[Federal Register: April 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 72)]
[Page 19016-19018]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, Seal Beach, Orange County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; announcement of public open house 
meetings; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, we), intend 
to gather information necessary to prepare a comprehensive conservation 
plan (CCP) and associated environmental documents for the Seal Beach 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We furnish this notice in compliance 
with our CCP policy to advise other agencies and the public of our 
intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of 
issues to be considered in the planning process.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by May 18, 2007. Two public open house meetings will be held during the 
scoping phase of the comprehensive conservation plan development 
process. Special mailings, newspaper articles, and other media 
announcements will be used to inform the public and Tribe, state, and 
local governments of the dates and opportunities for input throughout 
the planning process.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information to 
Victoria Touchstone, Refuge Planner, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011; telephone: 760-
431-9440 ex. 349; fax: 760-930-0256; or electronic mail: 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Victoria Touchstone, Refuge Planner, 
San Diego NWR Complex, 760-431-9440 extension 349.

[[Page 19017]]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we initiate the CCP for 
the Seal Beach NWR with headquarters in Carlsbad, CA. Additional 
information is available by visiting the Refuge Planning section of the 
San Diego NWR Complex Web site at http://sandiegorefuges.fws.gov.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as 
amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 
(16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), requires the Service to develop a 
comprehensive conservation plan for each national wildlife refuge. The 
purpose of developing a comprehensive conservation plan 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 
management, conservation, legal mandates, and Service policies. In 
addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife 
and their habitats, plans identify wildlife-dependent recreational 
opportunities available to the public, which may include opportunities 
for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation.
    We establish each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, 
including the Seal Beach NWR, with specific purposes. We use these 
purposes to develop and prioritize management goals and objectives 
within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to guide which 
public uses will occur on these Refuges. The planning process is a way 
for us and the public to evaluate management goals and objectives for 
the best possible conservation efforts of this important wildlife 
habitat, while providing for wildlife-dependent recreation 
opportunities that are compatible with the Refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    We will conduct a comprehensive conservation planning process that 
will provide opportunities for Tribal, State, and local governments; 
agencies; organizations; and the public to participate in issue scoping 
and comment. You are encouraged to provide your input on issues, 
concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future management of the Seal 
Beach NWR in Seal Beach, CA. The input provided during the scoping 
process will help us answer questions such as:
    1. What problems or issues should be addressed in the CCP?
    2. What changes or additions would improve conditions on the Seal 
Beach NWR?

Our Planning Team will take into consideration all of the comments it 
receives as part of the scoping process; however, we will not reference 
individual comments in our reports.
    We will also give the public an opportunity to provide input at the 
open houses we have scheduled to scope issues and concerns. You may 
also submit written comments anytime during the planning process by 
mailing or e-mailing them to the above address.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA Regulations (40 
CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; 
and our policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations. 
All comments we receive from individuals on our environmental 
assessments and environmental impact statements become part of the 
official public record.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that 
your entire comment--including your personal identifying information--
may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in 
your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying 
information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    All information provided voluntarily by mail, phone, or at public 
meetings becomes part of our official public record (i.e., names, 
addresses, letters of comment, input recorded during meetings). If a 
private citizen or organization requests this information under the 
Freedom of Information Act, we may provide informational copies.

Seal Beach NWR

    Seal Beach NWR is located about 25 miles south of downtown Los 
Angeles in northwestern Orange County, California. The approximately 
965-acre Refuge overlays a portion of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach 
(NWSSB) and is situated between the City of Seal Beach to the north and 
west and the City of Huntington Beach to the south and east.
    Congress authorized the Secretary of the Interior to establish the 
Seal Beach NWR in Public Law 92-408 on August 29, 1972. The Secretary 
of the Interior, with the advice and consent of the Secretary of the 
Navy, established the Refuge on July 11, 1974. The Refuge was 
established to provide for the conservation, protection, and 
propagation of native species of fish and wildlife, including migratory 
birds that are threatened with extinction.
    Protected within the Refuge is one of the largest remaining salt 
marshes along the southern California coast. These coastal wetlands 
support three federally listed species including the endangered 
California brown pelican, light-footed clapper rail, and California 
least tern. The state listed endangered Belding's savannah sparrows, 
along with the light-footed clapper rail and California least tern, 
nest and raise their young within the boundaries of the Refuge.
    As a refuge that overlays a Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach NWR 
must be managed in a manner that considers both the mission of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System and the mission of the Naval Weapons 
Station. To that end, we will be coordinating with the Navy in the 
development of the CCP for Seal Beach NWR. The Navy has also been 
coordinating with us in the development of its Integrated Natural 
Resources Management Plan for NWSSB.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    During the initial pre-planning phase of the CCP process, we 
identified a number of issues, concerns, and opportunities that may be 
addressed in the CCP. We have briefly summarized these issues below. We 
will likely identify additional issues as a result of the public 
scoping process.
    Habitat Management: Measures necessary to preserve or improve the 
quality of the Refuge's coastal salt marsh habitat, which is influenced 
by such factors as subsidence, limited freshwater flows, and sea level 
rise, should be evaluated during the planning process.
    Endangered Species Recovery: Listed species that nest on Seal Beach 
NWR could benefit from an evaluation of the management actions 
currently implemented to improve reproductive success for these 
    Erosion: Appropriate measures for remediating ongoing erosion 
problems along the banks and tidal channels of restored salt marsh 
habitat on the Refuge should be evaluated as part of the CCP process.
    Public Use: Understanding that as an overlay refuge, public uses 
cannot compromise the mission of the Naval Weapons Station, are there 
opportunities for improving the current public use program on the 

[[Page 19018]]

    Dated: April 10, 2007.
Ken McDermond,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations, Sacramento, CA.
[FR Doc. E7-7117 Filed 4-13-07; 8:45 am]