[Federal Register: August 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 158)]
[Page 46097]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, Stanislaus and San 
Joaquin Counties, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: final comprehensive conservation plan 
and finding of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant 
Impact (FONSI) are available for distribution. The CCP, prepared 
pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 
1997, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, describes how the Service will manage the Refuge for the next 15 

DATES: The CCP and FONSI are available now. The FONSI was signed 
September 29, 2006. Implementation of the CCP may begin immediately.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the CCP and FONSI may be obtained by writing to 
the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 2176, 947-C 
West Pacheco Boulevard, Los Banos, California 93635. Copies of the CCP 
and FONSI may also be obtained by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Attn: Mark Pelz, CA/NV Refuge Planning Office, 2800 Cottage 
Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825. The CCP and FONSI is also be 
available for viewing and downloading online at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/cno/refuges/planning.html

    Printed copies of the CCP and FONSI are also available at the 
following libraries:

Stanislaus County Library, 1500 I Street, Modesto, California, 95354;
Manteca City Library, 320 Center Road, Manteca, California, 95336; and
Merced County Library, 2100 O Street, Merced, California 95340.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim Forrest, Project Leader, San Luis 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 2176, 947-C West Pacheco 
Boulevard, Los Banos, California 93635 or Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge 
Planning, CA/NV Refuge Planning Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, 
Sacramento, CA 95825, phone (916) 414-6504.



    The Refuge was established in 1987 primarily to protect and manage 
wintering habitat for Aleutian Canada geese, a federally listed 
endangered species. Since that time, the Refuge's focus has expanded to 
include protecting other sensitive species and restoring natural 
habitats and ecological processes. This Refuge and its management have 
been important factors in the recovery of the Aleutian Canada goose and 
its removal in 2001 from the Threatened and Endangered Species List. 
The Refuge is located just west of Modesto, California.
    The Draft CCP and Environmental Assessment (EA) were available for 
a 30-day public review and comment period, which was announced via 
several methods including press releases; updates to constituents; and 
in the Federal Register (71 FR 120, June 22, 2006). The Draft CCP/EA 
identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing the Refuge for 
the next 15 years. Alternative A was the no-action alternative which 
described current Refuge management activities. Alternative B placed 
greater emphasis on wetland restoration and management and would expand 
visitor services for all priority public uses, including fishing and 
hunting. Alternative C focused on restoration and management of 
riparian habitats and providing non-consumptive wildlife-dependant 
recreation opportunities. Alternative D, (the selected alternative) 
includes a balance of wetland and riparian restoration and management 
and expands opportunities for all priority public uses, including 
fishing and hunting.
    The Service received seven comment letters on the Draft CCP and EA 
during the review period. The comments received were incorporated into 
the CCP, when possible, and are responded to in an appendix to the CCP. 
In the FONSI, Alternative D was selected for implementation and is the 
basis for the CCP. The FONSI documents the decision of the Service and 
is based on the information and analysis contained in the EA.
    Under the selected alternative, the Service will manage the east 
unit of the Refuge primarily for Aleutian Canada geese and other 
migratory birds. In addition, the Service will restore both wetland and 
riparian habitats in proportions similar to their perceived occurrence 
before the land was used for agricultural purposes. Under the selected 
alternative, 1,457 wetland acres and 3,224 acres of riparian habitat 
will be restored or enhanced. Fishing and hunting will be permitted on 
the Refuge subject to State and Federal laws. Off-Refuge environmental 
education opportunities will include school and community 
presentations. Cultural resources on the Refuge will be assessed and 
preserved according to regulatory requirements.
    The selected alternative best meets the Refuge's purposes, vision 
and goals; contributes to the Refuge System mission; addresses the 
significant issues and relevant mandates; and is consistent with 
principles of sound fish and wildlife management.

    Dated: August 7, 2007.
Ken McDermond,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations, Sacramento, California.
 [FR Doc. E7-16107 Filed 8-15-07; 8:45 am]