[Federal Register: February 19, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 33)]
[Page 7789-7790]
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 Impact Statement for Rocky Flats National 
Wildlife Refuge, Commerce City, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 
Statement (CCP/EIS) for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge 
(Refuge) is available for public review and comment. This Draft CCP/EIS 
was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act, as amended, and the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA). The Draft CCP/EIS describes the Service's proposal for 
management of the Refuge for 15 years, beginning at Refuge 
establishment, which is anticipated to occur sometime between 2006 and 
2008. Four alternatives for management of the Refuge are considered in 
the CCP/EIS.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your comments on or 
before April 5, 2004.

ADDRESSES: To provide written comments or to obtain a copy of the Draft 
CCP/EIS, please write to Laurie

[[Page 7790]]

Shannon, Planning Team Leader, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, 
Rocky Mountain Arsenal--Building 121, Commerce City, Colorado, 80222. 
Comments and requests can be sent electronically to http://rockyflats@fws.gov.
 Additionally, copies of the Draft CCP/EIS may be 

downloaded from the project website: http://rockyflats.fws.gov. The 

Draft CCP/EIS will be available for reading at the following main 
branch libraries: Arvada Public Library in Arvada, Boulder Public 
Library in Boulder, Daniels Library in Lakewood, Golden Public Library 
in Golden, Westminster Public Library in Westminster, Front Range 
Community College in Westminster, Louisville Public Library in 
Louisville, Thornton Public Library in Thornton, and Mamie Dowd 
Eisenhower Library in Broomfield, all Colorado.
    The Service will hold four public hearings on the CCP/EIS and 
encourages you to attend and provide your comments at one of the 
meetings. The time and place of the meetings will be provided in a 
Planning Update mailed to agencies, organizations and individuals on 
the mailing list, in a flyer posted in area libraries, in notices in 
area newspapers, and on the project Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Shannon, Planning Team Leader 
at the above address or at (303) 289-0980.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 6,240-acre Rocky Flats National Wildlife 
Refuge site is in northern Jefferson County and southern Boulder 
County, Colorado. The Rocky Flats site was used as a nuclear weapons 
production facility until 1992, when the mission of Rocky Flats changed 
to environmental cleanup and closure. The majority of the site has 
remained undisturbed for over 50 years and provides habitat for many 
wildlife species, including the federally threatened Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse, and several rare plant communities. Under the Rocky 
Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001, most of the site will 
become a National Wildlife Refuge once cleanup and closure has been 
completed. The Refuge will likely be established sometime between 2006 
and 2008.
    The National Wildlife System Administration Act of 1966, as amended 
by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997, requires the 
Service to develop a CCP for the Refuge. The purpose in developing a 
CCP 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 CCP identifies wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.
    Significant issues addressed in the Draft CCP/EIS include: 
vegetation management, wildlife management, public use, cultural 
resources, property, infrastructure, and refuge operations. The Service 
developed four alternatives for management of the Refuge: Alternative 
A--No Action; Alternative B--Wildlife, Habitat, and Public Use; 
Alternative C--Ecological Restoration; and Alternative D--Public Use. 
All four alternatives outline specific management objectives and 
strategies related to wildlife and habitat management; public use, 
education, and interpretation; safety; open and effective 
communication; working with others; and refuge operations.
    Alternative B, the Service's Proposed Action, emphasizes wildlife 
and habitat conservation with a moderate amount of wildlife-dependent 
public use. Refuge-wide habitat conservation would include management 
of native plant communities, weeds, restoration tools, removal and 
revegetation of unused roads and stream crossings, management of deer 
and elk populations, prairie dogs, and protection of Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse habitat. Visitor use facilities would include about 16 
miles of trails, a visitor contact station staffed seasonally, 
trailheads with parking, and developed overlooks. Most of the trails 
would use existing roads and public access would be by foot, bicycle, 
horse, or car. A limited public hunting program would be developed.
    After the review and comment period for this Draft CCP/EIS, all 
comments will be analyzed and considered by the Service. A Final CCP/
EIS will then be prepared and published and will include substantive 
comments received and the Service's responses to those comments. 
Changes made to the proposed action will also be identified in the 
Final CCP/EIS. A Record of Decision and final CCP will then be 
    All comments received from individuals on environmental impact 
statements become part of the official public record. Requests for such 
comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information 
Act, the Council on Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6(f) and other Service and Departmental policies and procedures.
    The Service believes it is important to give reviewers notice of 
several court rulings related to public participation in the 
environmental review process. Reviewers should provide the Service with 
their comments during the review period of the Draft CCP/EIS. This 
enables the Service to analyze and respond to the comments at one time 
and to use information acquired in the preparation of the final 
environmental impact statement, thus avoiding undue delay in the 
decision making process. Reviewers have an obligation to structure 
their participation in the National Environmental Policy Act process so 
that it is meaningful and alerts the agency to the reviewers' position 
and contentions. Environmental objections that could have been raised 
at the draft stage may be waived if they are not raised until after 
completion of the final environmental impact statement. Comments on the 
Draft CCP/EIS should be specific and should address the adequacy of the 
plan, the impact statement, and the merits of the alternatives 
discussed (40 CFR 1503.3).
    In the Final EIS, the Service will respond to all substantive 
comments. Comments are considered substantive if they:
    [sbull] Question, with reasonable basis, the accuracy of the 
information in the document;
    [sbull] Question, with reasonable basis, the adequacy of the 
environmental analysis;
    [sbull] Present reasonable alternatives other than those presented 
in the EIS;
    [sbull] Cause changes or revisions in the CCP; or
    [sbull] Provide new or additional information relevant to the 

    Dated: January 14, 2004.
John A. Blankenship,
Regional Director--Region 6, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, 
[FR Doc. 04-3584 Filed 2-18-04; 8:45 am]