[Federal Register: April 9, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 69)]
[Page 19238-19239]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-NWRS-2008-N0061; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Pacific County, WA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and associated environmental impact statement; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Willapa 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) located in Pacific County, 
Washington. An environmental impact statement (EIS) evaluating effects 
of various CCP alternatives will also be prepared. We provide this 
notice in compliance with our CCP policy to advise other government 
agencies and the public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions 
and information on the scope of issues to be considered in the planning 
and environmental review process. We are also requesting public 
comments. See DATES and ADDRESSES for details.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by May 16, 2008. We will announce opportunities for public input 
throughout the planning process.

ADDRESSES: Additional information concerning the Willapa Refuge is 
available on the following Internet site: http://www.fws.gov/willapa/
WillapaNWR. Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    E-mail: FW1PlanningComments@ fws.gov. Please include Willapa Refuge 
in the subject.
    Fax: Attn: Charlie Stenvall, (360) 484-3109.
    U.S. Mail: Charlie Stenvall, Project Leader, Willapa National 
Wildlife Refuge Complex, 3888 SR 101, Ilwaco, WA 98624-9707.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charlie Stenvall, Project Leader, 
phone (360) 484-3482.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Willapa Refuge. This notice complies with our CCP policy and National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) to advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the 
public of our intention to conduct detailed planning on this Refuge, 
and obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to 
consider during development of the CCP/EIS.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Improvement Act), which amended the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan 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 our 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction for 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will 
review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with 
the Improvement Act.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was established 
for specific purposes. We use these purposes as the basis for 
developing and prioritizing the management goals, objectives, and 
potential public uses for each refuge. The planning process is a way 
for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives, and 
determine the best possible approach for conserving important wildlife 
habitat, while providing wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities 
compatible with a refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies;

[[Page 19239]]

organizations; and the public. At this time we encourage input in the 
form of issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future 
management of the Refuge.
    We will prepare the EIS for this project in accordance with the 
requirements NEPA; NEPA regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other 
appropriate Federal laws and regulations; and our policies and 
procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations.
    During the CCP planning process, many elements will be considered 
including: wildlife and habitat management and public use 
opportunities. Public input into the planning process is essential. The 
CCP for Willapa Refuge will describe desired conditions for the Refuge 
and how the Service will implement management strategies over the next 
15 years. Until the CCP is completed, Refuge management will continue 
to be guided by official Refuge purposes; Federal legislation regarding 
management of National Wildlife Refuges; and other legal, regulatory, 
and policy guidance.

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

    The Willapa Refuge was established as the Willapa Harbor Migratory 
Bird Refuge by Executive Order No. 7541 signed by President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt on January 11, 1937. Under Executive Order No. 7721, signed 
October 8, 1937, the Refuge boundary was enlarged and the name was 
changed to Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was established 
to protect migrating and wintering populations of brant, waterfowl, 
shorebirds, and other migratory birds. The goals of the Refuge, revised 
in 1997, are to: (1) Protect and restore tideland habitat and 
associated migratory bird species representative of the native 
biological diversity of Willapa Bay; (2) preserve and protect unique 
ecosystems associated with Willapa Bay; (3) manage for the conservation 
and recovery of threatened and endangered species in their natural 
ecosystem; and (4) provide opportunities for wildlife and wildland-
dependent recreation, education, and research.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    The FWS has identified the following preliminary issues, concerns, 
and opportunities for consideration, additional issues may be 
identified during public scoping:
    Tidal Restoration. Is tidal restoration a desirable action, and if 
so, which refuge units should be considered? Which units if any should 
remain under current management practices?
    Land Acquisition. Should expansion of the Refuge's boundary be 
considered, and if so, why, and which properties should be proposed for 
Refuge expansion?
    Recovery of the federally threatened Western Snowy Plover. What 
management actions should be implemented to better protect the Western 
Snowy Plover from disturbance and predation, while measures to protect 
and restore habitat are occurring?
    Elk Management. What management actions should be implemented to 
alleviate threats to rare plants and animals, from elk, on the 
Leadbetter Unit?
    Forest Management. What forest management practices should be 
implemented to restore forest complexity and biodiversity?
    Wildlife-Dependent Recreational Uses. Should the current wildlife-
dependent recreational uses on the Refuge be expanded? If so, what 
opportunities are feasible and compatible with the Refuge's purposes 
that would satisfy the needs of the public?
    As part of the CCP planning process, a full range of alternatives 
will be developed that address the issues and associated management 
strategies. The alternatives' environmental effects will be evaluated 
in the environmental impact statement. Comments we receive will be 
taken into consideration in developing goals, key issues and management 
strategies, and draft alternatives. Additional opportunities for public 
participation will occur throughout the CCP process, which is expected 
to be completed in early 2010.

Public Availability of Comments

    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.

    Date: April 2, 2008.
Renne R. Lohoefener,
Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E8-7452 Filed 4-8-08; 8:45 am]