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DESIGNATION:

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

TITLE: Proposed designation of Goodwin Islands, Catlett Islands, Taskinas Creek, and Sweet Hall Marsh as components of a National Estuarine Research Reserve and preparation of a draft management plan.

ABSTRACT: The Commonwealth of Virginia proposes the designation of four sites (Goodwin Islands, Catlett Islands, Taskinas Creek, and Sweet Hall Marsh) as the first components of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System in Virginia. The four-component system totals approximately 4,517 acres of land and water.

Federal financial assistance for operations, management and development will be requested by the Commonwealth of Virginia. These funds accompanied by the required 50 percent state match will be used for basic program activities, including research and educational projects; construction of trails and boardwalks; expansion and construction of research and interpretive facilities; and for the preparation of a final management plan for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System in Virginia, Appropriate Memorandums of Understanding are under preparation for those portions of the sites which are on state government or private property. The system will be managed by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science within the College of William and Mary.

Approval of this proposal will allow for the establishment of a fourcomponent estuarine reserve in Virginia representing the Chesapeake Bay Subregion of the Virginian Biogeographic Region. The proposed multicomponent reserve in Virginia will be used primarily for research and education purposes, particularly as a tool for improving coastal decision making. No new regulations have been proposed pursuant to this action. Traditional uses within the reserve boundaries will continue and will be regulated by existing local and state laws and site owner policies. The educational programs will increase public awareness of estuarine resources and their importance. The research plan will establish a baseline monitoring program for the estuarine areas represented by the components, and encourage research projects consistent with the reserve's role as a natural field laboratory.

Submit any written comments to the contact identified below.

APPLICANT:

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and
Mary

LEAD AGENCY:

U.S. Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management

CONTACT:

Joseph Uravitch
Chief, Marine and Estuarine Management Division
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
1825 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20235

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