[Federal Register: March 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 60)]
[Page 16404-16405]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



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

[[Page 16405]]

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.
Thomas Dwyer,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 00-7608 Filed 3-27-00; 8:45 am]