[Federal Register: May 16, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 95)]
[Page 27154-27155]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed Exchange of Lands With Federal Interest on South Fox 
Island, Leelanau County, MI, Between the State of Michigan and a 
Private Citizen

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior, lead; National Park 
Service, Interior, cooperating; Michigan Department of Natural 
Resources, cooperating.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for the proposed exchange of lands with Federal interest on South 
Fox Island, Leelanau County, Michigan.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) intends to gather the information necessary for the 
preparation of an EIS. The actions to be evaluated by this EIS are: (1) 
The approval by FWS of the exchange of 313 acres, acquired by the State 
with Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration assistance, for lands with 
equal monetary and wildlife restoration values; (2) the approval by the 
National Park Service (NPS) for the State to exchange 105 acres with 
NPS interest for private lands with equal or greater monetary and 
recreational value; and (3) the related exchange of 220 acres of 
unencumbered State-owned land for fee title and easements for private 
lands of equal value. All acreage is approximate. The proposed exchange 
will consolidate and confine most State ownership to approximately the 
northern one-third of South Fox Island, Leelanau County, Michigan, 
about 30 miles west northwest of Charlevoix, in Lake Michigan.
    Based upon public comments and agency concerns, the current 
Proposed Action is a modification of the original proposal as presented 
in the Environmental Assessment Notice of Intent (65 FR 57367, Sep. 22, 
2000) and public scoping meetings. The approximately 115 acre southern 
tip would feature three areas: (1) The southernmost portion (part of 
section 21) that includes the lighthouse, associated buildings, and 
part of the harbor area would remain in public ownership. (2) The 
unforested, sandy area, approximately bounded by forest on the north 
and south and the water's edge on the east and west (parts of sections 
16 and 21), would be placed in a conservation easement if that portion 
was transferred to private ownership. The conservation easement would 
prevent any form of development from occurring within its borders. (3) 
The northernmost portion of the southern tip is forested and would go 
into private ownership without any conservation easement. The internet 
site at: http://midwest.fws.gov/NEPA/ contains a map of the proposed 
conservation easement and southern tip. The island property containing 
a cemetery would move into public ownership.
    The FWS Regional Director is considering an exchange of lands 
acquired with Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds under the 
authority of 50 CFR 80.14 and 43 CFR 12.71. The NPS and General 
Service's Administration (GSA) are considering the removal of a title 
reversion clause to allow the disposal of certain lands on South Fox 
Island and for the placement of a title reversion clause on replacement 
lands of equal monetary and recreational value. Alternatives could 
include approval, disapproval, or modification of the State's current 
proposal of the land exchange. Modifications could include, but are not 
limited to: changes in the boundaries and acreage of tracts to be 
exchanged; elimination of more of the NPS tract from the exchange; and 
deed restrictions on certain lands to be conveyed to the private owner 
to protect wildlife and historic resources.
    This notice is being furnished as required by the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 and 
1508.22). The intent of the notice is to obtain suggestions and 
additional information from other agencies and the public on the scope 
of issues to be addressed in the EIS. Comments and participation in 
this scoping process are solicited.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before June 15, 2001. 
Scoping meetings are scheduled for June 5, 2001 at Leland High School, 
200 N. Grand Avenue, Leland, Michigan 49654 and on June 6, 2001 at 
Charlevoix High School, 108 E. Garfield, Charlevoix, Michigan 49720. At 
each location, the meeting will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Public Involvement

    The public is invited to participate in the scoping process, 
attendance at public meeting, and review of the draft EIS when it is 
produced. Scoping meetings are scheduled for June 5, 2001 at Leland 
High School, 200 N. Grand Avenue, Leland, Michigan and on June 6, 2001 
at Charlevoix High School, 108 E. Garfield, Charlevoix, Michigan. At 
each location, the meeting will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m.. There 
will be a 30 minute presentation at the beginning of each meeting prior 
to breaking into groups for comments and questions. Both meetings will 
be announced in the local news media. Release of the draft EIS for 
public comment will also be announced in the local news media, as these 
dates are established. Written scoping comments should be received 
within 30 days from the date of publication of this Notice of Intent. 
Public comments that were provided during an Environmental Assessment 
process on a similar proposal will be utilized in developing 
alternatives and issues for the draft EIS.
    All comments received from individuals become part of the official 
public record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance 
with the Freedom of Information Act and the Council on Environmental 
Quality's NEPA regulations [40 CFR 1506.6(f)]. Our practice is to make 
comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available 
for public review during regular business hours. Individual respondents 
may request that we withhold their home address from the record, which 
we will honor to the extent allowable by law. If a respondent wishes us 
to withhold his/her name and/or address, this must be stated 
prominently at the beginning of the comment.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to: Mr. Craig Czarnecki, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing Field Office, 2651 Coolidge 
Road, Suite 101, East Lansing, MI 48823. Electronic mail comments may 
also be submitted within the comment period to: fw3foxisland@fws.gov

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For the various agencies, the contacts 
are: Mr. Craig Czarnecki, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing 
Field Office, 2651 Coolidge Road, Suite 101, East Lansing, MI 48823, 
telephone: (517) 351-8470, facsimile: (517) 351-1443; Mr. Jon Parker, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Aid, Bishop

[[Page 27155]]

Henry Whipple Federal Building, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 
55111; telephone: (612) 713-5142, facsimile: (612) 713-5290; or Ms. 
Elyse LaForest, National Park Service, 15 State Street, Boston, MA 
02109, telephone: (617) 223-5190, facsimile: (617) 223-5164; Mr. Doug 
Erickson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, 
P.O. Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909-7944; telephone: (517) 335-4316, 
facsimile: (517)373-6705.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The approximately 115 acre State owned tract 
with NPS and GSA interest contains the South Fox Island Lighthouse 
facilities that are either listed or may be eligible to be listed on 
the National Register of Historic Places and other historical or 
archeological resources may be present. The National Historic 
Preservation Act and other laws require these properties and resources 
be identified and considered in project planning. The public is 
requested to inform the FWS of concerns about archeological sites, 
buildings and structures, historic events, sacred and traditional 
areas, and other historic preservation concerns. Under the Proposed 
Action, the specific lands containing the lighthouse and associated 
buildings are not intended to be traded out of public ownership.
    The NPS tract also includes proposed critical habitat for the 
federally endangered piping plover. The tract also contains federally 
threatened Pitcher's thistle, which is also present at other locations 
on the island. The deed will be subject to a conservation easement, if 
the portion of the southern tip containing these two federally listed 
species is traded.
    The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians has 
unresolved claims to title and other property rights on the island. 
There is a cemetery on private land, which under the proposed action, 
would move to public ownership with guaranteed access.
    There have been ongoing conflicts over trespass on both public, and 
private land parcels on the island. The ability of the public to access 
all land currently in State ownership is an ongoing issue.
    The Service estimates that the draft EIS will be made available to 
the public by late 2001.

    Dated: May 3, 2001.
William F. Hartwig,
Regional Director, Region 3, Fort Snelling, MN.
[FR Doc. 01-12335 Filed 5-15-01; 8:45 am]