[Federal Register: March 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 60)]

[Notices]

[Page 16404-16405]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr28mr00-84]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and

Associated Environmental Assessment for the Washington Coast National

Wildlife Refuges (Refuges), Which Are Located in Clallam, Jefferson,

and Grays Harbor Counties, WA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan

and associated environmental assessment.

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SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to prepare a

Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and an associated environmental

assessment for the Washington Coast National Wildlife Refuges

(Refuges), which are composed of Flattery Rocks National Wildlife

Refuge (NWR), Quillayute Needles NWR, and Copalis NWR, located in

Clallam, Jefferson, and Grays Harbor Counties, Washington. The Service

is furnishing this notice in compliance with Service CCP policy and the

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and implementing regulations

to advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and to

obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to include in

the environmental document.

DATES: Submit comments on issues to include on or before April 29,

2000.

ADDRESSES: Address comments and requests for more information, to be

put on the mailing list, or for a copy of the most recent planning

update to: Refuge Manager, Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

Complex, 33 S. Barr Road, Port Angeles, Washington, 98362, or call the

Complex at (360) 457-8451. Submit faxes to (360) 457-9778. If you

choose to submit comments via electronic mail, visit our Pacific Region

Planning Website: http://www.r1.fws.gov/planning/plnhome.html. Please

send these comments using the ``Guest Mailbox'' provided at that site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Refuge Manager Kevin Ryan at the

address and phone number above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Washington Coast NWRs (Flattery Rocks,

Quillayute Needles, and Copalis NWRs), were established in 1907 by

Theodore Roosevelt for the purpose of being ``a preserve and breeding

ground for native birds and animals'' (Executive Orders 703, 704, and

705). These three Refuges extend over 100 miles along the outer coast

of Washington State and include more than 600 rocks, reefs, and

islands. Approximately 80% of the seabirds in the State nest within the

Refuges. It was the original intent, with the establishment of the

Refuges, to preserve these islands in a natural condition and to

minimize human intrusion. As such, all islands are closed to public

entry. Because of the physical characteristics of these islands,

landings and access are extremely hazardous. On October 23, 1970, the

Washington Islands Wilderness was established by Public Law 92-504.

This placed all the islands, except for Destruction and James Islands,

under wilderness designation.

It is Service policy to have all lands within the National Wildlife

Refuge System managed in accordance with an approved Comprehensive

Conservation Plan. This CCP will guide management decisions and

identify Refuge goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for

achieving Refuge purposes. Public input into this planning process is

encouraged. The CCP will provide other agencies and the public with a

clear understanding of the desired conditions for the Refuges and how

the Service will implement management strategies over the next 15

years. Until the CCP is completed, Refuge management will continue to

be guided by official Refuge purposes; Federal legislation regarding

management of national wildlife refuges; and other legal, regulatory,

and policy guidance.

Comments and concerns received will be used to develop goals, key

issues and management strategies, and draft alternatives. Additional

opportunities for public participation will occur throughout the CCP

process, which is expected to be completed in early 2001. Interested

federal, state, and local agencies, Tribes, organizations, and

individuals will be contacted for input.

At this time, preliminary issues identified for the CCP include:

how to handle wildlife disturbances caused by low-flying aircraft and

by people trespassing during low tides or in water craft; the amount of

research opportunities that the Refuges can support without adversely

impacting biological resources; determining if invasive species are a

problem, and if so, what would be the appropriate management response;

determining what opportunities exist to cooperate with agencies

responsible for pollution threats; and identifying off-site

educational/interpretative opportunities in cooperation with the

National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary, state and local

government, and Tribes. Because of their inaccessibility and the

sensitivity of wildlife to disturbance, public uses of the Refuges'

Islands are not a part of the long-term planning. A range of

alternatives (and their effects on the biological resources and on the

local communities) that address the issues and management strategies

associated with these issues will be evaluated in the environmental

assessment.

With the publication of this notice, the public is encouraged to

send written comments on these and other issues, courses of action that

the Service should consider, and potential impacts that could result

from CCP implementation on Washington Coast National Wildlife Refuges.

All comments received from individuals become part of the official

public record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance

with the Freedom of Information Act, Council on Environmental Quality's

NEPA Regulations 40 CFR 1506.6(f), and other Service and Department

policy and procedures. When requested, the Service generally will

provide comment letters with the names and addresses of the individuals

who wrote the comments. However, the telephone number of the commenting

individual will not be provided in response to such requests to the

extent permissible by law. Additionally, public comment letters are not

required to contain the author's name, address, or other identifying

information. Such comments

[[Page 16405]]

may be submitted anonymously to the Service.

The environmental review of this project will be conducted in

accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy

Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), NEPA Regulations (40

CFR 1500-1508), other appropriate Federal laws and regulations,

Executive Order 12996, and Service policies and procedures for

compliance with those regulations.

Dated: March 22, 2000.

Thomas Dwyer,

Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.

[FR Doc. 00-7608 Filed 3-27-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

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