U.S. Fish and Wildlife Creates Long-Term Conservation Plans

MSI has been creating Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP) for two U.S. National Wildlife refuges since 2007.

Wildlife refuges are part of a larger mosaic of conservation lands, containing wetlands vital to the area’s marsh bird and shorebird populations.

MSI has been creating Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP) for two U.S. National Wildlife refuges in Puerto Rico, Cabo Rojo and Laguna Cartagena since 2007. A CCP is a 15- year plan that identifies issues, goals, objectives and strategies for refuge management.

The Cabo Rojo and Laguna Cartagena refuges are adjacent to one another and are both located in Puerto Rico’s arid southwest. The refuges are part of a larger mosaic of conservation lands in the area, and both contain wetlands vital to the area’s marsh bird and shorebird populations. A significant planning challenge requires determining how best to protect these areas in tandem with the region’s burgeoning industrial and agricultural development.

All CCPs must be produced in a manner consistent with the requirements of the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Act requires extensive public consultation to determine environmental consequences of possible management actions and measured alternatives. Development includes coordinating with state and local entities and holding public stakeholder meetings. Other aspects include gathering background data, determining the significant issues, developing and analyzing management alternatives, and printing and distributing draft and final plan documents.

As part of the development of the Cabo Rojo and Laguna Cartagena CCPs, MSI has facilitated the development of vision, goals and strategies; and identified environmental issues and consequences. MSI has also defined key management actions and alternatives; drafted final CCPs for both refuges; and ensured that the CCPs are consistent with existing environmental plans, such as the North American Shorebird Management Plan, the Atlantic Flyway Plan, and legislation governing the management of endangered species. We have also facilitated a process of public comment and stakeholder meetings.

Draft CCPs for both Cabo Rojo and Laguna Cartagena have been developed but most go through a final public review process before being completed. MSI is currently in the process of translating the CCPs into Spanish so they can be posted for public comment. The CCPs will be revised and finalized through next year.