[Federal Register: December 16, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 241)]
[Page 75334-75335]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement for Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces that 
the Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 
Statement (Final CCP/EIS) for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge 
(Refuge) is available. This Final CCP/EIS was prepared pursuant to the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as amended, and the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Final CCP/EIS describes 
the Service's proposal for management of the Refuge for 15 years, 
beginning at Refuge establishment, which is anticipated to occur 
sometime between 2006 and 2008. Four alternatives for management of the 
Refuge are considered in the CCP/EIS.

DATES: A Record of Decision will be signed no sooner than 30 days after 
publication of this notice.

ADDRESSES: To request a copy of the Final CCP/EIS, contact Laurie 
Shannon, Planning Team Leader, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, 
Rocky Mountain Arsenal--Building 121, Commerce City, Colorado 80222. 
Additionally, copies of the Final CCP/EIS may be downloaded from the 
project Web site: http://rockyflats.fws.gov. The Final CCP/EIS will be 

available for reading at the following main branch libraries: Arvada 
Public Library, Boulder Public Library, Daniels Library, Golden Public 
Library, Westminster Public Library, Front Range Community College, 
Louisville Public Library, Thornton Public Library, and Mamie Dowd 
Eisenhower Library in Broomfield.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Shannon, Planning Team Leader 
at the above address or at 303-289-0980.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 6,240-acre Rocky Flats National Wildlife 
Refuge site is in northern Jefferson County and southern Boulder 
County, Colorado. The Rocky Flats site was used as a nuclear weapons 
production facility until 1992, when the mission of Rocky Flats changed 
to environmental cleanup and closure. The majority of the site has 
remained undisturbed for over 50 years and provides habitat for many 
wildlife species, including the federally threatened Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse, and several rare plant communities. Under the Rocky 
Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001, most of the site will 
become a National Wildlife Refuge once cleanup and closure has been 
completed. The Refuge will likely be established sometime between 2006 
and 2008.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997, 
requires the Service to develop a CCP for the Refuge. The purpose in 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year strategy 
for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of 
the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles 
of fish and wildlife science, conservation, legal mandates, and Service 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, the CCP identifies wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
opportunities for hunting, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. The CCP is intended to be a 
dynamic document that will be adaptable to changing resource and 
management conditions.
    Significant issues addressed in the Final CCP/EIS include: 
Vegetation management, wildlife management, public use, cultural 
resources, property, infrastructure, and refuge operations. The Service 
developed four alternatives for management of the Refuge: Alternative 
A--No Action; Alternative B--Wildlife, Habitat, and Public Use; 
Alternative C--Ecological Restoration; and Alternative D--Public Use. 
All four alternatives outline specific

[[Page 75335]]

management objectives and strategies related to wildlife and habitat 
management; public use, education, and interpretation; safety; open and 
effective communication; working with others; and refuge operations.
    Alternative B, the Service's Proposed Action, emphasizes wildlife 
and habitat conservation with a moderate amount of wildlife-dependent 
public use. Refuge-wide habitat conservation would include management 
of native plant communities, weeds, restoration tools, removal and 
revegetation of unused roads and stream crossings, management of deer 
and elk populations, prairie dogs, and protection of Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse habitat. Visitor use facilities would include about 16 
miles of trails, a seasonally staffed visitor contact station, 
trailheads with parking, and developed overlooks. Most of the trails 
would use existing roads and public access would be by foot, bicycle, 
horse, or car. A limited public hunting program would be developed.
    Public comments were requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process in numerous ways. Some of the changes 
from the Draft CCP/EIS that resulted from public comments included 
changes to trail alignments, more flexible trail implementation, 
changes to the types of weaponry allowed for hunting, more discussion 
about issues related to cleanup and contamination, and additional 
discussion about potential impacts from transportation improvements. 
Public outreach has included public open houses, public hearings, 
individual outreach activities, planning update mailings, and Federal 
Register notices. Two previous notices were published in the Federal 
Register concerning this CCP/EIS (67 FR 54667, August 23, 2002; and 69 
FR 7789, February 19, 2004).
    During the Draft CCP/EIS comment period that occurred from February 
19, 2004 to April 25, 2004, the Service received over 5,000 comments 
from about 1,000 individuals, agencies, and organizations. Comments 
were received through public hearing testimony, letters, emails, form 
letters, and petitions. All substantive issues raised in the comments 
were addressed in the Final CCP/EIS. Public comments will be available 
for review at the Front Range Community College Library, Rocky Flats 
Reading Room or at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge 
Visitor Center on weekends. Responses to comments will be included as a 
companion document with the Final CCP/EIS.

    Dated: September 29, 2004.
Linda H. Kelsey,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 04-27510 Filed 12-15-04; 8:45 am]