[Federal Register: August 2, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 148)]
[Page 43787-43788]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for 
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, and Notification of Two Public 
Open House Meetings

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

ACTION: Notice of intent and notice of two public open house meetings.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to prepare a Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
(CCP) for the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), and 
announces two public open house meetings. The Refuge is located in 
Clark County, Washington. The Service is furnishing this notice to: 
advise other agencies and the public of our intentions; and obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to include in the 
CCP and associated environmental compliance document.

DATES: Two public open house meetings will be held. The first open 
house is scheduled for Thursday, September 14, 2006, from 6 p.m. to 9 
p.m. at the Ridgefield Community Center in Ridgefield, Washington (see 
ADDRESSES). The second open house is scheduled for Wednesday, September 
20, 2006, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library, in 
Vancouver, Washington (see ADDRESSES). Please provide written comments 
on the scope of the CCP by November 3, 2006. All comments received from 
individuals become part of the official public record. Requests for 
such comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of 
Information Act, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as 
amended (NEPA), and Service and Department of the Interior policies and 

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests for further 
information to: Project Leader, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex, P.O. Box 457, Ridgefield, WA 98642. Comments may be faxed to 
the Refuge at (360) 887-4109, or e-mailed to 
FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Additional information concerning the 

Refuge is available on the following Internet site: http://www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/.
 Addresses for the two public open house meeting 

locations follow.
    1. Ridgefield Community Center, 210 North Main Avenue, Ridgefield, 
Washington 98642.
    2. Vancouver Community Library, 1007 East Mill Plain Boulevard, 
Vancouver, Washington 98663.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Bodeen, Project Leader, Ridgefield 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 457, Ridgefield, WA 98642, 
phone (360) 887-4106, and fax (360) 887-4109.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service is furnishing this notice in 
accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act 
of 1966 (the Act) as amended (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), NEPA, and their 
implementing regulations in order to: advise other agencies and the 
public of our intentions; and obtain suggestions and information on the 
scope of issues to include in the CCP and associated NEPA document. 
Opportunities for public input will be announced throughout the CCP 
planning and development process. It is estimated that the draft CCP 
and NEPA document will be available for public review in May 2008.
    By Federal law (the Act), all lands within the National Wildlife 
Refuge System will be managed in accordance with an approved CCP by 
2012. A CCP guides a refuge's management decisions and identifies long-
range refuge goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving the 
purposes for which the refuge was established. During the CCP planning 
process many elements will be considered, including: Wildlife and 
habitat management, public use opportunities, and cultural resource 
protection. Public input during the planning process is essential. The 
CCP for the Ridgefield Refuge will describe desired conditions for the 
Refuge and the long-term goals, objectives, and strategies for 
achieving those conditions. The Service will prepare an associated NEPA 
document in accordance with procedures for implementing NEPA.
    The Refuge's approved boundary encompasses 6,170 acres of lower 
Columbia River bottomlands in Clark County, Washington; of this the 
Service owns approximately 5,217 acres. The Refuge was established in 
1965 to provide habitat for wintering waterfowl, with an emphasis on 
dusky Canada geese after nesting areas in Alaska were severely impacted 
by the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964.
    Habitat types found on the Refuge include several subtypes of 
bottomland hardwood forest, managed pastures, old fields, croplands, 
bottomland (wet) prairies, Oregon white oak woodlands, western hemlock 
(mixed) forests, emergent marshes, open water marshes, and tidal 
riverine habitat. Populations of the endangered water howellia plant 
are found within the Refuge's Blackwater Research Natural Area.
    The Refuge provides important migratory and wintering habitat for 
numerous bird species, including six subspecies of Canada geese, swans, 
dabbling and diving ducks, bald eagles, and sandhill cranes. The Refuge 
also contains one of the largest great blue heron colonies in the 
State, and provides breeding habitat for bald eagles and many species 
of neotropical migratory birds.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    The following preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities have 
been identified and will be addressed in the CCP. Additional issues 
will be identified during public scoping.

[[Page 43788]]

    Habitat Management and Restoration: What actions shall the Service 
take to sustain and restore priority species and habitats over the next 
15 years?
    Public Use and Access: What type and level of recreation 
opportunities should be provided? Are existing Refuge access points and 
uses adequate and appropriate? Which areas of the Refuge should be 
managed as undisturbed sanctuary areas and which areas should be open 
to public use? How will the recently completed Cathlapotle Plankhouse 
fit into interpretation and education programs on the Refuge?
    Invasive Species Control: How do invasive species affect 
functioning native systems, and what actions should be taken to reduce 
the incidence and spread of invasive species?
    Cultural Resources: How will the Refuge protect and manage its 
significant archaeological and historic sites? What level and type of 
cultural resources education should be provided to the public?

    Dated: July 26, 2006.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E6-12424 Filed 8-1-06; 8:45 am]