[Federal Register: March 28, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 60)]
[Page 15224-15225]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Double-Crested 
Cormorants; Extension of Comment Period

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability for public comment; extension of comment 


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is extending the 
comment period on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that is 
available for public review. The DEIS analyzes the potential 
environmental impacts of alternative strategies to reduce damages 
associated with double-crested cormorants in the continental United 
States. The analysis provided in the DEIS is intended to accomplish the 
following: inform the public of the proposed action and alternatives; 
address public comment received during the scoping period; and disclose 
the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects of the 
proposed actions and each of the alternatives. The Service invites the 
public to comment on the DEIS.

DATES: Written comments on the DEIS must be received on or before May 
16, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Mail requests for copies of the DEIS to Chief, Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North 
Fairfax Drive, MBSP-4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203. You can also 
download copies of the DEIS from the Division of Migratory Bird 
Management Web site at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/issues/cormorant/deis/deis.html.
 Send comments on the DEIS to the above address. 
Alternatively, you may submit comments electronically to the

[[Page 15225]]

following address: cormorants@fws.gov. The public may inspect comments 
during normal business hours in Room 4701, 4501 North Fairfax Drive, 
Arlington, Virginia.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Millsap, Chief, Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, or Shauna Hanisch (703) 358-1714.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 3, 2001, we published a notice 
of availability in the Federal Register (66 FR 60218) to announce that 
the DEIS on double-crested cormorant management was available for 
public comment. On December 19, 2001, we published a Federal Register 
notice of meetings and extension of the comment period (66 FR 65510) to 
announce the schedule of public hearings to invite further public 
participation in the DEIS review process.
    The DEIS evaluates alternative strategies to reduce damages 
associated with double-crested cormorants in the continental United 
States. The DEIS is a comprehensive programmatic plan intended to guide 
and direct double-crested cormorant management activities. The DEIS 
examined six management alternatives for addressing conflicts with 
double-crested cormorants: (A) No action, (B) Nonlethal control, (C) 
Increased local damage control, (D) Public resource depredation order, 
(E) Regional population reduction, and (F) Regulated hunting. The 
proposed action/preferred alternative in the DEIS was alternative D, 
Public resource depredation order. This alternative entails: revising 
the existing aquaculture depredation order that applies to commercial 
freshwater aquaculture facilities and hatcheries to allow winter roost 
control; establishing a new depredation order to protect public 
resources from cormorant damages; and revising Director's Order 27 to 
allow lethal take of double-crested cormorants at public fish 
hatcheries. Alternative D is intended to enhance the ability of 
resource agencies to deal with cormorant damages in an effective and 
timely manner by giving them more regulatory flexibility. In the DEIS, 
alternatives were analyzed with regard to their potential impacts on 
double-crested cormorant populations, fish, other birds, vegetation, 
federally-listed threatened and endangered species, and socioeconomics.
    On March 17, 2003 (68 FR 12653), we published a proposed rule in 
the Federal Register that would implement our preferred alternative. 
Because of the publication of the proposed rule, we have extended the 
comment period on the DEIS. We note that the proposed rule presents the 
preferred alternative in a more detailed manner than the DEIS and 
advise the reader to refer to it. It is available at our Web site 
http://migratorybirds.fws.gov. The Service invites careful 
consideration by all parties, and welcomes serious scrutiny from those 
committed to the long-term conservation of migratory birds.
    In order to be considered, electronic submission of comments must 
include your name and postal mailing address; we will not consider 
anonymous comments. All comments received, including names and 
addresses, will become part of the public record. Requests for such 
comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information 
Act and the Council on Environmental Quality's National Environmental 
Policy Act regulations [40 CFR 1506.6(f)]. Our practice is to make 
comments available for public review during regular business hours. 
Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address 
from the record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. If 
a respondent wishes us to withhold his/her name and/or address, this 
must be stated prominently at the beginning of the comment.

    Dated: March 24, 2003.
Paul R. Schmidt,
Assistant Director, Migratory Birds and State Programs.
[FR Doc. 03-7474 Filed 3-27-03; 8:45 am]