[Federal Register: May 5, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 86)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
Availability of Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Draft
Environmental Impact Statement
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of Availability of Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan
and Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that a Draft Comprehensive
Conservation Plan (CCP) and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement
(DEIS) for Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is available
for public review. The Refuge is located in Stevens County, Washington.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Service is furnishing this
notice in compliance with Service CCP policy and the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and implementing regulations for the
following purposes: (1) To advise the public and other agencies of the
availability of the document; (2) to solicit public comment on the
Draft CCP and DEIS; and (3) to announce public open house meetings.
DATES: Submit comments on or before June 30, 1999. See Supplementary
Information for meeting dates and locations.
ADDRESSES: Address comments and requests for more information to:
Refuge Manager, Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, 1310 Bear
Creek Road, Colville, Washington 99114. E-mail comments may be sent to:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Langelier, Refuge Manager (509)
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The proposed action is to develop a
Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Little Pend Oreille National
Wildlife Refuge that best achieves the unit's purpose, vision and
goals; contributes to the System mission; addresses the significant
issues and relevant mandates, and is consistent with principles of
sound fish and wildlife management.
Major issues addressed in the draft CCP/EIS include grazing;
management of degraded aquatic and riparian habitats; overstocked
forest habitats; military training; and various recreational public
uses. The plan includes the following topics: (a) An assessment of
existing biological, physical, and cultural resources, and their
condition; (b) a summary of significant issues identified through
scoping; (c) identification of five alternatives which incorporate
varying objectives and strategies for habitat management, management of
public access and uses, and management of other programs including
military training, grazing, and cultural resources; (d) an analysis of
the environmental consequences that would be predicted under adoption
of any of the identified alternatives; (e) compatibility determinations
for public uses, as required by Service law and policy; (f) an appendix
summarizing the projects that would be undertaken under the preferred
A range of alternatives are considered in the draft CCP/EIS:
(A) The no Action Alternative--Make no changes to the prevailing
practices and uses at the refuge.
(B) Restore Wildlife Habitat While Managing Existing Public Uses--
This alternative incorporates an active forest and riparian restoration
program. It also accomodates most existing public uses, but adopts some
restrictions on some uses to ensure less impact to the environment.
(C) Restore Wildlife Habitat While Emphasizing Priority Uses--This
alternative adopts a greater emphasis on priority uses identified under
the Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-57) and
eliminates non-priority uses. This alternative also incorporates a
strong forest and riparian restoration program.
(D) Manage the Refuge as an Ecological Reserve and Reduce Human
Disturbances--This alternative minimizes human access and use of the
refuge while conducting a habitat restoration program. This alternative
includes a greater emphasis on hydrologic restoration than other
(E) Combination of Alternatives B and C--Agency Preferred
Alternative--This alternative places management emphasis on restoration
of forest and riparian habitat components. A wide range of recreational
activities would be supported including hunting, fishing, wildlife
observation, photography, and interpretation. Snowmobiling would be
eliminated. Other recreational uses, such as camping and horseback
riding would continue, but would be managed to reduce impacts to the
environment. Camping would be restricted in environmentally sensitive
areas such as riparian zones and during some seasons. The annual
livestock grazing program would be discontinued, however some periodic
grazing may occur to meet wildlife objectives. The Air Force survival
training program would be phased out over 5 years.
With the publication of this notice, the public is encouraged to
attend public open houses and/or submit written comments on draft CCP/
Two public open houses will be held as follows:
May 12, 1999, 5pm-8pm, Community Colleges of Spokane, Colville Center,
985 South Elm, Theater, Colville, Washington. (Presentation at 7:00 pm)
May 13, 1999, 5pm-8pm, Inland NW Wildlife Council Building, 6116 North
Market St., Spokane, Washington. (Presentation at 7:00 pm)
The Service started the process of developing a management plan for
Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge (Little Pend Oreille NWR)
in 1995. Open houses and public meetings were held in 1995, 1996, 1997,
and 1998. Previous notices have been published in the Federal Register
(61 FR 65591, Dec. 13, 1996 and 63 FR 39884, July 24, 1998).
Persons and organizations involved in the scoping process have
included: the U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Natural Resource Conservation
Service; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; U.S. Air Force;
Washington Department of Natural Resources; interested local tribes,
members of conservation organizations; timber industry representatives;
grazing permittees; recreational interest groups; inholders and
and other interested citizens. Comments and concerns received have been
used to identify issues, prepare alternatives and identify a preferred
alternative (Alternative E) for the draft CCP/EIS.
All comments received from individuals on Environmental Assessments
and Environmental Impact Statements become part of the official public
record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with
the Freedom of Information Act, the Council on Environmental Quality's
NEPA regulations [40CFR 1506.6(f)], and other Service and Departmental
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 commentator's name, address, or other
identifying information. Such comments may be submitted anonymously to
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, the
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and Service
policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations.
We estimate that the Final CCP/Environmental Impact Statement will
be available in November, 1999.
Dated: April 28, 1999.
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 99-11240 Filed 5-4-99; 8:45 am]
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