[Federal Register: May 3, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 84)]
[Page 23662-23663]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Intent To Revise the Comprehensive Conservation Plan and To 
Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Kodiak National Wildlife 
Refuge, Alaska

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice and Solicitation of Comments.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Service is revising the comprehensive 
conservation plan (comprehensive plan) for Kodiak National Wildlife 
Refuge, Alaska. This notice advises agencies and the public of our 
intent to gather information necessary to revise the plan and 
associated environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the Alaska 
National Interest Lands Conservation Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 3100 et 
seq.), the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), and the National Environmental Policy 
Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) and its implementing regulations. 
Specifically, we are seeking suggestions and information regarding the 
scope of issues to be addressed in the revised comprehensive plan and 
EIS. The comprehensive plan, completed in 1987, needs to be updated in 
response to new and revised laws, regulations and policies, and 
changing circumstances, and to provide management direction for about 
175,000 acres of land acquired since completion of the comprehensive 
plan. In addition, we will re-evaluate the wilderness review and wild 
and scenic rivers study that were completed previously for refuge lands 
and waters.

DATES: Comments should be received no later than June 30, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Address comments to: Mike Haase, Refuge Planning, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503; fax: 
907/786-3965; electronic mail (E-mail): Mikel__Haase@fws.gov (submit as 
ASCII without special characters or any form of encryption or as 
WordPerfect files up to Version 8).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Mike Haase at 907/786-3402.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 19, 1941, President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt established Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge by Executive 
Order 8857. The purpose of the refuge was to preserve the natural 
feeding and breeding range of the brown bear and other wildlife.
    The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) was 
signed into law on December 2, 1980. This law clarified how federally 
owned lands in Alaska would be managed and used. Section 303 of ANILCA 
redesignated Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and added about 50,000 
acres on Afognak and Ban islands to the refuge. The purposes for which 
Kodiak Refuge was established and shall be managed, as stated in 
ANILCA, include: to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats 
in their natural diversity; to fulfill the international treaty 
obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and 
their habitats; to provide the opportunity for continued subsistence 
use by local residents; and to ensure water quality and necessary water 
quantity within the refuge.
    Section 304(g) of ANILCA states that comprehensive plans shall be 
prepared and ``from time to time'' revised for each refuge. Before 
these comprehensive plans are prepared the following shall be 
identified and described: the populations and habitats of the fish and 
wildlife resources of the refuge; the special values of the refuge, as 
well as any other archeological, cultural, ecological, geological, 
historical, paleontological, scenic, or wilderness value of the refuge; 
areas of the refuge that are suitable for use as administrative sites 
or visitor facilities, or for visitor services; present and potential 
requirements for access; and significant problems which may adversely 
affect the populations and habitats of fish and wildlife. The 
comprehensive plans shall: designate areas within the refuge according 
to their respective resources and values; specify programs for 
conserving fish and wildlife and maintaining the special values of the 
refuge; specify uses which may be compatible with the major purposes of 
the refuge; and identify opportunities to be provided for fish and 
wildlife-oriented recreation, ecological research, environmental 
education and interpretation of refuge resources and values, if they 
are compatible with the purposes of the refuge.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, which 
amended the Refuge Administration Act, includes provisions for system 
wide refuge planning. This direction is being incorporated into 
national planning policy for the refuge system and will apply to 
refuges in Alaska. Should any provisions of the Refuge Administration 
Act conflict with the provisions of ANILCA, the provisions of ANILCA 
shall prevail for refuges in Alaska.
    The Kodiak comprehensive plan, wilderness review, and environmental 
impact statement was completed in 1987. A public use management plan 
was prepared for the refuge and approved in 1993.
    In preparing and revising comprehensive plans ANILCA requires 
consultation with appropriate State agencies and Native corporations 
and public hearings are to be held at appropriate locations to insure 
that those primarily affected by administration of the refuge 
(residents of local villages and political subdivisions of the State) 
have the opportunity to present their views with respect to the 
comprehensive plan revision. Before adopting a comprehensive plan, 
public notice in the Federal Register and an opportunity for public 
review and comment are required.
    The comprehensive plan states that a full review and updating of 
the comprehensive plan will occur every 10 to 15 years, more often if 
    In late 1998 we began reviewing the comprehensive plan for the 
refuge to determine if it should be revised.

[[Page 23663]]

Implementation of on-the-ground management actions is generally moving 
forward and refuge objectives are being accomplished. However, some of 
the management direction provided in the comprehensive plan needs to be 
updated. New and amended laws (e.g., the Refuge Improvement Act), new 
or revised regulations and policies, and changes in circumstances 
(e.g., federal management of subsistence hunting on Alaska refuges) 
need to be included in the management policies and guidelines. 
Management direction for approximately 175,000 acres of land acquired 
since the comprehensive plan was completed also needs to be 
incorporated into the plan. In addition, we believe that a re-
evaluation of the wild and scenic river study (completed in the late 
1970's) and the wilderness review (part of the original comprehensive 
plan/EIS) is necessary, given the amount of time that has passed since 
the original recommendations were made. Therefore, the Service has 
decided that a revision of the Kodiak comprehensive plan is necessary.
    This notice formally begins the revision of the comprehensive plan 
for the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. As the first step, we are 
soliciting comments on the issues to be addressed in the revised plan/
EIS. Comments should be specific and should address refuge resources, 
how we manage those resources, and how the public is affected. In 
addition to soliciting public comments through this notice, public 
comments will be solicited through a newsletter to be mailed to 
approximately 2,000 individuals and organizations on our mailing list. 
The comprehensive plan revision will be addressed during a series of 
community meetings to be held in Akhiok, Karluk, Larsen Bay, Old 
Harbor, Ouzinkie, and Port Lions in March and April 1999. Meetings will 
be scheduled during May in Kodiak and Anchorage. Once issues are 
identified, we will develop options to address the issues and prepare a 
draft comprehensive plan/EIS. This document is scheduled to be released 
for public review in the fall of 2000. After public review and comment 
on the draft comprehensive plan/EIS, including public hearings, a final 
comprehensive plan/EIS will be prepared and released.
Hannibal Bolton,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, Anchorage, Alaska.
[FR Doc. 99-10947 Filed 4-30-99; 8:45 am]