[Federal Register: December 22, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 246)]
[Page 78386-78387]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2008-N0282; 81640-1265-0000-S3]

Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, San Francisco County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments: draft
comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce
that the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) Draft Comprehensive
Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment (draft CCP/EA) is
available for review and comment. Also available for review are the
draft compatibility determinations for research and monitoring, media
access, and environmental education and monitoring through a remote
camera system.

DATES: To ensure that we have adequate time to evaluate and incorporate
suggestions and other input into the planning process, we must receive
comments on or before February 20, 2009.

ADDRESSES: For information on obtaining documents and submitting
comments, see ``Public Review and Comment'' under SUPPLEMENTARY

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Winnie Chan, Refuge Planner, (510)

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as
amended by the Improvement Act, requires us to develop a CCP for each
National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose in developing a CCP is to provide
refuge managers with a 15-year strategy for achieving refuge purposes
and contributing toward the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge
System, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife
management, conservation, legal mandates, and Service policies. In
addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife
and their habitats, the CCP identifies wildlife-dependent recreational
opportunities available to the public, which can include opportunities
for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and
environmental education and interpretation.


    The Refuge is located off the coast of San Francisco and is within
San Francisco County. The 211-acre Refuge consists of four island
groupings that were first designated as a Refuge in 1909 ``as a
preserve and breeding ground for native birds'' (Executive Order 1043,
Feb. 27, 1909). The Refuge supports the largest seabird breeding colony
in the contiguous United States and provides wintering and nesting
habitat for migratory seabirds and pinnipeds. In 1974, Congress enacted
Pub. L. 93-550, which designated all the islands except for Southeast
Island as the Farallon Wilderness, totaling 141 acres.


    The draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates four alternatives for
managing Farallon National Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years. Each
alternative describes a combination of wildlife, habitat, and public
use management prescriptions designed to achieve Refuge purposes. Of
the alternatives described below, we believe Alternative C would best
achieve the purposes of the Refuge, and therefore we have identified C
as the Preferred Alternative.
    Alternative A, the no-action alternative, assumes no change from
current management programs and is considered the baseline with which
to compare other alternatives. Under this alternative, the focus of the
Refuge would be to continue to protect and maintain habitats for
nesting seabirds including restoration of native vegetation. Wildlife
research and monitoring would continue. The Refuge would remain closed
to the public, with the exception of requested media visits that are
closely supervised by Refuge staff.
    Alternative B calls for the development of a vegetation management
and monitoring plan to accelerate weed removal and restoration of
native vegetation. Non-native house mice would be eradicated to reduce
predation of seabirds and a tiered National Environmental Policy Act
planning document would be prepared to evaluate the eradication methods
and protocols. Public involvement opportunities for this tiered plan
would be provided. New research and monitoring methods would be
implemented to improve wildlife management. In addition, new or
expanded research studies will also be implemented to study other
wildlife on the Refuge (e.g., arboreal salamanders, hoary bats, and
insects). Law enforcement to reduce wildlife disturbance would be
increased through coordination with other agencies and outreach to
boaters and pilots. The Refuge would remain closed to public access
under this alternative, but limited supervised access for media
personnel in order to further public education and provide outreach
opportunities for the public would be allowed. While land-based
wildlife observation would not be allowed, Refuge staff will coordinate
with charter boat operators to enhance their wildlife tours in waters
surrounding the Refuge. This alternative also includes outreach and
environmental education objectives, including coordination with other
outreach organizations in the San Francisco area, the development of
environmental education programs and materials for outreach events, a
remote camera system, and expanding the existing Farallon program in
elementary schools.
    Alternative C, the preferred alternative, would include the same
components as Alternative B. In addition, a visitor service plan would
be developed to consider on-site visitor opportunities such as tours
and volunteer activities. Additional areas on Southeast Island would
also be considered for seasonal closure to

[[Page 78387]]

human access (for management purposes) to provide additional nesting
habitat and reduce spread of non-native vegetation.
    Alternative D would include the same components as Alternative B,
but would be more restrictive in terms of access. Human access (for
management purposes) would be prohibited at North Landing, portions of
Lighthouse Hill, and additional areas during the seabird nesting season
to reduce disturbance, encourage expansion of nesting habitat, and
prevent the spread of invasive plants. Wildlife monitoring would be
reduced as a result of the closures. The Refuge would remain closed to
public access. This alternative would also include use of a remote
camera system to provide remote monitoring and wildlife observation

Public Review and Comment

    To obtain a copy of the draft CCP/EA, write to Winnie Chan, Refuge
Planner, Farallon NWR CCP, San Francisco Bay NWR Complex, 9500 Thornton
Avenue, Newark, CA 94560. You may view a copy of the draft CCP/EA at
this address, or you may view it or download it online at: http://
    Hard copies of the draft CCP/EA are also available at the following
     San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 1
Marshlands Road, Fremont, CA 94536.
     San Francisco Public Library, Federal Documents, 100
Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
     CA/NV Refuge Planning Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832,
Sacramento, CA 95825.
    Address any comments on the draft CCP/EA to: Winnie Chan, Refuge
Planner, Farallon NWR CCP, San Francisco Bay NWR Complex, 9500 Thornton
Avenue, Newark, CA 94560. You may also e-mail comments to
sfbaynwrc@fws.gov or fax them to (510) 792-5828. If submitting by fax
or e-mail, please type ``FNWR CCP'' in the subject line.

Public Comments

    After the review and comment period ends for this Draft CCP/EA, we
will analyze comments and address them in our final CCP/EA. 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 that we will be able to do so.

Richard E. Sayers, Jr.,
Acting Regional Director, California and Nevada Region, Sacramento,
[FR Doc. E8-30308 Filed 12-19-08; 8:45 am]