[Federal Register: October 7, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 194)]
[Page 58737]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the 
Translocation of Southern Sea Otters

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service), have prepared a draft Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement on the Translocation of Southern Sea 
Otters (draft SEIS), which is available for public review. The draft 
SEIS evaluates options for continuing, revising, or terminating the 
southern sea otter translocation program (52 FR 29754; August 11, 
1987). The document describes the proposed action and other 
alternatives under consideration and discloses the direct, indirect, 
and cumulative environmental effects of each of the alternatives.

DATES: We will accept comments on this draft SEIS until January 5, 
2006. Public hearings regarding this draft SEIS and associated proposed 
rule will be held in Santa Barbara, California, on November 1, 2005, 
and in Monterey, California, on November 3, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Individuals who would like a copy of this draft SEIS for 
review should contact Greg Sanders, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, 
California 93003-7726. The draft SEIS is also available on the Internet 
at http://ventura.fws.gov and at the California libraries listed below:

    Ventura County Library.
    Santa Barbara County Library.
    Monterey County Library.
    Public hearing locations will be announced in the Santa Barbara 
News Press and the Monterey Herald.
    For how to submit your comments, please see ``Public Comments 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Sanders, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, 
Ventura, California 93003-7726 (telephone: 805/644-1766 x315; 
facsimile: 805/644-3958).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: It is our intent that the draft SEIS be as 
accurate as possible. Therefore, we solicit comments or suggestions 
from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this 
draft SEIS.
    On July 27, 2000, we published a notice in the Federal Register (65 
FR 46172) announcing our intent to prepare a supplement to our 1987 
Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Translocation of Southern 
Sea Otters and inviting comments on the scope of the supplement. 
Comments submitted were considered and are reflected in the draft SEIS 
made available for comment through this notice.
    Contrary to expectations and to the primary recovery objective of 
the program, the translocation of sea otters to San Nicolas Island has 
not resulted in an established population sufficient to repopulate 
other areas of the range should a catastrophic event affect the 
mainland population. Additionally, maintenance of a designated 
management (no-otter) zone has proven to be more difficult than 
anticipated and hinders recovery of the southern sea otter. The draft 
SEIS evaluates options for continuing, revising, or terminating the 
southern sea otter translocation program.
    We consider six alternatives, including a No Action Alternative. 
Alternative 1 resumes implementation of the 1987 southern sea otter 
translocation program as originally defined. Alternative 2 resumes 
implementation of the 1987 southern sea otter translocation program but 
reduces the size of the management zone. Alternatives 3A, 3B, and 3C 
allow for the natural range expansion of southern sea otters through 
termination of the 1987 translocation program, including its associated 
translocation zone and management zone, but differ in the actions to be 
taken with sea otters existing in these zones upon termination of the 
program. Alternative 3A requires the short-term removal of sea otters 
from both the management zone and the translocation zone before natural 
range expansion is allowed. Alternative 3B requires the short-term 
removal of sea otters from the translocation zone only. The Service's 
proposed action (Alternative 3C) is to allow for the natural range 
expansion of sea otters through termination of the 1987 translocation 
program and to allow sea otters existing in the former translocation 
and management zones to remain there.

Public Comments Solicited

    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
concerning this draft SEIS by any one of several methods:
    (1) You may submit written comments and materials to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003-7726;
    (2) You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
fw1seaotterseis@fws.gov; or

    (3) You may attend a public hearing and present oral testimony and/
or written testimony.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home addresses from the record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. In some circumstances, we will withhold from the 
record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. We will not 
consider anonymous comments. If you wish for us to withhold your name 
and/or address, you must state your preference prominently at the 
beginning of your comments. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.
    This notice is provided pursuant to Fish and Wildlife Service 
regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: September 20, 2005.
Michael Fris,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office.
[FR Doc. 05-19146 Filed 10-6-05; 8:45 am]