Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, LA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment, 4061-4062 [2016-01417]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 15 / Monday, January 25, 2016 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES received by mail, email or verbally at the April 2, 2015, public meeting in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Comments supporting the plan and preferred alternative were received from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Safari Club International, and Mississippi Wildlife. CCP Alternatives, Including Our Preferred Alternative We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge (Alternatives A, B, and C), with Alternative B, Minimally Developed Refuges, selected for implementation. As these are newer refuges authorized by Congress in 2004, the focus of this plan is to develop them. Therefore, our efforts over the next 15 years will be focused on land acquisition to build-out the refuges to their approved acquisition boundaries. Passive habitat protection and the addition of new resource lands beneficial to wildlife will help preserve habitat in perpetuity and to lessen fragmentation. This plan has the objective of providing sanctuary to migratory species as a group, not just priority waterfowl species. White-tailed deer management would continue through the Holt Collier NWR hunt program and eventually at Theodore Roosevelt NWR. Integrated damage control of invasive and nuisance species would lessen the negative effects on the refuges’ habitats. Another primary focus of the plan is to create a visitor services program to enhance environmental education and outreach efforts substantially and to reach larger numbers of residents, students, educators, and visitors. It places priority on wildlife-dependent uses, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife observation. Priority public uses, such as hunting, are allowed at Holt Collier NWR. At a time when sufficient land is amassed and resources are available to allow for ample public use opportunities, Theodore Roosevelt NWR would be opened to hunting. Public use would be phased into both refuges. Compatibility determinations are updated for the priority public uses and for research and monitoring. For both refuges, some commercial uses would be allowed under a Commercial Special Use Permit, including commercial photography, firewood gathering, timber harvest for forest management, and trapping. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 authorized construction of a Visitor Center to provide visitor services and to promote the Delta area’s natural resources and cultural heritage. Funding was appropriated in 2009, in the amount of $2.6 million for the building VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:09 Jan 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 of the Theodore Roosevelt NWR Visitor Center. On February 11, 2015, a total of 6.58 acres (originally proposed as approximately 5 acres) located off of Highway 61 in Sharkey County, Mississippi) was donated to the Service to construct a Visitor Center. A major focus of this plan and Service efforts will be to build and staff the Visitor Center. Since the location is secured for the Visitor Center, regular Service procedures will be followed for building design and construction. Staffing is proposed to run the Visitor Center, to provide environmental and interpretive programs, and to coordinate volunteers. Positions include a Park Ranger, Wildlife Refuge Manager and a Maintenance Worker. This CCP assumes a modest growth of refuge resources over its 15-year implementation period, with three new positions as new funding is available. Current partnerships would be maintained and new ones would be sought. Daily operation of the refuges will be guided by this CCP and through the implementation of nine projects and six step-down management plans as detailed in the CCP. Authority This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.). Dated: November 10, 2015. Brett E. Hunter, Deputy Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System, Southeast Region. [FR Doc. 2016–01414 Filed 1–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–R–2015–N235]; [FXRS12650400000S3–123–FF04R02000] Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, LA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact for the environmental assessment for Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. In the final SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4061 CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years. ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Lower Mississippi River NWR Complex, P.O. Box 217, Sibley, MS 39165. Alternatively, you may download the document from our Internet Site at http://southeast.fws.gov/planning under ‘‘Final Documents.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jimmy Laurent, Project Leader, Lower Mississippi River NWR Complex, by telephone at (601) 442–6696 or by email at jimmy_laurent@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Cat Island NWR. We started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on November 25, 2013 (78 FR 70318). For more about the process, see that notice. Cat Island NWR was established in October 2000, as the 526th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, near the town of St. Francisville, 25 miles north of Baton Rouge. Acquisition has occurred in stages, beginning in 2000 when The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Louisiana made the first purchase of about 9,500 acres of forested wetlands. That and subsequent acquisitions by TNC were purchased by the Service using both the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Today, the refuge encompasses 10,473 acres. The congressionally approved acquisition boundary encloses 36,500 acres. Cat Island NWR was created by Congress through Public Law 106–369, which states: ‘‘The purposes for which the Refuge is established and shall be managed are: (1) To conserve, restore, and manage habitats as necessary to contribute to the migratory bird population goals and habitat objective [sic] as established through the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture; (2) to conserve, restore, and manage the significant aquatic resource values associated with the area’s forested wetlands and to achieve the habitat objectives of the Mississippi River Aquatic Resources Management Plan; (3) to conserve, enhance, and restore the historic native bottomland community characteristics of the lower Mississippi alluvial valley and its associated fish, wildlife, and plant species; (4) to conserve, enhance, and restore habitat to maintain and assist in the recovery of endangered and threatened plants and animals; and (5) to encourage the use of E:\FR\FM\25JAN1.SGM 25JAN1 4062 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 15 / Monday, January 25, 2016 / Notices volunteers and facilitate partnerships among the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, local communities, conservation organizations, and other non-Federal entities to promote public awareness of the resources of the Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System and public participation in the conservation of those resources’’ (Cat Island NWR Establishment Act, 114 Stat. 1418, October 27, 2000). Background The CCP Process The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlifedependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration Act. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Comments We made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public review and comment period via a Federal Register notice on May 1, 2015 (80 FR 24958). Copies of the Draft CCP/EA were posted at refuge headquarters and also were available for download at http:// www.fws.gov/southeast/planning/CCP/ cat-island.html. Over 100 letters with links to the draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment were distributed to local landowners, the public, and local, State, and Federal agencies. Three respondents, consisting of the Humane Society of the United States, the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, and local citizens, submitted comments on the Draft CCP/EA by mail or email. CCP Alternatives, Including Our Preferred Alternative We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge (Alternatives A, B, and C), with Alternative B selected for VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:09 Jan 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 implementation. This alternative will focus on managing the refuge’s natural resources to enhance habitats for priority species including waterfowl and other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, species of concern, and resident fish and wildlife. Additionally, wildlife surveys would be conducted using established protocols to establish baseline habitat conditions, estimate wildlife population indices, determine responses to management actions, and contribute to larger scale biological assessments. Invasive exotic and nuisance species would be actively managed to minimize their impacts on refuge resources. Refuge forests would be actively managed to enhance wildlife habitat. Aquatic habitats on the refuge would be inventoried and assessed, and where feasible, access to them would be improved for recreational anglers. Refuge cultural resources would continue to be protected as they have been in the past. In addition, the refuge would seek funding to survey and catalog cultural resources on the refuge. Protection of cultural resources would be integrated into refuge planning at all levels, and management actions would be reviewed in order to avoid or mitigate impacts to cultural resources. Under the preferred alternative, public use would be more actively managed by refuge staff. Hunting and fishing would continue to be managed and made available with the active partnership of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. More law enforcement personnel hours would be allocated by the Service for Cat Island NWR. New partnerships with organizations interested in promoting nonconsumptive refuge use would be sought, and existing ones strengthened. In particular, environmental education opportunities would be enhanced by active participation of Service personnel with local schools and nonprofit organizations. Refuge infrastructure would be maintained as in the past. The refuge would seek to improve access via the main refuge road and various trails. Efforts would be made to provide access to the northeast section of the refuge, and access via Cat Island Road would be pursued. The refuge would hire or assign staff to the refuge. Staff may include one or more of the following: Refuge manager, volunteer coordinator, equipment operator, law enforcement officer, forester, and biologist. Any or all of these may be shared positions among refuges in the Lower Mississippi River Refuge Complex. Full staffing under this alternative is anticipated to be 1.5 to 2 full-time employees. PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Authority This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.). Dated: November 10, 2015. Brett E. Hunter, Deputy Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System Southeast Region. [FR Doc. 2016–01417 Filed 1–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX16EE000101000] Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comment on Proposed Revisions to the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior. ACTION: Notice; request for comments AGENCY: The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is conducting a public review of proposed revisions to the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard (Address Data Standard). The primary purposes of the Address Data Standard are to develop content specifications for address information, provide classifications for different types of addresses, establish appropriate standards and measures for evaluation of address data quality, and support exchange of address data. The FGDC endorsed the Address Data Standard in 2011, and numerous federal, state and local government agencies have since used it to manage their address data. Over the last five years, users and the authors identified a number of desirable minor corrections to the Address Data Standard. Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau, as the maintenance authority for the Standard, has proposed adding a new Map Position element. Reviewers are requested to review and comment on the proposed revisions and/or submit additional comments on the Address Data Standard. The draft revision of the standard may be downloaded from: https:// www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/ FGDC-standards-projects/streetaddress/AddressDataStandardRevised. The change log lists proposed changes identified since publication of the Address Data Standard in 2011. These changes are reflected in the version of the standard posted for the 2015 maintenance review and are subject to SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25JAN1.SGM 25JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 15 (Monday, January 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4061-4062]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-01417]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-R-2015-N235]; [FXRS12650400000S3-123-FF04R02000]


Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, LA; Final Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for 
Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and 
finding of no significant impact for the environmental assessment for 
Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in West Feliciana Parish, 
Louisiana. In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge 
for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Lower 
Mississippi River NWR Complex, P.O. Box 217, Sibley, MS 39165. 
Alternatively, you may download the document from our Internet Site at 
http://southeast.fws.gov/planning under ``Final Documents.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jimmy Laurent, Project Leader, Lower 
Mississippi River NWR Complex, by telephone at (601) 442-6696 or by 
email at jimmy_laurent@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Cat Island NWR. 
We started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on 
November 25, 2013 (78 FR 70318). For more about the process, see that 
notice.
    Cat Island NWR was established in October 2000, as the 526th refuge 
in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located in West Feliciana 
Parish, Louisiana, near the town of St. Francisville, 25 miles north of 
Baton Rouge. Acquisition has occurred in stages, beginning in 2000 when 
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Louisiana made the first purchase of 
about 9,500 acres of forested wetlands. That and subsequent 
acquisitions by TNC were purchased by the Service using both the Land 
and Water Conservation Fund and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. 
Today, the refuge encompasses 10,473 acres. The congressionally 
approved acquisition boundary encloses 36,500 acres.
    Cat Island NWR was created by Congress through Public Law 106-369, 
which states: ``The purposes for which the Refuge is established and 
shall be managed are: (1) To conserve, restore, and manage habitats as 
necessary to contribute to the migratory bird population goals and 
habitat objective [sic] as established through the Lower Mississippi 
Valley Joint Venture; (2) to conserve, restore, and manage the 
significant aquatic resource values associated with the area's forested 
wetlands and to achieve the habitat objectives of the Mississippi River 
Aquatic Resources Management Plan; (3) to conserve, enhance, and 
restore the historic native bottomland community characteristics of the 
lower Mississippi alluvial valley and its associated fish, wildlife, 
and plant species; (4) to conserve, enhance, and restore habitat to 
maintain and assist in the recovery of endangered and threatened plants 
and animals; and (5) to encourage the use of

[[Page 4062]]

volunteers and facilitate partnerships among the United States Fish and 
Wildlife Service, local communities, conservation organizations, and 
other non-Federal entities to promote public awareness of the resources 
of the Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System and public 
participation in the conservation of those resources'' (Cat Island NWR 
Establishment Act, 114 Stat. 1418, October 27, 2000).

Background

The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop 
a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for developing a 
CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving 
refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of fish and 
wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. In 
addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife 
and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration 
Act.

Comments

    We made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public 
review and comment period via a Federal Register notice on May 1, 2015 
(80 FR 24958). Copies of the Draft CCP/EA were posted at refuge 
headquarters and also were available for download at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/planning/CCP/cat-island.html. Over 100 letters 
with links to the draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment were distributed to local landowners, the 
public, and local, State, and Federal agencies. Three respondents, 
consisting of the Humane Society of the United States, the Jena Band of 
Choctaw Indians, and local citizens, submitted comments on the Draft 
CCP/EA by mail or email.

CCP Alternatives, Including Our Preferred Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge 
(Alternatives A, B, and C), with Alternative B selected for 
implementation. This alternative will focus on managing the refuge's 
natural resources to enhance habitats for priority species including 
waterfowl and other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, 
species of concern, and resident fish and wildlife. Additionally, 
wildlife surveys would be conducted using established protocols to 
establish baseline habitat conditions, estimate wildlife population 
indices, determine responses to management actions, and contribute to 
larger scale biological assessments. Invasive exotic and nuisance 
species would be actively managed to minimize their impacts on refuge 
resources. Refuge forests would be actively managed to enhance wildlife 
habitat. Aquatic habitats on the refuge would be inventoried and 
assessed, and where feasible, access to them would be improved for 
recreational anglers.
    Refuge cultural resources would continue to be protected as they 
have been in the past. In addition, the refuge would seek funding to 
survey and catalog cultural resources on the refuge. Protection of 
cultural resources would be integrated into refuge planning at all 
levels, and management actions would be reviewed in order to avoid or 
mitigate impacts to cultural resources.
    Under the preferred alternative, public use would be more actively 
managed by refuge staff. Hunting and fishing would continue to be 
managed and made available with the active partnership of Louisiana 
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. More law enforcement personnel 
hours would be allocated by the Service for Cat Island NWR. New 
partnerships with organizations interested in promoting nonconsumptive 
refuge use would be sought, and existing ones strengthened. In 
particular, environmental education opportunities would be enhanced by 
active participation of Service personnel with local schools and 
nonprofit organizations.
    Refuge infrastructure would be maintained as in the past. The 
refuge would seek to improve access via the main refuge road and 
various trails. Efforts would be made to provide access to the 
northeast section of the refuge, and access via Cat Island Road would 
be pursued. The refuge would hire or assign staff to the refuge. Staff 
may include one or more of the following: Refuge manager, volunteer 
coordinator, equipment operator, law enforcement officer, forester, and 
biologist. Any or all of these may be shared positions among refuges in 
the Lower Mississippi River Refuge Complex. Full staffing under this 
alternative is anticipated to be 1.5 to 2 full-time employees.

Authority

    This notice is published under the authority of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et 
seq.).

     Dated: November 10, 2015.
Brett E. Hunter,
Deputy Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2016-01417 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P