[Federal Register: August 31, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 168)]
[Page 53084-53085]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Nisqually National Wildlife 

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

ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Nisqually National Wildlife 


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that a 
Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 
Statement (Final CCP/EIS) for Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge 
(Refuge) is available for review and comment. This Final CCP/EIS, 
prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration 
Act of 1966, as amended and the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, describes the Service's proposal for management of the Refuge for 
the next 15 years. Proposed changes to the Refuge being considered 
include the restoration of historic estuarine habitat and dike removal; 
a proposed expansion of the approved Refuge boundary; changes to the 
trail system; opening the Refuge to waterfowl hunting; and establishing 
a speed limit of five miles per hour in Refuge waters for all water 

DATES: A Record of Decision may be signed no sooner than 30 days after 
publication of this notice (40 CFR 1506.10(b)(2)).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information or to request 
a copy of the Summary of Changes and Appendix M (Comments and 
Responses) document, contact Jean Takekawa, Refuge Manager, via 
telephone at (360) 753-9467, fax at (360) 534-9302, or in writing at 
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 100 Brown Farm Road, 
Olympia, Washington 98516. Copies of the Final CCP/EIS may be viewed at 
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and at the following libraries in 
Washington State: Timberland Community Library in Olympia, Tacoma 
Public Library; University of Washington's Suzallo Library in Seattle; 
William J. Reed Library in Shelton; and the Evergreen State College 
Library in Olympia. The Final CCP/EIS will be available for viewing and 
downloading online at http://pacific.fws.gov/planning.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is 
located in western Washington at the southern end of Puget Sound in 
Thurston and Pierce counties. The Refuge protects one of the few 
relatively undeveloped large estuaries remaining in Puget Sound. It 
provides crucial habitat for migratory birds of the Pacific Flyway, 
including many waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, and seabirds. The 
Refuge also contains regionally important migration and rearing habitat 
for salmon, particularly the federally threatened fall chinook salmon. 
Each year, more than 100,000 visitors come to view wildlife and enjoy 
and learn about Refuge habitats and the wildlife they support.
    The Proposed Action is to adopt and implement a Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan (CCP) that best achieves the purposes for which the 
Refuge was established; furthers its vision and goals; contributes to 
the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System; addresses 
significant issues and applicable mandates; and is consistent with 
principles of sound fish and wildlife management. Implementing the CCP 
will enable the Refuge to fulfill its critical role in the conservation 
and management of fish and wildlife resources of the Nisqually River 
delta and lower watershed, and to provide high quality environmental 
education and wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities for Refuge 
visitors. The Service analyzed four alternatives for future management 
of the Refuge; of these, Alternative D has been identified as the 
preferred alternative.
    Alternative D, modified from the Draft CCP/EIS, would provide a 
Refuge boundary expansion of 3,479 acres. Restoration of 699 acres of 
estuarine habitat would be accomplished through removal of a large 
portion of the exterior Brown Farm Dike. The remaining 263-acre area 
within a newly constructed dike system would be managed to provide 
greatly improved freshwater wetland and riparian habitats. Thirty-eight 
acres of valuable forested surge plain habitat would be restored along 
the Nisqually River. The environmental education program would be 
improved and expanded to serve 15,000 students per year. Due to dike 
removal, the existing 5.5-mile wildlife observation loop trail would be 
reduced to a 3.5-mile round trip trail, and bank fishing on McAllister 
Creek would no longer be

[[Page 53085]]

offered. A new 2.5-mile trail would be developed on Tribal and Refuge 
properties east of the Nisqually River and a primitive 0.5-mile trail 
would be provided in surge plain habitat. New fishing opportunities 
could be provided in the future if appropriate lands were acquired. A 
seasonal waterfowl hunting program open seven days per week, would be 
provided on 191 acres of Refuge lands. A speed limit of five miles per 
hour would be established for all water craft in Refuge waters.
    Public comments were requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process in numerous ways. Public outreach has 
included open houses, public meetings, technical workgroups, planning 
update mailings, and Federal Register notices. Three previous notices 
were published in the Federal Register concerning this CCP/EIS (62 FR 
52764, October 9, 1997; 65 FR 6390, February 9, 2000; and 67 FR 78009, 
December 20, 2002). During the Draft CCP/EIS comment period that 
occurred from December 20, 2002 to February 21, 2003, the Service 
received a total of 1,717 comments (e-mails, letters, faxes, postcards, 
comment sheets, visits, or telephone calls). All substantive issues 
raised in the comments have been addressed through revisions 
incorporated in the Final CCP/EIS text or in responses contained in 
Appendix M of the Final CCP/EIS.

    Dated: August 24, 2004.
Chris McKay,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 04-19828 Filed 8-30-04; 8:45 am]