[Federal Register: February 23, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 35)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.
ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan
and Associated National Environmental Policy Act Document for the San
Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, Stanislaus and San Joaquin
SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is preparing a
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA) document for the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge.
This notice advises the public that the Service intends to gather
information necessary to prepare a CCP and environmental documents
pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of
1966, as amended, and NEPA. The public is invited to participate in the
planning process. The Service is furnishing this notice in compliance
with the Service CCP policy:
(1) To advise other agencies and the public of our intentions,
(2) To obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to
include in the environmental documents, and
(3) To announce a public open house to occur in March, 1999.
Information about the time and location of the open house will be
published in local media, will be provided to individuals on our
mailing list, and will be available by contacting the refuge or
planning team leader.
DATES: To ensure that the Service has adequate time to evaluate and
incorporate suggestions and other input into the planning process,
comments should be received on or before April 9, 1999.
ADDRESSES: Send written comments or requests to be added to the mailing
list to the following address: Planning Team Leader--San Joaquin River
NWR, California/Nevada Refuge Planning Office, US Fish and Wildlife
Service, 2233 Watt Avenue, Suite 230, Sacramento, California, 95825.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Leslie Lew, Planning Team Leader,
(916) 979-2085, or Scott Frazer, Refuge Operations Specialist, (209)
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System
Administration Act of 1966, as amended, mandates that all lands within
the National Wildlife Refuge System are to be managed in accordance
with an approved CCP. The CCP will guide management decisions and
identify refuge goals, long-range objectives and management strategies
for achieving refuge purposes. The planning process will consider many
elements, including habitat and wildlife management, habitat
protection, cultural resources, and environmental effects. Public input
into this planning process is very important. 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
The Service is soliciting information from the public via written
comments. Interested parties are urged to be added to the Service's
mailing list. The Service will send out special mailings, newspaper
articles, and announcements to people who are interested in the refuge.
These mailings will provide information on how to participate in public
involvement for the CCP. Comments received will be used to develop
goals, key issues, and habitat management strategies. Additional
opportunities for public participation will occur throughout the
process, which is expected to be completed in late 1999. Data
collection has been initiated to create computerized mapping, including
vegetation, topography, habitat types and existing land uses.
The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is located west of
Modesto, California, within the historic floodplain of the confluences
of the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Rivers. The Refuge was
established in 1987 because of the importance of the area as habitat
for the endangered Aleutian Canada goose. This area is the traditional
wintering area for virtually the entire population of the Aleutian
Canada goose. Refuge lands consist of riparian forest, grasslands,
pastures, agricultural fields, and wetlands.
The Refuge also protects other federally listed species, such as
the threatened chinook salmon, improves and manages habitat for
migratory birds, and conserves native fauna and flora. Currently the
Refuge consists of 5,588 acres controlled by the Service within an
approved Refuge boundary of 12,877 acres.
The Central Valley of California, which comprises the Sacramento
and San Joaquin Valleys, provides winter habitat for about 60 percent
of the Pacific flyway waterfowl population. Before the arrival of
European settlers, about 4 million acres of wetlands existed in the
Central Valley. Today, only about 300,000 acres of wetlands remain in
the same area. Preservation, restoration, and management of wetlands,
grasslands, and riparian habitat such as that found on the San Joaquin
River National Wildlife Refuge, are needed to ensure that adequate
wildlife habitat will be available to sustain the population levels of
a variety of wildlife species.
The Refuge purpose is to conserve fish, wildlife, and plants which
are Federally listed as endangered or threatened species. (16 U.S.C.
1534--Endangered Species Act of 1973).
The outcome of this planning process will be a CCP to guide refuge
management for the next 15 years and accompanying NEPA document.
It is estimated that a draft CCP and NEPA document will be made
available for public review in fall 2000.
Dated: February 12, 1999.
Michael J. Spear,
Manager, California Nevada Operations, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
[FR Doc. 99-4386 Filed 2-22-99; 8:45 am]
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