[Federal Register: December 7, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 234)]
[Page 70704-70705]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 70704]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Revise a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Associated Environmental Impact Statement for the Tetlin National 
Wildlife Refuge, Tok, AK

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

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to revise the 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (Plan) and an associated Environmental 
Impact Statement, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and 
its implementing regulations, for Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, Tok, 
Alaska. The Service is furnishing this notice in compliance with the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended, 
and with Service planning policy to administer other agencies and the 
public of our intentions and to obtain suggestions and information on 
the scope of issues to be addressed in the environmental document.
    Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media announcements 
will inform people of opportunities to provide written and oral input 
throughout the planning process. Public meetings will be held in 
communities near the Refuge (Tok, Northway, Tetlin, and Tanacross) and 
in the city of Fairbanks. The Draft and Final Plans and associated 
Environmental Impact Statement will be available for viewing and 
downloading at http://alaska.fws.gov/nwr/planning.

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests to Mikel Haase, 
Planning Team Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor 
Rd., MS-231, Anchorage, AK 99503, or fw7_tetlin_planning@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mikel Haase, Planning Team Leader, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Rd., MS-231, Anchorage, 
AK 99503, phone number (907) 786-3402 or fw7_tetlin_planning@fws.gov. 
Additional information concerning Tetlin Refuge and the Conservation 
Plan can be found at http://alaska.fws.gov/nwr.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: By Federal law (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)), all 
lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System are to be managed in 
accordance with an approved Comprehensive Conservation Plan. Section 
304(g) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 
U.S.C. 140hh-3233, 43 U.S.C. 1602-1784) also directs that these plans 
be prepared. The Plan guides management decisions and identifies goals, 
long-term objectives, and strategies for achieving the purposes of the 
Refuge. During the planning process, the planning team reviews a wide 
range of refuge administrative requirements, including conservation of 
the Refuge's fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their 
natural diversity; facilitation of subsistence use by local residents 
and access for traditional activities; and conservation of resource 
values, including cultural resources, wilderness, and wild rivers. The 
final revised Plan will detail the programs, activities, and measures 
necessary to best administer the Refuge to protect these values and to 
fulfill the purposes of the Refuge. The Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and associated Environmental Impact Statement will describe and 
evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives and the anticipated impacts 
of each. Public input into the planning process is essential.
    The plan will provide other agencies and the public with 
information to facilitate understanding of the desired conditions for 
the Refuge and how the Service will implement management strategies.
    The Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in 
accordance with procedures for implementing the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370d).
    The Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge covers approximately seven 
hundred thousand acres. It is located northeast of the Alaska Range, 
adjacent to the U.S.-Canada border in the headwaters of the Tanana 
River. It is bordered to the south by Wrangell-St. Elias National Park 
and Preserve, Canada to the east, and the Alaska Highway along its 
northeast border.
    The Refuge lies within the Nabesna/Chisana River Basin, in the 
Upper Tanana Valley. Formed by repeated glaciations, this large, flat 
basin is filled with sediments deposited in moraines and outwash 
plains, creating a landscape dominated by lakes, ponds, and wetland 
tundra. Most of the Refuge is rolling lowlands, however the Mentasta 
Mountains, in the southwest corner, are rugged, glacier carved peaks 
reaching elevations of 8,000 feet.
    The vegetation is a complex mixture of spruce forests, mixed 
woodlands, shrub lands, and tussock peatlands that are heavily 
interspersed with wetlands and streams. The landscape provides valuable 
habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife species. Fourteen fish 
species, nearly 200 bird species, 44 mammal species, and 1 amphibian 
species are believed to use the Refuge for at least part of each year. 
The Tetlin Refuge is one of the most diverse interior refuges in 
Alaska. The Tanana Basin represents the northern extent of the range 
for many species found in other parts of North America. A number of 
species which use the Tetlin Refuge are not found in other Alaska 
    The wetlands provide exceptional nesting habitat for many species 
including 18 species of ducks. Large numbers of tundra and trumpeter 
swans use the Refuge during migration. The Refuge also has a rapidly 
expanding breeding population of trumpeter swans.
    Caribou, moose, and Dall's sheep are the large herbivores found on 
the Refuge. Caribou and moose are found seasonally throughout Tetlin 
Refuge. Dall's sheep are limited to the rugged Mentasta Mountains in 
the southwest corner. Both black and brown bears occur on the Refuge.
    The Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act of 1980 
(Section 302(8)(B)) sets forth the following major purposes for which 
Tetlin Refuge was established and is to be managed:
    (i) To conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their 
natural diversity including, but not limited to, waterfowl, raptors and 
other migratory birds, furbearers, moose, caribou (including 
participation in cooperative ecological studies and management of the 
Chisana caribou herd), salmon and Dolly Varden;
    (ii) To fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United 
States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats;
    (iii) To provide, in a manner consistent with the purposes set 
forth in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) the opportunity for continued 
subsistence uses by local residents;
    (iv) To ensure, to the maximum extent practicable and in a manner 
consistent with the purposes set forth in paragraph (i), water quality 
and necessary water quantity with the refuge; and
    (v) To provide, in a manner consistent with subparagraphs (i) and 
(ii) opportunities for interpretation and environmental education, 
particularly in conjunction with any adjacent State visitor facilities.

[[Page 70705]]

    The Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Tetlin National Wildlife 
Refuge was completed in 1987. It is being revised consistent with 
section 304(g) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service planning policy.

    Dated: November 22, 2004.
Rowan Gould,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska.
[FR Doc. 04-26784 Filed 12-6-04; 8:45 am]