[Federal Register: September 4, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 171)]
[Page 56578-56579]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Summary 
for Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, Contra Costa County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and a Summary for Antioch Dunes 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) are available for distribution. The 
CCP, prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 and in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, describes how the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service intends to manage the Refuge for the next 15 years. 
The compatibility determinations for environmental education, 
interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography, and research are 
also available with the CCP.

DATES: The Final CCP is available now. The finding of no significant 
impact (FONSI) was signed on July 29, 2002. Implementation of the plan 
began after the FONSI was signed.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final CCP or Summary may be obtained by 
writing to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Leslie Lew, 
California/Nevada Refuge Planning Office, Room W1916, 2800 Cottage Way, 
Sacramento, California, 95825. Copies of the plan may be viewed at this 
address or at the San Francisco Bay NWR Complex Headquarters, 
1 Marshlands Road, Fremont, California. The Final CCP will 
also be available online for viewing and downloading at http://

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Leslie Lew, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, California/Nevada Refuge Planning Office, Room W1916, 2800 
Cottage Way, Sacramento, California, 95825; 9164146500; fax 9164146512.



    The Refuge was the first National Wildlife Refuge in the country 
established to protect endangered plants and insects. Created in 1980 
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), this riverside refuge 
provides protection and critical habitat for three endangered species; 
Lange's metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo langei) (Lange's), Contra 
Costa wallflower (Erysimum capitatum ssp. angustatum) (wallflower), and 
Antioch Dunes evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides ssp. howeellii) 
(primrose). The Refuge, 55-acres of former dunes, in addition to an 
adjacent 12 acres of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) land, is 
an isolated patch of what was once a larger dune system that hosted a 
unique assemblage of plants, insects, and reptiles. The Refuge staff is 
based in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex office 
in Fremont, California.
    The availability of the Draft CCP/Environmental Assessment (EA) for 
30-day public review and comment was noticed in the Federal Register on 
Friday, November 2, 2001 in Volume 66, Number 213. The Draft CCP/EA 
identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing the Refuge for 
the next 15 years. Alternative A was the no-action alternative--current 
Refuge management would continue. Alternative B emphasized restoring 
and managing the Refuge to pre-industrial natural conditions (oak 
woodland on sandy soils) with limited and controlled public access. 
Alternative C emphasized managing the Refuge as a mosaic of dune 
habitat at varying successional stages with unrestricted public access. 
Alternative D was very similar to Alternative C with the exception that 
public use would be limited and controlled. The Service received 9 
comment letters on the Draft CCP. The comments received were 
incorporated into the CCP and are responded to in an appendix to the 
CCP. Alternative D was selected as the Service's preferred alternative 
for a CCP.
    With the Refuge management program described in the Final CCP, 
nonnative weeds will continue to be controlled using land weeding, 
herbicides, and prescribed fire. The Service would create a cycle of 
disturbance by scraping the soil in a mosaic pattern. In addition, the 
Service will plan to construct additional dunes using imported sand in 
the areas that currently do not provide good habitat for endangered 
species. The Refuge's outplanting program would be expanded to include 
other native plant species, especially

[[Page 56579]]

plants that are either locally significant and/or were historically 
present. The Service will continue monitoring the primrose, wallflower, 
and Lange's populations and encouraging research on the Refuge. With 
funding, additional studies will be undertaken to assess the effects of 
management actions on other plants and animals, including reptiles and 
invertebrates, at the Refuge. Nonnative weeds such as Ailanthus and 
Oleander would be removed from the river shore to the extent possible 
and be replaced with native species. Parts of the river bank would be 
allowed to erode so that the endangered plants could colonize them. 
Refuge staff would explore other opportunities for dune and riparian 
habitat protection and restoration in the vicinity of the Refuge. The 
CCP directs that the Refuge be open to restricted and controlled public 
access as staff and funding permit. Environmental education, 
interpretation, wildlife observation, and photography would be allowed 
on the Refuge with visitors accompanied by Refuge staff or Refuge 
volunteers. Regularly scheduled tours of the Refuge would be conducted 
by Refuge staff. An outreach program would be developed to help expand 
the Refuge's presence and support in the community. Interpretive 
programs and facilities would be developed, including an automobile 
pull-out with an interpretive kiosk. The Service would also promote the 
Refuge with teachers and develop an educator-led curriculum for Refuge 

    Dated: August 23, 2002.
Daniel S. Walsworth,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 0222433 Filed 9302; 8:45 am]