Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge, Nantucket, MA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact, 20687-20689 [2013-07937]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2013 / Notices Suitable/Unavailable Properties Washington 10 Buildings Joint Base Lewis McChord JBLM WA 98433 Landholding Agency: Army Property Number: 21201310066 Status: Underutilized Directions: 03154, 03156, 03157, 03158, 03160, 03161, 03163, 03164, 03165, 03167 Comments: secured military cantonment area; public access denied & no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security Reasons: Secured Area Building [FR Doc. 2013–07686 Filed 4–4–13; 8:45 am] Washington BILLING CODE 4210–67–P Texas Building 41 2101 NASA Parkway Houston TX 77058 Landholding Agency: NASA Property Number: 71201310003 Status: Unutilized Comments: 671 sf.; office/shop; deteriorated conditions; remediation needed; restricted access; stringent accessibility reqs.; contact Sandra J. Tetley at sandra.j.tetley@nasa.gov for more info. Willard Pole #2309 201 Oklahoma Rd. Willard WA 98605 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201310020 Status: Excess Comments: 3,500 sf.; repairs needed; restricted area; contact USDA for accessibility/removal reqs. Wil Garage #1510 & 1511 201 Oklahoma Rd. Willard WA 98605 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201310021 Status: Excess Comments: 480 sf. for ea. bldg.; storage; repairs needed; restricted area; contact USDA for accessibility/removal reqs. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Unsuitable Properties Building Florida Building 798 NAS Jacksonville FL Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77201310004 Status: Underutilized Comments: located on restricted naval air station; public access denied & no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security Reasons: Secured Area Maryland Shed 2401 Hawkins Point Rd. Baltimore MD 21226 Landholding Agency: Coast Guard Property Number: 88201310007 Status: Excess Comments: located on an active military facility; public access denied & no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security Reasons: Secured Area Massachusetts Emergency Response Storage 54 Tillson Ave. Rockland MA 04841 Landholding Agency: Coast Guard Property Number: 88201310006 Status: Excess Comments: public access denied & no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security Reasons: Secured Area VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Apr 04, 2013 Jkt 229001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R5–R–2012–N136: BAC–4311–K9–S3] Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge, Nantucket, MA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP), finding of no significant impact (FONSI), and land protection plan (LPP) for Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, refuge) in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Nantucket NWR is part of the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex, administered from Sudbury, Massachusetts. In this final CCP, we describe how we will manage the refuge for the next 15 years. ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the final CCP and FONSI by any of the following methods. You may request a hard copy or a CD–ROM. Agency Web site: Download a copy of the document at http://www.fws.gov/ northeast/planning/nantucket/ ccphome.html. Email: Send requests to northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Nantucket Refuge CCP’’ in the subject line of your message. Mail: Carl Melberg, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776. Fax: Attention: Carl Melberg, 978– 443–2898. In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Call 978–443–4661 to make an appointment during regular business hours at the Sudbury office, 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Libby Herland, Refuge Manager, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 20687 Nantucket NWR, 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776; 978–443–4661 (phone); 978–443–2898 (fax); libby_herland@fws.gov (email). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Nantucket NWR. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (64 FR 9166; February 24, 1999), announcing we were preparing a CCP and environmental impact statement (EIS) for all eight refuges in what was then known as the Great Meadows NWR Complex. In 2001, we determined it was not feasible to prepare a single CCP for all eight refuges, and thus prepared another notice in the Federal Register (66 FR 10506; February 15, 2001), to indicate that a separate CCP/environmental assessment (EA) would be prepared for Great Meadows, Assabet River, and Oxbow NWRs. We planned to prepare a separate CCP for the other five refuges in the refuge complex, including Nantucket NWR. However, in 2008, because of the different issues facing those five refuges, the Service determined it was more efficient to proceed through the CCP process for each refuge separately, and published a notice in the Federal Register (73 FR 18806; April 7, 2008), to begin a separate CCP/EA process for Nantucket NWR. We released the draft CCP/EA for Nantucket NWR to the public, announcing and requesting comments in a notice of availability in the Federal Register on August 2, 2011 (76 FR 46317). The Service established Nantucket NWR in 1973, under an Act Authorizing the Transfer of Certain Real Property for Wildlife, or other Purposes (16 U.S.C. 667b, Pub. L. 80–537), which authorized the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to transfer the property to the Service because of ‘‘its particular value in carrying out the Migratory Bird Act.’’ The USCG currently maintains control of a 1-acre inholding on the refuge that contains the Great Point Lighthouse. Nantucket NWR lies at the northern tip of the Coskata-Coatue Peninsula, which is also known as Great Point. The peninsula is at the northernmost point of Nantucket Island. The only access to the refuge by land is through The Trustees of Reservations’ (TTOR) Coskata-Coatue Refuge and Nantucket Conservation Foundation (NCF) properties from the south. The refuge erodes and accretes constantly, but averages 21 acres in size. The refuge is a barrier beach system where two longshore currents meet to form a rip current. The refuge is composed of E:\FR\FM\05APN1.SGM 05APN1 20688 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2013 / Notices beach and dune habitat that supports a diversity of sea and land birds of conservation concern, including common and roseate terns, piping plover, and American oystercatcher, and Federal trust marine mammals, such as gray seals. We announce our decision and the availability of the FONSI for the final CCP for Nantucket NWR in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requirements. We completed a thorough analysis of impacts on the human environment, which we included in the draft CCP/EA. The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Nantucket NWR for the next 15 years. Alternative B, as described for the refuge in the draft CCP/EA, and with the modifications described below, is the foundation for the final CCP. Background The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd–668ee) (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop a CCP for each NWR. 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 (NWRS), 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 and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Refuge Administration Act. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES CCP Alternatives, Including the Selected Alternative Our draft CCP/EA (76 FR 46317) addressed several key issues, including: • Providing habitat protection and management for federally endangered and threatened species and other protected wildlife. • Maintaining a balance between resource protection and beach access, and determining compatibility for recreational uses. • Increasing education and interpretation of the resources, and VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Apr 04, 2013 Jkt 229001 increasing communications about management decisions. • Cooperating in land management with adjacent land managers and planning for future land acquisition opportunities. • Creating a protocol for ensuring cultural resource protection. To address these issues and develop a plan based on the refuge’s establishing purposes, vision, and goals, we evaluated three alternatives for Nantucket NWR in the draft CCP/EA. The alternatives for Nantucket NWR have some actions in common, such as protecting the beach and dune habitat and the bird species of conservation concern using this habitat, providing wildlife-dependent priority public uses when compatible, reducing impacts from climate change, protecting cultural resources, and distributing refuge revenue sharing payments to the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts. There are other actions that differ among the alternatives. The draft CCP/EA describes each alternative in detail and relates them to the issues and concerns that arose during the planning process. Below, we provide summaries for the three alternatives evaluated in the draft CCP/EA. Alternative A (Current Management) This alternative is the ‘‘No Action’’ alternative required by the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq). It defines our current management activities, including those planned, funded, or underway, and serves as the baseline against which to compare alternatives B and C. This alternative describes current refuge programs on the 21-acre refuge for habitat management, fish and wildlife inventories and monitoring, administrative infrastructure and staffing, and visitor services. Under this alternative, TTOR would continue to provide onsite management of Nantucket NWR, and the Service would continue its passive management role and minimal presence on the refuge. The remote location of the refuge, along with limited staffing and funding resources, restricts our ability to maintain a consistent presence, or to actively oversee and implement management actions. Instead, we would continue to coordinate with TTOR for installing symbolic fencing and implementing beach closures to protect breeding and staging birds and seal haul-out sites on the refuge. Under alternative A, the Service would maintain oversight, but visitor services programs would continue to be implemented primarily by partners, such as TTOR. Priority public uses, PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 such as wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, interpretation, and fishing are currently allowed on the refuge and would continue where beach access is permitted. Hunting is the only priority public use that is not allowed on the refuge due to the refuge’s small size and habitat types. Under this alternative, all staff would continue to be stationed at the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex headquarters in Sudbury, Massachusetts. We would continue discussions to pursue a partnership agreement with TTOR, which would include resource management, visitor use, and shared funding sources to help contribute to refuge operations. Alternative B (Enhanced Wildlife and Visitor Services Emphasis) This is the Service-preferred alternative. It combines the actions we believe would best achieve the refuge’s purposes, vision, and goals, and the intent of NWRS policy on Biological Integrity, Diversity, and Environmental Health (601 FW 3). This alternative would also best respond to the issues that arose during the planning process. Alternative B would improve our management of refuge habitats and species of conservation concern, with increased Service presence on the existing 21-acre refuge, and on the additional 2,036 acres proposed for Service acquisition from willing sellers in fee or easement, or as a no-cost transfer from other Federal agencies. It strives to provide a balance between habitat and species conservation and public use and access. It would enhance partnerships with local conservation organizations and civic groups. Under this alternative, the Service would take a more active role in habitat and species management on the refuge, targeting the protection of dynamic coastal beach and dune systems and the species that rely on them for critical nesting, resting, foraging, and staging habitat. The additional protection proposed may result in increased public recreational access restrictions or closures on the refuge during certain seasons or in some years. We would also continue to work closely with TTOR, NCF, and our other partners to accomplish biological program priorities with an emphasis on landscape-level conservation and more consistent management between peninsula partners. A draft LPP, which requires Director’s approval before it can be implemented, was included as Appendix G in the draft CCP/EA. The LPP proposes that 2,036 acres of high resource value be acquired for the refuge if willing sellers are available. E:\FR\FM\05APN1.SGM 05APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2013 / Notices Under alternative B, we would establish public use zones that would allow some increased public use opportunities in certain areas where wildlife are less likely to be disturbed, with an emphasis on providing fishing, wildlife observation, environmental education, and interpretation. An increase in opportunities would also be accomplished by working with partners to monitor wildlife use and offer visitor programs. We propose to add a parttime, year-round visitor services specialist and a full-time biologist stationed on Nantucket Island, and a new law enforcement officer stationed at Monomoy NWR in Chatham, Massachusetts. Alternative C (Emphasis on Wildlife Diversity and Natural Processes) We have selected alternative B to implement for Nantucket NWR, with these minor changes, for several reasons. Alternative B comprises a mix of actions that, in our professional judgment, work best towards achieving the refuge’s purposes, vision, and goals; NWRS policies; and the goals of other State and regional conservation plans. Our ability to achieve conservation goals is further enhanced with the land protection plan (LPP) included in alternative B. The LPP was approved by the Service’s Director on January 15, 2013. We also believe that alternative B most effectively addresses key issues raised during the planning process. The basis of our decision is also detailed in the FONSI. Public Availability of Documents This alternative would focus on managing wildlife diversity and natural coastal processes. It would emphasize species and habitat protection on the refuge through actions such as not allowing over-sand vehicles for fishing access on most of the refuge during April 1 through September 15. Staff would monitor and evaluate nesting success and productivity for priority bird species of conservation concern. Alternative C includes expanding current management and staffing over the next 15 years on the refuge. It would also involve targeted fee and easement acquisition of excess and surplus Federal lands and other key conservation properties on Nantucket Island as opportunities arise. Visitor services would be similar to those under alternative B, except for the longer, more restrictive over-sand vehicle closure zones. Similar to alternative B, this alternative proposes a joint visitor facility with TTOR and NCF, as well as increased visitor services programming and opportunities through partners. Comments mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES We solicited comments on the draft CCP/EA for Nantucket NWR from August 2 to October 1, 2011 (76 FR 46317). During the comment period, we received 38 written responses. We evaluated all of the substantive comments we received, and include a summary of those comments, and our responses to them, as Appendix J in the final CCP. Selected Alternative After considering the comments we received on our draft CCP/EA, we have made several minor changes to alternative B. These changes are described in the final CCP in the FONSI (Appendix L) and in Appendix J. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Apr 04, 2013 Jkt 229001 You can view or obtain the final CCP, including the FONSI, as indicated under ADDRESSES. Dated: February 18, 2013. Deborah Rocque, Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region. [FR Doc. 2013–07937 Filed 4–4–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P 20689 To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by May 6, 2013. ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the application and HCP, you may request documents by email, U.S. mail, or phone (see below). These documents are also available for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at the office below. Send your comments or requests by any one of the following methods. Email: northflorida@fws.gov. Use ‘‘Attn: Permit number TE151089–1’’ as your message subject line. Fax: Dawn Jennings, Acting Field Supervisor, 904–731–3045, Attn.: Permit number TE151089–1. U.S. mail: Dawn Jennings, Acting Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office, Attn: Permit number TE151089–1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256. In-person drop-off: You may drop off information during regular business hours at the above office address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin M. Gawera, telephone: 904–731–3121; email: erin_gawera@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Background Fish and Wildlife Service Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and our implementing Federal regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17 prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take of listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act as ‘‘to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1532). However, under limited circumstances, we issue permits to authorize incidental take—i.e., take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, respectively. The Act’s take prohibitions do not apply to federally listed plants on private lands unless such take would violate State law. In addition to meeting other criteria, an incidental take permit’s proposed actions must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed fish, wildlife, or plants. [FWS–R4–ES–2013–N076; FXES11130400000EA–123–FF04EF1000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Receipt of Application for Renewal of Incidental Take Permit; Availability of Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan; Eber Cove, LLC, Brevard County, FL Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Eber Cove, LLC (applicant), for a 5-year renewal of incidental take permit (ITP) TE151089– 0 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We request public comment on the permit application and accompanying proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP), as well as on our preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as low effect under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, which are also available for review. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Applicant’s Proposal The applicant has been approved for take of approximately 1.55 acres (ac) of Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)–occupied habitat incidental to construction of a singlefamily-home subdivision. The 28.25-ac E:\FR\FM\05APN1.SGM 05APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 66 (Friday, April 5, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20687-20689]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07937]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2012-N136: BAC-4311-K9-S3]


Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge, Nantucket, MA; Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP), 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI), and land protection plan 
(LPP) for Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, refuge) in 
Nantucket, Massachusetts. Nantucket NWR is part of the Eastern 
Massachusetts NWR Complex, administered from Sudbury, Massachusetts. In 
this final CCP, we describe how we will manage the refuge for the next 
15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the final CCP and FONSI by 
any of the following methods. You may request a hard copy or a CD-ROM.
    Agency Web site: Download a copy of the document at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/nantucket/ccphome.html.
    Email: Send requests to northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include 
``Nantucket Refuge CCP'' in the subject line of your message.
    Mail: Carl Melberg, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776.
    Fax: Attention: Carl Melberg, 978-443-2898.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Call 978-443-4661 to make an 
appointment during regular business hours at the Sudbury office, 73 
Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Libby Herland, Refuge Manager, 
Nantucket NWR, 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, MA 01776; 978-443-4661 
(phone); 978-443-2898 (fax); libby_herland@fws.gov (email).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Nantucket NWR. We 
started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (64 FR 
9166; February 24, 1999), announcing we were preparing a CCP and 
environmental impact statement (EIS) for all eight refuges in what was 
then known as the Great Meadows NWR Complex. In 2001, we determined it 
was not feasible to prepare a single CCP for all eight refuges, and 
thus prepared another notice in the Federal Register (66 FR 10506; 
February 15, 2001), to indicate that a separate CCP/environmental 
assessment (EA) would be prepared for Great Meadows, Assabet River, and 
Oxbow NWRs. We planned to prepare a separate CCP for the other five 
refuges in the refuge complex, including Nantucket NWR. However, in 
2008, because of the different issues facing those five refuges, the 
Service determined it was more efficient to proceed through the CCP 
process for each refuge separately, and published a notice in the 
Federal Register (73 FR 18806; April 7, 2008), to begin a separate CCP/
EA process for Nantucket NWR. We released the draft CCP/EA for 
Nantucket NWR to the public, announcing and requesting comments in a 
notice of availability in the Federal Register on August 2, 2011 (76 FR 
46317).
    The Service established Nantucket NWR in 1973, under an Act 
Authorizing the Transfer of Certain Real Property for Wildlife, or 
other Purposes (16 U.S.C. 667b, Pub. L. 80-537), which authorized the 
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to transfer the property to the Service because 
of ``its particular value in carrying out the Migratory Bird Act.'' The 
USCG currently maintains control of a 1-acre inholding on the refuge 
that contains the Great Point Lighthouse. Nantucket NWR lies at the 
northern tip of the Coskata-Coatue Peninsula, which is also known as 
Great Point. The peninsula is at the northernmost point of Nantucket 
Island.
    The only access to the refuge by land is through The Trustees of 
Reservations' (TTOR) Coskata-Coatue Refuge and Nantucket Conservation 
Foundation (NCF) properties from the south. The refuge erodes and 
accretes constantly, but averages 21 acres in size. The refuge is a 
barrier beach system where two longshore currents meet to form a rip 
current. The refuge is composed of

[[Page 20688]]

beach and dune habitat that supports a diversity of sea and land birds 
of conservation concern, including common and roseate terns, piping 
plover, and American oystercatcher, and Federal trust marine mammals, 
such as gray seals.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the FONSI for the 
final CCP for Nantucket NWR in accordance with National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requirements. We completed a 
thorough analysis of impacts on the human environment, which we 
included in the draft CCP/EA.
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Nantucket NWR 
for the next 15 years. Alternative B, as described for the refuge in 
the draft CCP/EA, and with the modifications described below, is the 
foundation for the final CCP.

Background

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each NWR. 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 (NWRS), 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 and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Refuge 
Administration Act.

CCP Alternatives, Including the Selected Alternative

    Our draft CCP/EA (76 FR 46317) addressed several key issues, 
including:
     Providing habitat protection and management for federally 
endangered and threatened species and other protected wildlife.
     Maintaining a balance between resource protection and 
beach access, and determining compatibility for recreational uses.
     Increasing education and interpretation of the resources, 
and increasing communications about management decisions.
     Cooperating in land management with adjacent land managers 
and planning for future land acquisition opportunities.
     Creating a protocol for ensuring cultural resource 
protection.
    To address these issues and develop a plan based on the refuge's 
establishing purposes, vision, and goals, we evaluated three 
alternatives for Nantucket NWR in the draft CCP/EA. The alternatives 
for Nantucket NWR have some actions in common, such as protecting the 
beach and dune habitat and the bird species of conservation concern 
using this habitat, providing wildlife-dependent priority public uses 
when compatible, reducing impacts from climate change, protecting 
cultural resources, and distributing refuge revenue sharing payments to 
the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts. There are other actions that 
differ among the alternatives. The draft CCP/EA describes each 
alternative in detail and relates them to the issues and concerns that 
arose during the planning process. Below, we provide summaries for the 
three alternatives evaluated in the draft CCP/EA.

Alternative A (Current Management)

    This alternative is the ``No Action'' alternative required by the 
National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq). It defines 
our current management activities, including those planned, funded, or 
underway, and serves as the baseline against which to compare 
alternatives B and C. This alternative describes current refuge 
programs on the 21-acre refuge for habitat management, fish and 
wildlife inventories and monitoring, administrative infrastructure and 
staffing, and visitor services. Under this alternative, TTOR would 
continue to provide onsite management of Nantucket NWR, and the Service 
would continue its passive management role and minimal presence on the 
refuge. The remote location of the refuge, along with limited staffing 
and funding resources, restricts our ability to maintain a consistent 
presence, or to actively oversee and implement management actions. 
Instead, we would continue to coordinate with TTOR for installing 
symbolic fencing and implementing beach closures to protect breeding 
and staging birds and seal haul-out sites on the refuge.
    Under alternative A, the Service would maintain oversight, but 
visitor services programs would continue to be implemented primarily by 
partners, such as TTOR. Priority public uses, such as wildlife 
observation, photography, environmental education, interpretation, and 
fishing are currently allowed on the refuge and would continue where 
beach access is permitted. Hunting is the only priority public use that 
is not allowed on the refuge due to the refuge's small size and habitat 
types. Under this alternative, all staff would continue to be stationed 
at the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex headquarters in Sudbury, 
Massachusetts. We would continue discussions to pursue a partnership 
agreement with TTOR, which would include resource management, visitor 
use, and shared funding sources to help contribute to refuge 
operations.

Alternative B (Enhanced Wildlife and Visitor Services Emphasis)

    This is the Service-preferred alternative. It combines the actions 
we believe would best achieve the refuge's purposes, vision, and goals, 
and the intent of NWRS policy on Biological Integrity, Diversity, and 
Environmental Health (601 FW 3). This alternative would also best 
respond to the issues that arose during the planning process. 
Alternative B would improve our management of refuge habitats and 
species of conservation concern, with increased Service presence on the 
existing 21-acre refuge, and on the additional 2,036 acres proposed for 
Service acquisition from willing sellers in fee or easement, or as a 
no-cost transfer from other Federal agencies. It strives to provide a 
balance between habitat and species conservation and public use and 
access. It would enhance partnerships with local conservation 
organizations and civic groups.
    Under this alternative, the Service would take a more active role 
in habitat and species management on the refuge, targeting the 
protection of dynamic coastal beach and dune systems and the species 
that rely on them for critical nesting, resting, foraging, and staging 
habitat. The additional protection proposed may result in increased 
public recreational access restrictions or closures on the refuge 
during certain seasons or in some years.
    We would also continue to work closely with TTOR, NCF, and our 
other partners to accomplish biological program priorities with an 
emphasis on landscape-level conservation and more consistent management 
between peninsula partners. A draft LPP, which requires Director's 
approval before it can be implemented, was included as Appendix G in 
the draft CCP/EA. The LPP proposes that 2,036 acres of high resource 
value be acquired for the refuge if willing sellers are available.

[[Page 20689]]

    Under alternative B, we would establish public use zones that would 
allow some increased public use opportunities in certain areas where 
wildlife are less likely to be disturbed, with an emphasis on providing 
fishing, wildlife observation, environmental education, and 
interpretation. An increase in opportunities would also be accomplished 
by working with partners to monitor wildlife use and offer visitor 
programs. We propose to add a part-time, year-round visitor services 
specialist and a full-time biologist stationed on Nantucket Island, and 
a new law enforcement officer stationed at Monomoy NWR in Chatham, 
Massachusetts.

Alternative C (Emphasis on Wildlife Diversity and Natural Processes)

    This alternative would focus on managing wildlife diversity and 
natural coastal processes. It would emphasize species and habitat 
protection on the refuge through actions such as not allowing over-sand 
vehicles for fishing access on most of the refuge during April 1 
through September 15. Staff would monitor and evaluate nesting success 
and productivity for priority bird species of conservation concern. 
Alternative C includes expanding current management and staffing over 
the next 15 years on the refuge. It would also involve targeted fee and 
easement acquisition of excess and surplus Federal lands and other key 
conservation properties on Nantucket Island as opportunities arise. 
Visitor services would be similar to those under alternative B, except 
for the longer, more restrictive over-sand vehicle closure zones. 
Similar to alternative B, this alternative proposes a joint visitor 
facility with TTOR and NCF, as well as increased visitor services 
programming and opportunities through partners.

Comments

    We solicited comments on the draft CCP/EA for Nantucket NWR from 
August 2 to October 1, 2011 (76 FR 46317). During the comment period, 
we received 38 written responses. We evaluated all of the substantive 
comments we received, and include a summary of those comments, and our 
responses to them, as Appendix J in the final CCP.

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments we received on our draft CCP/EA, we 
have made several minor changes to alternative B. These changes are 
described in the final CCP in the FONSI (Appendix L) and in Appendix J.
    We have selected alternative B to implement for Nantucket NWR, with 
these minor changes, for several reasons. Alternative B comprises a mix 
of actions that, in our professional judgment, work best towards 
achieving the refuge's purposes, vision, and goals; NWRS policies; and 
the goals of other State and regional conservation plans. Our ability 
to achieve conservation goals is further enhanced with the land 
protection plan (LPP) included in alternative B. The LPP was approved 
by the Service's Director on January 15, 2013. We also believe that 
alternative B most effectively addresses key issues raised during the 
planning process. The basis of our decision is also detailed in the 
FONSI.

Public Availability of Documents

    You can view or obtain the final CCP, including the FONSI, as 
indicated under ADDRESSES.

    Dated: February 18, 2013.
Deborah Rocque,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-07937 Filed 4-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P