[Federal Register: November 30, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 229)]
[Page 66928-66929]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Extension of the Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge 
Acquisition Boundary

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice and availability of the Record of Decision.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that we have adopted the Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) adopting the Hanford Reach of the 
Columbia River Final Enviornmental Impact Statement for Comprehensive 
River Conservation Study, prepared a Record of Decision (ROD) based on 
the FEIS, and are making it available to the public. We have expanded 
an approved refuge acquisition boundary around the portions of the 
Hanford Site (the Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and the land 
known as the Wahluke State Wildlife Recreation Area) approximately 
90,000 acres that are north and east of the Columbia River, to enable 
us to manage the land as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System 
(NWRS). Region 1 will be implementing the new approved acquisition 
boundary by adding most of the area within the boundary to Saddle 
Mountain Refuge in the near future. To ensure that the decision is in 
concert with Department of Energy (DOE) land-use policy, we also 
adopted the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) EIS. The HCP EIS and ROD 
provide DOE policies and procedures to guide development at the Hanford 
Site for 50 years or more.

DATES: We issued the Record of Decision on November 5, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Public reading copies of the ROD and the FEIS are available 
at the following libraries: Hanford Technical Library, Richland, 
Washington; Kennewick City Library, Kennewick, Washington; Mid-Columbia 
Regional Library, Kennewick, Washington; Othello City Library, Othello, 
Washington; Pasco Public Library, Pasco, Washington; Portland City 
Library, Portland, Oregon; Prosser City Library, Prosser, Washington; 
Richland City Library, Richland, Washington; Seattle City Library, 
Seattle, Washington; Vancouver City Library, Vancouver, Washington.
    Copies of the ROD are available from U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Region 1, Division of Refuge Planning, 911 NE 11th Avenue, 
Portland Oregon, 97232-4181, phone number (503) 231-2231.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Badgley, Regional Director, US 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland 
Oregon, 97232-4181, phone number (503) 231-6118.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Law 100-605 required the Secretary of 
the Interior to prepare, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, 
a report for Congress evaluating the outstanding features of the 
Hanford Reach of the Columbia River and its immediate environment 
(including fish, wildlife, geologic, scenic, recreational, historical, 
cultural and other natural values) and to examine alternatives for 
preserving those values. The alternatives considered were to include, 
but not be limited to, inclusion of the Hanford Reach in the National 
Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
    The Secretary selected the National Park Service (NPS) to lead the 
study. The NPS prepared the Environmental Impact Statement in 
compliance with section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA) (40 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.) and pursuant to regulations 
promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR Section 
1505.2) and the implementing procedures of the National Park Service 
and the Department of the Interior.
    We were a cooperating agency in the NEPA process under Interagency 
Agreement Number IA9000-0-0007 with the NPS, and pursuant to 40 CFR 
1501.6. As a cooperating agency, FWS actively participated in the 
preparation of the Draft and Final EIS's and independently reviewed 
each document.
    In July of 1994, the NPS released the Final Hanford Reach of the 
Columbia River Comprehensive River Conservation Study and Environmental 
Impact Statement (FEIS), followed by the Secretary's Record of Decision 
recommending that Congress establish a National Wildlife Refuge on the 
North Slope, and a Wild and Scenic River on the Hanford Reach. The Wild 
and Scenic River designation was recommended from river mile 346.5 to 
river mile 396, including a one-quarter mile wide corridor on both 
river banks. The Secretary selected the proposed action from the FEIS.
    We adopted the FEIS to administratively establish an approved 
refuge acquisition boundary over the area known as the North Slope. The 
North Slope is comprised of the Saddle Mountain Refuge and the Wahluke 
Wildlife Recreation Area. This boundary provides our Region 1 with 
authority to acquire land and manage it as part of the NWRS. We may 
acquire lands through

[[Page 66929]]

direct land transfer from another Federal agency, fee acquisition, 
conservation easement, withdrawal, or cooperative agreement. The FEIS 
complies with NEPA and meets our regulatory requirements for making a 
decision (341 FW 2).
    Since the 1994 FEIS, no significant new circumstances or 
information relevant to environmental concerns bearing on this decision 
or its impacts have occurred. In the interim, we have added four 
species that may occur in the study area to the Federal list of 
threatened and endangered species. The FWS Record of Decision will 
benefit these species in a manner substantially similar to the 1994 
FEIS proposed action.
    We incorporate by reference and adopt a second EIS, the 1999 HCP 
EIS, prepared by the DOE with the Service participating as a 
cooperating agency. The DOE's Preferred Alternative includes increasing 
recreational access to the Columbia River and expanding the Saddle 
Mountain National Wildlife Refuge to include all of the Wahluke Slope, 
the McGee Ranch and Riverlands, and the Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands 
Ecology Reserve. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) is the template 
that the DOE will use to define the range of management options on 
Refuge lands at the Hanford Site, including the potential for future 
Refuge additions. The DOE's decision anticipates multiple uses of the 
Hanford Site, including future DOE missions, non-DOE Federal missions, 
and other public and private-sector land uses.
    Our jurisdiction with regard to DOE-administered Hanford land will 
be secondary to the DOE jurisdiction because of DOE's contaminants 
cleanup responsibilities, and because the known inventory of 
contaminated areas may not be complete. A vast majority of the North 
Slope is unaffected by past activities, and we will manage these lands 
as part of the NWRS. Management, as part of the NWRS, will occur under 
a permit with DOE and be secondary to DOE's jurisdiction. We will 
provide DOE with technical assistance on areas where DOE is conducting 
cleanup activities. We provide technical assistance under agreements 
with other agencies that need our wildlife, fish, or plant habitat 
management advice expertise. Areas for which we provide technical 
assistance are not part of the NWRS.

    Dated: November 24, 1999.
Jamie Rappaport,
Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 99-31105 Filed 11-29-99; 8:45 am]