[Federal Register: March 9, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 46)]
[Page 12216-12217]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Migratory Bird Hunting; Notice of Intent To Prepare a 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Sport Hunting of 
Migratory Birds

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of meetings.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is issuing 
this notice to invite public participation in the scoping process for 
preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 
Sport Hunting of Migratory Birds under the authority of the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act. The SEIS will consider a range of management 
alternatives for addressing sport hunting of migratory birds under the 
authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service seeks 
suggestions and comments on the scope and substance of this 
supplemental EIS, options or alternatives to be considered, and 
important management issues. Federal and State agencies and the public 
are invited to present their views on the subject to the Service. This 
notice invites further public participation in the scoping process, 
identifies the location, date, and time of public scoping meetings, and 
identifies to whom you may direct questions and comments.

DATES: You must submit written comments regarding EIS scoping by May 
30, 2006, to the address below. All comments received from the 
initiation of this process on September 8, 2005, until May 30, 2006, 
will be considered. Dates for twelve public scoping meetings are 
identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

ADDRESSES: You should send written comments to the Chief, Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department 
of the Interior, MS MBSP-4107-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20240. Alternately, you may fax comments to (703) 358-2217 or e-mail 
comments to huntingseis@fws.gov. You may inspect comments during normal 
business hours in room 4107, 4501 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Millsap, Chief, or Ron W. Kokel, 
Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
(703) 358-1714.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 8, 2005, we published a Notice 
of Intent to prepare a supplemental EIS on the sport hunting of 
migratory birds (70 FR 53376). For more detailed background 
information, we refer the reader to this document.

Background and Overview

    Migratory game birds are those bird species so designated in 
bilateral conventions between the United States and Canada, Mexico, 
Japan, and Russia for the protection and management of these birds. 
Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-712) and the Fish 
and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 7421), the Secretary of 
the Interior is authorized to determine when ``hunting, taking, 
capture, killing, possession, sale, purchase, shipment, transportation, 
carriage, or export of any * * * bird, or any part, nest or egg'' of 
migratory game birds can take place, and to adopt regulations for this 
purpose. These regulations are issued with due regard to ``the zones of 
temperature and the distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding 
habits, and times and lines of migratory flight of such birds'' and 
compatibility with the conventions between the United States and 
Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia for the protection and management of 
migratory birds. This responsibility has been delegated to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior as the lead 
Federal agency for managing and conserving migratory birds in the 
United States.
    The Service currently promulgates regulations allowing and 
governing the hunting of migratory game birds in the families Anatidae 
(waterfowl), Gruidae (cranes), Rallidae (rails), Scolopacidae (snipe 
and woodcock), and Columbidae (doves and pigeons). Regulations 
governing seasons and limits are promulgated annually, in part due to 
considerations such as the abundance of birds, which can change from 
year to year, and are developed by establishing the frameworks, or 
outside limits, for earliest opening and latest closing dates, season 
lengths, limits (daily bag and possession), and areas for migratory 
game bird hunting. These ``annual'' regulations have been promulgated 
by the Service each year since 1918. Other regulations, termed 
``basic'' regulations (for example, those governing hunting methods), 
are promulgated once and changed only when a need to do so arises. All 
hunting regulations are contained in 50 CFR Parts 20 and 92.
    In the September 8, 2005, Federal Register, we provided information 
on the current process for establishing sport hunting regulations, the 
tribal regulations process, the Alaska subsistence process, and past 
NEPA considerations (a 1975 EIS and a 1988 supplemental EIS).

Issue Resolution and Environmental Review

    We intend to develop a supplemental EIS on the ``Issuance of Annual 
Regulations Permitting the Sport Hunting of Migratory Birds,'' 
beginning the process with our September 8, 2005, announcement. Federal 
and State agencies, private conservation organizations, and all other 
interested parties and individuals are invited to participate in the 
process by presenting their views on the subject. We seek suggestions 
and comments regarding the scope and substance of this supplemental 
EIS, particular issues to be addressed and why, and options or 
alternatives to be considered. In particular, in regard to the scope 
and substance of this supplemental EIS, we seek comments on the 
    (1) Harvest management alternatives for migratory game birds to be 
    (2) Limiting the scope of the assessment to sport hunting (i.e., 
exclusion of the Alaska migratory bird subsistence process), and
    (3) Inclusion of basic regulations (methods and means).
    We will conduct the development of this supplemental EIS in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.), other appropriate 
Federal regulations, and Service procedures for compliance with those 
regulations. We are furnishing this Notice in accordance with 40 CFR 
1501.7, to obtain suggestions and information from other agencies, 
tribes, and the public on the scope of issues to be addressed in the 
supplemental EIS.

Public Scoping Meetings

    Twelve public scoping meetings will be held on the following dates 
at the indicated locations and times:
    1. March 24, 2006: Columbus, Ohio, at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, 
350 North High Street; 1 p.m.
    2. March 28, 2006: Memphis, Tennessee, at the Holiday Inn Select 
Downtown, 160 Union Avenue; 7 p.m.

[[Page 12217]]

    3. March 30, 2006: Rosenburg, Texas, at the Texas Agricultural 
Extension Service Education Center, 1402 Band Road, Suite 100, Highway 
36; 7 p.m.
    4. April 5, 2006: Anchorage, Alaska, at the Howard Johnson Motel, 
239 North 4th Avenue; 7 p.m.
    5. April 6, 2006: Denver, Colorado, at the Colorado Department of 
Wildlife, Northeast Region Service Center, Hunter Education Building, 
6060 Broadway; 7 p.m.
    6. April 10, 2006: Hadley, Massachusetts, at the Northeast Regional 
Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center 
Drive; 7 p.m.
    7. April 12, 2006: Charleston, South Carolina, at the Fort Johnson 
Marine Laboratory, 217 Fort Johnson Road, James Island; 7 p.m.
    8. April 19, 2006: Fargo, North Dakota, at the Best Western 
Doublewood Inn, 3333 13th Avenue South; 7 p.m.
    9. April 20, 2006: Bloomington, Minnesota, at the Minnesota Valley 
National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, 3815 American Boulevard East; 
7 p.m.
    10. April 24, 2006: Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Utah Division of 
Wildlife Resources, 1594 West North Temple; 7 p.m.
    11. April 26, 2006: Arlington, Virginia, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 200; 1 p.m.
    12. April 26, 2006: Sacramento, California, at the California 
Department of Fish and Game, Auditorium, Resource Building, 1416 Ninth 
Street; 7 p.m.
    At the scoping meetings, you may choose to submit oral and/or 
written comments. To facilitate planning, we request that if you want 
to submit oral comments at meetings, send us your name and the meeting 
location you plan to attend. You should send this information to the 
location indicated under ADDRESSES. However, you are not required to 
submit your name prior to any particular meeting in order to present 
oral comments.

Public Comments Solicited

    You may also submit written comments using one of the methods 
provided under ADDRESSES. All comments must be submitted by the date 
listed under DATES.
    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 rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which 
we would withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, 
as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or 
address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your 
comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make 
all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.
    All comments received, including names and addresses, will become 
part of the public record. Further, all written comments must be 
submitted on 8.5-by-11-inch paper.

    Dated: March 3, 2006.
H. Dale Hall,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-3350 Filed 3-8-06; 8:45 am]