[Federal Register: April 30, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 82)]
[Page 19975-19976]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service


McNary and Umatilla National Wildlife Refuges, Benton, Walla 
Walla, and Franklin Counties, WA, and Morrow and Umatilla Counties, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the final comprehensive conservation 
plan, environmental assessment, and finding of no significant impact.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
completed a comprehensive conservation plan, environmental assessment 
(CCP/EA), and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the McNary 
and Umatilla National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges), which are part of the 
Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Complex). The CCP/
EA was developed to provide a foundation for the management and use of 
the Refuges. We are furnishing this notice to advise other agencies and 
the public of the availability of the CCP/EA and FONSI, and the 
decision to implement Alternative 2 as described in the CCP/EA. The 
Service's Regional Director for the Pacific Region selected Alternative 
2 for managing the Refuges for the next 15 years. The Refuges are 
located along the Columbia River in the states of Oregon and 

[[Page 19976]]

DATES: The CCP/EA and FONSI are completed, implementation may begin 

ADDRESSES: The CCP/EA and FONSI are available for viewing at Mid-
Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 64 Maple Street, 
Burbank, WA 99323, and copies on compact disk may be obtained by 
visiting or writing to the Refuge Complex. These documents are also 
available for viewing and downloading on the Internet at http://

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Hughes, Project Leader, Mid-
Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, phone (509) 546-8300.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we complete the CCP 
process for the McNary and Umatilla National Wildlife Refuges that 
began in 2004 (69 FR 29568, May 24, 2004). The McNary and Umatilla 
Refuges are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) 
administered by the Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966 (Refuge Administration Act), as amended, 
requires all units of the NWRS to be managed in accordance with an 
approved CCP. A CCP provides management direction, and identifies 
refuge goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving refuge purposes. 
We prepared the CCP/EA and FONSI for the McNary and Umatilla Refuges 
pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 
U.S.C. 4321-4370d), as amended, and its implementing regulations, the 
Refuge Administration Act, and Service policies.
    McNary Refuge is located in Walla Walla and Franklin Counties, 
Washington, and Umatilla County, Oregon. Umatilla Refuge is located in 
Benton County, Washington, and Morrow County, Oregon. Planning for 
these Refuges was conducted concurrently, because many of the same 
physical characteristics, management issues, and conservation 
opportunities occur on, or are relevant to, the management of each of 
the Refuges.
    During the CCP planning process for the Refuges many elements were 
considered, including management of the Refuges' shrub-steppe, 
riparian, wetland, and cliff-talus habitats for the long-term 
conservation of native plants and animals and migratory birds. We 
identified appropriate actions in the CCP for protecting and sustaining 
the cultural and biological features of the river islands, the Refuges' 
wintering waterfowl populations and habitats, the growing migratory 
shorebird populations that use the Refuges, and threatened, endangered, 
or rare species. Guidance for maintaining and improving high quality 
public use programs for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, 
photography, environmental education, and interpretation is also 
provided in the CCP/EA.

Public Comments and Changes to the CCP

    We identified and evaluated four alternatives in the Draft CCP/EA 
for managing the Refuges. The Draft CCP/EA was available for a 30-day 
public review and comment period, which occurred January 23 through 
February 23, 2007 (January 29, 2007, 72 FR 4019). Notification was sent 
to 700 individuals and organizations on our mailing list for this CCP, 
and public notice was provided in local media and on the Complex Web 
    The Service received 105 comment letters, forms, or emails on the 
Draft CCP, which were incorporated into, or otherwise responded to, in 
the final CCP. To address public comments, minor changes and 
clarifications were made to the final CCP/EA where we considered it 

CCP Implementation

    The Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
signed the FONSI and approved the CCP/EA on May 7, 2007. By 
implementing the CCP, the Service will manage Refuge resources for 
migratory birds and will enhance populations of targeted special status 
species and their habitats. Habitat conditions for migratory waterfowl, 
shorebirds, threatened and endangered species, and other native 
wildlife will be improved. The Refuges will emphasize control and 
reduction of weeds and improvement of riparian, shrub-steppe, island, 
and cliff habitats. Wildlife-dependent public use will be emphasized 
with opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, 
photography, interpretation, and environmental education either 
maintained or improved from present conditions. A Washington State 
pheasant augmentation/release program will be phased out in two years 
and camping will be discontinued at Madame Dorion Park. Disturbance to 
island resources will be reduced through closure of all beach use on 
Refuge islands.

    Dated: January 13, 2009.
David J. Wesley,
Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E9-9325 Filed 4-29-09; 8:45 am]