[Federal Register: September 17, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 180)]
[Page 57053-57055]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2010-N146; 1265-0000-10137 S3]

Camas National Wildlife Refuge, Jefferson County, ID; 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Camas National 
Wildlife Refuge (refuge) in Hamer, ID. We will also prepare an 
environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the

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potential effects of various CCP alternatives. We are providing this 
notice in compliance with our CCP policy to advise the public, Federal 
and State agencies, and Tribes of our intentions, and to obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider during 
the CCP planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
October 18, 2010. We will announce opportunities for public input in 
local news media throughout the CCP planning process.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods:
    E-mail: brian_wehausen@fws.gov. Include ``Camas CCP/EA'' in the 
subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Brian Wehausen, (208) 662-5525.
    U.S. Mail: Camas National Wildlife Refuge, 2150 East 2350 North, 
Hamer, ID 83425.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at 370 Webster St., Montpelier, ID 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Wehausen, (208) 662-5423.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
the Camas Refuge. This notice complies with our CCP policy to (1) 
Advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our 
intention to conduct detailed planning on this refuge and (2) obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider in the 
environmental document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, 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 on 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 Administration 
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was established 
for specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for 
developing and prioritizing the management of goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
determine how the public can use each refuge. The planning process is a 
way for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives 
that will insure the best possible approach to wildlife, plant, and 
habitat conservation, while providing for wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities that are compatible with each refuge's 
establishing purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge 
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
State, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
At this time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, 
and suggestions for the future management of Camas Refuge.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an EA in accordance with the requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.); 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.

Camas National Wildlife Refuge

    The Camas Refuge was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
in 1937 for the purpose of serving as a refuge and breeding ground for 
migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is located 36 miles 
north of Idaho Falls, near the community of Hamer, Idaho. The refuge 
lies in the upper Snake River plain at approximately 4,800 feet in 
    The refuge was historically comprised of a diverse mosaic of 
wetland and wet meadow habitats, surrounded by an expansive sea of 
sagebrush, termed the ``high desert.'' The wetlands and wet meadows 
were once fed by surface water from the perennial flow of Camas Creek, 
and natural artesian wells which discharged groundwater and continually 
flooded the wetlands during the drier summer and fall months.
    The upper Snake River climate and soils are favorable to 
agricultural uses, principally ranching and farming. In the late 1800s, 
large livestock and ranching operations were established in the area. 
The grazing lands were later divided into smaller units, and crops were 
cultivated for livestock feed. Agriculture further developed in the 
area to support the thousands of people working in mines. By the time 
mining diminished, railroads had begun connecting farmers and ranchers 
to markets far beyond rural southeast Idaho.
    About half of the refuge's 10,578 acres are lakes, ponds, and 
marshlands, with the remainder consisting of grass/sagebrush uplands 
and meadows. There are 292 known species of wildlife that utilize the 
refuge during various periods of the year. Approximately 100 species of 
migratory birds nest at the refuge, and it is especially important to 
migrating land birds. A large number of songbirds use the refuge's 
cottonwood groves, which are also a significant winter roost site for 
bald eagles. Greater sandhill cranes gather on the refuge prior to fall 
migration. Sage grouse use the refuge during brood rearing. During 
migration, which peaks during March and April, and again in October, up 
to 50,000 ducks, 3,000 geese, and several hundred tundra and trumpeter 
swans may be present on the refuge. The refuge also hosts elk, white-
tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, and moose.

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. We have briefly summarized the issues 
below. During public scoping, we may identify additional issues.
     Are the refuge's water quantity management and groundwater 
pumping capabilities adequate for maintaining nesting and migratory 
waterbird habitats?
     Are we protecting the refuge's water rights adequately, 
and how can we improve water quality for fish and wildlife?
     What actions should we take to minimize disturbance to 
waterbirds nesting and migrating on the refuge, as well as other 
     How the refuge can meet increasing demands for 
recreational opportunities and conduct quality visitor services 
programs in a manner that protects wildlife from disturbances?
     What is the refuge's role in managing the established 

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cottonwood gallery forest for migratory landbirds?
     What are our options for preventing the introduction and 
dispersal of invasive plants and animals?
     What is the refuge's role in supporting native fish and 
restoring riparian habitat in Camas Creek?
     How can we maintain, manage, and restore the refuge's 
sagebrush, wet meadow, and upland habitats to support the long-term 
viability of native wildlife populations, and maximize habitat values 
for key wildlife species?
     How can the refuge adaptively manage habitat in response 
to climate change issues?
     How can we protect the refuge's cultural and historical 
     What is the most appropriate refuge land management 
strategy for providing contiguous and quality habitats for focal 
wildlife resources?

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.

    Dated: August 5, 2010.
Theresa E. Rabot,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2010-23243 Filed 9-16-10; 8:45 am]