasive species through active methods of removal. These methods would work towards reducing infestations and eliminating populations whenever feasible. In response to possible adverse impacts from climate change, we would monitor wildlife and habitats and utilize adaptive management. Under Alternative C, we would continue to manage cultural resources consistent with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. We would also target minor boundary expansions to reduce adjacent threats to the refuge and to expand habitat management opportunities. We would continue to provide visitor services under the existing public use review and development plan approved in 1986. For the duration of the CCP, we would manage game populations to maintain quality hunting opportunities while maintaining habitat for federal trust species. We would also continue to provide fishing opportunities, but find partners to help maintain boat ramps and associated facilities. We would also continue to offer opportunities for wildlife observation and photography throughout the refuge, and to provide environmental education services to the public, including limited visits to schools, environmental education workshops, and on-site and off-site environmental education programs. Within 5 years of CCP approval, we would work with partners to construct a combined headquarters and visitor center, incorporating ‘‘green’’ technology, on the Big Sandy Unit, and within 15 years of CCP approval, would build a visitor contact station at the Duck River Unit. Alternative C would maintain the storage and maintenance facilities at Duck River Unit, and the VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:27 Jun 04, 2010 Jkt 220001 existing inventory of heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control structures, and pumps. The bunkhouse would also be replaced. Lastly, this alternative would add one open and one enclosed equipment storage facility, one no-till grain drill, one self-propelled spray rig, low ground pressure dozer, one aquatic excavator, and one 24-inch centrifugal pump and engine. Under Alternative C, we would maintain our current staff of 13. We would also add five staff positions, including one forester, one forestry technician, two heavy equipment operators, and one tractor operator. We would maintain our existing partnerships. Alternative—Enhanced Wildlife Management and Public Use Program (Proposed Alternative) Alternative D, our proposed alternative, would enhance both our wildlife management and public use programs. In general, Alternative D is very similar to Alternative C on the wildlife and habitat goals and objectives, and very similar to Alternative B on the public use goal and objectives. Concerning waterfowl, under Alternative D, we would provide adequate habitats to meet the foraging needs of 121,000–182,000 ducks (or a range specified by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan) for 110 days and other habitats that are needed for loafing, roosting, molting, etc. This objective includes a range that matches Alternative A at the low end and Alternative C at the high end. As in the three previous alternatives, Alternative D would also maintain seasonally closed waters, roads, and lands to provide sanctuary for waterfowl. In addition, Alternative D would increase seasonally closed areas, including closure of Busseltown and Honey Point Ferry Roads. Alternative D would provide adequate corn and wheat browse to meet the needs of about 16,000 migratory Canada geese for 90 days, the same as Alternatives A and B. In contrast with these two alternatives however (but like Alternative C), Alternative D would also readjust population levels as suggested by future needs; that is, it would follow adaptive management principles. To promote wood duck reproduction, Alternative D would maintain 200–250 nesting boxes (compared to 175 boxes in Alternatives A and B), expanding the program to the Big Sandy and Busseltown Units. It would also continue to meet the banding goals of the Mississippi Flyway Council. PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Under this alternative, we would create and enhance existing habitat for secretive marshbirds, sufficient to support 15–25 nesting territories for king rail pairs, which is more than Alternatives A and B, but somewhat less than Alternative C. Within 10 years of CCP approval, the refuge would provide at least 100 acres of foraging sites in multiple impoundments for both northbound and southbound shorebirds during migration, and would conduct population and habitat surveys to evaluate shorebird use and invertebrate densities within managed and unmanaged habitat. To benefit longlegged wading birds, as in each of the alternatives, we would continue to provide for both secure nesting sites and ample foraging habitat. Alternative D, like Alternative C, would consider providing 50–100 acres in 1–3 tracts for Henslow’s sparrow and other grassland species in the Big Sandy Unit. We would strive to increase the quality of forest habitat to provide for a sustainable increase in the populations of priority forest interior migratory birds. We would also continue to monitor and protect bald eagle nesting sites and count wintering bald eagles on the refuge. As in each of the alternatives, we would continue to manage populations of resident game species such as deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose. To learn more about all wildlife species at the refuge, within 10 years of CCP approval, we would develop and implement more baseline inventories for non-game mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Similarly, within 15 years of CCP approval, we would aim to determine species composition, distribution and relative abundance of fishes and invertebrates occurring on the refuge. We would try to develop partnerships with other agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public in efforts to inventory non-game and aquatic species and participate in the implementation of appropriate management activities. Alternative D would continue to protect all Federal listed species, in particular the Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels, under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, it would endeavor to determine the distribution and abundance of Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels on the refuge and protect and enhance, if possible, the habitat needed by these species. As necessary, and as under Alternative C, we would continue and expand nuisance animal species control using approved techniques to help E:\FR\FM\07JNN1.SGM 07JNN1 WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 108 / Monday, June 7, 2010 / Notices achieve refuge conservation goals and objectives. Alternative D would expand or intensify existing habitat management programs, practices, and actions. We would improve the moist-soil management program on about 1,600 acres by expanding the invasive exotic plant control program, water management capabilities, and the use of management techniques that set back plant succession. In cooperation with partners, we would reactivate the forest management program on the refuge for the benefit of priority forest interior migratory birds and resident game species. Alternative D would incorporate a comprehensive fire management program into upland forest habitat. Over the life of the CCP, Alternative D would redirect management actions to increase the acreage of unharvested cropland to meet foraging needs of waterfowl and habitat for other native species. It would also increase acreage of hard mast producing bottomland hardwood forest species. We would increase water management capabilities by subdividing existing impoundments, creating new impoundments, and increasing water supply (i.e., pumps, wells, and structures) for migratory birds. While doing this, we would also make a concerted effort to accommodate sport fishing opportunities where and when circumstances allow. Working with partners, we would continue to provide mudflats during August–September for shorebird and early migratory waterfowl, scrub-shrub habitat, and desirable aquatic plants, as under Alternatives A and C. As under Alternative B, we would also provide additional education and interpretation of importance of early drawdowns of Kentucky Lake. We would expand control efforts of invasive species through active methods of removal. These methods would work towards reducing infestations and eliminating populations whenever feasible. Additional education and interpretation of invasive species would be provided. In response to possible adverse impacts from climate change, we would monitor wildlife and habitats and utilize adaptive management. We would also relate climate change to the Service’s wildlife mission in environmental education programs and pursue opportunities for carbon sequestration with native trees. Alternative D would continue to manage cultural resources consistent with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Alternatives VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:27 Jun 04, 2010 Jkt 220001 A, B, and C would also do so, but only Alternative D would begin to implement a cultural resources management plan within 5 years of CCP approval. Alternative D would pursue and prioritize minor boundary expansions to: (1) Reduce adjacent threats to the refuge; (2) expand habitat management opportunities; and (3) accommodate refuge visitors. Under Alternative D, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would draft, approve, and begin to implement a new visitor services plan. Hunting opportunities would be increased for deer, and we would continue to allow managed, limited hunting for turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose. No youth waterfowl hunt or rabbit and quail hunting would be considered. We would provide opportunities for fishing by furnishing adequate launching facilities, bank fishing areas, and over the life of the CCP, would provide additional piers to accommodate anglers of all abilities. We would aim to increase wildlife observation/photography opportunities with blinds and a boardwalk, and within 2 years of CCP approval, open a seasonal wildlife drive in the Duck River Bottoms. We would continue to provide environmental education services to the public, including limited visits to schools, workshops, and on-site and off-site programs, as well as work with partners to expand environmental education facilities and opportunities on and near the refuge. The existing interpretive program would be expanded. Under Alternative D, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would work with partners to construct a combined headquarters and visitor center, incorporating ‘‘green’’ technology, on the Big Sandy Unit. Within 15 years of CCP approval, we would build a visitor contact station at the Duck River Unit. Alternative D would maintain the storage and maintenance facilities at the Duck River Unit, and the existing inventory of heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control structures, and pumps. The bunkhouse would also be replaced. Lastly, this alternative would add one open and one enclosed equipment storage facility, one no-till grain drill, one self-propelled spray rig, low ground pressure dozer, one aquatic excavator, and one 24-inch centrifugal pump and engine. Under Alternative D, we would expand our current staff by 12, including forester, forestry technician, two engineering equipment operators, a tractor operator, two refuge rangers, a law enforcement officer, an assistant manager, two biological technicians, PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32205 and an office assistant. Under Alternative D, as in Alternative B, we would strengthen our volunteer programs, friend’s group, and partnerships by investing an increased portion of staff time into nurturing these promising relationships. Next Step After the comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and address them. 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: April 22, 2010. Mark J. Musaus, Acting Regional Director. [FR Doc. 2010–13520 Filed 6–4–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–R–2010–N061; 40136–1265–0000– S3] Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, Ashley, Bradley, and Union Counties, AR; Overflow National Wildlife Refuge, Ashley County, AR 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 Felsenthal and Overflow National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) for public review and comment. Felsenthal, Overflow, and Pond Creek NWRs are managed as a Complex. A separate CCP was prepared for Pond Creek NWR. In this Draft CCP/EA, we describe the E:\FR\FM\07JNN1.SGM 07JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 108 (Monday, June 7, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32201-32205]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-13520]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N050; 40136-1265-0000-S3]


Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Henry, Benton, Decatur, and 
Humphreys Counties, TN

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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

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SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Tennessee National Wildlife 
Refuge (NWR) 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 July 7, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, questions, and requests for information to: 
Ms. Tina Chouinard, Refuge Planner, Fish and Wildlife Service, 6772 
Highway 76 South, Stanton, TN 38069. The Draft CCP/EA is available on 
compact disk or in hard copy. You may also access and download a copy 
of the Draft CCP/EA from the Service's Internet Web Site: https://southeast.fws.gov/planning/ under ``Draft Documents.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Tina Chouinard; telephone: 731/
432-0981.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Tennessee NWR. We 
started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on April 
2, 2008 (73 FR 17994).
    On December 28, 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive 
Order No. 9670 establishing the Tennessee NWR. The following day, the 
Department of the Interior and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 
entered an agreement that the lands would henceforth be reserved for 
use as a wildlife refuge. Tennessee NWR runs along 65 miles of the 
Tennessee River in Henry, Benton, Decatur, and Humphreys Counties, 
Tennessee. The refuge is comprised of three units: Duck River Unit 
(26,738 acres), Big Sandy Unit (21,348 acres), and Busseltown Unit 
(3,272 acres), for a total acreage of 51,358 acres.
    Big Sandy is the northern-most unit, located at the junction of the 
Big Sandy and Tennessee Rivers, about 12 miles north of the town of Big 
Sandy. Most of the lands on this unit are upland and forested with 
little wetland management capabilities. Waterfowl management activities 
primarily consist of providing sanctuary on the waters and mudflats of 
Kentucky Lake and agriculture crops for foraging habitats.
    The Duck River Unit is located at the junction of the Duck and 
Tennessee Rivers in Humphreys and Benton Counties. A wide variety of 
habitats is

[[Page 32202]]

available for waterfowl and other waterbirds, including agriculture, 
moist-soil, mudflats, forested wetlands, and scrub-shrub.
    The Busseltown Unit is located along the western bank of the 
Tennessee River, in Decatur County roughly 5 miles northeast of 
Parsons, Tennessee. It is primarily managed for waterfowl by providing 
agriculture foraging habitats. Some moist-soil and scrub-shrub habitats 
are also available.
    All three units were used extensively for agriculture in the 1800s 
and early 1900s. The two northern units were named for the rivers which 
run through them, while the much smaller Busseltown Unit was named 
after Johnse Bussel, an earlier settler to the area who established a 
store and home in the area that later became known as Busseltown. The 
mixture of open water, wetlands, woodlands, croplands, and grasslands 
creates a mosaic of wildlife-rich habitats. The refuge provides 
valuable wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl. It also provides 
habitat and protection for threatened and endangered species.
    The establishing and acquisition authorities for Tennessee NWR 
include the Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715-715r) and 
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667). In addition, 
Public Land Order 4560 identified the purposes of the refuge to be ``to 
build, operate and maintain sub-impoundment structures; produce food 
crops or cover for wildlife; to regulate and restrict hunting, trapping 
and fishing and to otherwise manage said lands and impoundment areas 
for the protection and production of wildlife and fish populations'' 
(Public Land Order 1962).
    The refuge also supports an abundance of wildlife, including over 
650 species of plants, 303 species of birds, and 280 species of 
mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.

Background

The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), 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 for 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 Administration Act.
    Significant issues addressed in this Draft CCP/EA include: (1) 
Managing for invasive species, migratory birds, and species of special 
concern; (2) managing mixed pine upland and bottomland hardwood 
forests; (3) enhancing wildlife-dependent public uses, especially 
environmental education and interpretation programs; (4) addressing 
climate change; and (5) increasing permanent staff.

CCP Alternatives, Including Our Proposed Alternative

    We developed four alternatives for managing the refuge and chose 
Alternative D as the proposed alternative. A full description of each 
alternative is in the Draft CCP/EA. We summarize each below:

Alternative A--Current Management (No Action)

    In general, Alternative A would maintain current management 
direction. Public use patterns would remain relatively unchanged from 
those that exist at present.
    The refuge would continue to contribute to healthy and viable 
native wildlife and fish populations representative of the Lower 
Tennessee-Cumberland River Ecosystem, with special emphasis on 
waterfowl and other migratory birds.
    We would continue the moist-soil management program on about 1,600 
acres. There would be no active forest management, but we would 
continue evaluation of past forest treatments for increasing habitat 
for priority species on the Big Sandy peninsula. The cooperative 
farming and refuge staff (force account) program would continue 
cultivating crops on about 3,000 acres for the benefit of waterfowl and 
resident game species. Bottomland hardwood forest habitat would not be 
actively managed, but we would continue current water management of 
about 5,160 acres of impounded water management units.
    Working with partners, we would continue to provide mudflats during 
August-September for shorebird and early migratory waterfowl, scrub-
shrub habitat, and desirable aquatic plants. We would also continue 
annual spraying and biological control of alligatorweed, privet 
species, sesbania, purple loosestrife, encroaching woody vegetation, 
spatterdock, and parrot feather. Mechanical control (i.e., mowing and 
disking) of certain upland plants would be conducted as needed. There 
would be no active monitoring, management, or education related to 
climate change.
    We would continue to manage cultural resources consistent with 
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The refuge's 
size and boundaries would not change.
    Under Alternative A, we would continue to provide visitor services 
under the existing public use review and development plan approved in 
1986. We would continue to allow managed, limited hunting for deer, 
turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose, as well as to 
provide opportunities for fishing. We would continue to offer 
opportunities for wildlife observation and photography throughout the 
refuge, and to provide environmental education services to the public, 
including limited visits to schools, environmental education workshops, 
and on-site and off-site environmental education programs.
    Under Alternative A, we would maintain the current staff of 13, 
including the refuge manager, deputy refuge manager, two refuge 
biologists, refuge ranger, refuge planner, two law enforcement 
officers, three heavy equipment operators, administrative officer, and 
assistant refuge manager. The current office, bunkhouse, storage, and 
maintenance shop at the Duck River Unit and the existing inventory of 
heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control 
structures, and pumps would be maintained. We would maintain our 
existing partnerships.

Alternative B--Public Use Emphasis

    In general, Alternative B would emphasize enhanced public use on 
the refuge. With regard to native fish and wildlife, this alternative 
would be quite similar to Alternative A in many respects. Alternative B 
would differ from Alternative A by developing partnerships with non-
governmental organizations and the public in efforts to inventory non-
game and aquatic species and possibly in certain habitat management 
activities.
    Alternative B would be very similar to the actions described under 
Alternative A in aiming to maintain existing habitat management 
programs, practices, and actions.
    Under Alternative B, we would increase water management efforts

[[Page 32203]]

toward increasing sport fishing opportunities within the 5,160 acres of 
impoundments. We would also offer additional education and 
interpretation of importance of early drawdowns of Kentucky Lake to 
shorebirds and other migratory birds.
    Under Alternative B, we would provide additional education and 
interpretation of invasive species for the public. With regard to 
climate change, under Alternative B the refuge would relate climate 
change to the Service's wildlife mission in environmental education 
programs. However, there would still be no active monitoring or 
management related to climate change.
    Under Alternative B, we would manage cultural resources consistent 
with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. We would 
prioritize areas for possible minor boundary expansions to accommodate 
and better serve refuge visitors.
    Alternative B would emphasize wildlife-dependent public use more 
than any other alternative. Under Alternative B, within 5 years of CCP 
approval, we would draft, approve, and begin to implement a new visitor 
services plan using the current format for such documents. Hunting 
opportunities would be increased for deer and maintained for turkey, 
squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose, and new hunts would be 
considered.
    We would provide opportunities for fishing by furnishing adequate 
launching facilities, bank fishing areas, and over the life of the CCP, 
provide additional ADA-compliant piers to accommodate anglers of all 
abilities.
    We would continue to offer opportunities for wildlife observation 
and photography throughout the refuge. We would also aim to increase 
wildlife observation/photography opportunities with blinds and a 
boardwalk, and within 2 years of CCP approval, open a seasonal wildlife 
drive in the Duck River Bottoms. We would continue to provide 
environmental education services to the public, including limited 
visits to schools, workshops, and on-site and off-site programs, as 
well as work with partners to expand environmental education facilities 
and opportunities on and near the refuge. The existing interpretive 
program would be expanded.
    Under Alternative B, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would work 
with partners to construct a combined headquarters and visitor center, 
incorporating ``green'' technology, on the Big Sandy Unit. Within 15 
years of CCP approval, we would build a visitor contact station at the 
Duck River Unit. Alternative B would maintain the office, storage, and 
maintenance facilities at Duck River Unit, and the existing inventory 
of heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control 
structures, and pumps. The bunkhouse would also be replaced.
    Under Alternative B, we would maintain our current staff of 13. 
Four new staff members would be added, including two refuge rangers, 
one law enforcement officer, and one office assistant. Under 
Alternative B, we would strengthen our volunteer programs, friend's 
group, and partnerships by investing an increased portion of staff time 
into nurturing these promising relationships.

Alternative C--Wildlife Management Emphasis

    Alternative C aims to intensify and expand wildlife and habitat 
management on the refuge. This would increase benefits for wildlife 
species, which fulfills the refuge purpose and goals. Public use 
opportunities and our efforts to provide visitor services would remain 
approximately as they are now.
    Concerning waterfowl, under Alternative C, we would provide 
adequate habitats to meet the foraging needs of 182,000 ducks for 110 
days and other habitats that are needed for loafing, roosting, molting, 
etc. This is a 50 percent increase in the number of ducks under 
Alternatives A and B. Alternative C would also maintain seasonally 
closed waters, roads, and land areas to provide sanctuary for 
waterfowl. In addition, Alternative C would increase seasonally closed 
areas, including the closure of Busseltown and Honey Point Ferry roads.
    Alternative C would provide adequate corn and wheat browse to meet 
the needs of about 16,000 migratory Canada geese for 90 days, the same 
as Alternatives A and B. In contrast with these two alternatives, 
however, Alternative C would also readjust population levels as 
suggested by future needs; that is, it would follow adaptive management 
principles.
    To promote wood duck reproduction, Alternative C would maintain 
200-250 nesting boxes (compared to 175 boxes in Alternatives A and B), 
expanding the program to the Big Sandy and Busseltown Units. It would 
also continue to meet the banding goals of the Mississippi Flyway 
Council.
    Under this alternative, we would create and enhance existing 
habitat for secretive marshbirds, sufficient to support 25 nesting 
territories for king rail pairs. Within 10 years of CCP approval, we 
would provide at least 200-300 acres of foraging sites in multiple 
impoundments for both northbound and southbound shorebirds during 
migration, and we would conduct population and habitat surveys to 
evaluate shorebird use and invertebrate densities within managed and 
unmanaged habitat. To benefit long-legged wading birds, as under 
Alternative A, we would continue to provide for both secure nesting 
sites and ample foraging habitat.
    While neither Alternative A nor B would conduct active management 
for grassland birds, Alternative C would consider providing 50-100 
acres in 1-3 tracts for Henslow's sparrow and other grassland species 
in the Big Sandy Unit. We would strive to increase the quality of 
forest habitat to provide for a sustainable increase in the populations 
of priority forest interior migratory birds. We would also continue to 
monitor and protect bald eagle nesting sites and count wintering bald 
eagles on the refuge.
    We would continue to manage populations of resident game species 
such as deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, and resident Canada goose, as 
under Alternatives A and B.
    Within 10 years of CCP approval, we would develop and implement 
more baseline inventories for non-game mammals, reptiles, amphibians 
and invertebrates. Similarly, within 15 years of CCP approval, we would 
aim to determine species composition, distribution, and relative 
abundance of fishes and invertebrates occurring on the refuge.
    Alternative C would continue to protect all Federal listed species, 
in particular the Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels, under the 
Endangered Species Act. In addition, it would endeavor to determine the 
distribution and abundance of Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels 
on the refuge and protect and enhance, if possible, the habitat needed 
by these species.
    As necessary, we would continue and expand nuisance animal species 
control using approved techniques to help achieve refuge conservation 
goals and objectives.
    Alternative C would expand or intensify existing habitat management 
programs, practices, and actions. We would improve the moist-soil 
management program on about 1,600 acres by expanding the invasive 
exotic plant control program, water management capabilities, and the 
use of management techniques that set back plant succession. In 
cooperation with partners, we would reactivate the forest management 
program for the benefit of priority forest interior migratory birds and 
resident game species.

[[Page 32204]]

    Over the life of the CCP, Alternative C would eliminate cooperative 
farming and reduce total farmed acreage, while increasing the acreage 
of unharvested cropland through force account or contract farming to 
meet foraging needs of waterfowl and habitat for other native species. 
It would also increase acreage of hard mast producing bottomland 
hardwood forest species.
    We would increase water management capabilities by subdividing 
existing impoundments, creating new impoundments, and increasing water 
supply (i.e., pumps, wells, and structures) for migratory birds. 
Working with partners, we would continue to provide mudflats during 
August-September for shorebird and early migratory waterfowl, scrub-
shrub habitat, and desirable aquatic plants, as in Alternative A.
    We would expand control efforts of invasive species through active 
methods of removal. These methods would work towards reducing 
infestations and eliminating populations whenever feasible. In response 
to possible adverse impacts from climate change, we would monitor 
wildlife and habitats and utilize adaptive management.
    Under Alternative C, we would continue to manage cultural resources 
consistent with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. 
We would also target minor boundary expansions to reduce adjacent 
threats to the refuge and to expand habitat management opportunities.
    We would continue to provide visitor services under the existing 
public use review and development plan approved in 1986. For the 
duration of the CCP, we would manage game populations to maintain 
quality hunting opportunities while maintaining habitat for federal 
trust species. We would also continue to provide fishing opportunities, 
but find partners to help maintain boat ramps and associated 
facilities.
    We would also continue to offer opportunities for wildlife 
observation and photography throughout the refuge, and to provide 
environmental education services to the public, including limited 
visits to schools, environmental education workshops, and on-site and 
off-site environmental education programs.
    Within 5 years of CCP approval, we would work with partners to 
construct a combined headquarters and visitor center, incorporating 
``green'' technology, on the Big Sandy Unit, and within 15 years of CCP 
approval, would build a visitor contact station at the Duck River Unit. 
Alternative C would maintain the storage and maintenance facilities at 
Duck River Unit, and the existing inventory of heavy equipment, 
tractors, refuge roads, levees, water control structures, and pumps. 
The bunkhouse would also be replaced. Lastly, this alternative would 
add one open and one enclosed equipment storage facility, one no-till 
grain drill, one self-propelled spray rig, low ground pressure dozer, 
one aquatic excavator, and one 24-inch centrifugal pump and engine.
    Under Alternative C, we would maintain our current staff of 13. We 
would also add five staff positions, including one forester, one 
forestry technician, two heavy equipment operators, and one tractor 
operator. We would maintain our existing partnerships.

Alternative--Enhanced Wildlife Management and Public Use Program 
(Proposed Alternative)

    Alternative D, our proposed alternative, would enhance both our 
wildlife management and public use programs. In general, Alternative D 
is very similar to Alternative C on the wildlife and habitat goals and 
objectives, and very similar to Alternative B on the public use goal 
and objectives.
    Concerning waterfowl, under Alternative D, we would provide 
adequate habitats to meet the foraging needs of 121,000-182,000 ducks 
(or a range specified by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan) 
for 110 days and other habitats that are needed for loafing, roosting, 
molting, etc. This objective includes a range that matches Alternative 
A at the low end and Alternative C at the high end. As in the three 
previous alternatives, Alternative D would also maintain seasonally 
closed waters, roads, and lands to provide sanctuary for waterfowl. In 
addition, Alternative D would increase seasonally closed areas, 
including closure of Busseltown and Honey Point Ferry Roads.
    Alternative D would provide adequate corn and wheat browse to meet 
the needs of about 16,000 migratory Canada geese for 90 days, the same 
as Alternatives A and B. In contrast with these two alternatives 
however (but like Alternative C), Alternative D would also readjust 
population levels as suggested by future needs; that is, it would 
follow adaptive management principles.
    To promote wood duck reproduction, Alternative D would maintain 
200-250 nesting boxes (compared to 175 boxes in Alternatives A and B), 
expanding the program to the Big Sandy and Busseltown Units. It would 
also continue to meet the banding goals of the Mississippi Flyway 
Council.
    Under this alternative, we would create and enhance existing 
habitat for secretive marshbirds, sufficient to support 15-25 nesting 
territories for king rail pairs, which is more than Alternatives A and 
B, but somewhat less than Alternative C. Within 10 years of CCP 
approval, the refuge would provide at least 100 acres of foraging sites 
in multiple impoundments for both northbound and southbound shorebirds 
during migration, and would conduct population and habitat surveys to 
evaluate shorebird use and invertebrate densities within managed and 
unmanaged habitat. To benefit long-legged wading birds, as in each of 
the alternatives, we would continue to provide for both secure nesting 
sites and ample foraging habitat.
    Alternative D, like Alternative C, would consider providing 50-100 
acres in 1-3 tracts for Henslow's sparrow and other grassland species 
in the Big Sandy Unit. We would strive to increase the quality of 
forest habitat to provide for a sustainable increase in the populations 
of priority forest interior migratory birds. We would also continue to 
monitor and protect bald eagle nesting sites and count wintering bald 
eagles on the refuge.
    As in each of the alternatives, we would continue to manage 
populations of resident game species such as deer, turkey, squirrel, 
raccoon, and resident Canada goose.
    To learn more about all wildlife species at the refuge, within 10 
years of CCP approval, we would develop and implement more baseline 
inventories for non-game mammals, reptiles, amphibians and 
invertebrates. Similarly, within 15 years of CCP approval, we would aim 
to determine species composition, distribution and relative abundance 
of fishes and invertebrates occurring on the refuge. We would try to 
develop partnerships with other agencies, non-governmental 
organizations, and the public in efforts to inventory non-game and 
aquatic species and participate in the implementation of appropriate 
management activities.
    Alternative D would continue to protect all Federal listed species, 
in particular the Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels, under the 
Endangered Species Act. In addition, it would endeavor to determine the 
distribution and abundance of Indiana and gray bats and listed mussels 
on the refuge and protect and enhance, if possible, the habitat needed 
by these species.
    As necessary, and as under Alternative C, we would continue and 
expand nuisance animal species control using approved techniques to 
help

[[Page 32205]]

achieve refuge conservation goals and objectives.
    Alternative D would expand or intensify existing habitat management 
programs, practices, and actions. We would improve the moist-soil 
management program on about 1,600 acres by expanding the invasive 
exotic plant control program, water management capabilities, and the 
use of management techniques that set back plant succession. In 
cooperation with partners, we would reactivate the forest management 
program on the refuge for the benefit of priority forest interior 
migratory birds and resident game species. Alternative D would 
incorporate a comprehensive fire management program into upland forest 
habitat.
    Over the life of the CCP, Alternative D would redirect management 
actions to increase the acreage of unharvested cropland to meet 
foraging needs of waterfowl and habitat for other native species. It 
would also increase acreage of hard mast producing bottomland hardwood 
forest species.
    We would increase water management capabilities by subdividing 
existing impoundments, creating new impoundments, and increasing water 
supply (i.e., pumps, wells, and structures) for migratory birds. While 
doing this, we would also make a concerted effort to accommodate sport 
fishing opportunities where and when circumstances allow.
    Working with partners, we would continue to provide mudflats during 
August-September for shorebird and early migratory waterfowl, scrub-
shrub habitat, and desirable aquatic plants, as under Alternatives A 
and C. As under Alternative B, we would also provide additional 
education and interpretation of importance of early drawdowns of 
Kentucky Lake.
    We would expand control efforts of invasive species through active 
methods of removal. These methods would work towards reducing 
infestations and eliminating populations whenever feasible. Additional 
education and interpretation of invasive species would be provided.
    In response to possible adverse impacts from climate change, we 
would monitor wildlife and habitats and utilize adaptive management. We 
would also relate climate change to the Service's wildlife mission in 
environmental education programs and pursue opportunities for carbon 
sequestration with native trees.
    Alternative D would continue to manage cultural resources 
consistent with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. 
Alternatives A, B, and C would also do so, but only Alternative D would 
begin to implement a cultural resources management plan within 5 years 
of CCP approval. Alternative D would pursue and prioritize minor 
boundary expansions to: (1) Reduce adjacent threats to the refuge; (2) 
expand habitat management opportunities; and (3) accommodate refuge 
visitors.
    Under Alternative D, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would 
draft, approve, and begin to implement a new visitor services plan. 
Hunting opportunities would be increased for deer, and we would 
continue to allow managed, limited hunting for turkey, squirrel, 
raccoon, and resident Canada goose. No youth waterfowl hunt or rabbit 
and quail hunting would be considered. We would provide opportunities 
for fishing by furnishing adequate launching facilities, bank fishing 
areas, and over the life of the CCP, would provide additional piers to 
accommodate anglers of all abilities.
    We would aim to increase wildlife observation/photography 
opportunities with blinds and a boardwalk, and within 2 years of CCP 
approval, open a seasonal wildlife drive in the Duck River Bottoms. We 
would continue to provide environmental education services to the 
public, including limited visits to schools, workshops, and on-site and 
off-site programs, as well as work with partners to expand 
environmental education facilities and opportunities on and near the 
refuge. The existing interpretive program would be expanded.
    Under Alternative D, within 5 years of CCP approval, we would work 
with partners to construct a combined headquarters and visitor center, 
incorporating ``green'' technology, on the Big Sandy Unit. Within 15 
years of CCP approval, we would build a visitor contact station at the 
Duck River Unit. Alternative D would maintain the storage and 
maintenance facilities at the Duck River Unit, and the existing 
inventory of heavy equipment, tractors, refuge roads, levees, water 
control structures, and pumps. The bunkhouse would also be replaced. 
Lastly, this alternative would add one open and one enclosed equipment 
storage facility, one no-till grain drill, one self-propelled spray 
rig, low ground pressure dozer, one aquatic excavator, and one 24-inch 
centrifugal pump and engine.
    Under Alternative D, we would expand our current staff by 12, 
including forester, forestry technician, two engineering equipment 
operators, a tractor operator, two refuge rangers, a law enforcement 
officer, an assistant manager, two biological technicians, and an 
office assistant. Under Alternative D, as in Alternative B, we would 
strengthen our volunteer programs, friend's group, and partnerships by 
investing an increased portion of staff time into nurturing these 
promising relationships.

Next Step

    After the comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and 
address them.

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: April 22, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2010-13520 Filed 6-4-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P