[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 28, 2012)]
[Pages 71011-71012]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-28753]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2012-N114; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Clallam County, WA; 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Dungeness National Wildlife 
Refuge (refuge or NWR) for public review and comment. The Draft CCP/EA 
describes our proposal for managing the refuge for the 15 years 
following approval of the final CCP. Implementing the CCP is subject to 
the availability of funding and any other compliance regulations.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
December 28, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more 
information by any of the following methods. You may request hard 
copies or a CD-ROM of the documents.
    Email: FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Include ``Dungeness NWR draft 
CCP'' in the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Project Leader, (360) 457-9778.
    U.S. Mail: Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 
715 Holgerson Road, Sequim, WA 98382.
    Web site: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/planning/main/docs/wa/docsdungeness.htm.
    In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Call (360) 457-8451 to make 
an appointment (necessary for viewing/pickup only) during regular 
business hours at the above address. For more information on locations 
for viewing or obtaining documents, see ``Public Availability of 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Ryan, Project Leader, Washington 
Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 715 Holgerson Road, Sequim, 
WA 98382; phone (360) 457-8451 and fax (360) 457-9778.



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Dungeness NWR in 
Clallam County, Washington. We started this process through a notice in 
the Federal Register (76 FR 61378; October 4, 2011). For more 
information about the history of the refuge, see that notice.


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, 111 Stat. 
1254, 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 (NWRS), consistent with 
sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal 
mandates, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and our 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify compatible 
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.

Public Outreach

    We began public outreach by publishing a notice of intent in the 
Federal Register (76 FR 61378; October 4, 2011) announcing our intent 
to complete a CCP and EA for the refuge and inviting public comments. 
In October 2011, we distributed Planning Update 1, which included 
background information on the refuge; refuge purposes; preliminary 
issues, vision, and goals; and a request for public comments. Some 
scoping comments we received were about broad or long-range issues, 
while others suggested very specific or detailed strategies that could 
be used to achieve biological or public use objectives. The comments 
were categorized into eight general categories: Threats to refuge 
resources; wildlife and habitat management; wildlife-dependent public 
use; non-wildlife-dependent public use; law enforcement; cultural 
resources; land acquisition; and refuge administration.
    We reviewed and evaluated the potential issues, management 
concerns, and opportunities that we, our partners, and the public 
identified during scoping. We used this information to define the major 
issues to be addressed in the CCP/EA. Preliminary draft alternatives 
were then developed to address these issues and meet the goals and 
objectives of the refuge. In January 2012, we distributed Planning 
Update 2, which included a summary of the scoping comments we received, 
a summary of our preliminary draft alternatives, notice of public open 
house meetings, and information on how and where to comment. On January 
19 and February 2, 2012, we held a total of four public open house 
meetings in Sequim, Washington, to meet the public, present our 
preliminary draft alternatives, and solicit comments. The meetings were 
announced through local media outlets, on the refuge's Web site, and in 
Planning Update 2. Comments we received have been considered and 
evaluated, with many incorporated into the various alternatives 
addressed in the draft CCP/EA.

Draft CCP/EA Alternatives We Are Considering

    During the public scoping process with which we started work on 
this draft CCP, we, other governmental partners, Tribes, and the public 
raised several issues, which the draft CCP addresses. A full 
description of each alternative is in the EA. To address these issues, 
we developed and evaluated the following alternatives, briefly 
summarized below.

Common to All Alternatives

    The New Dungeness Light Station, within the approved refuge 
boundary, is due to be excessed by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Under 
all alternatives, the Service would work with the USCG to bring the 
light station property into the NWRS either through interagency 
cooperative management agreement or property transfer. Subsequently, 

[[Page 71012]]

Service proposes to enter into an agreement with the New Dungeness 
Light Station Association to continue their management and maintenance 
of the light station facilities.

Alternative A: No Action

    Under Alternative A, the refuge would continue with current 
management, which focuses on protecting and maintaining habitats in 
their current condition. Fire suppression techniques would continue to 
be used to prevent catastrophic wildfire. Wetland and forested habitats 
would continue to be monitored for invasive species, and treated with 
Integrated Pest Management techniques as funding allows. The water 
delivery system on the Dawley Unit would be maintained to deliver water 
to the impoundment. Access on roads within the Dawley Unit would be 
maintained. Partnerships would continue to be cultivated for oil spill 
response and to address water quality issues within Dungeness Bay and 
Harbor. Limited data would be collected on birds, vegetation, invasive 
species, and marine debris, with no specific effectiveness monitoring 
conducted for habitats or wildlife. Research would continue under 
Special Use Permits. Areas that are open for public use year-round, 
areas that are open only seasonally depending on the needs of refuge 
wildlife, and areas that are closed to visitors year-round for the 
benefit of wildlife would remain the same. Public-use activities on the 
refuge would include fishing (saltwater), shell-fishing (clams and 
crabs), wildlife observation, wildlife photography, hiking, boating (no 
wake allowed), jogging, horseback riding, beach use (wading, 
beachcombing, other recreational beach uses), environmental education, 
and environmental interpretation.

Alternative B: Preferred Alternative

    The Service's Preferred Alternative would continue many of the 
activities in Alternative A, but would also expand the level of active 
habitat management and enhancement that the Service would conduct. A 
forest assessment would be conducted within the Dawley Unit and a step-
down forest management plan would be completed by 2018. Active forest 
management techniques would be employed within a core 40-acre area to 
promote the development of old-growth forest. A road inventory and 
condition assessment for the Dawley Unit would be completed by 2016. 
The slope along the main road would be stabilized, but the overall 
amount of road maintained would decrease and unneeded logging spur 
roads outside of the core area would be rehabilitated. A wetland 
inventory and hydrological assessment would be conducted by 2015. The 
impoundment at the Dawley Unit would be managed for optimum water 
levels and benthic layer characteristics for amphibians. In addition to 
existing status monitoring and research, data would be collected on a 
greater variety of flora and fauna. Environmental factors that are 
stressors, climate-change related or otherwise, would be monitored. 
Effectiveness monitoring of CCP and other step-down plan objectives 
would occur. Public-use changes would include new limits on boat 
landing hours. Additional wildlife viewing, interpretive, and 
environmental education programs would be offered. Staff and volunteer 
time devoted to making visitor contacts would be increased. New 
orientation, guidance, and regulatory signage and materials would be 
developed. The existing uses of jogging and horseback riding were 
evaluated and our draft analysis has found that jogging is not 
appropriate due to wildlife disturbance and therefore would no longer 
be allowed. We also have preliminarily determined that horseback riding 
should no longer be allowed due to safety concerns and user conflicts.

Alternative C

    All additional habitat monitoring and management activities 
included in Alternative B are also included in this alternative, as are 
effectiveness monitoring and research identification, and pursuit of 
partnerships to accomplish these activities. However, forest management 
within the Dawley Unit would be further expanded to include minimal 
management activities (e.g., planting berry-producing shrubs) within an 
additional 30-40 acres outside of the core area. Unneeded logging spur 
roads within this area would also be rehabilitated. Public use 
opportunities and programs under Alternative C are similar to 
Alternative B but smaller and more restricted in some cases. Limits on 
boat landing hours under Alternative C are the same as under 
Alternative B. Wildlife viewing, interpretive, and environmental 
education programs would be slightly more frequent under Alternative C 
compared to Alternative A but slightly less frequent compared to 
Alternative B. Similar to Alternative B, jogging is found to be not 
appropriate due to wildlife disturbance and therefore would no longer 
be allowed. Horseback riding would not be allowed due to safety 
concerns and user conflicts.

Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to any methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain 
documents in the following ways: by calling the refuge complex at 360-
457-8451 or visiting our Web site at http:[sol][sol]www.fws.gov/
pacific/planning/main/docs/wa/docsdungeness.htm. Printed copies will be 
available for review at the following libraries:

 North Olympic Public Library--Sequim Branch, 630 N. Sequim 
Ave., Sequim, WA 98382
 North Olympic Public Library--Port Angeles Branch, 2210 South 
Peabody St., Port Angeles, WA 98362
 Port Townsend Public Library, 1220 Lawrence Street, Port 
Townsend, WA 98368
 Jefferson County Central Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port 
Hadlock, WA 98339

Submitting Comments/Issues for Comment

    Public comments are requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process. Public participation is vital to this 
planning effort. Comments on the draft CCP/EA will be analyzed by the 
Service and addressed in the final planning documents.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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 6, 2012.
Robyn Thorson
Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-28753 Filed 11-27-12; 8:45 am]