[Federal Register: August 13, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 156)]
[Page 48408-48409]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Draft Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Assessment for Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge

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

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental 
Assessment (EA) is available for the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge. 
We prepared this CCP pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, and in it we describe how the Service intends to manage 
Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge over the next 15 years.

DATES: If you wish to provide written comments (in hard copy or 
electronic format), send them to Ann Timberman, Refuge Manager or to 
Bernardo Garza, Planning Team Leader, to the postal or electronic mail 
addresses listed below. Please keep in mind that we must receive your 
comments on or before September 12, 2003.

ADDRESSES: To provide written comments or to obtain a copy of the Draft 
CCP/EA please write to Ann Timberman, Refuge Manager, Arapaho NWR, at 
P.O. Box 457, 953 Jackson County Road 32, Walden, Colorado 
80480-0457, or via electronic mail at Ann_Timberman@fws.gov. You may 
also provide comments or obtain a copy of the Draft CCP/EA from 
Bernardo Garza, Planning Team Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Division of Refuge Planning, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, 
Denver, Colorado 80225-0486 or via electronic mail at Bernardo_
Garza@fws.gov. Additionally, copies of the CCP/EA may be downloaded at 
the following website address: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning/.
 The Service encourages you to attend and provide your 
comments at the public meetings to be held in Walden and Fort Collins 
and/or Denver during September 2003. For precise information on the 
location, date and time of the meetings please contact Arapaho NWR at 
(970) 723-8202.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann Timberman, (970) 723-8202 ext. 3 
or Bernardo Garza, (303) 236-4377.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee et seq.) requires 
a CCP. The purpose in developing CCPs is to provide refuge managers 
with a 15-year strategy for achieving refuge purposes and contributing 
toward the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent 
with sound principles of fish and wildlife science, conservation, legal 
mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining broad 
management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, the 
CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available 
to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation and photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation. We will review and update these CCPs at least every 15 
years in accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d).
    Arapaho NWR, located in the center of Jackson County (north-central 
Colorado) is 23,243 acres in size. The Colorado Wildlife Commission 
approved the establishment of Arapaho NWR on June 5, 1967; the 
Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved acquisition of lands 
for the Refuge on August 15, 1967, and Arapaho NWR was established on 
September 26, 1967.
    Significant issues addressed in this Draft CCP/EA include: Refuge 
establishment and history (Refuge purposes, water rights, and land 
acquisition); public uses (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, environmental education and interpretation, and other 
wildlife-compatible public uses); habitat management (diversification, 
restoration, grazing, prescribed fire, water management, weed control); 
wildlife and fisheries management (large ungulate herbivory, hunting 
and fishing pressure, habitat restoration and protection); species of 
concern (protection, research); partnerships and stakeholder 
involvement (importance, purposes); and Refuge management (staffing, 
equipment, infrastructure, and budgetary needs).
    The Service developed four alternatives for management of the 
Refuge (Alternatives A, B, C & D), with the preferred alternative 
(Alternative D) consisting of elements of the first three alternatives. 
The preferred alternative seeks to ensure that wildlife comes first in 
Arapaho NWR by restoring, diversifying, and intensively managing the 
four distinct habitat types that comprise the Refuge (wetlands, wet 
meadows, riparian corridors, and uplands). This intensive management of 
habitats is expected to provide a wide variety of habitat elements that 
will in turn sustain a richer variety of flora and fauna through their 
life cycles. This proposed management will benefit not only waterfowl, 
but also shorebirds, neotropical migratory and upland birds, fishery 
resources, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and mammalian species. The 
preferred alternative also calls for intensive efforts to forge 
partnerships to attain Refuge goals as well as to promote wildlife-
dependent public uses at the Refuge and throughout the North Park 
region of Colorado. The six priority wildlife-dependent public uses 
will continue to be supported and in some cases they will be expanded 
throughout the Refuge under the preferred alternative. This alternative 
will also strengthen the close working relationship in existence 
between the Service, the local community, conservation organizations, 
the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and other State and Federal 
agencies. The preferred alternative is also expected to increase the 
amount of visitation of wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife-dependent 
recreationists to North Park, thus supporting the local economy while 
preserving wildlife resources for future generations.
    The Service is seeking your comments regarding this draft CCP/EA 
that outlines the way in which Arapaho NWR will be managed for the next 
15 years. Please provide us with your comments on or before September 
12, 2003. Send your comments to Ann Timberman, Refuge Manager, or to 
Bernardo Garza, Planning Team Leader, to the addresses listed above.

[[Page 48409]]

    Dated: July 25, 2003.
John A. Blankenship,
Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, 
[FR Doc. 03-20570 Filed 8-12-03; 8:45 am]