[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 95 (Wednesday, May 16, 2012)]
[Pages 28895-28896]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11811]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2012-N005; FXRS12650800000-123-FF08R0000]

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Alameda, 
Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments: draft 
comprehensive conservation plan/environmental assessment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announce the 
availability of a Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and 
Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay 
National Wildlife Refuge for public review and comment. The CCP/EA, 
prepared under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 
1997, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, describes how the Service proposes to manage the Refuge for the 
next 15 years. Draft compatibility determinations for several existing 
and proposed uses are also available for review and public comment with 
the Draft CCP/EA.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by July 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods.
    Email: sfbaynwrc@fws.gov. Include ``Don Edwards SFB CCP'' in the 
subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Winnie Chan, (510) 792-5828.
    U.S. Mail: San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 1 
Marshlands Road, Fremont, CA 94555.
    In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular 
business hours, please call (510) 792-0222 for directions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Winnie Chan, Refuge Planner, or Eric 
Mruz, Refuge Manager, at (510) 792-0222 or sfbaynwrc@fws.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), which amended the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires 
the Service to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The 
purpose in developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with 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 our policies. In addition to outlining broad management 
direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify 
wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, 
including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and 
photography, environmental education and interpretation. We will review 
and update the CCP at least every 15 years

[[Page 28896]]

in accordance with the Improvement Act.
    We initiated the CCP/EA for the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay 
National Wildlife Refuge in October 2009. We then hosted a series of 
pre-scoping meetings on October 28, 2009; November 3, 2009; and 
November 5, 2009. An average of 10 persons attended each of the 
meetings. A number of individuals provided comments at the meetings, 
via email, and by postal mail. Following the pre-scoping meetings, we 
published a Federal Register notice of intent on February 23, 2010 (75 
FR 8106), to solicit additional comments. To announce the scoping 
comment period and provide background on the Refuge, we also mailed a 
planning update to over 200 agency and organization representatives, 
including members of the public, media, and elected representatives of 
each of the counties where the Refuge is located. The scoping comment 
period ended on April 26, 2010. We also created a web page (http://www.fws.gov/cno/refuges/DonEdwards/DonEdwards.cfm) to share 
information. In 2011, we hosted another series of public meetings on 
April 13, 2011 and April 19, 2011 to present management alternatives. 
An average of 15 persons attended each of these meetings. Verbal 
comments were recorded at these public meetings, and written comments 
were submitted via postal mail and email.


    Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge was 
established in 1972 pursuant to the Act Authorizing the Transfer of 
Certain Real Property for Wildlife, or other purposes (16 U.S.C. 667b), 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1537), and the Fish and 
Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742f(b)(1)). The roughly 30,000-acre 
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in the 
Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties of California, consists of 
several noncontiguous parcels divided into four management units that 
surround the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay. The Refuge was 
established to preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, protect migratory 
birds, and protect threatened and endangered species. The Refuge also 
provides opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation and 
environmental education.


    The Draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates three alternatives for 
managing the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge for 
the next 15 years. The alternative that appears to best meet the Refuge 
purposes is identified as the preferred alternative. The preferred 
alternative is identified based on the analysis presented in the Draft 
CCP/EA, which may be modified following the completion of the public 
comment period based on comments received from other agencies, Tribal 
governments, nongovernmental organizations, or individuals.
    Under Alternative A (no action alternative), the current management 
actions, including habitat management, wildlife management, wildlife-
oriented recreation opportunities, and environmental education, would 
be continued. Habitat and wildlife management activities would include 
habitat restoration projects, invasive weed management, wildlife 
surveys, and predator management. We would continue to offer a wide 
variety of wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities to the public. 
The environmental education program would continue to provide a variety 
of environmental education activities for local schools. Also, we would 
continue to use volunteers to support the biology, visitor services, 
environmental education, and management needs of the Refuge. Current 
staffing and funding would remain the same. Existing restoration and 
management plans (e.g., Bair Island Restoration and Management Plan and 
South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project) would continue to be 
implemented. We would also actively work with partners and willing 
sellers to acquire the remaining lands within the approved acquisition 
    Alternative B (preferred alternative) includes those actions in 
Alternative A. In addition, we would moderately expand biological, 
habitat management, visitor service, and environmental education 
activities. Additional biological activities would include increased 
survey efforts on priority listed species as well as baseline surveys 
on native focal flora and fauna. Habitat would be improved for the 
western snowy plover and California least tern. Other habitat 
management activities include completion and implementation of a 
comprehensive weed management plan, additional improvement to tidal 
marsh areas such as enhancement and restoration of the marsh-upland 
ecotone, and addressing climate change impacts on Refuge resources. The 
National Wildlife Refuge System's priority public uses--wildlife 
observation, photography, hunting, fishing, interpretation, and 
environmental education--would all be enhanced on the Refuge. Refuge 
staff would expand the volunteer program to recruit new volunteers and 
provide additional learning opportunities to existing volunteers. 
Additional staff and funding would be needed to implement this 
    Under Alternative C, in addition to tasks included in Alternative A 
and B, we would increase the frequency of baseline monitoring, 
investigate reintroduction of listed species (e.g., the salt marsh 
harvest mouse and the California clapper rail), survey for listed plant 
species, and encourage additional research to benefit listed species. 
Additional habitat management actions would include further tidal marsh 
improvements, more aggressive control of invasive weeds, revegetation 
of grassland areas, and more aggressive enhancement and restoration of 
the marsh-upland ecotone. All priority public uses would be further 
improved, such as opening additional acreage to hunting, installing 
additional interpretive signage, constructing an auto tour route, and 
enhancing the environmental education program offsite, beyond the 
existing field trip experience. Additional staff and funding would be 
needed to implement this alternative.

Review and Comment

    Copies of the Draft CCP/EA may be obtained by writing to Winnie 
Chan (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the Draft CCP/EA may be viewed at the 
same address and local libraries. The Draft CCP/EA will also be 
available for viewing and downloading online at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/refuges/DonEdwards/DonEdwards.cfm.
    Comments on the Draft CCP/EA should be addressed to Winnie Chan 
    At the end of the review and comment period for this Draft CCP/EA, 
comments will be analyzed by the Service and addressed in the Final 
CCP/EA. Before including your address, phone number, email 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 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Alexandra Pitts,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 2012-11811 Filed 5-15-12; 8:45 am]