[Federal Register: August 16, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 157)]
[Page 44531-44532]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Kern National Wildlife Refuge, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Environmental Assessment for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex, Kern and Tulare Counties, California.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
(CCP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Kern National Wildlife 
Refuge (Refuge) Complex. The Service is gathering information necessary 
to prepare a CCP and EA pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The 
public is invited to participate in the planning process. The Service 
is furnishing this notice in compliance with the Service CCP policy to 
accomplish the following:
    (1) Advise other agencies and the public of our intentions;
    (2) Obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to 
include in the planning documents; and
    (3) announce public scoping workshops on August 30 and 31, 1999.

DATES: Public scoping workshops will be held at the following locations 
beginning at 7:00 pm and ending no later than 9:00 pm on the dates 

                   Date                               Location
August 30, 1999...........................  Tulare Community Center
                                             Tulare, California.
August 31,1999............................  Beale Library (Auditorium)
                                             Bakersfield, California.

    Interested persons are encouraged to attend the workshops to 
identify issues, concerns, and opportunities to be addressed in the 
CCP. To ensure that the Service has adequate time to evaluate and 
incorporate suggestions and other input into the planning process, 
comments should be received on or before September 30, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments on the EA or CCP or requests to be 
added to the mailing list to the following address: Planning Team 
Leader--Kern NWR Complex, California/Nevada Refuge Planning Office, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-1916, 
Sacramento, California, 95825.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Pelz, Planning Team Leader, by 
phone at (916) 414-6504, or email at mark____pelz@fws.gov, or David 
Hardt, Project Leader, by phone at (661) 725-2767, or email at 

[[Page 44532]]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended, mandates that all lands within 
the National Wildlife Refuge System are to be managed in accordance 
with an approved CCP. The CCP will guide management decisions by 
identifying Refuge goals, long-range objectives and management 
strategies for achieving the Refuge purposes. The planning process will 
consider many elements, including habitat and wildlife management, 
habitat protection, wildlife-dependant recreation and other public 
uses, cultural resources, and environmental effects. Public input into 
this planning process is important. The CCP will provide other agencies 
and the public with a clear understanding of the desired conditions for 
the Refuge and how the Service will manage the Refuge Complex.
    The Service is soliciting information from the public via written 
comments and public meetings. Interested parties are urged to submit 
their names and addresses to be added to the Service's mailing list. 
The Service will periodically send out special planning updates to 
those who are interested in the Refuge Complex. Among other things, 
these mailings will provide information on how to participate in the 
CCP planning process. Comments received will be used to identify key 
issues and to develop goals, objectives, and management strategies. 
Additional opportunities for public participation will occur throughout 
the process, which is expected to be completed in mid 2001.
    The Kern Refuge Complex is composed of three refuges: Kern, Pixley, 
and Blue Ridge. Kern Refuge is located 19 miles west of Delano, 
California at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. It was 
established in 1960 to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl in the 
southern San Joaquin Valley. The Kern Refuge consists of a single, 
10,618-acre unit owned by the Federal government. The Refuge purpose is 
to provide ``* * * an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management 
purpose, for migratory birds.'' 16 U.S.C. 715d (Migratory Bird 
Conservation Act).
    Pixley Refuge is located approximately 19 miles south of the City 
of Tulare, northeast of Kern Refuge. This Refuge was set aside in 1959 
to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl as well as the endangered 
blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Pixley Refuge is composed of a 8,800 acres, 
of which about 70 percent are owned by the Federal government. The 
Refuge purposes are: (1) ``* * * a land-conservation and land-
utilization program * * *'' 7 U.S.C. 1011 (Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant 
Act); (2) ``* * * as refuges for migratory birds and other wildlife: * 
* *'' Secretarial Order 2843, dated Nov. 17, 1959; and (3)``* * * to 
conserve (A) fish or wildlife which are listed as endangered species or 
threatened species * * * or (B) plants * * *'' 16 U.S.C. 1534 
(Endangered Species Act of 1973).
    Blue Ridge Refuge is located in central Tulare County, northeast of 
Porterville, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. This Refuge was 
established in 1982 to protect critical roosting habitat for the 
California condor. The 897 acres in the Blue Ridge Refuge are all owned 
by the Federal government. The refuge purpose is ``* * * to conserve 
(A) fish or wildlife which are listed as endangered species or 
threatened species * * * or (B) plants * * *'' 16 U.S.C. 1534 
(Endangered Species Act of 1973).
    The outcome of this planning process will be a CCP to guide Refuge 
management for the next 15 years and accompanying NEPA document. It is 
estimated that a draft CCP and NEPA document will be made available for 
public review in the latter part of 2000.

    Dated: August 9, 1999.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations.
[FR Doc. 99-20946 Filed 8-13-99; 8:45 am]