[Federal Register: August 14, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 156)]
[Page 45444-45445]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Sequim, WA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) intend to 
prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment 
(CCP/EA) for the Protection Island and San Juan Islands National 
Wildlife Refuges (Refuges). The Refuges are located in Island, 
Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties, Washington. The San 
Juan Islands Refuge includes the San Juan Islands Wilderness Area. We 
are furnishing this notice to advise other agencies and the public of 
our intentions, and to obtain public comments, suggestions, and 
information on the scope of issues to be considered during the CCP and 
National Environmental Policy Act planning process.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the CCP received by October 15, 
2007, will be considered during development of the Draft CCP/EA.

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests for information 
to: Kevin Ryan, Project Leader, Washington Maritime National Wildlife 
Refuge Complex, 33 South Barr Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362. Comments 
may be faxed to the Refuge at (360) 452-5086, or e-mailed to 
FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Include Protection Island and San Juan 

Islands Refuges CCP in the subject line of your message. Additional 
information about the CCP planning process is available on the Internet 
at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/planning.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Ryan, Project Leader, Washington 
Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, phone (360) 457-8451.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 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), requires all 
lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System to be managed in 
accordance with an approved CCP. A CCP guides refuge management 
decisions, and identifies long-range goals, objectives, and strategies 
for achieving the purposes for which the refuge was established. During 
the CCP planning process many elements will be considered, including 
wildlife and habitat protection and management, public use 
opportunities, and cultural resource protection. Public input during 
the planning process is essential. The CCP for the Protection Island 
and San Juan Islands Refuges will describe desired conditions for the 
Refuges and the long-term goals, objectives, and strategies for 
achieving those conditions. As part of the planning process, the 
Service will prepare an environmental assessment in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 
4371 et seq.)


    The Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge Act was enacted in 
1982 (Pub L. 97-333), authorizing creation of the 316-acre Refuge 
located near the mouth of Discovery Bay on the southeast side of the 
Strait of Juan de Fuca. The purposes of the Protection Island Refuge 
are to provide habitat for a broad diversity of bird species, with 
particular emphasis on protecting the nesting habitat of the bald 
eagle, tufted puffin, rhinoceros auklet, pigeon guillemot, and pelagic 
cormorant; protecting harbor seals' hauling-out areas; and providing 
for scientific research and wildlife-oriented public education and 
interpretation. Refuge habitats include grass and shrublands, a small 
woodland area, shoreline, spits, and sandy bluffs. Most of the breeding 
seabird population of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca nests 
on Protection Island. The island is a major resting and breeding site 
for harbor seals, and also supports a small number of breeding elephant 
seals. Additional information concerning Protection Island NWR is 
available at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/refuges/field/wa_protectionis.htm

    Located in the northwest corner of Washington State between 
southern Canada and the United States mainland, the San Juan Islands 
Refuge has a long establishment history. Executive Order 1959 
established the Smith Island Reservation in 1914, as a preserve, 
breeding ground, and winter sanctuary for native birds. Subsequent 
executive orders and public land orders through 1983 culminated in the 
current configuration of the Refuge, which totals

[[Page 45445]]

approximately 454 acres of islands, rocks, and reefs. Habitats include 
remnant prairies, cliff faces, shorelines, and old growth forest. San 
Juan Islands Refuge provides important breeding, resting, and foraging 
habitat for sensitive marine bird and mammal species. The islands of 
this refuge are part of the San Juan Islands Wilderness, except for 
Smith, Minor, and Turn Island, and a 5-acre parcel on Matia Island. The 
provisions of the Wilderness Act apply to all refuge lands that are 
designated wilderness. Additional information concerning San Juan 
Islands Refuge is available at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/refuges/field/wa_sanjuanis.htm

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    The following broad categories of preliminary issues have been 
identified by the Service for consideration in the planning process: 
Threats to Refuge resources; Refuge buffers; habitat restoration; 
wilderness management on San Juan Islands Refuge; research 
opportunities; visitor services; and refuge administration. Additional 
issues may be identified during public scoping. The CCP will focus on 
ways of minimizing threats to the Refuges' resources and visitor 
services programs will be evaluated based on current Service policies. 
A revised wilderness stewardship plan for the San Juan Islands 
Wilderness will be included in the CCP as well.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments received from individuals become part of the official 
public record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance 
with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and Service and Department 
of the Interior policies and procedures.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to 
do so.

    Dated: July 17, 2007.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E7-15882 Filed 8-13-07; 8:45 am]