[Federal Register: November 3, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 212)]
[Page 67763-67765]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2010-N187; 1265-0000-10137 S3]

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Washington and Yamhill 
Counties, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Tualatin River 
National Wildlife Refuge (refuge) in Sherwood, Oregon. We will also 
prepare an environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential 
effects of various CCP alternatives. We provide this notice in 
compliance with our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State 
agencies, Tribes, and the public 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 
January 10, 2011. We will announce opportunities for public input in 
local news media, through mailings of planning updates, and by postings 
on the refuge's Web site throughout the CCP planning process.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods:
    E-mail: TualatinCCP@fws.gov. Include ``Tualatin River CCP/EA'' in 
the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Project Leader, (503) 625-5947.
    U.S. Mail: Attn: Project Leader, Tualatin River National Wildlife 

[[Page 67764]]

19255 SW Pacific Highway, Sherwood, OR 97140.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at 19255 SW Pacific Highway, 
Sherwood, OR 97140.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ralph Webber, Project Leader, (503) 



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
the Tualatin River Refuge. This notice complies with our CCP policy to 
(1) advise the public, other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and 
other organizations of our intention to conduct comprehensive 
conservation planning for 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) (Refuge 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 Refuge Administration Act.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was established 
for specific purposes. These purposes are the foundation for developing 
and prioritizing the conservation and management goals and objectives 
for each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and 
determining compatible public uses of a 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 the 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 Tualatin River Refuge.
    We will conduct an environmental review of this project and prepare 
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.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

    Established in 1992 under guidelines of the Service's Urban Refuge 
Policy, Tualatin River Refuge is one of a handful of urban refuges in 
the country. Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and the satellite 
Wapato Lake Unit are both located within the midsection of the Tualatin 
River basin at the northern portion of the Willamette Valley in 
Washington and Yamhill Counties, Oregon. The refuge preserves a wetland 
ecosystem and provides a wildlife center in the shadow of Oregon's 
largest metropolitan area, Portland. The overarching refuge purpose of 
establishment cited in the Land Protection Plan (1992) is to ``protect, 
enhance, and manage upland, wetland, and riparian habitats for a 
variety of migratory birds and resident fish and wildlife, as well as 
for the enjoyment of people.''
    The satellite Wapato Lake Unit was established in 2007. The Wapato 
Lake Unit serves a similar refuge purpose for establishment and 
supports many of the same types of habitats found within core 
management units at Tualatin River Refuge. However, there is a greater 
emphasis on maintaining and enhancing biological diversity as well as 
providing habitats for migratory waterfowl, with a special emphasis 
placed on wintering tundra swan populations. The approved refuge 
acquisition boundary consists of 7,370 acres of primarily floodplain 
habitats, of which 4,310 acres make up the Wapato Lake Unit.
    The refuge manages landscapes made up of predominately flat 
bottomland bordered by uplands. Habitats consist of rivers and streams; 
seasonal, scrub-shrub, and forested wetlands; riparian forests; wet and 
dry meadows; oak and pine savanna; and mixed forested uplands. The 
refuge is home to nearly 200 species of birds; more than 50 species of 
mammals; 25 species of reptiles and amphibians; and a wide variety of 
insects, fish, and plants. The refuge opened to the public in 2006, and 
now nearly 100,000 annual visitors come to the refuge and participate 
in wildlife-dependent activities such as environmental education, 
resource interpretation, wildlife observation, and wildlife 

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that may warrant consideration in the CCP. The following questions are 
presented to help express the types of matters under consideration. The 
public scoping process may identify additional issues.
    Habitat Management and Restoration: What actions should the Service 
take to sustain and restore priority species and habitats over the next 
15 years? What abiotic and biologic data is needed to accomplish these 
actions? How much should the refuge rely on existing periods of 
flooding to manage floodplain habitats where natural hydrology and 
landscape conditions have been altered by manmade influences? Should 
fire be used to maintain relic habitats as part of the management of 
imperiled landscapes and recovery of listed and/or rare species 
occupying these sites? What other management efforts should be 
considered to expand control of exotic species such as carp, bull 
frogs, nutria, and other feral animals? How should the Service manage 
external threats to the refuge, such as urban development, stormwater 
runoff, and wildlife disturbance? How are species, such as mosquitoes 
or browsing Canada geese, affecting property or people beyond the 
refuge boundaries? Should the refuge use cooperative farming as an 
interim-only form of management, or should it also be considered a 
long-term management strategy for managing waterfowl populations?
    Public Use and Access: What type and level of recreation 
opportunities should be provided? When refuge access points and uses 
are developed, are they adequate and appropriate? Do current public-use 
programs have an unacceptable level of impact on refuge wildlife and 
habitat resources? Which areas of the refuge should be managed as 
undisturbed sanctuary areas and which areas should be open to public 

[[Page 67765]]

    Invasive Species Control: How do invasive species affect 
functioning native systems, and what actions should be taken to reduce 
the incidence and spread of invasive species, especially in a future of 
climate change?
    Wapato Lake: What interim actions should the refuge take to 
minimize impacts to water quality of the Tualatin River? Can natural 
hydrology options be employed for restoring the lakebed without 
compromising water quality to riverine systems and down stream users? 
How should the refuge approach landscape-level restoration activities 
to enhance listed salmonid and other native fish habitat, particularly 
in regard to Wapato Lake? By what set of criteria and which means 
should the refuge consider active management strategies to control elk 
populations residing on the refuge?

Public Meetings

    We will give the public opportunities to provide input at public 
open houses and informational meetings, and by submitting written 
comments. We will distribute mailings, news releases, and announcements 
when we have confirmed dates for the public open houses, meetings, and 
other public involvement opportunities.

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: October 28, 2010.
Theresa E. Rabot,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2010-27720 Filed 11-2-10; 8:45 am]