Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge, Accomack County, Virginia; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, 54799-54800 [2015-21925]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 176 / Friday, September 11, 2015 / Notices development. The full agenda and related briefing materials will be posted for review by September 22, 2015, at http://www.fema.gov/TMAC. Dated: September 4, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation. [FR Doc. 2015–22950 Filed 9–10–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R5–R–2015–N090;BAC–4311–K9–S3] Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuge, Accomack County, Virginia; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; final comprehensive conservation plan and environmental impact statement. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability for review of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental impact statement (EIS) for Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, refuge) and Wallops Island NWR. The CCP/EIS describes how we propose to manage both the staffed 14,032-acre Chincoteague NWR and the unstaffed 373-acre Wallops Island NWR over the next 15 years. DATES: We will sign a record of decision no sooner than 30 days after the publication of this notice. ADDRESSES: You may view, obtain, or request CD–ROM copies of the final CCP/EIS by any of the following methods. Agency Web site: Download a copy of the document at http://www.fws.gov/ refuge/Chincoteague/what_we_do/ conservation.html. Email: Send requests to northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Chincoteague NWR’’ in the subject line of your email. U.S. Mail: Thomas Bonetti, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035. In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Visit during regular business hours at refuge headquarters, 8231 Beach Road, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336. To view comments on the final CCP– EIS from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or for information on rmajette on DSK7SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:14 Sep 10, 2015 Jkt 235001 54799 EPA’s role in the EIS process, see EPA’s Role in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Bonetti, Natural Resource Planner, 413–253–8307 (phone); northeastplanning@fws.gov (email). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The CCP will guide us in managing and administering the refuges for 15 years. Alternative B, as we described in the final CCP/EIS, is our preferred alternative. Introduction With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Chincoteague NWR and Wallops Island NWR, which we began by publishing a notice of intent in the Federal Register (75 FR 57056) on September 17, 2010. For more about the initial process and the history of the refuges, see that notice. On May 15, 2014, we announced the release of the draft CCP/EIS to the public and requested comments in a notice of availability in the Federal Register (79 FR 27906). We subsequently extended the public comment period in another notice in the Federal Register (79 FR 41300) on July 15, 2014. In addition, EPA published a notice announcing the draft CCP and EIS (79 FR 29759; May 23, 2014), as required under section 309 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). We now announce the final CCP and EIS. Under the CAA, EPA also will announce the final CCP and EIS via the Federal Register. 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 goals and contributing to the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. CCPs should be consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies, as well as respond to key issues and public concerns. 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. EPA’s Role in the EIS Process The EPA is charged under section 309 of the Clean Air Act to review all Federal agencies’ EISs and to comment on the adequacy and the acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in the EISs. EPA also serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by Federal agencies and provides notice of their availability in the Federal Register. The EIS Database provides information about EISs prepared by Federal agencies, as well as EPA’s comments concerning the EISs. All EISs are filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. The notice of availability is the start of the 45-day public comment period for draft EISs, and the start of the 30-day ‘‘wait period’’ for final EISs, during which agencies are generally required to wait 30 days before making a decision on a proposed action. For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/ compliance/nepa/eisdata.html. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. We completed a thorough analysis of impacts on the human environment in the final CCP/ EIS, and responded to public comments. PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Background The CCP Process CCP/EIS Alternatives We evaluated three alternatives for managing Chincoteague NWR and Wallops Island NWR; alternative B is our preferred alternative. Based on feedback on the draft CCP/EIS, some modifications have been made to alternative B and are summarized below. A full description of all alternatives, including changes to our preferred alternative, can be found in the final CCP/EIS at the sources identified in ADDRESSES. Changes to Alternative B, the Service’s Preferred Alternative • The assigned area, consisting of the 1-mile recreational beach, associated parking, and new Visitor Contact Station, would extend south 1 more mile to the terminus of Swan Cove Trail (2 miles total), thus doubling the length of the assigned area. • Over sand vehicles (OSV) and hiking access would continue via Beach Road across Toms Cove south to Fishing Point September 16 through March 14. • A new 1⁄2-mile, OSV zone to facilitate the six priority uses (March 15 through September 15) would be E:\FR\FM\11SEN1.SGM 11SEN1 54800 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 176 / Friday, September 11, 2015 / Notices rmajette on DSK7SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES developed south of new recreational beach, and added to the new assigned area. We would continue current management of the Overwash and Hook area for shorebirds until the new recreational beach is established, at which time the March 15 through September 15 closure would go into effect. • We will keep current biking access open via Swan Cove Trail and will not propose an alternative bike route north to the relocated public beach (from Wildlife Loop to Mallard (C Dike)). • The Service Road would continue to be open year-round to hikers north to the refuge/National Seashore boundary. • A section of the Affected Environment (Chapter 3) on cultural resources was inadvertently left out of the draft CCP/EIS. This section, which has been coordinated with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, is included in the final CCP/EIS. Other Features of Alternative B Alternative B would continue established habitat and wildlife management strategies but focus them in light of the new goals and vision established by the CCP. The alternative balances habitat management, public use and access, and administration of the refuge. We would continue to preserve approximately 2,650 acres of wetland impoundments, but make adjustments in accordance with a new impoundment management plan that takes into account various factors, such as the habitat needs of black ducks and monarch butterflies, climate change and natural coastal processes, and relocated beach access and parking. The refuge would continue to protect and enhance the wilderness character of the 1974 proposed wilderness area, and there would be no change in its size (1,300 acres) or location. In recognition of the vulnerability of the current parking, the refuge would develop and implement a site design plan for parking and access to a new beach location, approximately 1.5 miles north of the existing beach. We are committed to working with the National Park Service (NPS) and others to future design, refine, and analyze beach relocation infrastructure in a separate National Environmental Policy Act document. Over the next 15 years, the refuge would maintain and, where possible, expand current hunting opportunities by including additional species, extending hours, and providing special events. The refuge would add mourning doves, light geese, and non-migratory Canada goose hunting opportunities to the refuge’s migratory bird hunting VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:14 Sep 10, 2015 Jkt 235001 program. Additionally, the refuge would allow migratory bird hunting on Federal holidays within the Commonwealth of Virginia hunting seasons. The refuge would also add turkeys to the big game hunting program and pursue development of a trapping program for furbearers. The refuge would continue sika hunting and would conduct research to identify a desired population size. The refuge would pursue partnerships to enhance land conservation, environmental education, and interpretation on the Delmarva Peninsula. The ‘‘Chincoteague ponies’’ have a strong cultural tie to the community, and the refuge would implement a Chincoteague pony management plan that meets multiple objectives: visitor viewing, habitat management, and pony health. The refuge would allow grazing of the current pony population, with a maximum pony herd size of 150, per the management agreement with the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. Public Availability of Documents You can view or obtain the final CCP/ EIS as indicated under ADDRESSES. During the public comment period, a total of 236 emails and 94 letters were received, including official comments from the town of Chincoteague, the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy, NPS, Environmental Protection Agency, various departments from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and other local interest groups. In addition a petition was submitted supporting Alternative ‘‘A plus,’’ an alternative with elements of both alternative A and B, with approximately 600 individuals signing. Another petition supporting the preferred alternative (alternative B) was submitted with 112 individuals signing. We held two public open house meetings in Chincoteague, and additional meetings in Melfa, Virginia, and Pocomoke City, Maryland. As part of the public involvement process, we held a public hearing on June 26, 2014, in Chincoteague with 28 people formally raising a variety of issues and concerns. We evaluated all the letters and emails sent to us during that comment period, along with comments recorded at our public hearing, and addressed all substantive comments. A summary of those comments and our responses to them is included in the final CCP/EIS as appendix R. Frm 00039 We will document the final decision in a record of decision, which will be published in the Federal Register after a 30-day ‘‘wait period’’ that begins when EPA announces this final CCP–EIS. For more information, see EPA’s Role in the EIS Process. Dated: August 18, 2015. Deborah Rocque, Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2015–21925 Filed 9–10–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNVB01000. L51100000.GN0000. LVEMF 1503550.15X MO# 4500077415] Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Gold Bar Mine Project, Eureka County, NV Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mount Lewis Field Office, Battle Mountain, Nevada, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and by this notice is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues. DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until October 13, 2015. 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/nv/st/en/fo/battle_ mountain_field/blm_information/ national_environmental.html. In order to be included in the Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 30-day scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. We will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft EIS. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Gold Bar Mine Project by any of the following methods: • Web site: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/ en/fo/battle_mountain_field/blm_ SUMMARY: Comments PO 00000 Next Steps Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\11SEN1.SGM 11SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 176 (Friday, September 11, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54799-54800]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-21925]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-R-2015-N090;BAC-4311-K9-S3]


Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Wallops Island National 
Wildlife Refuge, Accomack County, Virginia; Final Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; final comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental impact statement.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability for review of our final comprehensive conservation plan 
(CCP) and environmental impact statement (EIS) for Chincoteague 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, refuge) and Wallops Island NWR. The CCP/
EIS describes how we propose to manage both the staffed 14,032-acre 
Chincoteague NWR and the unstaffed 373-acre Wallops Island NWR over the 
next 15 years.

DATES: We will sign a record of decision no sooner than 30 days after 
the publication of this notice.

ADDRESSES: You may view, obtain, or request CD-ROM copies of the final 
CCP/EIS by any of the following methods.
    Agency Web site: Download a copy of the document at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Chincoteague/what_we_do/conservation.html.
    Email: Send requests to northeastplanning@fws.gov. Include 
``Chincoteague NWR'' in the subject line of your email.
    U.S. Mail: Thomas Bonetti, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Visit during regular business hours at 
refuge headquarters, 8231 Beach Road, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336.
    To view comments on the final CCP-EIS from the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA), or for information on EPA's role in the EIS 
process, see EPA's Role in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Bonetti, Natural Resource 
Planner, 413-253-8307 (phone); northeastplanning@fws.gov (email).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Chincoteague NWR 
and Wallops Island NWR, which we began by publishing a notice of intent 
in the Federal Register (75 FR 57056) on September 17, 2010. For more 
about the initial process and the history of the refuges, see that 
notice. On May 15, 2014, we announced the release of the draft CCP/EIS 
to the public and requested comments in a notice of availability in the 
Federal Register (79 FR 27906). We subsequently extended the public 
comment period in another notice in the Federal Register (79 FR 41300) 
on July 15, 2014. In addition, EPA published a notice announcing the 
draft CCP and EIS (79 FR 29759; May 23, 2014), as required under 
section 309 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). We now 
announce the final CCP and EIS. Under the CAA, EPA also will announce 
the final CCP and EIS via the Federal Register.

EPA's Role in the EIS Process

    The EPA is charged under section 309 of the Clean Air Act to review 
all Federal agencies' EISs and to comment on the adequacy and the 
acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in the 
EISs.
    EPA also serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared 
by Federal agencies and provides notice of their availability in the 
Federal Register. The EIS Database provides information about EISs 
prepared by Federal agencies, as well as EPA's comments concerning the 
EISs. All EISs are filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of 
availability on Fridays in the Federal Register.
    The notice of availability is the start of the 45-day public 
comment period for draft EISs, and the start of the 30-day ``wait 
period'' for final EISs, during which agencies are generally required 
to wait 30 days before making a decision on a proposed action. For more 
information, see http://www.epa.gov/compliance/nepa/eisdata.html. You 
may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at 
https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search. We 
completed a thorough analysis of impacts on the human environment in 
the final CCP/EIS, and responded to public comments.
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering the refuges for 
15 years. Alternative B, as we described in the final CCP/EIS, is our 
preferred alternative.

Background

The CCP Process

    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 goals and contributing to the mission of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System. CCPs should be consistent with sound principles 
of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our 
policies, as well as respond to key issues and public concerns. 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/EIS Alternatives

    We evaluated three alternatives for managing Chincoteague NWR and 
Wallops Island NWR; alternative B is our preferred alternative. Based 
on feedback on the draft CCP/EIS, some modifications have been made to 
alternative B and are summarized below. A full description of all 
alternatives, including changes to our preferred alternative, can be 
found in the final CCP/EIS at the sources identified in ADDRESSES.

Changes to Alternative B, the Service's Preferred Alternative

     The assigned area, consisting of the 1-mile recreational 
beach, associated parking, and new Visitor Contact Station, would 
extend south 1 more mile to the terminus of Swan Cove Trail (2 miles 
total), thus doubling the length of the assigned area.
     Over sand vehicles (OSV) and hiking access would continue 
via Beach Road across Toms Cove south to Fishing Point September 16 
through March 14.
     A new \1/2\-mile, OSV zone to facilitate the six priority 
uses (March 15 through September 15) would be

[[Page 54800]]

developed south of new recreational beach, and added to the new 
assigned area. We would continue current management of the Overwash and 
Hook area for shorebirds until the new recreational beach is 
established, at which time the March 15 through September 15 closure 
would go into effect.
     We will keep current biking access open via Swan Cove 
Trail and will not propose an alternative bike route north to the 
relocated public beach (from Wildlife Loop to Mallard (C Dike)).
     The Service Road would continue to be open year-round to 
hikers north to the refuge/National Seashore boundary.
     A section of the Affected Environment (Chapter 3) on 
cultural resources was inadvertently left out of the draft CCP/EIS. 
This section, which has been coordinated with the Virginia Department 
of Historic Resources, is included in the final CCP/EIS.

Other Features of Alternative B

    Alternative B would continue established habitat and wildlife 
management strategies but focus them in light of the new goals and 
vision established by the CCP. The alternative balances habitat 
management, public use and access, and administration of the refuge. We 
would continue to preserve approximately 2,650 acres of wetland 
impoundments, but make adjustments in accordance with a new impoundment 
management plan that takes into account various factors, such as the 
habitat needs of black ducks and monarch butterflies, climate change 
and natural coastal processes, and relocated beach access and parking. 
The refuge would continue to protect and enhance the wilderness 
character of the 1974 proposed wilderness area, and there would be no 
change in its size (1,300 acres) or location.
    In recognition of the vulnerability of the current parking, the 
refuge would develop and implement a site design plan for parking and 
access to a new beach location, approximately 1.5 miles north of the 
existing beach. We are committed to working with the National Park 
Service (NPS) and others to future design, refine, and analyze beach 
relocation infrastructure in a separate National Environmental Policy 
Act document.
    Over the next 15 years, the refuge would maintain and, where 
possible, expand current hunting opportunities by including additional 
species, extending hours, and providing special events. The refuge 
would add mourning doves, light geese, and non-migratory Canada goose 
hunting opportunities to the refuge's migratory bird hunting program. 
Additionally, the refuge would allow migratory bird hunting on Federal 
holidays within the Commonwealth of Virginia hunting seasons. The 
refuge would also add turkeys to the big game hunting program and 
pursue development of a trapping program for furbearers. The refuge 
would continue sika hunting and would conduct research to identify a 
desired population size.
    The refuge would pursue partnerships to enhance land conservation, 
environmental education, and interpretation on the Delmarva Peninsula. 
The ``Chincoteague ponies'' have a strong cultural tie to the 
community, and the refuge would implement a Chincoteague pony 
management plan that meets multiple objectives: visitor viewing, 
habitat management, and pony health. The refuge would allow grazing of 
the current pony population, with a maximum pony herd size of 150, per 
the management agreement with the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.

Public Availability of Documents

    You can view or obtain the final CCP/EIS as indicated under 
ADDRESSES.

Comments

    During the public comment period, a total of 236 emails and 94 
letters were received, including official comments from the town of 
Chincoteague, the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, The Nature 
Conservancy, NPS, Environmental Protection Agency, various departments 
from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and other local interest groups. In 
addition a petition was submitted supporting Alternative ``A plus,'' an 
alternative with elements of both alternative A and B, with 
approximately 600 individuals signing. Another petition supporting the 
preferred alternative (alternative B) was submitted with 112 
individuals signing. We held two public open house meetings in 
Chincoteague, and additional meetings in Melfa, Virginia, and Pocomoke 
City, Maryland. As part of the public involvement process, we held a 
public hearing on June 26, 2014, in Chincoteague with 28 people 
formally raising a variety of issues and concerns.
    We evaluated all the letters and emails sent to us during that 
comment period, along with comments recorded at our public hearing, and 
addressed all substantive comments. A summary of those comments and our 
responses to them is included in the final CCP/EIS as appendix R.

Next Steps

    We will document the final decision in a record of decision, which 
will be published in the Federal Register after a 30-day ``wait 
period'' that begins when EPA announces this final CCP-EIS. For more 
information, see EPA's Role in the EIS Process.

    Dated: August 18, 2015.
Deborah Rocque,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-21925 Filed 9-10-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-55-P