[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 239 (Thursday, December 16, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71421-71422]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-27185]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Draft Revised Management Plan for the Delaware National Estuarine 
Research Reserve

AGENCY: Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Request for comments on draft revised management plan.

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SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is 
soliciting comments from the public regarding a proposed revision of 
the management plan for the Delaware National Estuarine Research 
Reserve (DNERR or Reserve). A management plan provides a framework for 
the direction and timing of a reserve's programs, allows reserve 
managers to assess a reserve's success in meeting its goals and to 
identify any necessary changes in direction, and is used to guide 
programmatic evaluations of the reserve. Plan revisions are required of 
each reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System at least 
every five years. This revised plan is intended to replace the plan 
approved in 2013.

DATES: Comments must be received at the appropriate address (see 
ADDRESSES) on or before January 18, 2022.

ADDRESSES: The draft revised management plan can be downloaded or

[[Page 71422]]

viewed at: https://documents.dnrec.delaware.gov/coastal/DNERR/2022-DRAFT-DNERR-Management-Plan.pdf. The document is also available by 
sending a written request to the point of contact identified below (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION). You may submit comments by any of the 
following methods:
    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments by 
email to [email protected].
    Mail: Submit written comments to Rachael Phillos, Manager, Delaware 
National Estuarine Research Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road Dover, DE 
1990. Comments submitted by any other method or after the comment 
period may not be considered. All comments are part of the public 
record and may be publicly accessible. Any personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address) submitted voluntarily by the sender 
may also be accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nina Garfield of NOAA's Office for 
Coastal Management, by email at [email protected], or phone at 
240-485-8727, or via postal mail: NOAA/Office for Coastal Management, 
1305 East West Highway, 10th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to 15 CFR 921.33(c), a state must 
revise the management plan for the research reserve at least every five 
years. If approved by NOAA, the reserve's revised plan will replace the 
plan previously approved in 2013.
    The draft revised management plan outlines the reserve's strategic 
goals and objectives; administrative structure; programs for conducting 
research and monitoring, education, and training; resource protection, 
restoration, and manipulation plans; public access and visitor use 
plans; consideration for future land acquisition; and facility 
development to support reserve operations.
    In addition to continuing the tradition of robust local community 
education, training and research and stewardship programs, the Delaware 
National Estuarine Research Reserve intends, in this next management 
planning period, to focus on creating demonstration areas that can be 
used to model best management practices for local landowners; fostering 
the next generation of coastal professionals and conservation stewards; 
engaging land managers in conversations based on watershed scale 
conservation; and connecting with the Delaware community in a 
meaningful and inclusive manner to identify their needs as the 
stakeholders of this research reserve. The revised management plan, 
once approved, would serve as the guiding document for the 6364-acre 
research reserve for the next five years.
    Since 2013, this research reserve has had an important impact on 
the local area and its communities. The reserve's training program held 
53 trainings, workshops or conferences with 27,851 contact hours with 
local constituents. The education program had 32,466 contact hours with 
11,722 K-12 students and 23,599 public participants. Reserve volunteers 
donated 20,739 hours of time--producing the full-time employee 
equivalent of 10.5 years worth of work. Some of those volunteer hours 
were spent recording 1,784,923 spawning horseshoe crabs on the three 
beaches that the reserve monitors. Research and monitoring efforts 
produced 15 peer-reviewed publications that used this reserve's 
infrastructure and data. The mini-grant opportunity, available through 
their Research and Monitoring Program, distributed 183,766 dollars of 
funding to local, Delaware-based researchers, many of which were early 
career faculty. Seventy-six acres of land within this reserve's 
boundary have been enhanced through reforestation and other restoration 
efforts.
    This draft management plan expands the boundary of the Delaware 
National Estuarine Research Reserve and is soliciting comments from the 
public on the proposed boundary expansion. With the approval of this 
current management plan, this boundary will be amended to incorporate 
an additional six parcels--all found within the priority acquisition 
area identified in the 2013 revision of the plan--increasing the total 
acreage of the reserve to 6,364 acres. These parcels include lands that 
enhance and contribute to the ecological protection within the 
Blackbird Creek watershed. The ``McKinley'' property at 531 Union 
Church Road is 67.4 acres in size and includes a mix of native 
hardwoods and coastal plain ponds (Delmarva Bays). At 0 Taylors Bridge 
Road, the 32-acre ``Unruh'' property includes a wooded tributary buffer 
and agricultural lands. Three parcels known as the ``Norris'' property, 
totaling 42.6 acres at Union Church Road were acquired to improve 
wildlife corridor habitat and include forest and agriculture lands. 
Additionally, an inholding property known as ``Manwaring'' at 789 
Blackbird Landing Road that is 16.3 acres in size was acquired. More 
details on these parcels and the boundary change may be found in the 
draft revised management plan.
    NOAA's Office for Coastal Management analyzes the environmental 
impacts of the proposed approval of this draft revised management plan 
in accordance with section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), and the Council 
on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural 
Provisions of NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508).
    The public is invited to comment on the draft revised management 
plan. NOAA will take these comments into consideration in deciding 
whether to approve the draft revised management plan in whole or in 
part.
    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.; 15 CFR 921.33.

Keelin S. Kuipers,
Deputy Director, Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[FR Doc. 2021-27185 Filed 12-15-21; 8:45 am]
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