[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 11 (Thursday, January 16, 2014)]
[Pages 2862-2863]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-00246]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2011-N152; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Klickitat County, WA; Draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


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 Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge 
(NWR or refuge) in Klickitat County, Washington. The draft CCP/EA 
describes our proposals for managing the refuge for the next 15 years.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
February 18, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments or requests for more information by any 
of the following methods:
     Email: mcriver@fws.gov. Include ``Conboy Lake NWR CCP'' in 
the subject line of the message.
     Fax: Attn: Conboy Lake NWR CCP, (509) 546-8303.
     U.S. Mail: Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex, Conboy Lake NWR CCP, 64 Maple Street, Burbank, WA 99323.
     In-Person Drop-off: You may drop off comments during 
regular business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rich Albers, Refuge Manager, Conboy 
Lake National Wildlife Refuge, (509) 546-8317; rich_albers@fws.gov.

[[Page 2863]]



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Conboy Lake NWR. 
We started this process through a notice in the Federal Register (76 FR 
41286; July 13, 2011).
    Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 
7,000 acres in Klickitat County, Washington. The refuge exists in the 
transition zone between arid eastern Washington and wet western 
Washington, near the southern base of Mt. Adams. The refuge manages wet 
prairie, emergent marsh, scrub-shrub, and forest land habitats. Conboy 
Lake NWR is managed with special emphasis on greater Sandhill cranes, 
Oregon spotted frogs, Mardon skippers, Ames' milk-vetch, and Oregon 
coyote thistle.


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, 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.

Public Outreach

    A press release was sent to all media outlets in the area on June 
1, 2011, and we held a public open house on June 14, 2011. A Federal 
Register notice announcing our intent to develop a CCP was published 
July 13, 2011. Our public scoping period began July 13, 2011, and ended 
August 12, 2011. We then mailed a planning update in September 2011 
which outlined the comments received from the public and other 
organizations. We also solicited input from other Federal, State, and 
local agencies and tribes on issues of concern. Comments were 
considered and incorporated into the draft CCP/EA.

CCP Alternatives We Are Considering

    To address the issues raised during the public scoping process, we 
developed and evaluated the following alternatives, briefly summarized 
below. A full description of each alternative is in the EA.

Alternative 1: No-Action

    Under Alternative 1, we would continue with current management of 
the refuge. Most management actions are aimed at protection, 
enhancement, and restoration of habitats. We would continue the current 
water flooding/drawdown regime. Haying would be used to control 
invasive reed canarygrass in meadow habitats, and meadows would 
continue to benefit from tree removal measures. Excess vegetation would 
be removed in all aquatic habitats. Prescribed fire and other 
integrated pest management techniques would continue to control 
invasive species.
    Visitor services would continue in limited capacities. Wildlife 
observation and photography would still occur on limited parts of the 
refuge. Hunting and fishing would remain as-is. Cultural resources 
would continue to be protected as mandated by law and policy.

Alternative 2: Potential Changes

    Under Alternative 2, grazing would be added to haying to control 
reed canarygrass. An aggressive bullfrog and bullhead fish control 
program would be implemented. Actively creating snags in all forest 
types would occur to benefit insectivorous birds, including 
woodpeckers, and cavity-nesting species. Forest thinning would allow 
for structural diversity and regeneration of understory species and 
young trees.
    The Willard Springs Trail would be realigned, lengthened, and given 
a new interpretive emphasis. Environmental education would receive 
greater attention. The recruitment and use of volunteers would be 
expanded for all visitor services, especially education. New exhibits 
would be installed at refuge headquarters and along the Willard Springs 
Trail, Observation Overlook, and the Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House. 
Hunting and fishing would remain the same, with the exception of 
eliminating deer hunting.
    Additional cultural resources activities would take place, 
including a resources overview, establishing new tribal partnerships, 
evaluating the National Register eligibility of archeological sites, 
and developing a new inadvertent discovery plan.

Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to the methods listed in ADDRESSES, the draft CCP/EA 
may be obtained or viewed at our Web site at www.fws.gov/refuge/conboy_lake/ and the following libraries:
     Hood River Library, 502 W State St., Hood River, OR 97031
     White Salmon Valley Community Library, 77 NE Wauna Ave., 
White Salmon, WA 98672
     Foley Center Library, Gonzaga University, 502 E Boone 
Ave., Spokane, WA 99258-0095

Public Comments

    There will be additional opportunities to provide public input 
throughout the CCP process; they will be announced in press releases, 
planning updates, and on our Web site at www.fws.gov/refuge/conboy_lake/.

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: January 6, 2014.
Richard Hannan,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific Region, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2014-00246 Filed 1-15-14; 8:45 am]