[Federal Register: June 15, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 113)]
[Page 28270-28271]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2009-N0093]; [1265-0000-10137-S3]

Oregon Islands, Three Arch Rocks, and Cape Meares National 
Wildlife Refuges, Lincoln County, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: draft comprehensive conservation plan, 
draft wilderness stewardship plan, and environmental assessment; 
request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for the Cape Meares, Oregon 
Islands, and Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges), and 
a draft wilderness stewardship plan (Draft WSP) for the Oregon Islands 
and Three Arch Rocks Refuges (collectively Draft CCP/WSP/EA). The Draft 
CCP/WSP/EA is available for public review and comment. It describes our 
proposal for managing the Refuges for the next 15 years. The Oregon 
Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex office, located in Newport, 
Oregon, manages the Refuges, which are scattered along the Oregon coast 
in Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Coos, and Curry Counties.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we need to receive your written 
comments by July 15, 2009. See ADDRESSES for delivery options.

ADDRESSES: Address comments on the Draft CCP/WSP/EA to: Roy Lowe, 
Project Leader, Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 2127 SE 
Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365-5258; fax (541) 867-4551; or e-
mail FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Please use ``Oregon Islands CCP'' in 
the subject. Additional information concerning the Refuges can be found 
on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/. For more 
information on reviewing documents, see ``Public Availability of 
Documents'' and ``Public Comments'' under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roy Lowe, Project Leader, (541) 867-



The CCP Process

    The Draft CCP/WSP/EA was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) 
(Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997; the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) (NEPA); and the Service's Wilderness 
Stewardship Policy (610 FW 3). The Administration Act requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose of 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers a 15-year plan 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 for 
conserving wildlife and habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent 
recreational opportunities available to the public, including hunting, 
fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental 
education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at 
least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration Act.

Public Involvement

    We began the public scoping phase of the planning process for the 
Draft CCP/WSP/EA by publishing a Notice of Intent in the Federal 
Register on October 26, 2006 (71 FR 62605), announcing our intention to 
complete a CCP/WSP/EA for the Refuges and inviting public comments. A 
list of public involvement efforts we have completed to date follow.
     In October 2006, we distributed Planning Update 1 to our 
project mailing list and public outlets located near one or more 
Refuges. In it, we announced the initiation of the planning process, 
invited the public to a series of public open house meetings, provided 
background information on the Refuges, and requested public comments on 
Refuge management issues.
     Between November 1 and 15, 2006, we held five public open 
house meetings in communities along the Oregon coast, to meet the 
public and obtain comments on refuge management issues. The public 
meetings were announced through local media via press releases, on the 
Refuge Complex Web site, and in Planning Update 1.
     In March 2007, we distributed Planning Update 2, which 
included a summary of the public open house meetings and the public 
comments we obtained at the meetings and through other means, a 
planning schedule, and draft vision statements for the Refuges.

Overview of the Refuges

    Cape Meares Refuge is located on Oregon's Pacific Coast between 
Tillamook Bay and Netarts Bay. It is comprised of two separate units 
consisting of vertical coastal cliffs, rock outcroppings, and rolling 
headlands with old-growth forest dominated by Sitka spruce and western 
hemlock. This small Refuge protects one of the last stands of old-
growth coastal forest in Oregon. The vertical sea cliffs around the 
headland support nesting seabird populations including tufted puffins, 
common murres, pigeon guillemots, pelagic cormorants, and others. 
Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs, and bald eagles forage on the 
    The Oregon Islands Refuge includes 1,854 rocks, reefs and islands, 
and two headland units, and spans 320 miles of the Oregon Coast. With 
the exception of the two headlands and Tillamook Rock, all of the 
Refuge's rocks, reefs, and islands are included in the Oregon Islands 
Wilderness. Most of Oregon's estimated 1.2 million nesting seabirds are 
found on this Refuge. A large percentage of Oregon's seal and sea lion 
(pinnipeds) populations use the Refuge for haulout and/or pupping, 
including more than 5,000 harbor seals, 4,000 California sea lions, 
4,000 threatened

[[Page 28271]]

Steller sea lions, and 100 northern elephant seals.
    The Three Arch Rocks Refuge is located a half-mile west of the town 
of Oceanside in Tillamook County, Oregon. The Refuge is comprised of 9 
rocks and islands with a total land area of 15 acres, and supports one 
of the largest seabird breeding colonies--mainly tufted puffins and 
common murre--in Oregon. It is also the only breeding site for the 
threatened Steller sea lion on the north coast of Oregon. The Refuge is 
a designated wilderness area known as Three Arch Rocks Wilderness.

Draft Alternatives We Are Considering

    We identified and evaluated two alternatives for managing the 
Refuges for the next 15 years. Alternative 1 is the No Action 
Alternative, and Alternative 2 is the Preferred Alternative, which is a 
collaborative approach to protection and management of refuge lands. 
Draft compatibility determinations for public uses are available for 
review with the Draft CCP/WSP/EA. Brief descriptions of the 
alternatives follow.

Alternative 1

    This alternative assumes no change from current Refuge management 
programs. We would continue to protect and maintain habitat for 
priority species, including seabirds and pinnipeds. Efforts to prevent 
wildlife disturbance on rocks, reefs, and islands would continue, 
including prohibiting public access, posting educational and regulatory 
signs, and deploying buoys annually, to delineate the seasonal 500-foot 
watercraft exclusion buffer zone around Three Arch Rocks Refuge. 
Habitat management would consist primarily of monitoring and treating 
invasive plant infestations as funding allows. We would continue to 
conduct regularly scheduled aerial, boat, and land surveys of nesting 
seabirds. Existing public uses, including wildlife observation and 
photography, would continue at current levels. We would continue to 
partner with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to provide 
quality wildlife viewing opportunities at Cape Meares Refuge and other 
parks adjacent to rocks, reefs, and islands within Oregon Islands and 
Three Arch Rocks Refuges.

Alternative 2

    Under the Preferred Alternative, a collaborative approach to 
protection and management of the Refuges' rock, reef, island, and old-
growth habitats would be emphasized over the current staff-directed 
approach. We would develop a Geographic Information System (GIS) based 
inventory and monitoring program for pinnipeds, seabirds and other 
migratory birds, terrestrial mammals, reptiles, amphibians, 
invertebrates, and plant species, and invasive species would be 
monitored and aggressively treated.
    Partners would be actively sought to collaborate on research, 
design, and implementation of studies that would directly contribute 
toward maintaining or restoring the biological integrity, diversity, 
and environmental health of the Refuges. We would establish formal 
agreements with coastal resource management agencies to cooperate on 
strategies to protect wildlife.
    New partnerships would also be established with public and private 
entities to develop interpretive panels and new wildlife viewing 
opportunities. The Refuges' Volunteer Interpreter Program would be 
expanded to include priority sites with heavy visitation and prime 
wildlife viewing opportunities. We would also develop a quality 
environmental education program focusing on the Refuges' wildlife.

Public Availability of Documents

    We encourage you to stay involved in the CCP planning process by 
reviewing and commenting on the proposals we have developed in the 
    Copies of the Draft CCP/WSP/EA on compact disk are available upon 
request from the Refuge Complex at phone number (541) 867-4550. Copies 
may be reviewed at the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 
2127 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR. The Draft CCP/WSP/EA is also 
available for viewing and downloading on the Internet at http://
www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/. Printed copies will be available for review 
at the following libraries.
     Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder St., Brookings, 
OR 97415,
     Bandon Public Library, 1204 11th St. SW., Bandon, OR 
     Newport Public Library, 35 NW Nye St., Newport, OR 97365,
     Driftwood Public Library, 801 SW Hwy 101 201, 
Lincoln City, OR 97367,
     Tillamook County Library, 1716 3rd St., Tillamook, OR 
97141, and
     Seaside Public Library, 1131 Broadway, Seaside, OR 97138.

Public Comments

    Public comments are requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process. Comments on the Draft CCP/WSP/EA will 
be analyzed by the Service and addressed in final planning documents. 
All comments received from individuals become part of the official 
public record and may be released. Requests for such comments will be 
handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 
552), NEPA regulations, and Service and Department of the Interior 
policies and procedures.

    Dated: May 11, 2009.
David J. Wesley,
Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E9-13564 Filed 6-12-09; 8:45 am]