[Federal Register: May 5, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 86)]
[Page 24168-24169]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
and Draft Environmental Impact Statement.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that a Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan (CCP) and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
(DEIS) for Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is available 
for public review. The Refuge is located in Stevens County, Washington. 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Service is furnishing this 
notice in compliance with Service CCP policy and the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and implementing regulations for the 
following purposes: (1) To advise the public and other agencies of the 
availability of the document; (2) to solicit public comment on the 
Draft CCP and DEIS; and (3) to announce public open house meetings.

DATES: Submit comments on or before June 30, 1999. See Supplementary 
Information for meeting dates and locations.

ADDRESSES: Address comments and requests for more information to: 
Refuge Manager, Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, 1310 Bear 
Creek Road, Colville, Washington 99114. E-mail comments may be sent to: 
FWS1Public__ Comments__LPO@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Langelier, Refuge Manager (509) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The proposed action is to develop a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Little Pend Oreille National 
Wildlife Refuge that best achieves the unit's purpose, vision and 
goals; contributes to the System mission; addresses the significant 
issues and relevant mandates, and is consistent with principles of 
sound fish and wildlife management.
    Major issues addressed in the draft CCP/EIS include grazing; 
management of degraded aquatic and riparian habitats; overstocked 
forest habitats; military training; and various recreational public 
uses. The plan includes the following topics: (a) An assessment of 
existing biological, physical, and cultural resources, and their 
condition; (b) a summary of significant issues identified through 
scoping; (c) identification of five alternatives which incorporate 
varying objectives and strategies for habitat management, management of 
public access and uses, and management of other programs including 
military training, grazing, and cultural resources; (d) an analysis of 
the environmental consequences that would be predicted under adoption 
of any of the identified alternatives; (e) compatibility determinations 
for public uses, as required by Service law and policy; (f) an appendix 
summarizing the projects that would be undertaken under the preferred 
    A range of alternatives are considered in the draft CCP/EIS:
    (A) The no Action Alternative--Make no changes to the prevailing 
practices and uses at the refuge.
    (B) Restore Wildlife Habitat While Managing Existing Public Uses--
This alternative incorporates an active forest and riparian restoration 
program. It also accomodates most existing public uses, but adopts some 
restrictions on some uses to ensure less impact to the environment.
    (C) Restore Wildlife Habitat While Emphasizing Priority Uses--This 
alternative adopts a greater emphasis on priority uses identified under 
the Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-57) and 
eliminates non-priority uses. This alternative also incorporates a 
strong forest and riparian restoration program.
    (D) Manage the Refuge as an Ecological Reserve and Reduce Human 
Disturbances--This alternative minimizes human access and use of the 
refuge while conducting a habitat restoration program. This alternative 
includes a greater emphasis on hydrologic restoration than other 
    (E) Combination of Alternatives B and C--Agency Preferred 
Alternative--This alternative places management emphasis on restoration 
of forest and riparian habitat components. A wide range of recreational 
activities would be supported including hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation, photography, and interpretation. Snowmobiling would be 
eliminated. Other recreational uses, such as camping and horseback 
riding would continue, but would be managed to reduce impacts to the 
environment. Camping would be restricted in environmentally sensitive 
areas such as riparian zones and during some seasons. The annual 
livestock grazing program would be discontinued, however some periodic 
grazing may occur to meet wildlife objectives. The Air Force survival 
training program would be phased out over 5 years.
    With the publication of this notice, the public is encouraged to 
attend public open houses and/or submit written comments on draft CCP/
    Two public open houses will be held as follows:

May 12, 1999, 5pm-8pm, Community Colleges of Spokane, Colville Center, 
985 South Elm, Theater, Colville, Washington. (Presentation at 7:00 pm)
May 13, 1999, 5pm-8pm, Inland NW Wildlife Council Building, 6116 North 
Market St., Spokane, Washington. (Presentation at 7:00 pm)

    The Service started the process of developing a management plan for 
Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge (Little Pend Oreille NWR) 
in 1995. Open houses and public meetings were held in 1995, 1996, 1997, 
and 1998. Previous notices have been published in the Federal Register 
(61 FR 65591, Dec. 13, 1996 and 63 FR 39884, July 24, 1998).
    Persons and organizations involved in the scoping process have 
included: the U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Natural Resource Conservation 
Service; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; U.S. Air Force; 
Washington Department of Natural Resources; interested local tribes, 
members of conservation organizations; timber industry representatives; 
grazing permittees; recreational interest groups; inholders and 
neighboring landowners;

[[Page 24169]]

and other interested citizens. Comments and concerns received have been 
used to identify issues, prepare alternatives and identify a preferred 
alternative (Alternative E) for the draft CCP/EIS.
    All comments received from individuals on Environmental Assessments 
and Environmental Impact Statements become part of the official public 
record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with 
the Freedom of Information Act, the Council on Environmental Quality's 
NEPA regulations [40CFR 1506.6(f)], and other Service and Departmental 
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 commentator'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, the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and Service 
policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations.
    We estimate that the Final CCP/Environmental Impact Statement will 
be available in November, 1999.

    Dated: April 28, 1999.
Tom Dwyer,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 99-11240 Filed 5-4-99; 8:45 am]