Limiting Mountain Lion Predation on Desert Bighorn Sheep on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma and La Paz Counties, AZ, 38667-38668 [E9-18285]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 148 / Tuesday, August 4, 2009 / Notices Procedural DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG–2009–0714] National Maritime Security Advisory Committee; Meeting Coast Guard, DHS. ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) will conduct a meeting by teleconference on August 24, 2009. This teleconference will be open to the public. The Committee will meet on August 24, 2009 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This meeting may close early if all business is finished. Written material and requests to make oral presentations should reach the Coast Guard on or before August 17, 2009. Requests to have a copy of your material distributed to each member of the committee or subcommittee should reach the Coast Guard on or before August 17, 2009. ADDRESSES: The NMSAC teleconference calls will be hosted in room 6228, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 2100 Second St., SW., Washington, DC 20593. Public participation is limited to monitoring the teleconference only, except at the time allotted by the chairperson for public comment; special note, the number of teleconference lines is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For call-in information or to send written material and requests to make oral presentations contact Mr. Ryan Owens, Executive Secretary of NMSAC, at ryan.f.owens@uscg.mil, Commandant (CG–5441), ATTN NMSAC DFO/EA, U.S. Coast Guard, 2100 2nd St., SW., STOP 7581, Washington, DC 20593– 7581. This notice is available in our online docket, USCG–2009–0714, at http://dms.dot.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan F. Owens Executive Secretary of NMSAC at 202–372–1108. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. (Pub. L. 92–463). mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES DATES: Agenda of Meeting The agenda for the August 24 Committee meeting is as follows: (1) Maritime Information Sharing Taskforce Briefing (2) Discussion of a Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC) Tasking for the Committee VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:07 Aug 03, 2009 Jkt 217001 This meeting is open to the public. Please note that the meeting may close early if all business is finished. At the Chair’s discretion, members of the public may make oral presentations during the meeting. If you would like to make an oral presentation at a meeting, please notify the Executive Secretary no later than August 17. Written material for distribution at a meeting should reach the Coast Guard no later than August 17. If you would like a copy of your material distributed to each member of the committee or subcommittee in advance of a meeting, please submit 25 copies to the Executive Secretary no later than August 17. Information on Services for Individuals With Disabilities For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the meeting, contact the Executive Secretary as soon as possible. Dated: 28 July, 2009. Ryan F. Owens, Acting Designated Federal Official, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Port and Facility Activities. [FR Doc. E9–18511 Filed 8–3–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–R–2009–N0073; 22570–1261– 0000–V3] Limiting Mountain Lion Predation on Desert Bighorn Sheep on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma and La Paz Counties, AZ AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability of draft environmental assessment; request for comments. SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce that our draft environmental assessment (EA) for limiting mountain lion (Puma concolor) predation on desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana) on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is available. The Refuge is located in southwest Arizona. The draft EA describes alternatives, including a proposed action alternative, that address how we intend to manage mountain lion predation to help achieve bighorn sheep population objectives. DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments on PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38667 the draft EA 60 days from date of publication. ADDRESSES: Please provide written comments to the Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge Complex, by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 9300 East 28th Street, Yuma, AZ 85365; via facsimile at 928–783– 8611; or electronically to KofaLionComments@fws.gov. You may obtain a copy of the draft EA by writing to the address above, or by download from http://www.fws.gov/southwest/ refuges/arizona/kofa. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jose Viramontes, 505–248–6455 (phone); 505–248–6915 (fax); or Jose_Viramontes@fws.gov (e-mail). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Refuge contains a major portion of the largest contiguous habitat for desert bighorn sheep in southwestern Arizona and historically has been home to a population averaging 760 bighorns. The Refuge has served as the primary source of bighorn sheep for translocations to reestablish and supplement extirpated or declining populations throughout southern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Population estimates from systematic aerial surveys indicate that a 50-percent decline in the Refuge sheep population occurred during the period 2000–2008. In response to this decline, the Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) have conducted an analysis of the probable causes of the decline and are currently implementing a strategic management program intended to lead to the recovery of this important wildlife resource. Several studies and monitoring projects have been initiated or enhanced. Some of the more important aspects of this broad program include more frequent bighorn population surveys, monitoring and maintaining water availability, assessing body condition and disease in the bighorn population, monitoring disturbance attributable to human recreation, and monitoring the extent of predation and its impacts on the population. Many of the elements in this management program have been addressed through prior planning documents and require little additional review. Others, such as the proposed lethal control of mountain lions, have not been previously addressed and E:\FR\FM\04AUN1.SGM 04AUN1 38668 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 148 / Tuesday, August 4, 2009 / Notices mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES therefore require National Environmental Policy Act analysis and public review. Draft Environmental Assessment This draft EA identifies and evaluates three alternatives for managing mountain lion predation on desert bighorn sheep on the Refuge. Alternative A: Under this alternative, the Refuge would continue to be managed as it has been in the past. We currently have no plan to guide the management of mountain lions. Current management efforts, described in the Refuge’s general management plan, focus on maintaining critical wildlife water sources for bighorn sheep, and, in coordination with the AZGFD, monitoring desert bighorn sheep numbers, and considering desert bighorn sheep transplants to augment populations elsewhere. Research on wildlife and wildlife water sources would continue. We would not take action to prevent mountain lion predation on desert bighorn sheep within the Refuge boundaries under this alternative. Alternative B: This is the our proposed action, which would allow the option of removing specific, individually identified offending mountain lions, through translocation or lethal removal, from the Refuge under certain circumstances, in order to recover and maintain an optimal population of desert bighorn sheep. The proposed action has several components. We would trap mountain lions and fit them with tracking devices to monitor their activities. When the Refuge bighorn sheep population estimate is below 600 animals, active mountain lion removal would occur. Active mountain lion control is the removal of mountain lions found to kill two or more bighorn sheep within a 6month period. The Service, or its agents, would carry out the lethal removal or translocation. However, when the Refuge bighorn sheep population estimate is between 600 and 800 animals, active mountain lion control may or may not be employed based on the totality of the circumstances at the time. In order to meet the bighorn sheep population objectives while minimizing the necessary impacts to mountain lions, some flexibility is desired. Decisions regarding whether active mountain lion control is necessary will be based on an adaptive management approach and based on the following factors: The current sheep population estimate; the current sheep population trend; bighorn sheep lamb survival and recruitment; the estimate of the number of mountain lions currently using the VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:07 Aug 03, 2009 Jkt 217001 Refuge; current and forecasted habitat conditions; and available funding and manpower. When the Refuge bighorn sheep population estimate is at or above 800 animals, active mountain lion control would not occur, although mountain lions on the Refuge would continue to be captured and fitted with tracking devices to aid in continuing research. Alternative C: Under this alternative, there would be no attempts to radio collar and distinguish which mountain lions are preying on bighorn sheep. Mountain lions would be lethally removed or translocated at a rate of approximately 2 mountain lions per year from the area until the sheep population reaches an estimated 800 animals and has exhibited an increasing trend based on at least 3 sheep population surveys. Mountain lion removals would resume if the Refuge bighorn sheep population was found to again go below 800 animals. Additional Refuge Information Additional information on the history of the Refuge and its purpose, goals, objectives, and management strategies can be found in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge & Wilderness and New Water Mountains Wilderness Interagency Management Plan and Environmental Assessment: EA–AZ– 055–95–105, October 1996. Pertinent information can also be found in the April 2007 report titled Investigative Report and Recommendations for the Kofa Bighorn Sheep Herd, prepared jointly by the Service and the AZGFD. Both documents, along with other detailed information, are available at the following Web site: http://www.fws.gov/ southwest/refuges/arizona/kofa. 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. Authorities The Environmental Review of this project will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; Executive Order PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12996; the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies and procedures for compliance with those laws and regulations. Dated: April 3, 2009. Benjamin N. Tuggle, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico. [FR Doc. E9–18285 Filed 8–3–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–R–2008–N0292; 80230–1265– 0000–S3] Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Klamath County, OR 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/Environmental Assessment (CCP/EA) for the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge for public review and comment. The CCP/ EA, 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 Refuge 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/EA. DATES: Written comments must be received at the address below on or before Friday, September 18, 2009. 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: Mark Pelz, Chief, Refuge Planning, 2800 Cottage Way, W–1832, Sacramento, CA 95825, phone (916) 414–6500. 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 E:\FR\FM\04AUN1.SGM 04AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 148 (Tuesday, August 4, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38667-38668]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-18285]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-R-2009-N0073; 22570-1261-0000-V3]


Limiting Mountain Lion Predation on Desert Bighorn Sheep on Kofa 
National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma and La Paz Counties, AZ

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of draft environmental assessment; 
request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 
that our draft environmental assessment (EA) for limiting mountain lion 
(Puma concolor) predation on desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis 
mexicana) on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is available. 
The Refuge is located in southwest Arizona. The draft EA describes 
alternatives, including a proposed action alternative, that address how 
we intend to manage mountain lion predation to help achieve bighorn 
sheep population objectives.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments 
on the draft EA 60 days from date of publication.

ADDRESSES: Please provide written comments to the Southwest Arizona 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex, by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 9300 East 28th Street, Yuma, AZ 85365; via facsimile 
at 928-783-8611; or electronically to KofaLionComments@fws.gov. You may 
obtain a copy of the draft EA by writing to the address above, or by 
download from http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/kofa.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jose Viramontes, 505-248-6455 (phone); 
505-248-6915 (fax); or Jose_Viramontes@fws.gov (e-mail). If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339, 24 hours a day, 7 
days a week.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Refuge contains a major portion of the largest contiguous 
habitat for desert bighorn sheep in southwestern Arizona and 
historically has been home to a population averaging 760 bighorns. The 
Refuge has served as the primary source of bighorn sheep for 
translocations to reestablish and supplement extirpated or declining 
populations throughout southern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and 
Colorado. Population estimates from systematic aerial surveys indicate 
that a 50-percent decline in the Refuge sheep population occurred 
during the period 2000-2008.
    In response to this decline, the Service and the Arizona Game and 
Fish Department (AZGFD) have conducted an analysis of the probable 
causes of the decline and are currently implementing a strategic 
management program intended to lead to the recovery of this important 
wildlife resource. Several studies and monitoring projects have been 
initiated or enhanced. Some of the more important aspects of this broad 
program include more frequent bighorn population surveys, monitoring 
and maintaining water availability, assessing body condition and 
disease in the bighorn population, monitoring disturbance attributable 
to human recreation, and monitoring the extent of predation and its 
impacts on the population. Many of the elements in this management 
program have been addressed through prior planning documents and 
require little additional review. Others, such as the proposed lethal 
control of mountain lions, have not been previously addressed and

[[Page 38668]]

therefore require National Environmental Policy Act analysis and public 
review.

Draft Environmental Assessment

    This draft EA identifies and evaluates three alternatives for 
managing mountain lion predation on desert bighorn sheep on the Refuge.
    Alternative A: Under this alternative, the Refuge would continue to 
be managed as it has been in the past. We currently have no plan to 
guide the management of mountain lions. Current management efforts, 
described in the Refuge's general management plan, focus on maintaining 
critical wildlife water sources for bighorn sheep, and, in coordination 
with the AZGFD, monitoring desert bighorn sheep numbers, and 
considering desert bighorn sheep transplants to augment populations 
elsewhere. Research on wildlife and wildlife water sources would 
continue. We would not take action to prevent mountain lion predation 
on desert bighorn sheep within the Refuge boundaries under this 
alternative.
    Alternative B: This is the our proposed action, which would allow 
the option of removing specific, individually identified offending 
mountain lions, through translocation or lethal removal, from the 
Refuge under certain circumstances, in order to recover and maintain an 
optimal population of desert bighorn sheep. The proposed action has 
several components. We would trap mountain lions and fit them with 
tracking devices to monitor their activities. When the Refuge bighorn 
sheep population estimate is below 600 animals, active mountain lion 
removal would occur. Active mountain lion control is the removal of 
mountain lions found to kill two or more bighorn sheep within a 6-month 
period. The Service, or its agents, would carry out the lethal removal 
or translocation. However, when the Refuge bighorn sheep population 
estimate is between 600 and 800 animals, active mountain lion control 
may or may not be employed based on the totality of the circumstances 
at the time. In order to meet the bighorn sheep population objectives 
while minimizing the necessary impacts to mountain lions, some 
flexibility is desired. Decisions regarding whether active mountain 
lion control is necessary will be based on an adaptive management 
approach and based on the following factors: The current sheep 
population estimate; the current sheep population trend; bighorn sheep 
lamb survival and recruitment; the estimate of the number of mountain 
lions currently using the Refuge; current and forecasted habitat 
conditions; and available funding and manpower. When the Refuge bighorn 
sheep population estimate is at or above 800 animals, active mountain 
lion control would not occur, although mountain lions on the Refuge 
would continue to be captured and fitted with tracking devices to aid 
in continuing research.
    Alternative C: Under this alternative, there would be no attempts 
to radio collar and distinguish which mountain lions are preying on 
bighorn sheep. Mountain lions would be lethally removed or translocated 
at a rate of approximately 2 mountain lions per year from the area 
until the sheep population reaches an estimated 800 animals and has 
exhibited an increasing trend based on at least 3 sheep population 
surveys. Mountain lion removals would resume if the Refuge bighorn 
sheep population was found to again go below 800 animals.

Additional Refuge Information

    Additional information on the history of the Refuge and its 
purpose, goals, objectives, and management strategies can be found in 
the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge & Wilderness and New Water Mountains 
Wilderness Interagency Management Plan and Environmental Assessment: 
EA-AZ-055-95-105, October 1996. Pertinent information can also be found 
in the April 2007 report titled Investigative Report and 
Recommendations for the Kofa Bighorn Sheep Herd, prepared jointly by 
the Service and the AZGFD. Both documents, along with other detailed 
information, are available at the following Web site: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/kofa.

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.

Authorities

    The Environmental Review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); NEPA 
Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws 
and regulations; Executive Order 12996; the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997; and Service policies and procedures for 
compliance with those laws and regulations.

    Dated: April 3, 2009.
Benjamin N. Tuggle,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New 
Mexico.
[FR Doc. E9-18285 Filed 8-3-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P