[Federal Register: October 6, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 194)]
[Page 58259-58261]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service


Koyukuk/Nowitna National Wildlife Refuges, Galena, AK

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Draft Revised Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment for Koyukuk, Northern 
Unit Innoko, and Nowitna National Wildlife Refuges; request for 


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a draft revised comprehensive conservation plan (Draft 
CCP) and environmental assessment (EA) for the Koyukuk, Northern Unit 
Innoko, and Nowitna National Wildlife Refuges (Refuge) is available for 
public review and comment. In this Draft CCP and EA we describe two 
alternatives, including our preferred action, to manage the Refuge for 
the next 15 years. Also available for public review and comment are 
draft compatibility determinations.

DATES: Comments on the Draft CCP and EA must be received on or before 
December 15, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the Draft CCP and EA by any 
of the following methods. You may request a paper copy, a summary, or a 
CD-ROM containing both.
    Agency Web Site: Download a copy of the documents at http://

[[Page 58260]]

    E-mail: FW7_Koyukuk/Nowitna_planning@fws.gov. Please include 
``Revised CCP'' in the subject line of the message.
    Mail: Robert Lambrecht, Planning Team Leader, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 287, Galena, Alaska 99741.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Call (907) 786-3357 to make an 
appointment during regular business hours at the USFWS Regional Office, 
1011 E. Tudor Road, Anchorage AK 99053 or call (907) 656-1231 to make 
an appointment during business hours at the Koyukuk/Nowitna Refuge in 
Galena, AK.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Robert Lambrecht at the address above 
or (907) 656-1231; fax: (907) 656-1708; or fw7_Koyukuk/Nowitna_



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Koyukuk, Northern 
Unit Innoko, and Nowitna National Wildlife Refuges. We started this 
process through a notice in the Federal Register (72 FR 57343; October 
9, 2007).


    The ANILCA (16 U.S.C. 410hh et seq., 43 U.S.C. 1602 et seq.) 
requires development of a CCP for all national wildlife refuges in 
Alaska. The Draft CCP and EA for the Refuge was developed consistent 
with Section 304(g) of ANILCA and the Refuge Administration Act as 
amended by the Refuge Improvement Act (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.). The 
purpose of developing CCPs is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year 
management strategy for achieving refuge purposes and contributing to 
the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with 
sound principles of fish, wildlife, and habitat management and 
conservation; legal mandates; and Service policies. Plans define long-
term goals and objectives toward which refuge management activities are 
directed and identify which uses may be compatible with the purposes of 
the refuge. They identify wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities 
available to the public, including hunting, fishing, wildlife 
observation and photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation. Comprehensive conservation plans are updated in 
accordance with planning direction in Section 304(g) of ANILCA and with 
NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).
    Background: In 1980, ANILCA designated the Koyukuk, Northern Unit 
Innoko, and Nowitna National Wildlife Refuges. Refuge boundaries 
encompass approximately 7.329 million acres of which approximately 
6.044 million acres (82 percent) are under Service jurisdiction. 
Section 302(3)(B) of ANILCA states that the purposes for which the 
Refuge was established include: (i) To conserve fish and wildlife 
populations and habitats in their natural diversity; (ii) to fulfill 
international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to 
fish and wildlife and their habitats; (iii) to provide the opportunity 
for continued subsistence use by local residents; and (iv) to ensure 
water quality and necessary water quantity within the Refuge. CCPs and 
Environmental Impact Statements were completed for the Refuge in 1987 
following direction in Section 304(g) of ANILCA.
    The ANILCA requires us to designate areas according to their 
respective resources and values and to specify programs and uses within 
the areas designated. To meet this requirement, the Alaska Region 
established management categories (Minimal, Moderate, Intensive, 
Wilderness, and Wild River). Appropriate activities, public uses, 
commercial uses, and facilities are identified for each management 
category. Three management categories (Minimal, Wilderness, and Wild 
River) apply to the Refuge.
    The 1997 Refuge Improvement Act includes additional direction for 
conservation planning throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. 
This direction has been incorporated into national planning policy for 
the National Wildlife Refuge System, including refuges in Alaska. This 
draft revision of the Koyukuk, Northern Unit Innoko, and Nowitna CCP/EA 
meets the requirements of both ANILCA and the Refuge Administration Act 
as amended by the Refuge Improvement Act.
    Issues raised during scoping and addressed in the Draft CCP/EA are 
(1) Management of wildlife populations, especially moose; (2) future 
off-refuge mining, oil, and gas developments; (3) contaminants and 
their effects on wild foods and water quality; (4) the effects of 
climate change; (5) maintaining the wild character of the Refuge and 
wilderness quality; (6) future public use; (7) how the fire management 
program can help villages address their hazardous fuel accumulations; 
and (8) the need for more outreach and better communication with the 
    The Draft CCP and EA describe and evaluate two alternatives for 
managing the Refuge for the next 15 years. These alternatives follow 
much of the same general management direction. Alternative A (the No-
Action Alternative) is required under NEPA and describes continuation 
of current management activities. Alternative A serves as a baseline 
against which to compare the other alternative. Under Alternative A, 
management of the Refuge would continue to follow direction described 
in the 1987 CCPs and records of decision as modified by subsequent 
program-specific plans (e.g., fisheries, cultural resources, and fire 
management plans). Currently 91 percent of the Refuge is in Minimal 
management, 7 percent is designated Wilderness, and 2 percent is in 
Wild River management. Alternative A would continue to protect and 
maintain the existing wildlife values, natural diversity, and 
ecological integrity of the Refuge. Human disturbances to fish and 
wildlife habitats and populations would be minimal. Private and 
commercial uses of the Refuge would not change, and public uses 
employing existing access methods would continue to be allowed. 
Opportunities to pursue traditional subsistence activities, and 
recreational hunting, fishing, and other wildlife dependent activities, 
would be maintained. Opportunities to pursue research would be 
maintained. Alternative B (the Proposed Action) would generally 
continue to follow management direction described in the 1987 CCPs and 
records of decision as modified by subsequent program-specific plans, 
but some of that management direction has been updated by changes in 
policy since the 1987 Koyukuk and Northern Unit Innoko and Nowitna 
Refuge CCPs were approved. Alternative B identifies these specific 
changes in management direction as well as goals and objectives for 
Refuge management.

Public Meetings

    We will continue to involve the public through open houses, 
meetings and comments. We will mail notices of availability to our 
Refuge mailing list. Public meetings will be held in the following 
Refuge area communities: Galena, Hughes, Huslia, Kaltag, Koyukuk, 
Nulato, Ruby, and Tanana. Details will be announced locally in advance 
of each meeting.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, 
or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should 
be aware 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 your personal identifying

[[Page 58261]]

information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so. We will make all comments from individual persons part 
of the official public record. We will handle requests for such 
comments in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and 
Departmental policies and procedures.

    Dated: September 29, 2008.
Gary Edwards,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, 
 [FR Doc. E8-23526 Filed 10-3-08; 8:45 am]