[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 100 (Tuesday, May 24, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30193-30194]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-12710]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R9-SATD-2011-N079; FY10-90110-1420-0000]


National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy; 
Notice of Intent: Request for Information and Comments

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), along with 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, Department 
of Commerce) and other Federal, State, and tribal partners, announce 
that we are seeking public comments and information necessary to 
prepare a draft National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation 
Strategy (Strategy). The Strategy will provide a unified approach--
reflecting shared principles and science-based practices--for reducing 
the negative impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants, 
habitats, and our natural resource heritage. It will serve as a 
valuable tool for Federal and State agencies, wildlife managers, 
tribes, and private landowners as they continue to manage their lands 
and natural resources in a changing environment.

DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comments and 
information as we develop our draft strategy document, please submit 
them on or before July 1, 2011 (see ADDRESSES).
    We will release a draft Strategy in November 2011; at that time, we 
will allow additional opportunity for the public to provide comments. 
We expect to complete the final Strategy by May of 2012. Please visit 
the Strategy Web site at http://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov for 
announcements of upcoming public meetings and engagement opportunities, 
as well as additional materials and information.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically through our website at http://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov/contact-us.php. Alternatively, you 
may send comments by U.S. mail to the Office of the Science Advisor, 
Attn: National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, 
Arlington, VA 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Shaffer, Office of the Science 
Advisor, at (703) 358-2603 (telephone), 
wildlifeadaptationstrategy@fws.gov (e-mail), or via the Strategy Web 
site at http://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In cooperation with NOAA and other Federal, 
State, and tribal partners, we intend to gather information necessary 
to prepare a National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation 
Strategy (Strategy). We are seeking public comment and information as 
we develop a draft Strategy.
    The adverse impacts of climate change transcend political and 
administrative boundaries. No single entity or level of government can 
safeguard wildlife and society against the effects of climate change. 
This Strategy will provide a unified approach--reflecting shared 
principles and science-based practice--for reducing the negative 
impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants, habitats, and our 
natural resource heritage. It will serve as a valuable tool for Federal 
and State agencies, wildlife managers, tribes, and private landowners 
as they continue to manage their lands and natural resources in a 
changing environment.

I. Background

    Climate change affects more than temperature. According to the U.S. 
Global Change Research Program, impacts include shifts in rainfall and 
storm patterns, increasing wildfires and water shortages, as well as 
rising sea levels, loss of sea ice, ocean acidification, and coastal 
flooding and erosion. These changes are already having significant 
effects on fish, wildlife, and plants in the United States, 
necessitating new resource management approaches for climate 
adaptation.
    Rapid warming may also begin to threaten the benefits that natural 
systems provide to people and communities, creating new challenges for 
human health, infrastructure, agriculture, transportation, and energy 
supplies. At risk are clean air and water; flood and erosion control; 
natural resource jobs and income; hunting, fishing, and wildlife-
related recreation; and, ultimately, our quality of life.
    Most simply, climate adaptation means helping people and natural 
systems prepare for and cope with the effects of a changing climate. 
Climate adaptation is an essential complement to climate change 
mitigation, or efforts to decrease the rate and extent of

[[Page 30194]]

climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions or enhancing 
carbon uptake and storage. Coordinated adaptation planning can help 
limit the damage climate change causes to our natural resources and 
communities, and will require new approaches, additional resources, and 
a coordinated approach across Federal, State, and local partners.

II. Strategy Development

    In response to increasing impacts of climate change and other 
stressors on America's natural resources, the U.S. Congress has called 
for the development of a national government-wide strategy to safeguard 
fish, wildlife, plants, and the natural systems upon which they depend. 
Language in the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 
Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (House 
Report 111-316, pages 76-77) urged the Council of Environmental Quality 
(CEQ) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to ``develop a national, 
government-wide strategy to address climate impacts on fish, wildlife, 
plants, and associated ecological processes'' and ``provide that there 
is integration, coordination, and public accountability to ensure 
efficiency and avoid duplication.'' This national Strategy will set out 
a unified approach to maintaining the key terrestrial, freshwater, and 
marine ecosystems and species, as well as the services they provide, in 
the face of accelerating climate change.
    In the fall of 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and CEQ 
invited NOAA and State wildlife agencies (with the New York Division of 
Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources as the State agencies' lead 
representative) to co-lead the development of the strategy. The 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is also providing support 
through a Cooperative Agreement with the Service.
    Initial public outreach during 2009 and 2010 contributed toward 
developing the following set of key principles to help guide this 
effort as it moves forward:
     Endorse a national (not Federal) framework for cooperative 
climate response;
     Focus on national boundaries while recognizing the 
international nature of natural resources;
     Embrace a philosophy of collaboration and interdependence;
     Adopt landscape-scale science and management approaches;
     Integrate adaptation and mitigation efforts; and
     Utilize an ecosystem-based management approach to sustain 
biodiversity and ecosystem services.
    A diverse group of Federal, State, and tribal agencies have been 
asked to participate as members of an intergovernmental Steering 
Committee, to provide advice and support for development of the 
Strategy. The Steering Committee is being supported by a Management 
Team composed of staff from the Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, the 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and tribal partners.
    Five Technical Teams will take primary responsibility for 
developing the content of the Strategy, based around five ecosystem 
sections (marine, coastal, inland waters, forest, and grasslands/
shrublands/deserts). Each team is made up of Federal, State, and tribal 
representatives. Key milestones are shown below:

 Begin Outreach and Engagement Sessions--2009/2010
 Form Steering Committee--December 2010
 Hold first Steering Committee meeting--January 2011
 Establish Technical Teams--February 2011
 Hold first Technical Team meeting--March 2011
 Complete Agency Review Draft--September 2011
 Announce Public Review Draft--November 2011
 Release Final Strategy--May 2012

    Ultimately, the Strategy will be a blueprint for common action that 
outlines needed scientific support, policy, and legal frameworks; 
recommended management practices; processes for integration and 
communication; and a framework for implementing these approaches. It 
will enable national and international conservation communities to 
harness collective expertise, authority, and skills in order to define 
and prioritize a shared set of conservation goals and objectives.

III. Request for Public Comments

    Public involvement is critical for the development of a robust and 
relevant response to the impacts of climate change. Extremely valuable 
to the effort are public guidance on priorities, recommendations for 
approaches, and suggestions and contribution of issues based on local 
knowledge and experience.
    Initial outreach and planning for the Strategy began in 2009 and 
early 2010, with a number of listening and engagement sessions, as well 
as several Conservation Leadership Forums. More information about past 
engagement efforts, as well as upcoming meetings and engagement 
opportunities, is available at http://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov/participate.php.
    We will be accepting initial public comments through our Web site 
until the date specified in DATES. We will also accept written comments 
at upcoming public meetings (dates and locations to be announced on our 
Web site).
    To ensure that any action will be as effective as possible, we 
request that you send relevant information for our consideration. The 
comments that are most useful are those that you support by 
quantitative information or studies and those that include citations 
and analyses of applicable laws and regulations. Please make your 
comments as specific as possible and explain the bases for them. In 
addition, please include sufficient information with your comments to 
allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include.
    You must submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed above in the ADDRESSES section. We will not accept comments sent 
to an address not listed in ADDRESSES.
    We are committed to transparency in developing and implementing the 
National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. The 
Service, NOAA, and other partners will also actively engage interested 
parties, including, as appropriate, State, Tribal, and local 
authorities; regional governance structures; academic institutions; 
nongovernmental organizations; recreational interests; and private 
enterprise.

IV. Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Authority

    Conference Report for the Interior, Environment and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010.

    Dated: May 10, 2011.
Gabriela Chavarria,
Science Advisor to the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-12710 Filed 5-23-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P