Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris County, New Jersey; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact, 69519-69521 [2014-27590]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 225 / Friday, November 21, 2014 / Notices asbestos; lead-based paint; mold possible; contact GSA for more information. Maryland Carroll County Memorial USA RC 404 Malcolm Drive Westminster MD 21157 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201430003 Status: Excess GSA Number: 4–DMD–1130AA Directions: Landholding agency; Army; Disposal Agency; GSA Comments: 3 Building totaling 15,719 sq. ft., storage/maintenance good conditions; asbestos/lead-based paint/polychlorinated biphenyl; remediation required; contact GSA for more information. Michigan Nat’l Weather Svc Ofc 214 West 14th Ave. Sault Ste. Marie MI Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54200120010 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–C–MI–802 Comments: 2230 sq. ft., presence of asbestos, most recent use—office. Texas 2 Buildings; Natural Resource Conservation Service Waco Facility 200 South Price Street Waco TX 76501 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201430007 Status: Surplus GSA Number: 7–A–TX–0556 Directions: Landholding agency; Agriculture; Disposal Agency; GSA. Comments: 18,460 sq. ft.; storage; 60+ months vacant; very poor condition; within a security fence; contact GSA for more information. Virginia Johnson House and Shed 12503 Cavalry Court Spotsylvania VA 22553 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201430005 Status: Excess GSA Number: 4–I–VA–1145AA Directions: Landholding Agency; Interior; Disposal Agency; GSA Comments: Off-site removal only; 1,357 +/¥ sq. ft.; repairs needed; contact GSA for more information. Washington Old Colville Border Patrol 209 E. Juniper Ave. Colville WA 99114 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201420009 Status: Excess GSA Number: 9–Z–WA–1272 Directions: Landholding Agency: Dept. of Homeland Security; Disposal Agency: GSA Comments: 5,500 sq. ft.; office; 18+ months vacant; good to moderate conditions; contact GSA for more info. Old Oroville Border Patrol Station 1105 Main St. Oroville WA 98844 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201420010 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Nov 20, 2014 Jkt 235001 Status: Excess GSA Number: 9–Z–WA–1272–AB Directions: Landholding Agency: Dept. of Homeland Security; Disposal Agency: GSA Comments: 5,500 sq. ft.; office; 18+ months vacant; good to moderate conditions; contact GSA for more info. Wisconsin St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Residential Structures 401 N. Hamilton St. St. Croix Falls WI 54204 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201430001 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–I–WI–541B Directions: Landholding Agency: Interior; Disposal Agency: GSA Comments: House #1: 1,048 sq. ft.; House #2: 2,376 sq. ft.; House #3: 2,936 sq. ft.; good to fair conditions; LBP; contact GSA for more information. Land Missouri Former Nike Battery Site Kansas City 30 15616 S KK Highway Pleasant Hill MO 64080 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201430002 Status: Surplus GSA Number: 7–D–MO–0522 Comments: 19.52 acres +/¥ and 4.02 easement acres +/¥; education use; contact GCA for more information. South Carolina Former FAA Outer Marker Facility—Greer Brookfield Parkway Greer SC 29651 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201410011 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–U–SC–0631 Comments: 0.99 acres; contact GSA for more information. Tennessee Former FAA Outer Marker Facility— Nashville W End of Kinhawk Drive Nashville TN 37211 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201410012 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–U–TN–0672 Comments: 12.20 acres; contact GSA for more information. [FR Doc. 2014–27321 Filed 11–20–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R5–R–2014–N199; BAC–4311–K9–S3] Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris County, New Jersey; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ACTION: 69519 Notice of availability. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located in Morris County, New Jersey, for public review and comment. 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/ refuge/Great_Swamp/what_we_do/ conservation.html. Email: Send requests to northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Great Swamp CCP’’ in the subject line of your email. Mail: Bill Perry, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035. Fax: Attention: Bill Perry, 413–253– 8468. In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Call 973–425–1222 to make an appointment (necessary for view/pickup only) during regular business hours at Great Swamp NWR, 241 Pleasant Plains Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. For more information on locations for viewing or obtaining documents, see ‘‘Public Availability of Documents’’ under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Henry, Acting Refuge Manager, 973–425–1222 (phone), or Bill Perry, Planning Team Leader, 413–253–8688 (phone); northeastplanning@fws.gov (email). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Great Swamp NWR. We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (75 FR 41879) on July 19, 2010. Great Swamp NWR was established by an act of Congress on November 3, 1960, and formally dedicated in 1964, primarily under the authorities of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703–711) and the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 (U.S.C. 715– 715s, 45 Stat. 1222) as amended, ‘‘for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.’’ The refuge currently encompasses 7,768 acres and has an approved acquisition boundary that E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 69520 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 225 / Friday, November 21, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES would allow for refuge expansion to a maximum of 9,429 acres. Great Swamp NWR is located approximately 26 miles from New York City and is an area that is heavily suburbanized. The refuge provides vital brooding, nesting, feeding, and resting habitat for a variety of migratory bird species, including waterfowl. Although established primarily for migratory birds, the refuge’s mosaic of forested wetlands, emergent wetlands, and various successional stages of upland vegetation provides habitats for a diversity of wildlife species. We announce our decision and the availability of the FONSI for the final CCP for Great Swamp 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/ environmental assessment (EA). The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Great Swamp NWR for the next 15 years. Alternative B, as described for the refuge in the draft CCP/EA, and with minor 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 refuge. The purpose for developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving refuge purposes and contributing to 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. CCP Alternatives, Including the Selected Alternative Our draft CCP/EA (79 FR 27634) addressed several key issues, including: • Evaluation of consolidating managed habitats of the refuge. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:00 Nov 20, 2014 Jkt 235001 • Better understanding the implications and trade-offs of habitat management on refuge wildlife. • Identifying and addressing climate change concerns impacting the refuge. • Providing more public use opportunities on the refuge and linking to nearby urban populations. • Providing additional hunting opportunities, including fall archery deer hunting and spring turkey hunting. • Expanding and strengthening partnerships. To address these issues and develop a plan based on the refuge’s establishing purposes, vision, and goals, we evaluated four management alternatives for Great Swamp NWR in the draft CCP/ EA. The alternatives have several actions in common. All alternatives include measures to control invasive species, monitor and abate diseases affecting wildlife and plant health, protect cultural resources, continue existing projects managed by outside programs, and manage threatened and endangered species populations on the refuge. There are other actions that differ among the alternatives. The draft CCP/EA provides a full description of each alternative and relates each to the issues and concerns that arose during the planning process. Below, we provide summaries of the four alternatives. Management Alternatives Alternative A (Current Management) Alternative A (current management) satisfies the NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) requirement of a ‘‘no action’’ alternative, which we define as ‘‘continuing current management.’’ It describes our existing management priorities and activities, and serves as a baseline for comparing and contrasting alternatives B, C, and D. It would maintain our present levels of approved refuge staffing and the biological and visitor programs now in place. We would continue to manage for and maintain a diversity of habitats, including freshwater wetlands, impoundments, scrub-shrub, grasslands, wet meadows, and forests on the refuge. The refuge would continue to provide an active visitor use program that supports environmental education and interpretation, hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation and photography. Alternative B (Enhance Biological Diversity and Public Use Opportunities) This alternative is the Servicepreferred alternative. It combines the actions we believe would most effectively achieve the refuge’s purposes, vision, and goals, and respond to the issues raised during the PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 scoping period. This alternative emphasizes management of specific refuge habitats to support viable populations of focal species whose habitat needs benefit other species, especially those of conservation concern. We would continue to maintain a diversity of forest, nonforested, open water, grassland, and scrub-shrub habitats. However, habitats would be reconfigured and maintained to create large (greater than 50 acres) contiguous patches to promote wildlife use, increase connectivity, decrease fragmentation, and increase maintenance efficiency and reduce associated costs. This alternative emphasizes habitat for priority bird species and federally listed species, including the bog turtle and Indiana bat. This alternative would also enhance the refuge’s public use opportunities, and place more emphasis on connecting with communities in nearby urban areas. It would expand the hunt program by pursuing the processes for permitting archery for deer and opening the refuge to turkey hunting. It would also improve wildlife viewing and photography opportunities in a variety of habitats, expand visitor center hours, and increase the number of environmental education and interpretation programs on- and offrefuge. It attempts to balance public use with resource protection. Alternative C (Emphasis on Maximizing Natural Regeneration) Alternative C emphasizes allowing natural succession or regeneration to occur to the maximum extent practical. We would maximize core forest habitats while maintaining large (i.e., greater than 50 acres) contiguous patches of actively managed grasslands and scrubshrub habitats. This alternative would guide management to restore, where practical, the distribution of natural communities of the Great Swamp that would have resulted from natural processes without the influence of human settlement or management intervention. This alternative recognizes that refuge habitats and wildlife populations are not ecologically independent from the surrounding landscape, and that by taking a longterm regional perspective, the refuge can best contribute to higher conservation priorities at greater scales. This alternative continues to provide actively managed habitats in select areas to maintain wildlife viewing and photography opportunities for refuge visitors, as well as vital habitat for the refuge’s species of conservation concern. Although some open water habitat would be eliminated, the refuge E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 225 / Friday, November 21, 2014 / Notices would continue to maintain open water habitat for waterfowl use. Under this alternative, the public use program would be similar to alternative A; however, under this alternative, we would eliminate less used or dead-end trails in the wilderness area. Alternative D (Focus on Expansion of Priority Public Uses) Alternative D emphasizes expanding wildlife-dependent priority public uses on the refuge. Public use and access would be maximized to the greatest extent practical, while minimizing impacts to wildlife. We would expand refuge infrastructure, including construction of new trails, observation towers, signage, and parking lots; expand hunting; and allow fishing in select areas of the refuge. This alternative would maximize public outreach, enhance and develop new environmental interpretation and education programs, aggressively expand partnerships, and increase staff presence at programs and events. In general, refuge habitats would be managed similarly to alternative B; however, this alternative would increase open water habitat to improve public viewing opportunities. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Comments We solicited comments on the draft CCP/EA from May 14 to June 30, 2014 (79 FR 27634). During the comment period, we received 80 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 G in the final CCP. Selected Alternative After considering the comments we received on our draft CCP/EA, we made minor changes to alternative B, including not moving forward on the proposed parking area and wildlife observation opportunity on White Bridge Road, and correcting minor editorial, formatting, and typographical errors. These changes are described in the FONSI (appendix E in the final CCP) and in our response to public comments (appendix G in the final CCP). We have selected alternative B to implement for Great Swamp 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. We also believe that alternative B most effectively addresses key issues raised during the planning process. The basis VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:00 Nov 20, 2014 Jkt 235001 of our decision is detailed in the FONSI (appendix E in the final CCP). Public Availability of Documents You can view or obtain the final CCP, including the FONSI, as indicated under ADDRESSES. Dated: October 6, 2014. Deborah Rocque, Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region. [FR Doc. 2014–27590 Filed 11–20–14; 8:45 a.m.] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [AAK6006201 134A2100DD AOR3B30.999900] Intent To Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Integrated Resource Management Plan for the Colville Reservation in Okanogan and Ferry Counties, WA Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This notice advises the public that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), in cooperation with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Tribes), intends to gather information necessary to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (Programmatic EIS) for the proposed Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) for the Colville Reservation in Okanogan and Ferry Counties, Washington. This notice also announces public scoping meetings to identify potential issues and content for inclusion in the Programmatic EIS. DATES: The dates and locations of public scoping meetings will be published in the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle, the Statesman Examiner, the Star, and the Tribal Tribune. Additional information will also be posted at the Tribes’ Web site: www.colvilletribes.com. Written comments must arrive within 30 days following the public scoping meetings. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by mail, email, hand carry or fax to: Dr. BJ Howerton, Environmental Services Manager, BIA Northwest Regional Office, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232–4169, Phone: (503) 231–6749, Fax: (503) 231–2275, Email: bj.howerton@bia.gov; or Debra Wulff, BIA Superintendent, Colville Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, P.O. Box 111, Nespelem, WA 99155–0111, Phone: (509) 634–2316, Fax: (509) 634–2355, Email: debra.wulff@bia.gov. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00101 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 69521 Dr. BJ Howerton at (503) 231–6749 or bj.howerton@bia.gov or Debra Wulff at (509) 634–2316 or debra.wulff@bia.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The proposed action is the preparation of an IRMP for the Colville Reservation and the BIA approval of long-term natural resource planning goals and objectives for the Colville Reservation. The Tribes may use the Programmatic EIS for tiered, project-specific environmental assessments to cover specific actions as the IRMP is implemented. The Tribes have managed their natural resources under the goals and objectives of an IRMP from 2000 to 2014. The new IRMP will replace the expiring plan. The Programmatic EIS will consider a proposed strategy in the IRMP that enhances the existing plan, where timber harvesting and livestock grazing levels remain at the existing levels with improved scheduling based on more accurate mapping data, open ground modeling and current forest inventory data. The strategy would include improved management practices to reduce erosion from forest roads, increase enforcement of livestock rotation requirements, and provide a formal project review process to ensure compliance with the IRMP and tribal resource codes. Other alternative forest management strategies to be considered include: (1) A forest restoration strategy to emphasize thinning through the forest to return to historic conditions with a reduced harvest level, (2) an accelerated harvest strategy intended to maximize revenue to the Tribes, and (3) a No Forest Management strategy that would end timber harvesting. Rangeland management alternatives include: (1) A strategy to rest and rotate range units on a yearly basis, (2) a strategy to increase livestock grazing by allowing additional grazing by offreservation cattle ranchers, and (3) a strategy to eliminate livestock grazing altogether. No Action or continuation of the current IRMP goals and objectives will also be considered along with any additional strategies or alternatives that may be developed as a result of public scoping. Significant issues to be covered during the scoping process may include, but will not be limited to air quality, geology and soils, surface and groundwater resources, wildlife habitat, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources, socioeconomic conditions, land use, aesthetics, and Indian trust resources. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 225 (Friday, November 21, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 69519-69521]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27590]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2014-N199; BAC-4311-K9-S3]


Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris County, New Jersey; 
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 the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Great Swamp National 
Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located in Morris County, New Jersey, for public 
review and comment. 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/refuge/Great_Swamp/what_we_do/conservation.html.
    Email: Send requests to northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ``Great 
Swamp CCP'' in the subject line of your email.
    Mail: Bill Perry, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035.
    Fax: Attention: Bill Perry, 413-253-8468.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Call 973-425-1222 to make an 
appointment (necessary for view/pickup only) during regular business 
hours at Great Swamp NWR, 241 Pleasant Plains Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 
07920. For more information on locations for viewing or obtaining 
documents, see ``Public Availability of Documents'' under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steven Henry, Acting Refuge Manager, 
973-425-1222 (phone), or Bill Perry, Planning Team Leader, 413-253-8688 
(phone); northeastplanning@fws.gov (email).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Great Swamp NWR. 
We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (75 FR 
41879) on July 19, 2010.
    Great Swamp NWR was established by an act of Congress on November 
3, 1960, and formally dedicated in 1964, primarily under the 
authorities of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703-
711) and the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929 (U.S.C. 715-715s, 
45 Stat. 1222) as amended, ``for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for 
any other management purpose, for migratory birds.'' The refuge 
currently encompasses 7,768 acres and has an approved acquisition 
boundary that

[[Page 69520]]

would allow for refuge expansion to a maximum of 9,429 acres. Great 
Swamp NWR is located approximately 26 miles from New York City and is 
an area that is heavily suburbanized. The refuge provides vital 
brooding, nesting, feeding, and resting habitat for a variety of 
migratory bird species, including waterfowl. Although established 
primarily for migratory birds, the refuge's mosaic of forested 
wetlands, emergent wetlands, and various successional stages of upland 
vegetation provides habitats for a diversity of wildlife species.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the FONSI for the 
final CCP for Great Swamp 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/environmental assessment (EA).
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering Great Swamp NWR 
for the next 15 years. Alternative B, as described for the refuge in 
the draft CCP/EA, and with minor 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 refuge. The purpose for developing a CCP is to 
provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving refuge 
purposes and contributing to 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 (79 FR 27634) addressed several key issues, 
including:
     Evaluation of consolidating managed habitats of the 
refuge.
     Better understanding the implications and trade-offs of 
habitat management on refuge wildlife.
     Identifying and addressing climate change concerns 
impacting the refuge.
     Providing more public use opportunities on the refuge and 
linking to nearby urban populations.
     Providing additional hunting opportunities, including fall 
archery deer hunting and spring turkey hunting.
     Expanding and strengthening partnerships.
    To address these issues and develop a plan based on the refuge's 
establishing purposes, vision, and goals, we evaluated four management 
alternatives for Great Swamp NWR in the draft CCP/EA. The alternatives 
have several actions in common. All alternatives include measures to 
control invasive species, monitor and abate diseases affecting wildlife 
and plant health, protect cultural resources, continue existing 
projects managed by outside programs, and manage threatened and 
endangered species populations on the refuge. There are other actions 
that differ among the alternatives. The draft CCP/EA provides a full 
description of each alternative and relates each to the issues and 
concerns that arose during the planning process. Below, we provide 
summaries of the four alternatives.

Management Alternatives

Alternative A (Current Management)
    Alternative A (current management) satisfies the NEPA (40 CFR 
1506.6(b)) requirement of a ``no action'' alternative, which we define 
as ``continuing current management.'' It describes our existing 
management priorities and activities, and serves as a baseline for 
comparing and contrasting alternatives B, C, and D. It would maintain 
our present levels of approved refuge staffing and the biological and 
visitor programs now in place. We would continue to manage for and 
maintain a diversity of habitats, including freshwater wetlands, 
impoundments, scrub-shrub, grasslands, wet meadows, and forests on the 
refuge. The refuge would continue to provide an active visitor use 
program that supports environmental education and interpretation, 
hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation and photography.
Alternative B (Enhance Biological Diversity and Public Use 
Opportunities)
    This alternative is the Service-preferred alternative. It combines 
the actions we believe would most effectively achieve the refuge's 
purposes, vision, and goals, and respond to the issues raised during 
the scoping period. This alternative emphasizes management of specific 
refuge habitats to support viable populations of focal species whose 
habitat needs benefit other species, especially those of conservation 
concern. We would continue to maintain a diversity of forest, non-
forested, open water, grassland, and scrub-shrub habitats. However, 
habitats would be reconfigured and maintained to create large (greater 
than 50 acres) contiguous patches to promote wildlife use, increase 
connectivity, decrease fragmentation, and increase maintenance 
efficiency and reduce associated costs. This alternative emphasizes 
habitat for priority bird species and federally listed species, 
including the bog turtle and Indiana bat.
    This alternative would also enhance the refuge's public use 
opportunities, and place more emphasis on connecting with communities 
in nearby urban areas. It would expand the hunt program by pursuing the 
processes for permitting archery for deer and opening the refuge to 
turkey hunting. It would also improve wildlife viewing and photography 
opportunities in a variety of habitats, expand visitor center hours, 
and increase the number of environmental education and interpretation 
programs on- and off-refuge. It attempts to balance public use with 
resource protection.
Alternative C (Emphasis on Maximizing Natural Regeneration)
    Alternative C emphasizes allowing natural succession or 
regeneration to occur to the maximum extent practical. We would 
maximize core forest habitats while maintaining large (i.e., greater 
than 50 acres) contiguous patches of actively managed grasslands and 
scrub-shrub habitats. This alternative would guide management to 
restore, where practical, the distribution of natural communities of 
the Great Swamp that would have resulted from natural processes without 
the influence of human settlement or management intervention. This 
alternative recognizes that refuge habitats and wildlife populations 
are not ecologically independent from the surrounding landscape, and 
that by taking a long-term regional perspective, the refuge can best 
contribute to higher conservation priorities at greater scales. This 
alternative continues to provide actively managed habitats in select 
areas to maintain wildlife viewing and photography opportunities for 
refuge visitors, as well as vital habitat for the refuge's species of 
conservation concern. Although some open water habitat would be 
eliminated, the refuge

[[Page 69521]]

would continue to maintain open water habitat for waterfowl use. Under 
this alternative, the public use program would be similar to 
alternative A; however, under this alternative, we would eliminate less 
used or dead-end trails in the wilderness area.
Alternative D (Focus on Expansion of Priority Public Uses)
    Alternative D emphasizes expanding wildlife-dependent priority 
public uses on the refuge. Public use and access would be maximized to 
the greatest extent practical, while minimizing impacts to wildlife. We 
would expand refuge infrastructure, including construction of new 
trails, observation towers, signage, and parking lots; expand hunting; 
and allow fishing in select areas of the refuge. This alternative would 
maximize public outreach, enhance and develop new environmental 
interpretation and education programs, aggressively expand 
partnerships, and increase staff presence at programs and events. In 
general, refuge habitats would be managed similarly to alternative B; 
however, this alternative would increase open water habitat to improve 
public viewing opportunities.

Comments

    We solicited comments on the draft CCP/EA from May 14 to June 30, 
2014 (79 FR 27634). During the comment period, we received 80 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 G in the final CCP.

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments we received on our draft CCP/EA, we 
made minor changes to alternative B, including not moving forward on 
the proposed parking area and wildlife observation opportunity on White 
Bridge Road, and correcting minor editorial, formatting, and 
typographical errors. These changes are described in the FONSI 
(appendix E in the final CCP) and in our response to public comments 
(appendix G in the final CCP).
    We have selected alternative B to implement for Great Swamp 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. We also 
believe that alternative B most effectively addresses key issues raised 
during the planning process. The basis of our decision is detailed in 
the FONSI (appendix E in the final CCP).

Public Availability of Documents

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

    Dated: October 6, 2014.
Deborah Rocque,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2014-27590 Filed 11-20-14; 8:45 a.m.]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P