[Federal Register: June 23, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 122)]
[Page 39172-39173]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Associated National Environmental Policy Act Document

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Associated National Environmental Policy Act Document.


SUMMARY: This Notice of Intent advises the public that the Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to 
prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and environmental 
document (environmental assessment or environmental impact statement) 
for the South San Diego Bay Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife 
Refuge and Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. The Service is 
furnishing this notice in compliance with the Service CCP policy and 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementing 
    The purpose of this notice is to (1) initiate the public 
involvement and scoping for the CCP/NEPA planning and decision-making 
process, (2) to advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, 
(3) to solicit suggestions and information on the scope of issues to be 
addressed in the environmental document, and (4) to announce that 
public workshops/open houses will be held to present information and 
receive public input.

DATES: Written comments should be received by July 31, 2000. Public 
open houses will be held on:
    1. July 10, 2000, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Imperial Beach, CA.
    2. July 11, 2000, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Chula Vista, CA.

ADDRESSES: Mail comments concerning this notice and requests to be 
added to the mailing list to Mendel Stewart, Project Leader, San Diego 
Refuge Complex, Fish and Wildlife Service, 2722 Loker Ave. W, Suite D, 
Carlsbad, CA 92008.
    The open house locations are:
    1. Imperial Beach--Marina Vista Center, 1075 8th Street, Imperial 
Beach, CA 91932
    2. Chula Vista--Chula Vista Nature Center (Auditorium), 1000 
Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91910

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Victoria Touchstone, Project Planner, 
at (619) 691-1185.



    By Federal law, all lands within the National Wildlife Refuge 
System are to be managed in accordance with an approved CCP. The 
purpose of a CCP is to describe the desired future conditions of the 
refuge and provide long-range guidance and management direction to 
accomplish the purposes of the refuge, contribute to the mission of the 
Refuge System and meet other relevant mandates. Several other goals of 
the CCP process include: (1) Conducting refuge planning in accordance 
with an

[[Page 39173]]

ecosystem approach, (2) providing a public forum for the public to 
comment on the type, extent and compatibility of wildlife-dependent 
recreational uses within the refuge area, and (3) ensuring public 
involvement in refuge management decisions by providing a process for 
effective coordination, interaction, and cooperation with affected 
    The CCP will address habitat and wildlife management, habitat 
protection and possible restoration, wildlife-dependent recreational 
uses, and adjacency issues that could affect the Refuge goals and 
management objectives that will be developed during this process. 
Public input into this planning process is essential. The Service will 
solicit comments from the public via noticed meetings, open houses, and 
written comments. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and 
announcements will inform people in the general area of the time and 
place of such opportunities for public input into the CCP.

Refuge Information

    The South San Diego Unit of the San Diego NWR, located at the 
southern end of San Diego Bay, supports tens of thousands of migrating 
shorebirds, nesting seabirds, wintering sea ducks and other migratory 
waterfowl. Included within the refuge boundaries is a salt production 
operation that maintains about 1,050 acres of salt ponds. These ponds 
provide large amounts of food in the form of fish, brine shrimp and 
brine flies, all of which are particularly important for shorebirds and 
seabirds. This refuge provides nesting, feeding, and resting habitat 
for six endangered bird species, and feeding habitat for one listed sea 
turtle species.
    The Sweetwater Marsh NWR, located in the southeast end of San Diego 
Bay, includes 316 acres of salt marsh and coastal uplands. This refuge 
provides habitat for two federally endangered species of bird 
(California Least Tern and Light-footed Clapper Rail), one federally 
endangered plant species (salt marsh bird's beak), the Belding's 
Savannah Sparrow (a State of California endangered bird species), and 
the Western Snowy Plover, a federally threatened species of bird. 
Sweetwater Marsh functions as an essential link between Multiple 
Species Conservation Program wildlands, the South San Diego Bay Unit, 
and the Tijuana Slough NWR in Imperial Beach.
    Review of the CCP and associated environmental document will be 
conducted in accordance with the requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.), NEPA Regulations (40 CFR 1500-1509), other appropriate Federal 
laws and regulations, including the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvements Act of 1997, Executive Order 12996, and Service policies 
and procedures for compliance with those regulations. It is estimated 
that a draft CCP and NEPA document will be made available for public 
review in October 2001.

    Dated: June 16, 2000.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 00-15891 Filed 6-22-00; 8:45 am]