[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 121 (Friday, June 22, 2012)]
[Pages 37702-37704]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15330]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2012-N051; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Caribou and Bonneville 
Counties, ID; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Grays Lake National 
Wildlife Refuge (refuge, NWR). An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
evaluating effects of various CCP alternatives will also be prepared. 
We provide this notice in compliance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act and our CCP policy to advise other Federal and State 
agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intentions, and to obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider in the

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planning process. We are also requesting public comments.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
by August 21, 2012. We will announce opportunities for public input in 
local news media throughout the CCP planning process; see Public 

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods:

Email: william_smith@fws.gov. Include ``Grays Lake CCP EA'' in the 
subject line of the message.
Fax: Attn: William Smith, 208-574-2756.
U.S. Mail: Grays Lake NWR, 74 Grays Lake Road, Wayan, ID 83285.
In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during regular business 
hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Smith, 208-574-2755.



    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Grays Lake NWR in Caribou and Bonneville Counties, ID. This notice 
complies with the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (NEPA) 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and our CCP policy to (1) advise other 
Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intention to 
conduct detailed conservation planning for this refuge, and (2) obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider in the 
environmental document and during development of the CCP.


The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for 
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 (NWRS), 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 
compatible wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to 
the public, including opportunities for 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 Refuge Administration Act.
    Each unit of the NWRS was established for specific purposes. We use 
these purposes as the foundation for developing and prioritizing the 
management goals and objectives for each refuge to contribute to the 
NWRS mission, and to determine how the public can use each refuge. The 
planning process is a way for us and the public to evaluate management 
goals and objectives that will ensure the best possible approach to 
wildlife, plant, and habitat conservation, while providing for 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with 
the refuge's establishing purposes and the mission of NWRS. Our CCP 
process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, State, and 
local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. At this 
time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, and 
suggestions for the future management of Grays Lake NWR.
    We will conduct the environmental review of this project and 
develop an EIS in accordance with the requirements of NEPA; NEPA 
regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws 
and regulations; and our policies and procedures for compliance with 
those laws and regulations.

Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge

    Grays Lake NWR was established in 1965 and is located in Caribou 
and Bonneveille Counties, near the community of Wayan, in southeast 
Idaho. Grays Lake lies within a high mountain valley at approximately 
6,400 feet in elevation and at the base of Caribou Mountain. The refuge 
boundary encompasses approximately 32,800 acres. The area immediately 
surrounding the refuge is dominated by agricultural uses, principally 
summer livestock and haying operations.
    The refuge purposes are ``for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for 
any other management purpose, for migratory birds.'' 16 U.S.C. 715d 
(Migratory Bird Conservation Act) ``* * * suitable for--(1) Incidental 
fish and wildlife-oriented recreational development, (2) the protection 
of natural resources, (3) the conservation of endangered species or 
threatened species * * *'' 16 U.S.C. 460k-1 ``* * * the Secretary * * * 
may accept and use * * * real * * * property. Such acceptance may be 
accomplished under the terms and conditions of restrictive covenants 
imposed by donors * * *'' 16 U.S.C. 460k-2 (Refuge Recreation Act (16 
U.S.C. 460k-460k-4), as amended). ``* * * for the development, 
advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and 
wildlife resources * * *'' 16 U.S.C. 742f(a)(4) ``* * * for the benefit 
of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its 
activities and services. Such acceptance may be subject to the terms of 
any restrictive or affirmative covenant, or condition of servitude '' 
16 U.S.C. 742f(b)(1) (Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956).
    The refuge is composed of a 21,000-acre hardstem bulrush marsh and 
7,000 acres of sedge and rush wet meadows. The remaining habitats are 
comprised of upland sagebrush, dry grass meadows, willow, and aspen. 
There are approximately 200 species of wildlife which utilize the 
refuge during various periods of the year. Approximately 80 species of 
migratory birds nest at Grays Lake, including the largest breeding 
concentration of greater sandhill cranes in North America.
    Throughout the marsh are a series of canals and drainage ditches, 
which were constructed to facilitate the withdrawal of water from Grays 
Lake for the Fort Hall Irrigation Project. This alteration of Grays 
Lake's natural water levels has gradually changed the extent and 
composition of the marsh's habitats. Consequently, the marsh is less 
productive for wildlife than it was in earlier times.

Scoping: Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. We have briefly summarized these issues 
below. During public scoping, we may identify additional issues.
    At Grays Lake NWR, the Service will evaluate the following:
    (1) Water management structures, methods, and schedules to improve 
refuge wildlife habitats and values, while assuring Tribal water rights 
are preserved in perpetuity;
    (2) How the Service can protect and improve the quantity and 
quality of water for fish and wildlife resources;
    (3) Means required to minimize disturbance within the refuge to 
nesting and migrating waterbirds and wildlife;
    (4) How the refuge can meet increasing demands for recreational 
opportunities and provide quality visitor services programs in 
consideration of wildlife disturbance issues;
    (5) The best means to attain productive deep marsh habitats for

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refuge wildlife which match or mimic the natural and historic 
vegetative composition and open water interspersion of the Grays Lake 
    (6) What can be done to prevent the introduction and dispersal of 
invasive plants and animals and facilitate their removal from the 
    (7) The refuge's role in supporting native fish and riparian 
habitat restoration;
    (8) The restoration of native sagebrush habitats to support the 
long-term viability of native wildlife populations;
    (9) The means to minimize sandhill crane conflicts with small grain 
    (10) The most appropriate management techniques for the refuge's 
wet meadow and upland habitats to maximize habitat values for key 
wildlife species (e.g., sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, Canada geese) 
while assuring other native wildlife cover and forage requirements are 
also satisfied;
    (11) How to best address high nest predation rates on the refuge;
    (12) How the refuge can best contribute to the conservation of 
rural character and open space in the Grays Lake basin;
    (13) How the refuge can adaptively manage in response to predicted 
and unpredicted challenges of climate change; and
    (14) How the refuge can most appropriately assess the efficacy of 
management actions at the appropriate spatial and temporal scale.

Public Participation

    We will involve the public through open houses, informational and 
technical meetings, and written comments. We will release mailings, 
news releases, and announcements to provide information about 
opportunities for public participation in the planning process.

Public Availability of Comments

    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.

    Dated: May 10, 2012.
Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, Pacific Region, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2012-15330 Filed 6-21-12; 8:45 am]