[Federal Register: February 23, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 34)]
[Page 8102-8103]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2009-N00007; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Bonners Ferry, ID

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) intend to 
prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Kootenai 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). We will also prepare an 
environmental assessment (EA) evaluating the potential effects of 
various CCP alternatives. The Refuge is located within Boundary County, 
Idaho. We are furnishing this notice to advise the public and other 
government agencies and Tribes of our intentions, and to obtain public 
comments, suggestions, and information on the scope of issues to be 
considered during the planning process.

DATES: We request your written comments on the scope of the CCP by 
March 25, 2009. All comments received during scoping will be considered 
during development of the Draft CCP and EA.

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests for information 
to: Dianna Ellis, Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, 287 Westside Road, 
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. Comments may be faxed to the Refuge at (208) 
267-5570, or e-mailed to FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Include 
``Kootenai Refuge CCP'' in the subject line of your message. Additional 
information about the Refuge is available on the Internet at http://
www.fws.gov/kootenai/. Additional information about the CCP planning 
process is available on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dianna Ellis, Refuge Manager, Kootenai 
Refuge, phone (208) 267-3888.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) 
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 NWRS 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 for 
Kootenai Refuge 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. To initiate 
the public scoping phase of the CCP planning process we held two public 
open house meetings in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, on January 23, 2009. We 
announced the meetings in a press release and in a planning update 
mailed to 239 addressees, including refuge neighbors, interested 
individuals and organizations, elected officials, Tribes, and local, 
State, and Federal government and nongovernment stakeholders. 
Approximately 30 people attended the meetings. Public scoping will 
continue until March 25, 2009.
    The Refuge's CCP will describe desired Refuge conditions and the 
long-term goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving those 
conditions. To evaluate potential impacts of CCP alternatives, we will 
prepare an EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.)


    The Refuge was established in 1964 under the Migratory Bird 
Conservation Act ``for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other 
management purpose, for migratory birds'' with emphasis on providing 
migration and breeding habitat for migratory waterfowl. The Refuge's 
habitats include wetlands, mixed moist deciduous and coniferous forest, 
riparian woodland, riverine, and dry forest. Managed grasslands and 
croplands are also present on the Refuge.
    The Refuge supports tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl, 
especially during fall migration. The Refuge also provides important 
stop-over habitat for spring migratory swans that winter in 
southeastern Oregon and nest in northeastern British Columbia and 
northwestern Alberta. Habitat for the federally listed bull trout; 
winter habitat for deer and elk; and occasionally, habitat and/or 
travel corridors for wide-ranging species such as woodland caribou, 
grizzly bear, and gray wolves is also provided on the Refuge.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We identified the following categories of preliminary issues for 
consideration in the planning process: water and wetland management, 
including dike maintenance and water rights; cropland management; 
integrated pest management; deer and elk management; maintenance and 
restoration of riparian, upland forest, and instream habitats; the 
Refuge's role in recovery of rare and listed fish species; providing 
sustainable wildlife-dependent recreation with a small staff and land 
base; reducing visitor conflicts and law enforcement violations; and 
managing on-going Refuge programs and commitments in an era of tight 
budgets. Additional issues may be identified during public scoping.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments we receive become part of the public record. Requests 
for 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 to withhold it from public review, we cannot 
guarantee we will be able to do so.

[[Page 8103]]

    Dated: January 6, 2009.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E9-3763 Filed 2-20-09; 8:45 am]