[Federal Register: June 16, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 116)]
[Page 34034-34035]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-R-2008-N0143; 60138-1265-6CCP-S3]

Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announce that 
the draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for the Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge is 
available. This draft CCP/EA describes how the Service intends to 
manage the refuge for the next 15 years. We request public comment.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
on the draft CCP/EA by July 16, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Please provide written comments to Toni Griffin, Planning 
Team Leader, Division of Refuge Planning, Branch of Comprehensive 
Conservation Planning, Mountain-Prairie Region, P.O. Box 25486, Denver 
Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225-0486; via facsimile at 303-236-
4792; or electronically to toni_griffin@fws.gov. A copy of the CCP/EA 
may be obtained by writing to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division 
of Refuge Planning, 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300, Lakewood, Colorado 
80228; or by download from http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Toni Griffin, 303-236-4378 (phone) or 
John Esperance, 303-236-4369 (phone).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Located in central Wyoming in a high plains 
basin near the headwaters of the Platte-Kansas Ecosystem, Pathfinder 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) lies approximately 47 miles southwest of 
Casper, Wyoming. The Pathfinder NWR is managed by Service staff 
headquartered at the Arapaho NWR near Walden, Colorado.
    Pathfinder NWR was established by Executive Order 7425, August 1, 
1936, which designated the Pathfinder Wildlife Refuge ``as a refuge and 
breeding ground for birds and other wildlife.'' Pathfinder NWR was 
established as an overlay refuge on Bureau of Reclamation lands. As 
such, primary jurisdiction of these lands remains under the authority 
of the Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau of Reclamation administers 
lands within the Pathfinder Project boundary for North Platte Project 
purposes including flood control, irrigation, and hydroelectric power 
generation. A Memorandum of Agreement specifies the management 
responsibilities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while preserving 
the autonomy of Bureau of Reclamation to manage Pathfinder Dam and 
    This draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates three alternatives for 
managing the refuge for the next 15 years. Alternative A, the No Action 
alternative, reflects the current management of the refuge. It provides 
the baseline against which to compare the other alternatives. Refuge 
habitats would continue to be minimally managed on an opportunistic 
schedule that may maintain, or most likely would result in further 
decline in, the diversity of vegetation and wildlife species. Only 
limited data collection and monitoring of refuge habitats and wildlife 
species would occur on the refuge. Outreach and partnerships would 
continue at present levels.
    Management activities under alternative B would be increased. 
Upland habitats would be evaluated and managed for the benefit of 
migratory bird species. Monitoring and management of invasive species 
on the refuge would be increased. With

[[Page 34035]]

additional staffing, the Service would collect baseline biological 
information for wildlife and habitats. Wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities would be provided and enhanced where compatible with 
refuge purposes. Efforts would be increased in the operations and 
maintenance of natural resources on the refuge and to maintain and 
develop partnerships that promote wildlife and habitat research and 
    Alternative C is the Service's proposed action and basis for the 
draft comprehensive conservation plan. Under Alternative C, the 
Memorandum of Agreement between the Bureau of Reclamation and the 
Service would be modified to eliminate Service interest in lands 
(approximately 10,800 acres) that are difficult to manage and provide 
minimal opportunity to improve wildlife habitat. Remaining refuge areas 
would be managed similar to those actions described in Alternative B. 
This would enable the Service to focus efforts on manageable lands, 
thereby enhancing refuge management and efficiently directing refuge 
resources toward accomplishing the mission of the Refuge System.
    The proposed action (Alternative C) was selected because it best 
meets the purposes and goals of the refuge, as well as the mission and 
goals of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The proposed action will 
also benefit federally listed species, shore birds, migrating and 
nesting waterfowl and resident wildlife. Environmental education and 
partnerships will result in improved wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities. Cultural and historical resources as well as federally 
listed species will be protected.
    Opportunity for public input will be provided at a public meeting 
to be scheduled soon. The specific date and time for the public meeting 
is yet to be determined, but will be announced via local media and a 
planning update. All information provided voluntarily by mail, by 
phone, or at public meetings (e.g., names, addresses, letters of 
comment, input recorded during meetings) becomes part of the official 
public record. If requested under the Freedom of Information Act by a 
private citizen or organization, the Service may provide copies of such 
information. The environmental review of this project will be conducted 
in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA 
Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws 
and regulations; Executive Order 12996; the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies and procedures for 
compliance with those laws and regulations.

    Dated: June 5, 2008.
Sharon R. Rose,
Acting Regional Director.
 [FR Doc. E8-13469 Filed 6-13-08; 8:45 am]