[Federal Register: April 14, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 71)]
[Page 17961-17962]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal Grant Use by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to gather information to conduct a 30-day 
comment period to solicit public response for a National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) decision on approval of two federal grant proposal 
renewals. The action to be evaluated is the continuation of two grants 
funded under the comprehensive management plan (CMP) option and the 
cumulative effects of activities that are funded under the grants. The 
grants are awarded to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), 
Division of Wildlife (DOW).
    The Service's categorical exclusion [516 DM 6, Appendix 1, Section 
1.4.E(1)] applies to this action; however, the Service is seeking 
public comments in this instance in order to determine whether any 
exceptions to the categorical exclusion (516 DM 2, Appendix 2) may 
apply, especially for controversial environmental effects (2.3) or 
cumulative effects (2.5), thereby necessitating the development of an 
Environmental Assessment (EA). Primary focus for this review is to 
address statewide cumulative and secondary effects of activities 
conducted by the ODNR, DOW that are funded under Federal Aid in 
Wildlife Restoration Act (WR) Grant Number W-134-P and Federal Aid in 
Sport Fish Restoration Act (SFR) Grant Number F-69-P and administered 
by the Region 3 Federal Aid Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A secondary focus is to address the processes used by the 
ODNR, DOW to select and complete those activities. Each individual 
project, or group of projects, will continue to receive site specific 
NEPA review when it is submitted for funding. Therefore the scope of 
this review is broad and directed at impacts that may not be detected 
with individual projects along with consideration of the overall 
planning system utilized by Ohio. Comments on site specific projects 
are not within the scope of this review although comments regarding the 
affects of types of projects would be appropriate.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 14, 2003.
    Public Involvement: The public is invited to participate in the 
comment process. Locations for supporting reference information are 
provided under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Written comments should be 
received within 30 days from the date of publication of this Notice of 
Intent. 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: Michael Vanderford or Jon 
Parker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Aid, 1 
Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056. Electronic mail comments 
may also be submitted within the comment period to: 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jon Parker (Wildlife Restoration, 
Wildlife Conservation and Restoration) or Michael Vanderford (Sport 
Fish Restoration). U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Federal Aid 
Division, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 5511; telephone: 612/713-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: These grants are subject to the requirements 
of the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Acts, federal regulations 
(50 CFR part 80 and 43 CFR part 12) and the Service's Federal Aid 
Handbook. Administration of these grants uses a management system 
identified in the Grant Proposal consistent with a plan for fish, 
wildlife and habitat. This plan provides program direction in Ohio and 
types of activities that may constitute projects subject to an annual 
application for funds process. The comprehensive management system is 
described in the Grant Proposal which includes a description of the 
ODNR, DOW strategic planning process, its operational planning process 
and its control/evaluation process. Copies of the Grant Proposals for 
fish management and wildlife management are available at: http://midwest.fws.gov/NEPA.
 Hard copies of the supporting Strategic Plan, 
Tactical Plans, and the Comprehensive Management System (CMS) Handbook 
and addendum are available for review at: Ohio Division of Wildlife, 
Department of Natural Resources, Public Lobby Reception Desk, Building 
G, 1840 Belcher Drive, Columbus, Ohio (near Morse Road and Cleveland 
Avenue). It would be helpful if persons wishing to review these 
documents would contact Verdie Abel at 614/265-7020 ahead of time.
    The Service may choose to analyze the impacts of the two federal 
grants separately because their intended purposes are different. The 
Service is using this notification as it considers approving 
continuation of the CMP option for the next six years. The intent of 
the notice is to obtain suggestions and additional information from 
other agencies and the public on the scope of

[[Page 17962]]

issues to be considered. Comments and participation in this comment 
process are solicited.
    The ODNR, DOW has utilized SFR and WR funds since Congress enacted 
the programs in 1950 and 1937, respectively. This will be the third 
year that DOW will use Wildlife Conservation and Restoration (WCR) 
funds which Congress approved for a one-year period during the federal 
fiscal year beginning October 1, 2000. The public is requested to 
inform the Service of concerns regarding the ODNR, DOW management 
systems, their administration of the comprehensive management system 
grants in Ohio and the cumulative effects of activities funded under 
these federal grants.
    The ODNR, DOW has administered its SFR and WR grant programs using 
the CMP option for the past 11 years. ODNR, DOW began administering the 
WCR grant program using the CMP option July 1, 2001. During the past 11 
years, the ODNR, DOW conducted numerous public information and input 
processes, as well as Service review regarding its programs, including: 
The development and periodic revision of a Strategic Plan; development 
of tactical plans for fish, wildlife and habitat for Ohio; use of 
biennial work planning processes; program and management reviews; 
financial audits and periodic field reviews conducted jointly by ODNR, 
DOW and Service staff regarding implementation of the CMP.
    Some projects that will be subject to NEPA review as part of the 
annual grant process will be conducted on lands that may be eligible 
for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. 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.

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347.

TJ Miller,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, MN.
[FR Doc. 03-8994 Filed 4-11-03; 8:45 am]