Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Clark, Lincoln, and Nye Counties, NV, 39979-39981 [E8-15631]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 134 / Friday, July 11, 2008 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, and Breton National Wildlife Refuge in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes, Louisiana, is available for distribution. This document was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Draft CCP/EA describes the Service’s proposal for management of the refuge for 15 years. DATES: Written comments must be received at the postal address listed below no later than August 11, 2008. ADDRESSES: To provide written comments or to obtain a copy of the Draft CCP/EA, please write to: Mr. Jack Bohannan, 61389 Highway 434, Lacombe, LA 70445. A copy of the Draft CCP/EA is available on both compact diskette and hard copy. You may also access and download a copy of the Draft CCP/EA at the Service’s Internet Site: http://southeast.fws.gov/planning/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jack Bohannan; Telephone: 985/882– 2026. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Availability of Comments: Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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. Background: Significant issues addressed in the Draft CCP/EA include managing threatened and endangered species, species of concern, and other species of federal responsibility; conserving habitats and restoring wetland habitats specific to the riverine and marine environments; providing and improving refuge visitor programs; increasing public outreach; and providing environmental education programs. Three management alternatives were considered for Delta Refuge. Alternative A would continue current management with no new actions to improve or enhance existing programs. Alternative B would focus on expanding public use activities to the fullest extent possible, including duplicating programs and opportunities offered at the adjacent wildlife management area. Alternative C, the proposed alternative, would VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:19 Jul 10, 2008 Jkt 214001 39979 emphasize managing natural resources based on maintaining and improving wetland habitats with improved restoration techniques; providing quality public use programs and wildlife-dependent recreational activities; and expanding the outreach program. Three management alternatives were also considered for Breton Refuge. Alternative A would continue the present management practices with no changes or improvements. Alternative B would focus on leaving the islands to the natural processes and weather events with no active management actions. Alternative C, the proposed alternative, would emphasize working with partners to restore island habitat with large-scale projects, if considered feasible; improving outreach; and providing environmental education relating to the barrier islands to local schools. Delta Refuge, consisting of 48,799 acres of wetlands at the mouth of the Mississippi River, was established on November 19, 1935, by Executive Order 7229. Breton Refuge, the second oldest national wildlife refuge in the United States, is a barrier island chain in Breton and Chandeleur Sounds in the Gulf of Mexico. It was established on October 4, 1903, by Executive Order 7938, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Register notice announcing the availability of a draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) for public review and comment. This notice contained an error in the email address we provided for public review and comment. We now correct the e-mail address. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 3, 2008, we published a notice announcing the availability of a Draft CCP/EA for Swanquarter NWR for public review and comment (73 FR 38242). This notice contained an error in the e-mail address we provided for the public to use to send us comments on the Draft CCP/EA. In notice document E8–15117, on page 38242 of the issue of July 3, 2008, make the following correction: On page 38242, in the second column, the ADDRESSES section should read: ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Draft CCP/EA should be addressed to: Bruce Freske, Refuge Manager, Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, 38 Mattamuskeet Road, Swan Quarter, NC 27885. The Draft CCP/EA may also be accessed and downloaded from the Service’s Internet Site: http:// southeast.fws.gov/planning. Comments on the Draft CCP/EA may be submitted to the above address or via electronic mail to Bruce_Freske@fws.gov. Authority: This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, Public Law 105–57. Dated: July 8, 2008. Sara Prigan, Federal Register Liaison. [FR Doc. E8–15917 Filed 7–10–08; 8:45 am] Dates: August 16, 2007. Cynthia K. Dohner, Acting Regional Director. BILLING CODE 4310–55–P Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the Federal Register on July 7, 2008. [FR Doc. E8–15762 Filed 7–10–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R4–R–2008–N0184; 40136–1265– 0000–S3] Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, Hyde County, NC; Correction Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability: draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment; request for comments; correction. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, published a Federal PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–R–2008–N0064; 80230–1265– 0000–S3] Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Clark, Lincoln, and Nye Counties, NV Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments: draft comprehensive conservation plan/environmental impact statement. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (CCP/EIS) for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex for public review and comment. The Desert National Wildlife E:\FR\FM\11JYN1.SGM 11JYN1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES 39980 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 134 / Friday, July 11, 2008 / Notices Refuge Complex is composed of Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. The CCP/EIS, prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, describes how the Service will manage the Refuges for the next 15 years. Draft compatibility determinations for several existing and proposed public uses are also available for review and public comment with the Draft CCP/EIS. DATES: Written comments must be received at the address below on or before September 9, 2008. ADDRESSES: For more information on obtaining documents and submitting comments, see ‘‘Review and Comment’’ under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. For public meeting location see ‘‘Public Meetings.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Martinez, Project Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV 89130, phone (702) 515–5450 or Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge Planning, 2800 Cottage Way, W–1832, Sacramento, CA 95825, phone (916) 414–6504. 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 us 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 wildlifedependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation. We initiated the CCP/EIS for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex in August 2002. At that time and throughout the process, we requested, considered, and incorporated public scoping comments in numerous ways. Our public outreach has included a Federal Register notice of intent published on August 21, 2002, agency and Tribal scoping meetings, five public VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:19 Jul 10, 2008 Jkt 214001 workshops, planning updates, and a CCP Web page. We received over 400 scoping comments during the 60-day public comment period. Background Ash Meadows Refuge was established in 1984 under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. It comprises 23,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands, mesquite bosques, and desert uplands that provide habitat for at least 24 plants and animal species found nowhere else in the world. The Refuge is located 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 30 miles west of Pahrump. Desert Refuge was originally established in 1936 by Executive Order No. 7373 and subsequently modified by Public Land Order 4079, for the protection, enhancement and maintenance of wildlife resources including bighorn sheep. Located just north of Las Vegas, Nevada, the 1.6 million acre refuge is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48 states. The Moapa Valley Refuge was established September 10, 1979, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1969, as amended, to secure habitat for the endangered Moapa dace. The Refuge is located on 116 acres in northeastern Clark County. Due to its small size, fragile habitats, on-going habitat restoration work, and unsafe structures, the Refuge is currently closed to the general public. The Pahranagat Refuge was established in 1963, under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, as amended, to protect habitat for migrating birds in the Pahranagat Valley. The 5,382-acre refuge consists of marshes, meadows, lakes, and upland desert habitat. It provides nesting, resting, and feeding areas for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and song birds including the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher. Alternatives The Draft CCP/EIS identifies and evaluates three alternatives for managing Ash Meadows and Moapa Valley Refuges and four alternatives for managing Desert and Pahranagat Refuges for the next 15 years. The alternative for each Refuge that appears to best meet the refuge purposes is identified as the preferred alternative. The preferred alternatives were identified based on the analysis presented in the Draft CCP/EIS, which may be modified following the completion of the public comment period based on comments received from other agencies, Tribal PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 governments, non-governmental organizations, or individuals. Alternatives for Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue to manage the Refuge as we have in the past. We would implement habitat restoration plans that have already been completed. No major changes in habitat management would occur. The existing wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation programs would remain unchanged. Under Alternative B, we would plan and implement springhead, channel, and landscape restoration on about two thirds of the Refuge. Surveys and monitoring for special status species would be expanded as would efforts to control invasive plants and animals. Environmental education, interpretation and wildlife observation opportunities would be improved and expanded and a new visitor contact station and headquarters facility would be constructed. Under the preferred alternative, Alternative C, we would seek to restore springheads, channels and floodplains throughout the Refuge. Surveys and monitoring, habitat protection, pest management, and research would also be substantially expanded. Environmental education, interpretation, and wildlife observation programs would be similar to but slightly less than Alternative B. Alternatives for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue current management for bighorn sheep and other species. We would also continue to offer limited opportunities for wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, and interpretation at Corn Creek. Existing backcountry recreation opportunities would continue to be offered including bighorn sheep hunting, hiking, camping, horseback riding, and backpacking. In addition, under this and all other alternatives, we would design and construct a visitor center and administrative offices at Corn Creek and continue to protect the wilderness character of the 1.4 million acre proposed Desert Wilderness. Under Alternative B, wildlife management programs would be similar to Alternative A, with minor improvements, including expanded surveys for bighorn sheep and installation of post and cable fencing along the southern boundary. This E:\FR\FM\11JYN1.SGM 11JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 134 / Friday, July 11, 2008 / Notices pwalker on PROD1PC71 with NOTICES alternative would also include a substantial expansion in visitor services over Alternative A, including a new environmental education program, improved roads, a new auto tour route, and new wildlife viewing trails. Under the preferred alternative, Alternative C, we would expand inventory and monitoring for bighorn sheep, special status species, and vegetation and wildlife communities throughout the Refuge. Under this alternative, we would also use prescribed fire and naturally ignited fires in Refuge plant communities where appropriate to restore vegetation characteristics representative of a natural fire regime. Alternative C would also include fencing along the eastern boundary as well as the permanent closure of illegal roads and rehabilitation of damaged habitat along the southern and eastern boundaries. Visitor services under this alternative would be the same as under Alternative B except no auto tour route or wildlife viewing trails would be developed. Under Alternative D, the wildlife management and inventory and monitoring programs would be similar to Alternative C. However, under this alternative, visitor services would be scaled back from the other alternatives. For example, the visitor center would only be staffed on weekends during the off-peak seasons and there would be no road improvements on the Refuge. Alternatives for Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue to manage the Refuge as we have in the recent past. Springhead and channel restoration work and visitor facilities on the Plummer Unit would be completed. The limited inventory and monitoring program would also continue. However, the Refuge would remain closed to the public, except by special arrangement. Under Alternative B, wildlife management programs would be similar to Alternative A, with minor improvements, including expanded surveys for sensitive species and their habitats, and strategies for removing nonnative aquatic species. We would also restore native vegetation along the springheads and channels on the Pederson Unit. This alternative would also include a substantial expansion in visitor services over Alternative A, including opening the Refuge on weekends and improved visitor facilities. Under the preferred alternative, Alternative C, wildlife management would be similar to Alternative B but would include increased monitoring VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:19 Jul 10, 2008 Jkt 214001 and the development of a long term inventory and monitoring plan for sensitive species. In addition, we would restore the springheads and channels and associated native vegetation on the Apcar unit. Under Alternative C, we would expand the Refuge acquisition boundary by 1,503 acres and pursue acquisition of the lands within the boundary to protect habitat for Moapa dace and other sensitive species. Under this alternative, the Refuge would be open to visitors every day, the environmental education program would be expanded, and additional trails would be constructed. Alternatives for Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue to manage Pahranagat Refuge as we have in the recent past. The in-progress hydrology studies would be completed and a wetland habitat management plan would be developed and implemented. Riparian habitat would be maintained for the southwestern willow flycatcher and other migratory birds. Under this alternative, we would maintain the fishing, hunting, wildlife observation, and environmental education and interpretation opportunities on the Refuge. The campground would be maintained in its current state. Under Alternative B, we would expand wildlife management and visitor services on the Refuge. We would develop 40 acres of foraging habitat for sandhill cranes and waterfowl. Wildlife surveys and efforts to control invasive plants would be expanded and a new refugium for the Pahranagat roundtail chub would be developed. The visitor contact station would be expanded and a new interpretive kiosk would be developed. In addition, we would make a small reduction in the hunt area to reduce potential conflicts with other refuge uses. The campground would also be maintained, but fees would be charged and the maximum length of stay would be reduced from fourteen to seven days. Under Alternative C, management would be similar to Alternative B, with the following exceptions. We would restore 200 acres of riparian habitat between Upper Pahranagat Lake and Middle Marsh and develop and implement restoration plans for degraded springs on the Refuge. In addition, a new visitor contact station, interpretive walking trail, and photo blind would also be developed. Under this alternative, we would convert the campground to a day use area. Under the preferred alternative, Alternative D, management would be PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39981 similar to Alternative C, except we would seek to acquire additional water rights for the Refuge to provide more flexibility in wetland management. Also, we would restore an additional 5– 10 acres of riparian habitat and expand the surveying and monitoring programs under this alternative. Visitor services would be similar to Alternative C except we would convert the campground to a walk-in day use area. Public Meetings The locations, dates, and times of public meetings will be listed in a planning update distributed to the project mailing list and posted on the Refuge Complex Web site at http:// www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/. Review and Comment Copies of the Draft CCP/EIS may be obtained by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Mark Pelz, CA/ NV Refuge Planning Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W–1832, Sacramento, CA 95825–1846. Copies of the Draft CCP/ EIS may be viewed at this address or at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV 89130. The Draft CCP/EIS will also be available for viewing and downloading online at http:// www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/ publicreview.htm. Comments on the Draft CCP/EIS should be addressed to: Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge Planning, 2800 Cottage Way, W–1832, Sacramento, CA 95825– 1846. Comments may also be faxed to (916) 414–6497 or if you choose to submit comments via electronic mail, visit http://www.desertcomplex.fws.gov and use the ‘‘Guest Mailbox’’ provided at that site. At the end of the review and comment period for this Draft CCP/EIS, comments will be analyzed by the Service and addressed in the Final CCP/EIS. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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: July 2, 2008. Ken McDermond, Acting Regional Director, California and Nevada Region, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. E8–15631 Filed 7–10–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P E:\FR\FM\11JYN1.SGM 11JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 134 (Friday, July 11, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39979-39981]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-15631]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2008-N0064; 80230-1265-0000-S3]


Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Clark, Lincoln, and Nye 
Counties, NV

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental 
Impact Statement (CCP/EIS) for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex for public review and comment. The Desert National Wildlife

[[Page 39980]]

Refuge Complex is composed of Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 
Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge 
and Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. The CCP/EIS, prepared pursuant 
to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
describes how the Service will manage the Refuges for the next 15 
years. Draft compatibility determinations for several existing and 
proposed public uses are also available for review and public comment 
with the Draft CCP/EIS.

DATES: Written comments must be received at the address below on or 
before September 9, 2008.

ADDRESSES: For more information on obtaining documents and submitting 
comments, see ``Review and Comment'' under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. 
For public meeting location see ``Public Meetings.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Martinez, Project Leader, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV 
89130, phone (702) 515-5450 or Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge Planning, 2800 
Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825, phone (916) 414-6504.

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 us 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 initiated the CCP/EIS for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge 
Complex in August 2002. At that time and throughout the process, we 
requested, considered, and incorporated public scoping comments in 
numerous ways. Our public outreach has included a Federal Register 
notice of intent published on August 21, 2002, agency and Tribal 
scoping meetings, five public workshops, planning updates, and a CCP 
Web page. We received over 400 scoping comments during the 60-day 
public comment period.

Background

    Ash Meadows Refuge was established in 1984 under the authority of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. It comprises 23,000 
acres of spring-fed wetlands, mesquite bosques, and desert uplands that 
provide habitat for at least 24 plants and animal species found nowhere 
else in the world. The Refuge is located 90 miles northwest of Las 
Vegas and 30 miles west of Pahrump.
    Desert Refuge was originally established in 1936 by Executive Order 
No. 7373 and subsequently modified by Public Land Order 4079, for the 
protection, enhancement and maintenance of wildlife resources including 
bighorn sheep. Located just north of Las Vegas, Nevada, the 1.6 million 
acre refuge is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48 
states.
    The Moapa Valley Refuge was established September 10, 1979, under 
the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1969, as amended, to 
secure habitat for the endangered Moapa dace. The Refuge is located on 
116 acres in northeastern Clark County. Due to its small size, fragile 
habitats, on-going habitat restoration work, and unsafe structures, the 
Refuge is currently closed to the general public.
    The Pahranagat Refuge was established in 1963, under the authority 
of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, as amended, to protect habitat 
for migrating birds in the Pahranagat Valley. The 5,382-acre refuge 
consists of marshes, meadows, lakes, and upland desert habitat. It 
provides nesting, resting, and feeding areas for waterfowl, shorebirds, 
wading birds, and song birds including the endangered southwestern 
willow flycatcher.

Alternatives

    The Draft CCP/EIS identifies and evaluates three alternatives for 
managing Ash Meadows and Moapa Valley Refuges and four alternatives for 
managing Desert and Pahranagat Refuges for the next 15 years. The 
alternative for each Refuge that appears to best meet the refuge 
purposes is identified as the preferred alternative. The preferred 
alternatives were identified based on the analysis presented in the 
Draft CCP/EIS, which may be modified following the completion of the 
public comment period based on comments received from other agencies, 
Tribal governments, non-governmental organizations, or individuals.

Alternatives for Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

    Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue 
to manage the Refuge as we have in the past. We would implement habitat 
restoration plans that have already been completed. No major changes in 
habitat management would occur. The existing wildlife observation, 
photography, environmental education, and interpretation programs would 
remain unchanged.
    Under Alternative B, we would plan and implement springhead, 
channel, and landscape restoration on about two thirds of the Refuge. 
Surveys and monitoring for special status species would be expanded as 
would efforts to control invasive plants and animals. Environmental 
education, interpretation and wildlife observation opportunities would 
be improved and expanded and a new visitor contact station and 
headquarters facility would be constructed.
    Under the preferred alternative, Alternative C, we would seek to 
restore springheads, channels and floodplains throughout the Refuge. 
Surveys and monitoring, habitat protection, pest management, and 
research would also be substantially expanded. Environmental education, 
interpretation, and wildlife observation programs would be similar to 
but slightly less than Alternative B.

Alternatives for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge

    Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue 
current management for bighorn sheep and other species. We would also 
continue to offer limited opportunities for wildlife observation and 
photography, environmental education, and interpretation at Corn Creek. 
Existing backcountry recreation opportunities would continue to be 
offered including bighorn sheep hunting, hiking, camping, horseback 
riding, and backpacking. In addition, under this and all other 
alternatives, we would design and construct a visitor center and 
administrative offices at Corn Creek and continue to protect the 
wilderness character of the 1.4 million acre proposed Desert 
Wilderness.
    Under Alternative B, wildlife management programs would be similar 
to Alternative A, with minor improvements, including expanded surveys 
for bighorn sheep and installation of post and cable fencing along the 
southern boundary. This

[[Page 39981]]

alternative would also include a substantial expansion in visitor 
services over Alternative A, including a new environmental education 
program, improved roads, a new auto tour route, and new wildlife 
viewing trails.
    Under the preferred alternative, Alternative C, we would expand 
inventory and monitoring for bighorn sheep, special status species, and 
vegetation and wildlife communities throughout the Refuge. Under this 
alternative, we would also use prescribed fire and naturally ignited 
fires in Refuge plant communities where appropriate to restore 
vegetation characteristics representative of a natural fire regime. 
Alternative C would also include fencing along the eastern boundary as 
well as the permanent closure of illegal roads and rehabilitation of 
damaged habitat along the southern and eastern boundaries. Visitor 
services under this alternative would be the same as under Alternative 
B except no auto tour route or wildlife viewing trails would be 
developed.
    Under Alternative D, the wildlife management and inventory and 
monitoring programs would be similar to Alternative C. However, under 
this alternative, visitor services would be scaled back from the other 
alternatives. For example, the visitor center would only be staffed on 
weekends during the off-peak seasons and there would be no road 
improvements on the Refuge.

Alternatives for Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge

    Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue 
to manage the Refuge as we have in the recent past. Springhead and 
channel restoration work and visitor facilities on the Plummer Unit 
would be completed. The limited inventory and monitoring program would 
also continue. However, the Refuge would remain closed to the public, 
except by special arrangement.
    Under Alternative B, wildlife management programs would be similar 
to Alternative A, with minor improvements, including expanded surveys 
for sensitive species and their habitats, and strategies for removing 
nonnative aquatic species. We would also restore native vegetation 
along the springheads and channels on the Pederson Unit. This 
alternative would also include a substantial expansion in visitor 
services over Alternative A, including opening the Refuge on weekends 
and improved visitor facilities.
    Under the preferred alternative, Alternative C, wildlife management 
would be similar to Alternative B but would include increased 
monitoring and the development of a long term inventory and monitoring 
plan for sensitive species. In addition, we would restore the 
springheads and channels and associated native vegetation on the Apcar 
unit. Under Alternative C, we would expand the Refuge acquisition 
boundary by 1,503 acres and pursue acquisition of the lands within the 
boundary to protect habitat for Moapa dace and other sensitive species. 
Under this alternative, the Refuge would be open to visitors every day, 
the environmental education program would be expanded, and additional 
trails would be constructed.

Alternatives for Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

    Under Alternative A, the no action alternative, we would continue 
to manage Pahranagat Refuge as we have in the recent past. The in-
progress hydrology studies would be completed and a wetland habitat 
management plan would be developed and implemented. Riparian habitat 
would be maintained for the southwestern willow flycatcher and other 
migratory birds. Under this alternative, we would maintain the fishing, 
hunting, wildlife observation, and environmental education and 
interpretation opportunities on the Refuge. The campground would be 
maintained in its current state.
    Under Alternative B, we would expand wildlife management and 
visitor services on the Refuge. We would develop 40 acres of foraging 
habitat for sandhill cranes and waterfowl. Wildlife surveys and efforts 
to control invasive plants would be expanded and a new refugium for the 
Pahranagat roundtail chub would be developed. The visitor contact 
station would be expanded and a new interpretive kiosk would be 
developed. In addition, we would make a small reduction in the hunt 
area to reduce potential conflicts with other refuge uses. The 
campground would also be maintained, but fees would be charged and the 
maximum length of stay would be reduced from fourteen to seven days.
    Under Alternative C, management would be similar to Alternative B, 
with the following exceptions. We would restore 200 acres of riparian 
habitat between Upper Pahranagat Lake and Middle Marsh and develop and 
implement restoration plans for degraded springs on the Refuge. In 
addition, a new visitor contact station, interpretive walking trail, 
and photo blind would also be developed. Under this alternative, we 
would convert the campground to a day use area.
    Under the preferred alternative, Alternative D, management would be 
similar to Alternative C, except we would seek to acquire additional 
water rights for the Refuge to provide more flexibility in wetland 
management. Also, we would restore an additional 5-10 acres of riparian 
habitat and expand the surveying and monitoring programs under this 
alternative. Visitor services would be similar to Alternative C except 
we would convert the campground to a walk-in day use area.

Public Meetings

    The locations, dates, and times of public meetings will be listed 
in a planning update distributed to the project mailing list and posted 
on the Refuge Complex Web site at http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/.

Review and Comment

    Copies of the Draft CCP/EIS may be obtained by writing to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Mark Pelz, CA/NV Refuge Planning 
Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825-1846. Copies of 
the Draft CCP/EIS may be viewed at this address or at the Desert 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 4701 North Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, 
NV 89130. The Draft CCP/EIS will also be available for viewing and 
downloading online at http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/
publicreview.htm.
    Comments on the Draft CCP/EIS should be addressed to: Mark Pelz, 
Chief, Refuge Planning, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825-
1846. Comments may also be faxed to (916) 414-6497 or if you choose to 
submit comments via electronic mail, visit http://desertcomplex.fws.gov 
and use the ``Guest Mailbox'' provided at that site.
    At the end of the review and comment period for this Draft CCP/EIS, 
comments will be analyzed by the Service and addressed in the Final 
CCP/EIS. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail 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: July 2, 2008.
Ken McDermond,
Acting Regional Director, California and Nevada Region, Sacramento, 
California.
 [FR Doc. E8-15631 Filed 7-10-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P