[Federal Register: March 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 60)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and
Associated Environmental Assessment for the Washington Coast National
Wildlife Refuges (Refuges), Which Are Located in Clallam, Jefferson,
and Grays Harbor Counties, WA
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan
and associated environmental assessment.
SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (Service) intends to gather information necessary to prepare a
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and an associated environmental
assessment for the Washington Coast National Wildlife Refuges
(Refuges), which are composed of Flattery Rocks National Wildlife
Refuge (NWR), Quillayute Needles NWR, and Copalis NWR, located in
Clallam, Jefferson, and Grays Harbor Counties, Washington. The Service
is furnishing this notice in compliance with Service CCP policy and the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and implementing regulations
to advise other agencies and the public of our intentions, and to
obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to include in
the environmental document.
DATES: Submit comments on issues to include on or before April 29,
ADDRESSES: Address comments and requests for more information, to be
put on the mailing list, or for a copy of the most recent planning
update to: Refuge Manager, Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Complex, 33 S. Barr Road, Port Angeles, Washington, 98362, or call the
Complex at (360) 457-8451. Submit faxes to (360) 457-9778. If you
choose to submit comments via electronic mail, visit our Pacific Region
Planning Website: http://www.r1.fws.gov/planning/plnhome.html. Please
send these comments using the ``Guest Mailbox'' provided at that site.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Refuge Manager Kevin Ryan at the
address and phone number above.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Washington Coast NWRs (Flattery Rocks,
Quillayute Needles, and Copalis NWRs), were established in 1907 by
Theodore Roosevelt for the purpose of being ``a preserve and breeding
ground for native birds and animals'' (Executive Orders 703, 704, and
705). These three Refuges extend over 100 miles along the outer coast
of Washington State and include more than 600 rocks, reefs, and
islands. Approximately 80% of the seabirds in the State nest within the
Refuges. It was the original intent, with the establishment of the
Refuges, to preserve these islands in a natural condition and to
minimize human intrusion. As such, all islands are closed to public
entry. Because of the physical characteristics of these islands,
landings and access are extremely hazardous. On October 23, 1970, the
Washington Islands Wilderness was established by Public Law 92-504.
This placed all the islands, except for Destruction and James Islands,
under wilderness designation.
It is Service policy to have all lands within the National Wildlife
Refuge System managed in accordance with an approved Comprehensive
Conservation Plan. This CCP will guide management decisions and
identify Refuge goals, long-range objectives, and strategies for
achieving Refuge purposes. Public input into this planning process is
encouraged. The CCP will provide other agencies and the public with a
clear understanding of the desired conditions for the Refuges 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.
Comments and concerns received will be used to develop 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 2001. Interested
federal, state, and local agencies, Tribes, organizations, and
individuals will be contacted for input.
At this time, preliminary issues identified for the CCP include:
how to handle wildlife disturbances caused by low-flying aircraft and
by people trespassing during low tides or in water craft; the amount of
research opportunities that the Refuges can support without adversely
impacting biological resources; determining if invasive species are a
problem, and if so, what would be the appropriate management response;
determining what opportunities exist to cooperate with agencies
responsible for pollution threats; and identifying off-site
educational/interpretative opportunities in cooperation with the
National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary, state and local
government, and Tribes. Because of their inaccessibility and the
sensitivity of wildlife to disturbance, public uses of the Refuges'
Islands are not a part of the long-term planning. A range of
alternatives (and their effects on the biological resources and on the
local communities) that address the issues and management strategies
associated with these issues will be evaluated in the environmental
With the publication of this notice, the public is encouraged to
send written comments on these and other issues, courses of action that
the Service should consider, and potential impacts that could result
from CCP implementation on Washington Coast National Wildlife Refuges.
All comments received from individuals become part of the official
public record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance
with the Freedom of Information Act, Council on Environmental Quality's
NEPA Regulations 40 CFR 1506.6(f), and other Service and Department
policy and procedures. When requested, the Service generally will
provide comment letters with the names and addresses of the individuals
who wrote the comments. However, the telephone number of the commenting
individual will not be provided in response to such requests to the
extent permissible by law. Additionally, public comment letters are not
required to contain the author's name, address, or other identifying
information. Such comments
may be submitted anonymously to the Service.
The environmental review of this project will be conducted in
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy
Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), NEPA Regulations (40
CFR 1500-1508), other appropriate Federal laws and regulations,
Executive Order 12996, and Service policies and procedures for
compliance with those regulations.
Dated: March 22, 2000.
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 00-7608 Filed 3-27-00; 8:45 am]
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