[Federal Register: June 22, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 120)]
[Page 34475]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant 
Impact (FONSI) for the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The 
CCP was developed to provide a foundation for the management and use of 
the Refuge. The Service is furnishing this notice to advise other 
agencies and the public of the availability of the CCP and FONSI, and 
the decision to implement Alternative 3 as described in the CCP. The 
Service's Regional Director for the Pacific Region selected Alternative 
3 for managing the Refuge for the next 15 years. Changes to Refuge 
management include: Addition of an elk hunting program, addition of a 
youth waterfowl hunt, expansion of the Refuge, and expansion of the 
interpretive, environmental education, wildlife viewing, and wildlife 
photography facilities and programs.

DATES: The CCP and FONSI are now available. Implementation of the CCP 
may begin immediately.

ADDRESSES: Printed copies of the CCP and FONSI are available for 
viewing at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, 26010 S. Smith Road, 
Cheney, WA 99004, and may be obtained by visiting or writing to the 
Refuge. These documents are also available for viewing and downloading 
on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/planning/.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Curry, Refuge Manager, Turnbull 
National Wildlife Refuge, phone number (509) 235-4723.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Turnbull Refuge is part of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System administered by the Service. The National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (Refuge 
Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), requires all units of 
the National Wildlife Refuge System to be managed in accordance with an 
approved CCP. A CCP provides management direction and identifies refuge 
goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving refuge purposes. The 
CCP and FONSI for Turnbull Refuge were prepared pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended, and its 
implementing regulations, the Refuge Administration Act, and Service 
    Turnbull Refuge is located in eastern Washington in the southwest 
corner of Spokane County and protects a portion of the extensive 
Channeled Scablands geological formation, which was created by massive 
scouring from Ice Age floods fifteen thousand years ago. Due to the 
unusual topography and soil conditions rendered by the floods, the 
Refuge and surrounding lands within the Study Area comprise a unique 
assemblage of habitats in a semi-arid and fragile landscape. Turnbull 
Refuge contributes substantially to the conservation of fish, wildlife, 
and native habitats of the Channeled Scablands.
    During the CCP planning process for the Refuge many elements were 
considered, including wildlife management and habitat protection, off-
Refuge wildlife-dependent recreational and educational opportunities, 
and coordination with tribal, State, and Federal agencies and other 
interested groups. The Draft CCP and associated Environmental 
Assessment identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing 
Turnbull Refuge. The Draft CCP was available for a 45-day public review 
and comment period which included two open house public meetings. The 
Service received nearly 100 responses and a petition on the Draft CCP, 
which were incorporated into, or responded to in the final CCP. No 
substantive changes were required to address public comments.
    Implementing the CCP will encompass the following key actions:
    With partners, the Service will actively engage in land 
conservation within a Stewardship Area surrounding the Refuge, using a 
variety of tools, including acquisition, conservation easements, 
cooperative agreements, and technical assistance programs. Land 
conservation is proposed to address threats to Refuge purposes and 
integrity as well as to provide opportunities for conservation of 
Palouse steppe, wetland, aspen/riparian, and ponderosa pine forest 
habitats that support several threatened species. In addition, the 
Service would seek protection within the National Wildlife Refuge 
System of up to 12,000 acres by fee, easement, or agreement from 
willing sellers on priority lands within the Stewardship Area.
    The Service will initiate an annual elk hunting program at the 
Refuge, to address habitat damage issues as well as provide a 
recreational opportunity. The number of permits, length of season and 
seasons offered would vary depending upon the amount of aspen damage 
observed each year. The Service will also offer a youth waterfowl hunt. 
Hunting will be allowed to begin after preparation of a step-down Sport 
Hunting Plan, as well as publication of regulations in the Federal 
    The Service will increase the Environmental Education program, both 
on and off-Refuge, increase viewpoint and interpretive opportunities on 
the Refuge, add a small interpretive exhibit area (co-located with new 
office space), provide more trail miles, and link the Public Use Area 
to the State's Columbia Plateau Trail with a bike trail. If the Refuge 
were to acquire contiguous additional lands, up to 10 additional trail 
miles could be added as well as several thousand acres for elk or 
waterfowl hunting.

    Dated: April 16, 2007.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E7-12086 Filed 6-21-07; 8:45 am]