[Federal Register: May 7, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 88)]
[Page 24496-24497]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Summary for Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge, Monterey County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that a Final 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and a Summary for Salinas River 
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 waterfowl hunting, surf fishing 
access, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education 
and interpretation, research, and mosquito control are also available 
with the CCP.

DATES: The Final CCP is available now. The finding of no significant 
impact (FONSI) was signed on December 20, 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: Mark Pelz, California/
Nevada Refuge Planning Office, Room W-1916, 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://pacific.fws.gov/planning

Service, California/Nevada Refuge Planning Office, Room W-1916, 2800 
Cottage Way, Sacramento, California, 95825; 916-414-6500; fax 916-414-



    The Salinas River Refuge encompasses 367 acres 11 miles north of 
Monterey, California, where the Salinas River empties into Monterey 
Bay. The Refuge is part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife 
Refuge Complex, which has its headquarters in Fremont, California. 
Refuge lands include a range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, 
including coastal dunes and beach, grasslands, wetlands, and riparian 
scrub. Because of its location within the Pacific Flyway, the Refuge is 
used by a variety of migratory birds during breeding, wintering, and 
migration periods. The Refuge also provides habitat for several 
threatened and endangered species, including western snowy plover, 
California brown pelican, Smith's blue butterfly, Monterey gilia, and 
Monterey spineflower. Approximately 40 species that exist or are 
suspected to exist on the Refuge are considered sensitive by Federal or 
State agencies. Current recreational uses on the Refuge include 
wildlife observation and photography, waterfowl hunting, and access to 
surf fishing.
    The availability of the Draft CCP/Environmental Assessment (EA) for 
30-day public review and comment was noticed in the Federal Register on 
Wednesday, November 14, 2001, in volume 66, number 220. The Draft CCP/
EA identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing the Refuge 
for the next 15 years. Alternative 1 was the no-action alternative--
current Refuge management would continue. Under Alternative 2, the 
Refuge would focus exclusively on protecting, enhancing, and restoring 
natural resources and would be closed to all public use except guided 
tours led by Service staff. Alternative 3 emphasized improving current 
management through inventories, monitoring, and increasing protection 
for threatened and endangered species. Existing public use of the 
Refuge would be improved but not substantially expanded. Under 
Alternative 4, public use of the Refuge would be improved and expanded. 
Management programs for endangered species and native habitats would 
also be expanded and improved to minimize and offset potential effects 
of increased public use. The Service received eight 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 3 was selected 
for implementation and is the basis for the Final CCP.
    With the management program described in the Final CCP, 
informational signs and interpretive exhibits will be installed on the 
Refuge and a wheelchair-accessible trail to the Salinas River will be 
constructed. In addition, the existing parking lot will be improved 
(i.e., graded and covered with gravel). The seasonal waterfowl hunting 
area will be reduced by approximately 15 percent to protect roosting 

[[Page 24497]]

brown pelicans. All of the current management activities will continue. 
Some activities, such as special-status species inventories, will be 
substantially expanded. New management tools and techniques will 
include: using prescribed fire to augment mowing and herbicide use in 
the grassland/shrubland habitat; conducting inventories of all habitats 
on the Refuge; translocating problem avian predators of the western 
snowy plover; and creating a geographical information system database 
to track vegetation and population trends. In addition, the Service 
will pursue a long-term lease with the State Lands Commission to manage 
the beach and tidelands below mean high water. Full implementation of 
this alternative will require increased staffing and funding.

    Dated: April 30, 2003.
D. Kenneth McDermond,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 03-11252 Filed 5-6-03; 8:45 am]