Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Canyon, Payette, Owyhee, and Washington Counties, ID, and Malheur County, OR; Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, 16523-16526 [2013-05902]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 51 / Friday, March 15, 2013 / Notices Reasons: Secured Area Texas 2.747 Acres Joint Base San Antonio Ft. Sam Houston TX Landholding Agency: Air Force Property Number: 18201310031 Status: Unutilized Comments: w/in secured area; public access denied & no alternative method to gain access w/out compromising nat’l security Reasons: Secured Area [FR Doc. 2013–05672 Filed 3–14–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR [NPS–WASO–CONC–12542; PPMVSCS1Y.Y00000; PPWOBSADC0] Notice of Public Meeting: Concessions Management Advisory Board National Park Service, Interior. Notice of cancellation of public meeting of the Concessions Management Advisory Board. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: On February 14, 2013, the National Park Service announced that a public meeting of the Concessions Management Advisory Board would be held March 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. This meeting has been cancelled. A future meeting date for this Board may be scheduled and would be announced in the Federal Register. DATES: The public meeting previously scheduled for March 20 is cancelled. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Deborah Harvey, Acting Chief, National Park Service, Commercial Services Program, 1201 Eye Street NW., Washington, DC 20005, Telephone: 202–513–7156. advise the public of the availability of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Service Contract Inventory and the FY 2011 Service Contract Inventory Report, in accordance with Section 743 of Division C of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111–117). The inventory provides information on service contract actions over $25,000 that the Department made in FY 2012. The information is organized by function to show how contracted resources are distributed throughout the Department. The Department’s analysis of its FY 2011 Service Contract inventory is summarized in the FY 2011 Service Contract Inventory report. The 2012 inventory and 2011 report were developed in accordance with guidance issued on December 19, 2011 and November 5, 2010, by the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). OFPP’s guidance is available at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ omb/procurement/memo/servicecontract-inventories-guidance11052010.pdf. The Department of the Interior has posted its FY 2012 Service Contract Inventory and a summary of the 2011 inventory on the Department of the Interior homepage at the following link: http://www.doi.gov/pam/servicecontract-inventory-report.cfm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions regarding the service contract inventory should be directed to Brigitte Meffert in the Office of Acquisition and Property Management at 202–513–0669 or brigitte_meffert@ios.doi.gov. conservation plan and environmental impact statement (Draft CCP/EIS) for the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR) for public review and comment. In these documents, we describe alternatives, including our preferred alternative, for managing the Refuge for 15 years following approval of the final CCP. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by May 16, 2013. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more information by any of the following methods. You may request hard copies or a CD–ROM of the documents. Email: deerflat@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Deer Flat Refuge draft CCP/EIS’’ in the subject line of the message. Fax: Attn: Jennifer Brown-Scott, Refuge Manager, 208–467–1019. U.S. Mail: Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, 13751 Upper Embankment Road, Nampa, ID 83686 In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Call 208–467–9278 to make an appointment (necessary for viewing/ pickup only) during regular business hours at the above address. For more information on locations for viewing or obtaining documents, see Public Availability of Documents under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Brown-Scott, Refuge Manager, 208–467–9278. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pamela K. Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary—Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition. With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Deer Flat NWR. We started this process through a notice published in the Federal Register on July 15, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 135). We now announce the availability of the Draft CCP/EIS, prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as amended, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as well as other legal mandates and our policies. Habitat management activities proposed in the Draft CCP/EIS include improving the conditions of wetland, riparian, mudflat, and shrub-steppe habitats, with emphasis on reducing invasive species and reducing disturbance to wildlife and habitats from public use activities through nowake zones and targeted seasonal closures. Public-use management actions proposed in the Draft CCP/EIS include expanding and improving trails, signs, and visitor contact facilities for wildlife observation and photography; improving shoreline access for anglers; Dated: March 11, 2013. Lena McDowall, Associate Director, Business Services. [FR Doc. 2013–05964 Filed 3–14–13; 8:45 am] [FR Doc. 2013–06041 Filed 3–14–13; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BILLING CODE 4310–RF–M BILLING CODE 4312–53–P Fish and Wildlife Service DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR [FWS–R1–R–2012–N104; 1265–0000–10137– S3] Office of the Secretary Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Canyon, Payette, Owyhee, and Washington Counties, ID, and Malheur County, OR; Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Public Availability of Department of the Interior FY 2012 Service Contract Inventory and FY 2011 Service Contract Inventory Report Office of Acquisition and Property Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Public Availability of FY 2012 Service Contract Inventory and the FY 2011 Service Contract Inventory Report. AGENCY: The Department of the Interior is publishing this notice to SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<14>2013 17:37 Mar 14, 2013 Jkt 229001 16523 Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft comprehensive PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Introduction E:\FR\FM\15MRN1.SGM 15MRN1 16524 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 51 / Friday, March 15, 2013 / Notices continuing fishing and hunting coordination with the States; improving information available to all visitors; and reducing illegal activities. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Background 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 (Refuge System) that is consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and Refuge System 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. Deer Flat NWR encompasses approximately 11,000 acres, primarily in southwest Idaho, but includes a small portion within eastern Oregon. The Refuge was established for the following purpose: ‘‘as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife’’ Executive Order 7655, dated July 12, 1937. Additional Refuge lands were acquired, for one or more of the following purposes: ‘‘* * * 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; and ‘‘* * * 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). The Refuge provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including nesting western and Clark’s grebes, bald eagles, great blue and blackcrowned night herons, Canada geese, VerDate Mar<14>2013 17:37 Mar 14, 2013 Jkt 229001 and osprey; feeding habitat for a variety of shorebirds including Wilson’s phalarope, long-billed curlew, longbilled dowitcher, and black-necked stilt; and habitats used during migration for a variety of raptors and passerines. Lake Lowell is the most prominent landscape feature, encompassing nearly 9,000 acres. The open water, emergent beds, mudflats, and riparian-emergent interface produced by the lake are important for many types of wildlife. The upland and riparian habitats on the 104 islands that comprise the Snake River Islands Unit make them important to migrants along the river corridor. In addition to fulfilling the purposes for which the Refuge was established, the Draft CCP/EIS also provides scientifically-grounded guidance for improving the Refuge’s shrub-steppe, riparian, wetland, mudflat, and open water habitats to facilitate long-term conservation of native plants, animals, and migratory birds while providing compatible high-quality public-use programs for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. The Draft CCP/EIS identifies actions to protect and sustain the Refuge’s nesting waterbirds, the migratory shorebird populations, and wildlife and habitat diversity. CCP Alternatives We Are Considering The Service identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing Deer Flat NWR for the next 15 years, including a No-Action Alternative (Alternative 1). Brief descriptions of the alternatives follow. Alternative 1 (Status Quo, No-Action Alternative) Alternative 1 is the no-action alternative required by NEPA. Wildlife and habitat and public use management would continue at current levels as described below. Management of wildlife and habitat on the Lake Lowell Unit would continue to involve basic population monitoring activities, invasive species control, and limited restoration. Invasive plant control would be conducted by one staff member and volunteers using mechanical, chemical, and biological controls. A no-wake zone would continue to the southeast of Parking Lot 1 and the entire lake would close for winter migration from October 1 to April 14 each year. No other on-water protection would be provided for wildlife. The emergent vegetation along the shoreline of Lake Lowell, which provides erosion control, nesting habitat for grebes and other birds, foraging habitat for PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 waterfowl and wading birds, as well as forage, nesting and brood rearing habitat for numerous fisheries, would remain unprotected. Compatible existing public uses would continue and include the six priority wildlife-dependent recreational uses of the NWRS—hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation as well as nonwildlifedependent activities such as horseback riding, biking, jogging, motorized boating, use of personal watercraft, water skiing, picnicking, and swimming. Under Alternative 1, there are few actions that would alter when, where, or how public uses are allowed to occur within the Refuge. Nearly the entire Refuge would continue to be available for on-trail public recreation, including wildlife observation, photography, jogging, bicycling, onleash dog walking, and horseback riding. No additional trail or lake access would be provided. Upland and waterfowl hunting would continue to be allowed between Parking Lots 1 and 8, and from the east boundary of Gotts Point to the east boundary of the Leavitt Tract. A youth waterfowl hunt would continue to be hosted in current waterfowl hunt zones. Gotts Point would remain closed to vehicular traffic and limited bank fishing opportunities would exist around the lake. Lake users would continue to participate in numerous surface water recreational activities. The lake would open to boating on April 15 and close on September 30. The current no-wake zone, from Parking Lot 1 east, would remain in place. Environmental education would continue to be conducted for on- and off-site programs. Public contact with Deer Flat NWR staff would remain limited and intermittent due to the small number of Refuge employees. Opportunities for visitors to obtain additional information while visiting the Refuge would remain largely dependent on kiosks, brochures, and the availability of volunteers. Management of wildlife and habitats on the Snake River Islands Unit would continue to involve basic population monitoring activities. Because of the logistical difficulties and small staff, limited invasive species control and/or restoration efforts would be conducted on the Snake River islands. Existing public uses on the islands would continue and include wildlife observation and deer, upland, and waterfowl hunting. The Snake River Islands are open from June 1 to January 31 for off-trail, free-roam activities, including shoreline fishing. E:\FR\FM\15MRN1.SGM 15MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 51 / Friday, March 15, 2013 / Notices srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Alternative 2 (Service Preferred) Alternative 2 would emphasize connecting urban families to nature by providing access to new facilities and programs for a wide range of compatible wildlife-dependent and nonwildlifedependent recreational activities. Activities would be managed differently than in the status quo alternative to protect wildlife, reduce conflicts between users, and increase safety. Under the Preferred Alternative, fishing access would be promoted and wildlife interpretation would be emphasized and integrated into all visitor activities to increase awareness and understanding of Refuge resources. Under Alternative 2, the Service would protect and enhance habitat throughout the Refuge. We would protect Lake Lowell’s shoreline feeding and nesting sites through no-wake zones and seasonal closures. Emphasis would be placed on developing interpretive programs that increase visitors’ awareness of the Refuge’s purposes and goals, and encourage conservation-oriented activities. Gotts Point would be opened to vehicular traffic upon completion of a cooperative agreement with Canyon County, for increased law enforcement presence. The Preferred Alternative provides protections and enhancements for wildlife not found in the status quo alternative, while still allowing almost all upland and on-water recreational opportunities currently occurring at the Refuge. In order to provide needed protections for lake-dependent wildlife, management of Lake Lowell under Alternative 2 would include a 200-yard no-wake zone along the south side of the lake between Parking Lots 1 and 8, continuation of the wintering closure from October 1 to April 14 each year, no-wake zones in the Narrows, and an expansion of the no-wake zone in the southeast end to include Gotts Point. Motorized boats would be allowed in the no-wake zones; however, boaters would be allowed to travel at speeds that do not create a wake (generally 5 mph or slower). The Preferred Alternative would also create seasonally closed areas to protect migratory bird species’ habitats, such as heron rookeries, eagle nests, and grebe nesting colonies. An increase in habitat enhancement through more intensive and targeted invasive species removal and vegetation manipulation is proposed. Increases in wildlife and habitat research and assessments would be focused on providing a strong scientific base for future management decisions. VerDate Mar<14>2013 17:37 Mar 14, 2013 Jkt 229001 Alternative 2 would provide access for a wide range of compatible outdoor recreational activities while putting in place measures (e.g., no-wake zones and seasonal closures) to protect wildlife. Fishing and interpretation would be emphasized to serve a growing urban and diverse population. Public use opportunities would connect people with nature to increase awareness of wildlife conservation. Under the Preferred Alternative, Refuge staff would emphasize management of the Snake River Islands by increasing wildlife inventory and monitoring efforts and increasing invasive species control (following the Integrated Pest Management Plan) and restoration efforts. Islands management would be prioritized using several factors and managed accordingly. Island closure dates would be adjusted to better protect nesting geese, wading birds, and gulls and terns. An array of management techniques may be used, including prescribed fire and aerial application of herbicide and/or seed. Compatible existing public uses would continue on the Snake River Islands Unit, including wildlife observation, deer hunting, and hunting for upland species and waterfowl on over 1,200 acres. Most of the Snake River Islands Unit would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities, including shoreline fishing, from June 15 to January 31. Heron and gull-nesting islands (4–6 islands) would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities from July 1 to January 31. Alternative 3 Alternative 3 would provide additional protection for wildlife not found in the status quo alternative or Alternative 2 while allowing most surface-water recreational activities currently occurring and some of the current upland uses. To provide additional protections for lake-dependent wildlife, emergent plant beds in Murphy’s Neck and from Parking Lot 3 to 8 would be closed to human activity all year. The entire lake would be closed seasonally to protect wintering and migrating birds. All active and historic grebe nesting colony areas would be closed to public use by establishing a 500-yard closure during boating season. There would be a 100yard seasonal closure to protect shorebird habitat along the shoreline from Murphy’s Neck to the Narrows. A 200-yard closed area and a 200-yard nowake zone would protect emergent beds and wildlife on the south side of the west pool. An increase in habitat enhancement through invasive species removal and vegetation manipulation is PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16525 proposed. Increases in wildlife and habitat research and assessments would be focused on providing a strong scientific base for future management decisions. Under Alternative 3, the lake would be open to use from April 15 to September 20 with only no-wake activities allowed in the east pool and wake-causing activities allowed from noon to one hour before sunset in the west pool. To improve the quality of both upland and waterfowl hunting, upland game bird hunting would be allowed only on the east end of the Refuge from the west boundary of the Leavitt Tract to the entrance at Greenhurst Road. A controlled waterfowl hunt (e.g., permit system or sign in/out) would be allowed only on the south side of the lake between Parking Lots 3 and 8 with a 25-shotgunshell limit. Other wildlife-dependent activities would be allowed concurrent with the upland hunt and on the proposed boardwalk between Parking Lots 3 and 8. However, all trails in the waterfowl hunt area would be closed to the non-hunting public from Parking Lots 3 through 8. The boating season would end on September 20 in order to increase the quality of the youth hunt and reduce the possibility of unsafe hunter/boater interactions. The Refuge would not be open to some activities including horseback riding and dog walking. Bicycling would be allowed on the trail adjacent to the entrance road. Refuge staff would emphasize management of the Snake River Islands by increasing wildlife inventory and monitoring efforts and increasing invasive species control (following the Integrated Pest Management Plan) and restoration efforts. Islands management would be prioritized using several factors and managed accordingly. Island closure dates would be adjusted to better protect nesting geese, wading birds, and gulls and terns. An array of management techniques may be used including prescribed fire and aerial application of herbicide and/or seed. Existing public uses would continue on the Snake River Islands and include wildlife observation and deer, upland, and waterfowl hunting on 1,219 acres. Most of the Snake River Islands Unit would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities, including shoreline fishing, from June 15 to January 31. Heron and gull-nesting islands (4–6 islands) would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities from July 1 to January 31. Overall, Alternative 3 attempts to increase the quality of compatible wildlife-dependent recreation by eliminating horseback riding and dog walking and segregating high-speed E:\FR\FM\15MRN1.SGM 15MRN1 16526 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 51 / Friday, March 15, 2013 / Notices srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES boating from wildlife-dependent users. However, a drawback of the no-wake zone changes would be to increase the amount of time it would take wildlifedependent users to reach high-quality wildlife areas. Alternative 4 Alternative 4 is the most protective alternative providing wildlife restrictions not found in Alternatives 1– 3. To reduce disturbance to feeding and resting wildlife, only boating at no-wake speeds would be allowed on Lake Lowell. All emergent beds and the southeast end of the lake would be closed to public use to protect nesting and feeding waterbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. The entire lake would continue to be closed for wintering and migrating birds from October 1 to April 14 each year. An increase in habitat enhancement through invasive species removal and vegetation manipulation is proposed. Increases in wildlife and habitat research and assessments would be focused on providing a strong scientific base for future management decisions. Under Alternative 4, there are numerous actions which would alter when, where, and how public uses would be allowed on the Lake Lowell Unit. Boating would be allowed at nowake speeds on all areas of the lake open to the public from April 15 to September 30. Several portions of the Refuge would be closed to all public activity. The Refuge would not be open to nonwildlife-dependent activities including horseback riding, dog walking, or bicycling. Alternative 4 includes several elements to protect wildlife and enhance the Refuge recreational experience. To minimize conflicts with and improve the quality of the waterfowl hunt program, upland game hunting would no longer be allowed at the Lake Lowell Unit. Waterfowl hunting would be allowed on the south side of the Lake Lowell Unit from Parking Lots 1–8 with a 25-shotgunshell limit. Refuge staff would emphasize management of the Snake River Islands by increasing wildlife inventory and monitoring efforts and increasing invasive species control (following the Integrated Pest Management Plan) and restoration efforts. Island management would be prioritized using several factors and managed accordingly. Island closure dates would be adjusted to better protect nesting geese, wading birds, and gulls and terns. An array of management techniques may be used including prescribed fire and aerial application of herbicide and/or seed. VerDate Mar<14>2013 17:37 Mar 14, 2013 Jkt 229001 Existing public uses would continue on the Snake River Islands and include wildlife observation and deer, upland and waterfowl hunting on 1,219 acres. Most of the Snake River Islands Unit would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities, including shoreline fishing, from June 15 to January 31. Heron and gull-nesting islands (4–6 islands) would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities from July 1 to January 31. Public Availability of Documents In addition to methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain documents at the following locations. Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/ deerflat/refugeplanning.html. Caldwell Public Library, 1010 Dearborn St., Caldwell, ID 83605 Homedale Public Library, 125 W Owyhee Ave, Homedale, ID 83628 Lizard Butte District Library, 111 3rd Ave W, Marsing, ID 83639 Nampa Public Library, 101 11th Ave S, Nampa, ID 83651 Payette Public Library, 24 S 10th St., Payette, ID 83661 Ada County District Library, 10664 W Victory Rd, Boise, ID 83709 Submitting Comments Public comments are requested, considered, and incorporated throughout the planning process; please see DATES for due dates. Comments on the Draft CCP/EIS will be analyzed by the Service and addressed in final planning documents. 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: February 7, 2013. Richard R. Hannan, Acting Regional Director, Pacific Region, Portland, Oregon. [FR Doc. 2013–05902 Filed 3–14–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R6–ES–2012–N255; FXES11130600000–134–FF06E00000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Pallid Sturgeon Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of a draft revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus). This species is federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft revised plan. DATES: Comments on the draft revised recovery plan must be received on or before May 14, 2013. ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft revised recovery plan are available by request from the Northern Rockies Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2900 4th Avenue North, Room 301, Billings, MT 59101; telephone 406–247–7365. Submit comments on the draft recovery plan to the Project Leader at this same address. An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is available at http://www.fws.gov/ endangered/species/recoveryplans.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Project Leader, at the above address, or telephone 406–247–7365. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point where it is again a secure, selfsustaining member of its ecosystem is a primary goal of the Service’s endangered species program. To help guide the recovery effort, the Service prepares recovery plans for the federally listed species native to the United States where a plan will promote the conservation of the species. Recovery plans describe site-specific actions necessary for the conservation of the species, establish objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would result in a determination that the species no longer needs the protection of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and provide estimates of the time and cost for implementing the needed recovery measures. E:\FR\FM\15MRN1.SGM 15MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 51 (Friday, March 15, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16523-16526]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05902]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2012-N104; 1265-0000-10137-S3]


Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Canyon, Payette, Owyhee, and 
Washington Counties, ID, and Malheur County, OR; Draft Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

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 and 
environmental impact statement (Draft CCP/EIS) for the Deer Flat 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR) for public review and comment. 
In these documents, we describe alternatives, including our preferred 
alternative, for managing the Refuge for 15 years following approval of 
the final CCP.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
May 16, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments or requests for copies or more 
information by any of the following methods. You may request hard 
copies or a CD-ROM of the documents.
    Email: deerflat@fws.gov. Include ``Deer Flat Refuge draft CCP/EIS'' 
in the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Jennifer Brown-Scott, Refuge Manager, 208-467-1019.
    U.S. Mail: Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, 13751 Upper 
Embankment Road, Nampa, ID 83686
    In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Call 208-467-9278 to make 
an appointment (necessary for viewing/pickup only) during regular 
business hours at the above address. For more information on locations 
for viewing or obtaining documents, see Public Availability of 
Documents under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Brown-Scott, Refuge Manager, 
208-467-9278.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for Deer Flat NWR. We 
started this process through a notice published in the Federal Register 
on July 15, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 135). We now announce the 
availability of the Draft CCP/EIS, prepared pursuant to the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as amended, and the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as well as other legal 
mandates and our policies.
    Habitat management activities proposed in the Draft CCP/EIS include 
improving the conditions of wetland, riparian, mudflat, and shrub-
steppe habitats, with emphasis on reducing invasive species and 
reducing disturbance to wildlife and habitats from public use 
activities through no-wake zones and targeted seasonal closures.
    Public-use management actions proposed in the Draft CCP/EIS include 
expanding and improving trails, signs, and visitor contact facilities 
for wildlife observation and photography; improving shoreline access 
for anglers;

[[Page 16524]]

continuing fishing and hunting coordination with the States; improving 
information available to all visitors; and reducing illegal activities.

Background

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 (Refuge System) that is consistent with 
sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal 
mandates, and Refuge System 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.
    Deer Flat NWR encompasses approximately 11,000 acres, primarily in 
southwest Idaho, but includes a small portion within eastern Oregon. 
The Refuge was established for the following purpose: ``as a refuge and 
breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife'' Executive 
Order 7655, dated July 12, 1937. Additional Refuge lands were acquired, 
for one or more of the following purposes: ``* * * 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; and ``* * * 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).
    The Refuge provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife, 
including nesting western and Clark's grebes, bald eagles, great blue 
and black-crowned night herons, Canada geese, and osprey; feeding 
habitat for a variety of shorebirds including Wilson's phalarope, long-
billed curlew, long-billed dowitcher, and black-necked stilt; and 
habitats used during migration for a variety of raptors and passerines. 
Lake Lowell is the most prominent landscape feature, encompassing 
nearly 9,000 acres. The open water, emergent beds, mudflats, and 
riparian-emergent interface produced by the lake are important for many 
types of wildlife. The upland and riparian habitats on the 104 islands 
that comprise the Snake River Islands Unit make them important to 
migrants along the river corridor.
    In addition to fulfilling the purposes for which the Refuge was 
established, the Draft CCP/EIS also provides scientifically-grounded 
guidance for improving the Refuge's shrub-steppe, riparian, wetland, 
mudflat, and open water habitats to facilitate long-term conservation 
of native plants, animals, and migratory birds while providing 
compatible high-quality public-use programs for hunting, fishing, 
wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and 
interpretation. The Draft CCP/EIS identifies actions to protect and 
sustain the Refuge's nesting waterbirds, the migratory shorebird 
populations, and wildlife and habitat diversity.

CCP Alternatives We Are Considering

    The Service identified and evaluated four alternatives for managing 
Deer Flat NWR for the next 15 years, including a No-Action Alternative 
(Alternative 1). Brief descriptions of the alternatives follow.

Alternative 1 (Status Quo, No-Action Alternative)

    Alternative 1 is the no-action alternative required by NEPA. 
Wildlife and habitat and public use management would continue at 
current levels as described below.
    Management of wildlife and habitat on the Lake Lowell Unit would 
continue to involve basic population monitoring activities, invasive 
species control, and limited restoration. Invasive plant control would 
be conducted by one staff member and volunteers using mechanical, 
chemical, and biological controls.
    A no-wake zone would continue to the southeast of Parking Lot 1 and 
the entire lake would close for winter migration from October 1 to 
April 14 each year. No other on-water protection would be provided for 
wildlife. The emergent vegetation along the shoreline of Lake Lowell, 
which provides erosion control, nesting habitat for grebes and other 
birds, foraging habitat for waterfowl and wading birds, as well as 
forage, nesting and brood rearing habitat for numerous fisheries, would 
remain unprotected.
    Compatible existing public uses would continue and include the six 
priority wildlife-dependent recreational uses of the NWRS--hunting, 
fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education 
and interpretation as well as nonwildlife-dependent activities such as 
horseback riding, biking, jogging, motorized boating, use of personal 
watercraft, water skiing, picnicking, and swimming. Under Alternative 
1, there are few actions that would alter when, where, or how public 
uses are allowed to occur within the Refuge. Nearly the entire Refuge 
would continue to be available for on-trail public recreation, 
including wildlife observation, photography, jogging, bicycling, on-
leash dog walking, and horseback riding. No additional trail or lake 
access would be provided. Upland and waterfowl hunting would continue 
to be allowed between Parking Lots 1 and 8, and from the east boundary 
of Gotts Point to the east boundary of the Leavitt Tract. A youth 
waterfowl hunt would continue to be hosted in current waterfowl hunt 
zones. Gotts Point would remain closed to vehicular traffic and limited 
bank fishing opportunities would exist around the lake. Lake users 
would continue to participate in numerous surface water recreational 
activities. The lake would open to boating on April 15 and close on 
September 30. The current no-wake zone, from Parking Lot 1 east, would 
remain in place.
    Environmental education would continue to be conducted for on- and 
off-site programs. Public contact with Deer Flat NWR staff would remain 
limited and intermittent due to the small number of Refuge employees. 
Opportunities for visitors to obtain additional information while 
visiting the Refuge would remain largely dependent on kiosks, 
brochures, and the availability of volunteers.
    Management of wildlife and habitats on the Snake River Islands Unit 
would continue to involve basic population monitoring activities. 
Because of the logistical difficulties and small staff, limited 
invasive species control and/or restoration efforts would be conducted 
on the Snake River islands.
    Existing public uses on the islands would continue and include 
wildlife observation and deer, upland, and waterfowl hunting. The Snake 
River Islands are open from June 1 to January 31 for off-trail, free-
roam activities, including shoreline fishing.

[[Page 16525]]

Alternative 2 (Service Preferred)

    Alternative 2 would emphasize connecting urban families to nature 
by providing access to new facilities and programs for a wide range of 
compatible wildlife-dependent and nonwildlife-dependent recreational 
activities. Activities would be managed differently than in the status 
quo alternative to protect wildlife, reduce conflicts between users, 
and increase safety. Under the Preferred Alternative, fishing access 
would be promoted and wildlife interpretation would be emphasized and 
integrated into all visitor activities to increase awareness and 
understanding of Refuge resources. Under Alternative 2, the Service 
would protect and enhance habitat throughout the Refuge. We would 
protect Lake Lowell's shoreline feeding and nesting sites through no-
wake zones and seasonal closures. Emphasis would be placed on 
developing interpretive programs that increase visitors' awareness of 
the Refuge's purposes and goals, and encourage conservation-oriented 
activities. Gotts Point would be opened to vehicular traffic upon 
completion of a cooperative agreement with Canyon County, for increased 
law enforcement presence. The Preferred Alternative provides 
protections and enhancements for wildlife not found in the status quo 
alternative, while still allowing almost all upland and on-water 
recreational opportunities currently occurring at the Refuge.
    In order to provide needed protections for lake-dependent wildlife, 
management of Lake Lowell under Alternative 2 would include a 200-yard 
no-wake zone along the south side of the lake between Parking Lots 1 
and 8, continuation of the wintering closure from October 1 to April 14 
each year, no-wake zones in the Narrows, and an expansion of the no-
wake zone in the southeast end to include Gotts Point. Motorized boats 
would be allowed in the no-wake zones; however, boaters would be 
allowed to travel at speeds that do not create a wake (generally 5 mph 
or slower). The Preferred Alternative would also create seasonally 
closed areas to protect migratory bird species' habitats, such as heron 
rookeries, eagle nests, and grebe nesting colonies. An increase in 
habitat enhancement through more intensive and targeted invasive 
species removal and vegetation manipulation is proposed. Increases in 
wildlife and habitat research and assessments would be focused on 
providing a strong scientific base for future management decisions.
    Alternative 2 would provide access for a wide range of compatible 
outdoor recreational activities while putting in place measures (e.g., 
no-wake zones and seasonal closures) to protect wildlife. Fishing and 
interpretation would be emphasized to serve a growing urban and diverse 
population. Public use opportunities would connect people with nature 
to increase awareness of wildlife conservation.
    Under the Preferred Alternative, Refuge staff would emphasize 
management of the Snake River Islands by increasing wildlife inventory 
and monitoring efforts and increasing invasive species control 
(following the Integrated Pest Management Plan) and restoration 
efforts. Islands management would be prioritized using several factors 
and managed accordingly. Island closure dates would be adjusted to 
better protect nesting geese, wading birds, and gulls and terns. An 
array of management techniques may be used, including prescribed fire 
and aerial application of herbicide and/or seed.
    Compatible existing public uses would continue on the Snake River 
Islands Unit, including wildlife observation, deer hunting, and hunting 
for upland species and waterfowl on over 1,200 acres. Most of the Snake 
River Islands Unit would be open for off-trail, free-roam activities, 
including shoreline fishing, from June 15 to January 31. Heron and 
gull-nesting islands (4-6 islands) would be open for off-trail, free-
roam activities from July 1 to January 31.

Alternative 3

    Alternative 3 would provide additional protection for wildlife not 
found in the status quo alternative or Alternative 2 while allowing 
most surface-water recreational activities currently occurring and some 
of the current upland uses.
    To provide additional protections for lake-dependent wildlife, 
emergent plant beds in Murphy's Neck and from Parking Lot 3 to 8 would 
be closed to human activity all year. The entire lake would be closed 
seasonally to protect wintering and migrating birds. All active and 
historic grebe nesting colony areas would be closed to public use by 
establishing a 500-yard closure during boating season. There would be a 
100-yard seasonal closure to protect shorebird habitat along the 
shoreline from Murphy's Neck to the Narrows. A 200-yard closed area and 
a 200-yard no-wake zone would protect emergent beds and wildlife on the 
south side of the west pool. An increase in habitat enhancement through 
invasive species removal and vegetation manipulation is proposed. 
Increases in wildlife and habitat research and assessments would be 
focused on providing a strong scientific base for future management 
decisions.
    Under Alternative 3, the lake would be open to use from April 15 to 
September 20 with only no-wake activities allowed in the east pool and 
wake-causing activities allowed from noon to one hour before sunset in 
the west pool. To improve the quality of both upland and waterfowl 
hunting, upland game bird hunting would be allowed only on the east end 
of the Refuge from the west boundary of the Leavitt Tract to the 
entrance at Greenhurst Road. A controlled waterfowl hunt (e.g., permit 
system or sign in/out) would be allowed only on the south side of the 
lake between Parking Lots 3 and 8 with a 25-shotgun-shell limit. Other 
wildlife-dependent activities would be allowed concurrent with the 
upland hunt and on the proposed boardwalk between Parking Lots 3 and 8. 
However, all trails in the waterfowl hunt area would be closed to the 
non-hunting public from Parking Lots 3 through 8. The boating season 
would end on September 20 in order to increase the quality of the youth 
hunt and reduce the possibility of unsafe hunter/boater interactions. 
The Refuge would not be open to some activities including horseback 
riding and dog walking. Bicycling would be allowed on the trail 
adjacent to the entrance road.
    Refuge staff would emphasize management of the Snake River Islands 
by increasing wildlife inventory and monitoring efforts and increasing 
invasive species control (following the Integrated Pest Management 
Plan) and restoration efforts. Islands management would be prioritized 
using several factors and managed accordingly. Island closure dates 
would be adjusted to better protect nesting geese, wading birds, and 
gulls and terns. An array of management techniques may be used 
including prescribed fire and aerial application of herbicide and/or 
seed.
    Existing public uses would continue on the Snake River Islands and 
include wildlife observation and deer, upland, and waterfowl hunting on 
1,219 acres. Most of the Snake River Islands Unit would be open for 
off-trail, free-roam activities, including shoreline fishing, from June 
15 to January 31. Heron and gull-nesting islands (4-6 islands) would be 
open for off-trail, free-roam activities from July 1 to January 31.
    Overall, Alternative 3 attempts to increase the quality of 
compatible wildlife-dependent recreation by eliminating horseback 
riding and dog walking and segregating high-speed

[[Page 16526]]

boating from wildlife-dependent users. However, a drawback of the no-
wake zone changes would be to increase the amount of time it would take 
wildlife-dependent users to reach high-quality wildlife areas.

Alternative 4

    Alternative 4 is the most protective alternative providing wildlife 
restrictions not found in Alternatives 1-3. To reduce disturbance to 
feeding and resting wildlife, only boating at no-wake speeds would be 
allowed on Lake Lowell. All emergent beds and the southeast end of the 
lake would be closed to public use to protect nesting and feeding 
waterbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. The entire lake would continue 
to be closed for wintering and migrating birds from October 1 to April 
14 each year. An increase in habitat enhancement through invasive 
species removal and vegetation manipulation is proposed. Increases in 
wildlife and habitat research and assessments would be focused on 
providing a strong scientific base for future management decisions.
    Under Alternative 4, there are numerous actions which would alter 
when, where, and how public uses would be allowed on the Lake Lowell 
Unit. Boating would be allowed at no-wake speeds on all areas of the 
lake open to the public from April 15 to September 30. Several portions 
of the Refuge would be closed to all public activity. The Refuge would 
not be open to nonwildlife-dependent activities including horseback 
riding, dog walking, or bicycling.
    Alternative 4 includes several elements to protect wildlife and 
enhance the Refuge recreational experience. To minimize conflicts with 
and improve the quality of the waterfowl hunt program, upland game 
hunting would no longer be allowed at the Lake Lowell Unit. Waterfowl 
hunting would be allowed on the south side of the Lake Lowell Unit from 
Parking Lots 1-8 with a 25-shotgun-shell limit.
    Refuge staff would emphasize management of the Snake River Islands 
by increasing wildlife inventory and monitoring efforts and increasing 
invasive species control (following the Integrated Pest Management 
Plan) and restoration efforts. Island management would be prioritized 
using several factors and managed accordingly. Island closure dates 
would be adjusted to better protect nesting geese, wading birds, and 
gulls and terns. An array of management techniques may be used 
including prescribed fire and aerial application of herbicide and/or 
seed.
    Existing public uses would continue on the Snake River Islands and 
include wildlife observation and deer, upland and waterfowl hunting on 
1,219 acres. Most of the Snake River Islands Unit would be open for 
off-trail, free-roam activities, including shoreline fishing, from June 
15 to January 31. Heron and gull-nesting islands (4-6 islands) would be 
open for off-trail, free-roam activities from July 1 to January 31.

Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain 
documents at the following locations.
Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/deerflat/refugeplanning.html.
Caldwell Public Library, 1010 Dearborn St., Caldwell, ID 83605
Homedale Public Library, 125 W Owyhee Ave, Homedale, ID 83628
Lizard Butte District Library, 111 3rd Ave W, Marsing, ID 83639
Nampa Public Library, 101 11th Ave S, Nampa, ID 83651
Payette Public Library, 24 S 10th St., Payette, ID 83661
Ada County District Library, 10664 W Victory Rd, Boise, ID 83709

Submitting Comments

    Public comments are requested, considered, and incorporated 
throughout the planning process; please see DATES for due dates. 
Comments on the Draft CCP/EIS will be analyzed by the Service and 
addressed in final planning documents.

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: February 7, 2013.
Richard R. Hannan,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific Region, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2013-05902 Filed 3-14-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P