[Federal Register: October 8, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 195)]
[Page 58126-58127]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Withdrawal of Finding of No Significant Impact and Final 
Environmental Assessment on Management of Mute Swans in the Atlantic 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) published a 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Final Environmental 
Assessment (FEA) for the Management of Mute Swans in the Atlantic 
Flyway on August 7, 2003. The Service is withdrawing those decision 
documents. Effective immediately, these documents will not be used to 
support the issuance of depredation permits authorizing the take of 
mute swans (Cygnus olor) under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). No 
new mute swan depredation permits will be issued pending completion of 
further review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management, Mail Stop MS 
MBSP-4107, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 2, 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (the Service) provided notice (68 FR 39593) that a Draft 
Environmental Assessment for the Management of Mute Swans in the 
Atlantic Flyway was available for public review and comment. The 15-day 
public comment period ended on July 16, 2003. On August 7, 2003, the 
Service published a notice of availability (68 FR 47084) of the FEA and 
the full text of the FONSI.
    On August 11, 2003, in accordance with the FEA and the FONSI, the 
Service issued a permit under authority of the MBTA to the Maryland 
Department of Natural Resources authorizing the take of up to 525 mute 
swans between August 27 and December 12, 2003. The Service's issuance 
of this permit was challenged in Federal court. A preliminary 
injunction enjoining the take of any mute swans under this permit 
pending a final ruling on the merits was issued by the U.S. District 
Court for the District of Columbia on September 9, 2003 (``The Fund for 
Animals, et al. v. Norton, Civil Action No. ECF-03-1710'').
    The Court's decision on the preliminary injunction raised serious 
issues regarding the FEA and FONSI referenced above and the Service 
therefore is withdrawing these documents. Effective immediately, these 
documents will no longer be used to support the issuance of depredation 
permits authorizing the take of mute swans. No new mute swan 
depredation permits will be issued pending completion of a new review 
under NEPA.

[[Page 58127]]

    Dated: October 2, 2003.
Matt Hogan,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-25644 Filed 10-8-03; 8:45 am]