Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Virgin Islands; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment, 37143-37145 [2011-15819]

Download as PDF srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 122 / Friday, June 24, 2011 / Notices cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Applicant’s Proposed Project: We received an application from the applicant for an incidental take permit, along with a proposed habitat conservation plan. The applicant requests a 15-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act (87 Stat.884; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking approximately 0.23 acre (0.1 hectares (ha)) of Florida scrub-jay breeding, feeding, and sheltering habitat incidental to land preparation for construction of a single family residence and associated infrastructure in Charlotte County, Florida. Project construction would take place at latitude 26.9777, longitude –82.0096 in Harbor Heights, Charlotte County, Florida. This lot is within occupied scrub-jay habitat. In 1987, we listed this species as threatened (June 3, 1987; 52 FR 20715). The listing became effective July 6, 1987. The applicant proposes to mitigate for the loss of 0.23 acre (0.1 ha) of occupied scrub-jay habitat by contribution of 0.46 acre (0.19 ha) of suitable scrub-jay habitat to nearby existing conservation lands within Charlotte County, along with a fee of $1,380.00 for perpetual maintenance of the donated land, within 180 days of permit issuance or before the commencement of clearing and construction activities, whichever is sooner. Our Preliminary Determination: The Service has made a preliminary determination that the applicant’s project, including the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, will individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, the ITP is a ‘‘low-effect’’ project and qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6), as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1), and as defined in our Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). We base our determination that the project qualifies as a low-effect plan on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the project would result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the project would result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) Impacts of the plan, considered together with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated projects, VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Jun 23, 2011 Jkt 223001 would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to environmental values or resources that would be considered significant. As more fully explained in our environmental action statement and associated Low Effect Screening Form, the applicant’s proposed project qualifies as a ‘‘loweffect’’ project. This preliminary determination may be revised based on our review of public comments that we receive in response to this notice. Next Steps: The Service will evaluate the HCP and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. The Service will also evaluate whether issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP comply with section 7 of the Act by conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation. The results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, will be used in the final analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP. If it is determined that the requirements of the Act are met, the ITP will be issued for the incidental take of the Florida scrub-jay. Authority: This notice is provided pursuant to Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Dated: June 14, 2011. Spencer Simon, Acting Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office. [FR Doc. 2011–15811 Filed 6–23–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–R–2010–N200; 40136–1265–0000– S3] Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Virgin Islands; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the environmental assessment for Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs). In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage these three refuges for the next 15 years. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 37143 You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Mr. Mike Evans, Refuge Manager, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, 3013 Estate Golden Rock, Suite 137, Christiansted, VI 00820–4355. The CCP may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service’s Web site: http:// southeast.fws.gov/planning/ under ‘‘Final Documents.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Evans; telephone: 340/773–4554; e-mail: Michael_Evans@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: Introduction With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point NWRs. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register on March 12, 2007 (72 FR 11046). All three refuges are located in the United States Virgin Islands. Sandy Point NWR is situated on the southwestern tip of the island of St. Croix. Green Cay NWR is a small island located several hundred yards north of St. Croix, east of the city of Christiansted. Buck Island NWR is situated several miles south of the island of St. Thomas and the city of Charlotte Amalie. These three refuges are part of the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Sandy Point NWR provides critical nesting habitat for the federally endangered leatherback sea turtle. Its sandy beaches are also used for nesting by the federally endangered hawksbill sea turtle and the federally threatened green sea turtle. These same sea turtle species are also protected under Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands regulations. Green Cay NWR was established in 1977 to protect the federally endangered St. Croix ground lizard. This island refuge provides critical habitat for the largest remaining natural population of this species. Its extirpation from the main island of St. Croix, just several hundred yards away, is generally attributed to the modification and loss of shoreline habitat resulting from human activities and the introduction of predators, such as rats, cats, and dogs. The introduction of the exotic Indian mongoose likely completed the elimination of the species from St. Croix proper. As a result, this species is one of the rarest reptiles in the world and is unique to St. Croix island ecosystems. As part of a cooperative effort with the National Park Service, in May 2008, 57 individual St. Croix ground lizards were translocated to Buck Island Reef National Monument, several miles E:\FR\FM\24JNN1.SGM 24JNN1 37144 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 122 / Friday, June 24, 2011 / Notices away, in order to establish a fourth population of this highly endangered lizard and thus help secure its survival. Buck Island NWR was established in 1969. The off-shore islands around St. Thomas support a number of critical seabird and migratory bird roosting, breeding, and nesting sites. Some of these off-shore islands have been impacted by varying degrees of development and habitat alteration, making remaining islands even more critical for use by migratory birds. Although Buck Island NWR’s natural plant and wildlife communities have been severely impacted by human activity, the island has major potential for habitat restoration, enhancement and support of migratory bird populations, and maintenance of existing wildlife populations, both endemic and migratory. The refuge is home to two rare reptiles endemic to the ‘‘Puerto Rican bank,’’ the geological area containing Puerto Rico, Culebra, St. Thomas, and the British Virgin Islands—the Antillean skink and Puerto Rican racer. The island also provides nesting or roosting habitat for the magnificent frigatebird, the red-billed tropicbird, and laughing gulls. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Background The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The 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 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. Comments We made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public review period as announced in the Federal Register on September 17, 2009 (74 FR 47815). Two public meetings were held to receive comments on the Draft CCP/ EA—one in Charlotte Amalie, St. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Jun 23, 2011 Jkt 223001 Thomas, and one in Fredericksted, St. Croix. We received 10 written comments on the Draft CCP/EA. Selected Alternatives Sandy Point NWR We developed four alternatives for managing Sandy Point NWR. After considering the comments we received and based on the professional judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative D for implementation. While each of the alternatives provided in varying degrees for wildlife, habitat, and public use, Alternative D was more ambitious than Alternative A, while supporting more wildlife and habitat management than Alternative B and more public use than Alternative C. The overriding concern reflected in the CCP is that wildlife conservation, especially management and protection of endangered sea turtles, assumes first priority in refuge management. Wildlifedependent recreation uses (e.g., fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation) will be emphasized and encouraged. Existing recovery efforts for the endangered leatherback sea turtle will continue. We will pursue hawksbill and green sea turtle recovery by implementing saturation tagging and nest management. We will continue to protect pelican roosting sites and manage least tern nesting sites, aiming to increase the number of nesting least terns. Landbirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds will benefit as well. We will begin to conduct status surveys for invertebrates and reptile and amphibian species of special concern. The presence or absence of bats will also be surveyed, and we will enhance habitat and install artificial nest structures for bats. Refuge-wide control of non-native flora and fauna to protect indigenous flora and fauna will be carried out as needed. We will accelerate efforts to restore the structure, function, and diversity of dry forest habitat. We will begin to actively monitor status and trends on the West End Salt Pond (Salt Pond) as they affect mangroves, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. We will not only protect existing stands and specimens of Vahl’s boxwood, but will also conduct recovery activities. Furthermore, we will investigate the potential for establishing a Catesbaea melanocarpa population on the refuge. We will actively cooperate with the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies to develop and implement protocols for monitoring sea level rise and its impacts on habitats. PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 We will continue to manage and protect cultural resources, particularly the Aklis archaeological site. In addition, we will develop and begin to implement a Cultural Resources Management Plan. Public use and visitor services will expand somewhat. We will develop an accessible trail and observation deck with expansive views of the Salt Pond. We will aim to develop environmental education and interpretive opportunities around the new refuge headquarters and visitor center to be constructed in the vicinity. We will also allow access to the beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, outside of the seasonal closure for leatherback turtle nesting. If staffing permits, we will also provide pedestrian access to the beach during the entire week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., outside of the seasonal closure for turtle nesting. We will continue the existing education and outreach program, such as the turtle watch program, Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program, periodic news releases, news media interviews, Web site content, school visits, informal contact with refuge visitors, and continuing development of the visitor contact station. Education and outreach efforts will increase. The YCC program will be maintained and expanded in size for two months during the summer. There will be more emphasis on developing partnerships and volunteers. Green Cay NWR We developed two alternatives for managing Green Cay NWR. After considering the comments we received and based on the professional judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative B for implementation. While both alternatives provide for wildlife and habitat, Alternative B will yield greater wildlife and habitat benefits overall than Alternative A, particularly for the St. Croix ground lizard, on whose behalf the refuge was originally established. Alternative B will also offer greater opportunities for the public, even while maintaining the general refuge closure. We will maintain or expand upon all existing programs. To promote recovery of the endangered St. Croix ground lizard, we will continue existing programs of reforestation, rat and invasive plant control, and population monitoring. We will also maintain closure of the island to public access, to avoid accidental direct mortality and habitat degradation. In addition, we will develop a habitat restoration plan within 3 years, with the aim of E:\FR\FM\24JNN1.SGM 24JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 122 / Friday, June 24, 2011 / Notices srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES improving habitat quality for the ground lizard. We will also continue management efforts on behalf of nesting and roosting brown pelicans and white-crowned pigeons. We will continue our habitat recovery (reforestation) efforts so as to complete 100 percent of the area intended for reforestation by the end of the 15-year planning period. An important part of accelerating habitat recovery will be to increase the control of invasive plants and invasive animals. We will continue to protect and manage Green Cay NWR’s cultural resources. Also, we will develop and begin to implement a Cultural Resources Management Plan. To conduct outreach and education, we will continue to maintain the refuge Web site, distribute information, maintain signage on the island identifying it as a national wildlife refuge closed to the public, and conduct periodic presentations offrefuge. These efforts will be augmented by installing larger signs that can be seen and read from a greater distance, expanding outreach efforts to nearby hotels, and considering alternatives to visitation within the refuge itself, such as offering or promoting boat and kayak tours around the island. Buck Island NWR We developed two alternatives for managing Buck Island NWR. After considering the comments we received and based on the professional judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative B for implementation. While both alternatives will result in benefits to some extent for wildlife, habitat, and public use, Alternative B is more ambitious than Alternative A, and thus will yield greater benefits for both wildlife and the public. In general, Alternative B maintains and expands upon all programs of Alternative A. We will strive to provide more active management of the island’s indigenous wildlife, particularly species of concern. We will draft and begin implementing an inventorying and monitoring plan for the slipperyback skink, Puerto Rican racer, magnificent frigatebird, and redbilled tropicbird. We will continue to monitor for rat reinvasions. To pursue and promote habitat recovery on Buck Island NWR, we will develop and begin to implement a Habitat Restoration Plan. We will increase control of invasive plants and animals using appropriate means, and will evaluate the effectiveness of different methods of control. We will continue to manage cultural resources, particularly the historic lighthouse. However, we will also evaluate the condition and safety of the VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Jun 23, 2011 Jkt 223001 lighthouse and decide on the feasibility of preservation or restoration. In addition, we will develop and begin to implement a Cultural Resources Management Plan. With regard to conducting outreach and education, we will continue to maintain the refuge Web site, distribute information, maintain limited signage on the island, and make periodic presentations off-refuge. We will continue to cooperate with the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources on joint wildlife and habitat management efforts for Buck Island and adjacent Capella Island. Also, we will expand cooperative education and interpretive efforts with the city of Charlotte Amalie and ecotourism companies which bring visitors to offshore waters to explore coral reefs. We will also explore the development of a friends group, to provide a more active management presence on the island. Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105–57. Dated: October 1, 2010. Mark J. Musaus, Acting Regional Director. Editorial Note: This document was received in the Office of the Federal Register on June 21, 2011. [FR Doc. 2011–15819 Filed 6–23–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNM004200.L13200000.GA0000] Notice of Intent To Prepare a Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) and Associated Environmental Assessment Addressing Four Federal Coal Lease Applications in Haskell and LeFlore Counties, OK Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Intent. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oklahoma Field Office intends to prepare an amendment to the 1994 Oklahoma Resource Management Plan, as amended, and associated Environmental Assessment (EA) in response to four coal lease applications covering lands in Haskell and LeFlore Counties, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 37145 Oklahoma. By this notice, the Oklahoma Field Office announces the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues. DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) amendment/ EA. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until August 8, 2011. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/fo/ Oklahoma_Field_Office.html. We will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft RMP amendment/EA. Comments: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria related to the four Federal coal lease applications in Haskell and LeFlore Counties, Oklahoma, RMP amendment/EA by any of the following methods: • E-mail: rwymer@blm.gov. • Fax: (918) 621–4130. • Mail: RMPA/EA Comments, BLM, Oklahoma Field Office, 7906 E 33rd Street, Suite 101, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145–1352. Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the Oklahoma Field Office. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or to have your name added to our mailing list, contact: Laurence Levesque or Richard Wymer, Co-Team Leaders, BLM, Oklahoma Field Office, 7906 E 33rd Street, Suite 101, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145–1352, phone (918) 621–4100. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: During the period June 2008 to April 2010, the BLM received three coal lease modification applications and one competitive coal lease application from Farrell-Cooper Mining Company, Georges Colliers Inc., and Mining Systems Corporation. These applications were for resources located outside the areas that the Oklahoma RMP designated as available for coal leasing. The RMP amendment will evaluate the four Lease Application Areas to determine suitability for further leasing consideration. The RMP amendment will be prepared in accordance with guidance provided in BLM Land Use Planning Handbook (H–1601–1). The Lease Application Areas total approximately 2,500 acres of previously unleased coal and are part of the Federal mineral estate, but have not previously undergone land-use planning analysis. The Lease Application Areas total 2,500 acres of Federal mineral E:\FR\FM\24JNN1.SGM 24JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 122 (Friday, June 24, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37143-37145]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-15819]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2010-N200; 40136-1265-0000-S3]


Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point National Wildlife 
Refuges, U.S. Virgin Islands; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the environmental 
assessment for Buck Island, Green Cay, and Sandy Point National 
Wildlife Refuges (NWRs). In the final CCP, we describe how we will 
manage these three refuges for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Mr. Mike 
Evans, Refuge Manager, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, 3013 
Estate Golden Rock, Suite 137, Christiansted, VI 00820-4355. The CCP 
may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service's Web site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/ under ``Final Documents.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Evans; telephone: 340/773-
4554; e-mail: Michael_Evans@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Buck Island, 
Green Cay, and Sandy Point NWRs. We started this process through a 
notice in the Federal Register on March 12, 2007 (72 FR 11046).
    All three refuges are located in the United States Virgin Islands. 
Sandy Point NWR is situated on the southwestern tip of the island of 
St. Croix. Green Cay NWR is a small island located several hundred 
yards north of St. Croix, east of the city of Christiansted. Buck 
Island NWR is situated several miles south of the island of St. Thomas 
and the city of Charlotte Amalie. These three refuges are part of the 
Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
    Sandy Point NWR provides critical nesting habitat for the federally 
endangered leatherback sea turtle. Its sandy beaches are also used for 
nesting by the federally endangered hawksbill sea turtle and the 
federally threatened green sea turtle. These same sea turtle species 
are also protected under Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands 
regulations.
    Green Cay NWR was established in 1977 to protect the federally 
endangered St. Croix ground lizard. This island refuge provides 
critical habitat for the largest remaining natural population of this 
species. Its extirpation from the main island of St. Croix, just 
several hundred yards away, is generally attributed to the modification 
and loss of shoreline habitat resulting from human activities and the 
introduction of predators, such as rats, cats, and dogs. The 
introduction of the exotic Indian mongoose likely completed the 
elimination of the species from St. Croix proper. As a result, this 
species is one of the rarest reptiles in the world and is unique to St. 
Croix island ecosystems. As part of a cooperative effort with the 
National Park Service, in May 2008, 57 individual St. Croix ground 
lizards were translocated to Buck Island Reef National Monument, 
several miles

[[Page 37144]]

away, in order to establish a fourth population of this highly 
endangered lizard and thus help secure its survival.
    Buck Island NWR was established in 1969. The off-shore islands 
around St. Thomas support a number of critical seabird and migratory 
bird roosting, breeding, and nesting sites. Some of these off-shore 
islands have been impacted by varying degrees of development and 
habitat alteration, making remaining islands even more critical for use 
by migratory birds. Although Buck Island NWR's natural plant and 
wildlife communities have been severely impacted by human activity, the 
island has major potential for habitat restoration, enhancement and 
support of migratory bird populations, and maintenance of existing 
wildlife populations, both endemic and migratory. The refuge is home to 
two rare reptiles endemic to the ``Puerto Rican bank,'' the geological 
area containing Puerto Rico, Culebra, St. Thomas, and the British 
Virgin Islands--the Antillean skink and Puerto Rican racer. The island 
also provides nesting or roosting habitat for the magnificent 
frigatebird, the red-billed tropicbird, and laughing gulls.

Background

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop 
a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The 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.

Comments

    We made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public 
review period as announced in the Federal Register on September 17, 
2009 (74 FR 47815). Two public meetings were held to receive comments 
on the Draft CCP/EA--one in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, and one in 
Fredericksted, St. Croix. We received 10 written comments on the Draft 
CCP/EA.

Selected Alternatives

Sandy Point NWR

    We developed four alternatives for managing Sandy Point NWR. After 
considering the comments we received and based on the professional 
judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative D for 
implementation. While each of the alternatives provided in varying 
degrees for wildlife, habitat, and public use, Alternative D was more 
ambitious than Alternative A, while supporting more wildlife and 
habitat management than Alternative B and more public use than 
Alternative C.
    The overriding concern reflected in the CCP is that wildlife 
conservation, especially management and protection of endangered sea 
turtles, assumes first priority in refuge management. Wildlife-
dependent recreation uses (e.g., fishing, wildlife observation, 
wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation) 
will be emphasized and encouraged.
    Existing recovery efforts for the endangered leatherback sea turtle 
will continue. We will pursue hawksbill and green sea turtle recovery 
by implementing saturation tagging and nest management. We will 
continue to protect pelican roosting sites and manage least tern 
nesting sites, aiming to increase the number of nesting least terns. 
Landbirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds will benefit as well.
    We will begin to conduct status surveys for invertebrates and 
reptile and amphibian species of special concern. The presence or 
absence of bats will also be surveyed, and we will enhance habitat and 
install artificial nest structures for bats. Refuge-wide control of 
non-native flora and fauna to protect indigenous flora and fauna will 
be carried out as needed.
    We will accelerate efforts to restore the structure, function, and 
diversity of dry forest habitat. We will begin to actively monitor 
status and trends on the West End Salt Pond (Salt Pond) as they affect 
mangroves, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. We will not only protect 
existing stands and specimens of Vahl's boxwood, but will also conduct 
recovery activities. Furthermore, we will investigate the potential for 
establishing a Catesbaea melanocarpa population on the refuge. We will 
actively cooperate with the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies 
to develop and implement protocols for monitoring sea level rise and 
its impacts on habitats.
    We will continue to manage and protect cultural resources, 
particularly the Aklis archaeological site. In addition, we will 
develop and begin to implement a Cultural Resources Management Plan.
    Public use and visitor services will expand somewhat. We will 
develop an accessible trail and observation deck with expansive views 
of the Salt Pond. We will aim to develop environmental education and 
interpretive opportunities around the new refuge headquarters and 
visitor center to be constructed in the vicinity. We will also allow 
access to the beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, outside of the 
seasonal closure for leatherback turtle nesting. If staffing permits, 
we will also provide pedestrian access to the beach during the entire 
week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., outside of the seasonal closure for turtle 
nesting.
    We will continue the existing education and outreach program, such 
as the turtle watch program, Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program, 
periodic news releases, news media interviews, Web site content, school 
visits, informal contact with refuge visitors, and continuing 
development of the visitor contact station. Education and outreach 
efforts will increase. The YCC program will be maintained and expanded 
in size for two months during the summer. There will be more emphasis 
on developing partnerships and volunteers.

Green Cay NWR

    We developed two alternatives for managing Green Cay NWR. After 
considering the comments we received and based on the professional 
judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative B for 
implementation. While both alternatives provide for wildlife and 
habitat, Alternative B will yield greater wildlife and habitat benefits 
overall than Alternative A, particularly for the St. Croix ground 
lizard, on whose behalf the refuge was originally established. 
Alternative B will also offer greater opportunities for the public, 
even while maintaining the general refuge closure.
    We will maintain or expand upon all existing programs. To promote 
recovery of the endangered St. Croix ground lizard, we will continue 
existing programs of reforestation, rat and invasive plant control, and 
population monitoring. We will also maintain closure of the island to 
public access, to avoid accidental direct mortality and habitat 
degradation. In addition, we will develop a habitat restoration plan 
within 3 years, with the aim of

[[Page 37145]]

improving habitat quality for the ground lizard.
    We will also continue management efforts on behalf of nesting and 
roosting brown pelicans and white-crowned pigeons. We will continue our 
habitat recovery (reforestation) efforts so as to complete 100 percent 
of the area intended for reforestation by the end of the 15-year 
planning period. An important part of accelerating habitat recovery 
will be to increase the control of invasive plants and invasive 
animals.
    We will continue to protect and manage Green Cay NWR's cultural 
resources. Also, we will develop and begin to implement a Cultural 
Resources Management Plan. To conduct outreach and education, we will 
continue to maintain the refuge Web site, distribute information, 
maintain signage on the island identifying it as a national wildlife 
refuge closed to the public, and conduct periodic presentations off-
refuge. These efforts will be augmented by installing larger signs that 
can be seen and read from a greater distance, expanding outreach 
efforts to nearby hotels, and considering alternatives to visitation 
within the refuge itself, such as offering or promoting boat and kayak 
tours around the island.

Buck Island NWR

    We developed two alternatives for managing Buck Island NWR. After 
considering the comments we received and based on the professional 
judgment of the planning team, we selected Alternative B for 
implementation. While both alternatives will result in benefits to some 
extent for wildlife, habitat, and public use, Alternative B is more 
ambitious than Alternative A, and thus will yield greater benefits for 
both wildlife and the public. In general, Alternative B maintains and 
expands upon all programs of Alternative A.
    We will strive to provide more active management of the island's 
indigenous wildlife, particularly species of concern. We will draft and 
begin implementing an inventorying and monitoring plan for the 
slipperyback skink, Puerto Rican racer, magnificent frigatebird, and 
red-billed tropicbird.
    We will continue to monitor for rat reinvasions. To pursue and 
promote habitat recovery on Buck Island NWR, we will develop and begin 
to implement a Habitat Restoration Plan. We will increase control of 
invasive plants and animals using appropriate means, and will evaluate 
the effectiveness of different methods of control.
    We will continue to manage cultural resources, particularly the 
historic lighthouse. However, we will also evaluate the condition and 
safety of the lighthouse and decide on the feasibility of preservation 
or restoration. In addition, we will develop and begin to implement a 
Cultural Resources Management Plan.
    With regard to conducting outreach and education, we will continue 
to maintain the refuge Web site, distribute information, maintain 
limited signage on the island, and make periodic presentations off-
refuge. We will continue to cooperate with the Virgin Islands 
Department of Planning and Natural Resources on joint wildlife and 
habitat management efforts for Buck Island and adjacent Capella Island. 
Also, we will expand cooperative education and interpretive efforts 
with the city of Charlotte Amalie and ecotourism companies which bring 
visitors to offshore waters to explore coral reefs. We will also 
explore the development of a friends group, to provide a more active 
management presence on the island.

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

    Dated: October 1, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director.

    Editorial Note: This document was received in the Office of the 
Federal Register on June 21, 2011.
[FR Doc. 2011-15819 Filed 6-23-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P