[Federal Register: December 17, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 242)]
[Page 70723-70724]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Amended Notice of Intent (NOI) To Prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement To Protect Seabird Nesting Islands on Maine's Coast To 
Further Include a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Petit Manan 
National Wildlife Refuge

SUMMARY: This NOI is an amendment to the previous notice published on 

[[Page 70724]]

95. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announces its intention to 
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to section 102 
(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, in 
accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations 
for implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508). As originally 
announced, this EIS will continue to evaluate the FWS proposal to 
protect seabird nesting islands on Maine's coast, while also analyzing 
the development of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for Petit 
Manan National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
    We determined the need to amend the 1995 NOI once we braodened the 
scope of our analysis to incorporate a CCP for Petit Manan NWR. CCPs 
are required for all National Wildlife Refuges under the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. The CCP will not only 
evaluate protection of coastal islands, but will also evaluate 
alternatives to managing wildlife and habitat, public use, and 
protection of cultural resources on all lands within the Refuge. A 
Wilderness Review of Petit Manan NWR will also be completed 
concurrently in accordance with the Wilderness Act of 1964, as amended.
    We have already received considerable public input through a series 
of workshops and hearings completed in 1995. Comments previously 
submitted during the scoping period do not need to be resubmitted and 
will be considered in developing this DEIS. At this time, we invite 
other Federal agencies, states, Indian tribes, local governments, and 
the general public to submit additional comments concerning the 
development of the DEIS/CCP, the proposal to protect Maine's seabird 
nesting islands, and the Wilderness Review. You are invited to 
participate in scoping activities by submitting written comments, 
attending a public meeting to be held in April 2000, or attending a 
public hearing which will coincide with the Fall 2000 release of the 
DEIS/CCP. We will consider oral and written comments equally in 
preparation of the DEIS/CCP.
    We will make comments, including names and home addresses of 
respondents, available for public review if requested. Individual 
respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the 
rule-making record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
If you wish to have your name and/or address withheld, you must state 
this prominently at the beginning of your comment. We will not consider 
anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from organizations and 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available 
for public inspection in their entirety. If you do not desire to submit 
comments or suggestions at this time, but would like to receive a copy 
of the DEIS for review, send a request to Mr. Stan Skutek, at the 
address given below.

DATES AND LOCATIONS: Written comments related to the scope and content 
of the DEIS/CCP should be submitted to us by May 12, 2000, to the 
address provided below. The public scoping meeting on the DEIS/CCP will 
be held on April 12, 2000, at the Comfort Inn in Augusta, Maine. A 
further notice announcing the time and location of the public hearing, 
to be held when the DEIS/CCP is released, will be published in local 
news media prior to the hearing date.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: If you wish to make comments or receive 
planning updates and a DEIS/CCP, contact Mr. Stan Skutek, Refuge 
Manager, Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 279, Milbridge, 
Maine 04658-0279. (207) 546-2124. Comments may also be submitted 
electronically to the following address: R5RW__PMNWR@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997, all lands within the National Wildlife Refuge 
System are to be managed in accordance with an approved CCP. The CCP 
developed for Petit Manan NWR will guide future Refuge management 
decisions by developing goals, long-range objectives, and strategies 
for achieving Refuge purposes. The CCP will consider a wide range of 
issues on Petit Manan NWR, including habitat and wildlife management, 
land acquisition, public use, and protection of cultural resources.
    Petit Manan NWR is recognized internationally as important nesting 
habitat for seabirds, bald eagles, shorebirds, and wading birds. The 
Refuge consists of three mainland tracts and 38 coastal islands. The 
6,954 acre complex includes such diverse habitats as forest, 
grasslands, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and peat lands. The 
coastal islands, which range in size from 1 acre to 1,650 acres, 
consist of forest, shrub lands, or grassland habitats. In addition, 
Refuge staff and the Service's Gulf of Maine Program Office have been 
providing technical assistance to private and public organizations 
seeking to protect Maine's coastal islands and are active in promoting 
partnerships with private landowners, non-governmental organizations, 
and state agencies.
    We will conduct a Wilderness Review, evaluating the wilderness 
potential of Petit Manan NWR, using the 6 criteria established by the 
Wilderness Act of 1964, as amended, and using additional considerations 
established in Service policy. Based on our findings, we may recommend 
to the Secretary of the Interior that all or some of the Refuge be 
designated National Wilderness Area(s). You will be able to comment on 
our proposed wilderness recommendations during the public hearing to be 
scheduled to coincide with the release of the DEIS/CCP.
    We expect to release the DEIS/CCP by Fall 2000. Public comments 
will be welcome for a 60 day period following its release. We expect to 
publish the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of 
Decision (ROD) in Spring 2001. The ROD will present my decision and the 
supporting reasons for selecting the management actions to be 
implemented, including whether or not a wilderness area is recommended. 
I will make my final decision after considering public comments and the 
environmental consequences of the proposed actions as presented in the 
FEIS. All other applicable laws, regulations and policies will also be 

    Dated: December 8, 1999.
Ronald E. Lambertson,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 99-32745 Filed 12-16-99; 8:45 am]