Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge, Iberia Parish, LA
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Shell Keys National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.
Extension of Approved Information Collection, OMB Control Number 1004-0165
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requests the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to extend an existing approval to collect information from individuals submitting nominations for significant caves under the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 and to request confidential cave information. BLM needs the information to determine which caves we will list as significant and decide whether to grant access to confidential cave information.
Extension of Approved Information Collection, OMB Control Number 1004-0185
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is requesting the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to extend existing approvals to collect certain information from lessees, operators, record title holders, operating rights owners, and the general public on oil and gas and operations on Federal lands.
Extension of Approval of Information Collection, OMB Control Number 1004-0034
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is requesting the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to extend an existing approval to collect information from those person who wish to transfer interest in oil and gas or geothermal leases by assignment or record title or transfer operating rights (sublease) in oil and gas or geothermal leases under the terms of mineral leasing laws. The BLM uses Form 3000-3, Assignment of Record Title Interest in a Lease for Oil and Gas or Geothermal Resources, and Form 3000-3a, Transfer of Operating Rights (sublease) in a Lease for Oil and Gas or Geothermal Resources, to collect this information. This information allows the BLM to transfer interest in oil or gas or geothermal leases by assignment of record title or transfer operating rights (sublease) in oil or gas or geothermal leases under the regulations at 43 CFR subparts 3106, 3135, and 3216.
Quarterly Status Report of Water Service, Repayment, and Other Water-Related Contract Negotiations
Notice is hereby given of contractual actions that have been proposed to the Bureau of Reclamation and are new, modified, discontinued, or completed since the last publication of this notice on August 12, 2008. This notice is one of a variety of means used to inform the public about proposed contractual actions for capital recovery and management of project resources and facilities consistent with section 9(f) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939. Additional announcements of individual contract actions may be published in the Federal Register and in newspapers of general circulation in the areas determined by Reclamation to be affected by the proposed action.
Notice of Proposed Reinstatement of Terminated Oil and Gas Lease, Louisiana
Under the provisions of Public Law 97-451, the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States (BLM-ES) received a petition for reinstatement of oil and gas lease LAES 51206 from Rhumba Operating, LLC for lands in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. The petition was filed on time and was accompanied by all the rentals due since the date the lease terminated under the law.
Notice of Availability of Record of Decision for the Monticello Field Office Approved Resource Management Plan
The BLM announces the availability of the Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP)/Record of Decision (ROD) for the Monticello Field Office located in Utah. The Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management signed the ROD on November 17, 2008, which constitutes the final decision of the Department of the Interior and makes the Approved RMP effective immediately.
Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Newmont Mining Corporation Proposed Emigrant Project Plan of Operations, NV
In accordance with section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and 43 CFR Part 3809, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko Field Office has prepared with the assistance of a third party contractor, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Newmont Mining Corporation's proposed Emigrant Project Plan of Operations. The project area is located in Elko County about ten miles south of Carlin, Nevada. The DEIS analyzes potential environmental impacts that could result from the open pit mine project during the projected 10-year operating period. This is the second DEIS issued for this project. The original DEIS was issued March 25, 2005.
Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Jackson County, MS, and Mobile County, AL
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.
Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for Off-Road Vehicle Management for Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Notice is hereby given, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770, 5 U.S.C. App 1, section 10), of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth meetings of the Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for Off-Road Vehicle Management at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. (See DATES section.)
Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, Barbour and Russell Counties, AL and Stewart and Quitman Counties, GA
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.
Fayetteville/Greenville Expansion Project, Texas Gas Transmission, LLC, Right-of-Way Permit Application To Cross Hillside National Wildlife Refuge, Holmes County, MS: Withdrawal
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, published a notice requesting public comments on a right-of-way (ROW) permit application we received from Texas Gas Transmission, LLC (Texas Gas), to install a natural gas pipeline under lands within Hillside National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Holmes County, MS. The company chose an alternate route that bypasses Hillside NWR and no longer seeks a ROW permit from us, and has withdrawn its application. Therefore, we are not seeking comments on the application.
Notice of Correction to Notice of Availability of the Additional Air Quality Impact Assessment To Support the Little Snake Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS), Moffat and Routt Counties, CO
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register [73 FR 60321] on October 10, 2008, that had incorrect information in the DATES section. The October 10, 2008, Notice of Availability incorrectly indicated that the BLM would receive written comments on the Additional Air Quality Impact Assessment within 45 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published their Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The EPA was not required, nor did it intend to publish such a notice of availability. Therefore, the BLM is publishing this notice of correction to clarify that the BLM will receive written comments on the Additional Air Quality Impact Assessment within 45 days following the date that this notice of correction publishes in the Federal Register.
Sporting Conservation Council
We announce a meeting of the Sporting Conservation Council (Council). The meeting agenda includes: (1) The status of the Final White Papers Document associated with the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy, (2) the 10-year Action Plan mandated by Executive Order 13443, and (3) a report on the comparative risk modeling being developed at Michigan State University. This Council meeting is open to the public, and will include a session for the public to comment.
New Mexico Regulatory Program
We are approving an amendment to the New Mexico regulatory program (the ``New Mexico program'') under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA or the Act). New Mexico is proposing additions to and revisions of the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) to improve and clarify the public notification process during permitting actions, to correct outdated citations, and to comply with formatting requirements for New Mexico administrative law. The revisions also include non-substantive editorial changes. New Mexico revised its program to provide additional safeguards, clarify ambiguities, and achieve stylistic consistency.
President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency; Senior Executive Service: Performance Review Board Membership
The Office of Inspector General, Department of the Interior, published a document in the Federal Register of September 17, 2008, concerning the membership of the Senior Executive Service Performance Review Board for the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. We are correcting this document to include references to the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency.
Eastern States: Filing of Plat of Survey
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will file the plat of survey of the lands described below in the BLM-Eastern States, Springfield, Virginia, 30 calender days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.
Oil Shale Management-General
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is finalizing regulations to set out the policies and procedures for the implementation of a commercial leasing program for the management of federally-owned oil shale and any associated minerals located on Federal lands. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EP Act) directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to: Make public lands available for conducting oil shale research and development activities; Complete a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for a commercial leasing program for both oil shale and tar sands resources on the BLM-administered lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; and Issue regulations establishing a commercial oil shale leasing program. These final regulations incorporate specific provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA) and the EP Act relating to: Oil shale lease size; Acreage limitations; Rental; and Lease diligence. These regulations also address the diligent development requirements of the EP Act by establishing work requirements and milestones to ensure diligent development of leases. The rule also provides for other standard components of a BLM mineral leasing program, including lease administration and operations.
Notice of Proposed Reinstatement of Terminated Oil and Gas Lease, Mississippi
Under the provisions of Public Law 97-451, the Bureau of Land ManagementEastern States (BLM-ES) received a petition for reinstatement of oil and gas lease MSES 51187 from Denbury Onshore, LLC for lands in the DeSoto National Forest, in Perry County, Mississippi. The petition was filed on time and was accompanied by all the rentals due since the date the lease terminated under the law.
Royalty Relief-Ultra-Deep Gas Wells and Deep Gas Wells on Leases in the Gulf of Mexico; Extension of Royalty Relief Provisions to Leases Offshore of Alaska
This final rule amends existing deep gas royalty relief regulations to reflect statutory changes enacted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It provides additional royalty relief for certain ultra- deep wells on Outer Continental Shelf leases in shallow water in the Gulf of Mexico. It extends both the existing and the additional deep gas royalty relief to Outer Continental Shelf leases in deeper water than before. Finally, this final rule applies discretionary royalty relief procedures that have been used by deepwater leases in the Gulf of Mexico to leases offshore of Alaska.
2009 Meetings of the Big Cypress National Preserve Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Advisory Committee
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770, 5 U.S.C. App 1, 10), notice is hereby given of the meetings of the Big Cypress National Preserve ORV Advisory Committee for 2009.
Special Regulation: Areas of the National Park System, National Capital Region
The National Park Service (NPS) is finalizing regulations governing viewing of the Inaugural Parade by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. The rule also extends the permissible duration and extent of demonstrations and special events in Washington, DC, including the Inaugural, the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree and Christmas Pathway of Peace, the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Fourth of July Celebration, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Policy on Wilderness Stewardship
We establish policy for implementing the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended, and the Wilderness Act of 1964 as Part 610 Chapters 1-5 of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual. In the Wilderness Act, Congress called for the establishment of a National Wilderness Preservation System to secure an ``enduring resource of wilderness'' for the American public. This policy updates guidance on administrative and public activities on wilderness within the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System).
Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program
Reclamation is issuing this interim final rule to establish programmatic criteria for the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Program (Rural Water Supply Program), including criteria governing prioritization, eligibility, and the evaluation of appraisal investigations and feasibility studies. Title I of the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Act of 2006, Public Law 109-451 (Act), authorized Reclamation to establish the Rural Water Supply Program and requires publication of programmatic criteria in the Federal Register. This rule is intended to define for potential participants how the Rural Water Supply Program authorized by the Act will be administered.
Revised Recovery Plan for Sihek or Guam Micronesian Kingfisher (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of the Revised Recovery Plan for the Sihek or Guam Micronesian Kingfisher (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina). This subspecies, which was found only on the island of Guam, was federally listed as endangered in 1984.
Alaska Native Claims Selection
As required by 43 CFR 2650.7(d), notice is hereby given that an appealable decision approving lands for conveyance pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act will be issued to NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. for lands located in the vicinity of Buckland and Noatak, Alaska. Notice of the decision will also be published four times in the Arctic Sounder.
National Park System Units in Alaska
This rule implements recent management decisions affecting Denali National Park and Preserve regarding backcountry management, climbing Mount McKinley, and off-road vehicle use for subsistence purposes.
Notice of Intent To Revise a Resource Management Plan for the Buffalo Field Office, Wyoming, and Prepare an Associated Environmental Impact Statement
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Field Office, Buffalo, Wyoming, intends to revise a Resource Management Plan (RMP) and prepare an associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Buffalo Field Office and by this notice is announcing the beginning of the scoping process and soliciting input on the identification of issues, proposed planning criteria, and calling for resource information. The RMP will replace the existing Buffalo Resource Management Plan of 1985.
Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Bay Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS)
The BLM announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) and Approved RMP for the Bay planning area, located in southwest Alaska. The State Director signed the ROD on November 4, 2008. This constitutes the final decision of the BLM and makes the approved RMP effective immediately.
Abandoned Mine Land Program
We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), are revising our regulations for the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund (Fund) and the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program. This rule revises our regulations to be consistent with the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, Public Law 109-432, signed into law on December 20, 2006, which included the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Amendments of 2006 (the 2006 amendments). The rule reflects the extension of our statutory authority to collect reclamation fees for an additional fourteen years and to reduce the fee rates. The rule also updates the regulations in light of the statutory amendments that change the activities State and Tribal reclamation programs may perform under the AML program, funding for reclamation grants to States and Indian tribes, and transfers to the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Combined Benefit Fund (CBF), the UMWA 1992 Benefit Plan, and the UMWA Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan (1993 Benefit Plan). Finally, our rule extends incentives reauthorized by the 2006 amendments pertaining to the remining of certain lands and water adversely affected by past mining.
Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, Mid-Atlantic Proposed Oil and Gas Lease Sale 220
This Call for Information and Interest/Nominations (hereinafter referred to as ``Call'') and the NOI are the initial information-gathering steps in a process that incorporates planning and analysis for proposed OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sale 220 in the Mid- Atlantic Planning Area in the area offshore the Commonwealth of Virginia. The program area is that subarea of the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area offshore Virginia, identified in the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, 2007-2012, that may be offered in proposed Sale 220. Readers are cautioned that this announcement is not a commitment to hold a lease sale but rather a continuation of the information-gathering and evaluation process. Simultaneously with this Call, the MMS is giving notice of its intent to prepare an EIS for Sale 220 in the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area, scheduled for 2011. The EIS analysis will focus on the potential environmental effects of oil and gas exploration, development, and production in the proposed sale area and its vicinity. This NOI also serves to announce the initiation of the scoping process for this EIS. The MMS will consider comments received in response to this NOI and Call in determining the proposed sale area and the scope of the EIS. The Department of the Interior (DOI) is also inviting other Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments to consider becoming cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.
Minidoka Dam Spillway Replacement; Minidoka County, ID
Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed Minidoka Dam Spillway Replacement. Alternatives currently being considered are No Action as required under NEPA, total replacement of the spillway and headgate structures, or replacement of just the spillway. Reclamation is requesting early public comment and agency input to help identify significant issues or other alternatives to be addressed in the EIS. Information obtained during the scoping period will help in developing information to be included in the EIS. A draft EIS is expected to be provided to the public for review by winter, 2009 followed by opportunities to provide written and oral comments. The final EIS is scheduled for completion in winter, 2010. A Record of Decision, describing which alternative is selected for implementation, and the rationale for its selection, would then be issued following a 30-day waiting period.
Notice of Proposed Reinstatement of Terminated Oil and Gas Lease
Under the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 188(d) and (e), and 43 CFR 3108.2-3(a) and (b)(1), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received a petition for reinstatement of oil and gas lease COC70105 from Bill Barrett Corp., for lands in Montrose County, Colorado. The petition was filed on time and was accompanied by all the rentals due since the date the lease terminated under the law.
Notice of Proposed Reinstatement of Terminated Oil and Gas Lease
Under the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 188(d) and (e), and 43 CFR 3108.2-3(a) and (b)(1), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received a petition for reinstatement of oil and gas lease COC70104 from Bill Barrett Corp., for lands in Montrose County, Colorado. The petition was filed on time and was accompanied by all the rentals due since the date the lease terminated under the law.
Notice of Proposed Reinstatement of Terminated Oil and Gas Lease
Under the provisions of 30 U.S.C. 188(d) and (e), and 43 CFR 3108.2-3(a) and (b)(1), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received a petition for reinstatement of oil and gas lease COC71373 from Bill Barrett Corp., for lands in Montrose County, Colorado. The petition was filed on time and was accompanied by all the rentals due since the date the lease terminated under the law.
Notice of Realty Action: Non-Competitive Sale of Reversionary Interest, Portion of Recreation and Public Purposes Patent Number 50-65-0288
The Bureau of Land Management has examined and found suitable for direct sale under section 203 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-579, as amended; 43 CFR 2711.3- 3), 4,519.35 sq. feet of public land located in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, Fairbanks, AK
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announce the availability of our Revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge (Kanuti Refuge). In this revised CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.
Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection, Comment Request
To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), we are inviting comments on a collection of information that we will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This information collection request (ICR) pertains to onshore and offshore royalty and production reporting on oil, gas, and geothermal leases on Federal and Indian lands. We changed the title of this ICR to reflect current regulatory actions. The new title of this ICR is ``30 CFR Parts 210 and 212, Royalty and Production Reporting.'' Publication of the final rule, RIN 1010-AD20, Reporting Amendments, on March 26, 2008 (73 FR 15885), changed a number of citations, primarily under 30 CFR part 210. The final rule removed 30 CFR part 216 and replaced part 210 in its entirety. In this revision, we also consolidated the following ICRs to allow programwide review of both aspects of reportingremittance of royalties and production accounting on oil, gas, and geothermal leases: 1010-0139, previously titled ``30 CFR Part 210Forms and Reports and Part 216Production Accounting;'' and 1010-0140, previously titled ``30 CFR Part 210Forms and Reports.''
Indian Trust Management Reform
This final rule amends several Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Office of the Secretary regulations related to Indian trust management in the areas of probate, probate hearings and appeals, tribal probate codes, and life estates and future interests in Indian land. This rule allows the Secretary to further fulfill his fiduciary responsibilities to federally recognized tribes and individual Indians and to meet the Indian trust management policies articulated by Congress in the Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA), as amended by the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (AIPRA).
Notice of Availability of Record of Decision for the Eastern San Diego County Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement
The BLM announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD)/Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Eastern San Diego County. The California State Director signed the ROD on October 10, 2008, which constitutes the final decision of the BLM and makes the Approved RMP effective immediately.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the revised proposed rule, the associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. If you submitted comments previously, you do not need to resubmit them because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them in preparation of the final rule.
Final Environmental Impact Statement; General Management Plan; Olympic National Park, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Mason Counties, WA; Notice of Approval of Record of Decision
Pursuant to Sec. 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-190, as amended) and the regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1505.2), the Department of the Interior, National Park Service has prepared and approved a Record of Decision (and Statement of Findings for Floodplains) for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for General Management Plan (GMP) at Olympic National Park. The GMP will serve as a blueprint in guiding park management and research programs over the next 15-20 years. The requisite no-action ``wait period'' was initiated March 14, 2008, with the Environmental Protection Agency's Federal Register notification of the filing of the Final EIS. Decision: As soon as practical Olympic National Park will begin to implement the restoration strategies, park operations, and visitor service projects identified and analyzed as the Preferred Alternative (Alternative D) contained in the Final EIS (and which included minor modifications from the course of action as presented in the Draft EIS (released for public review on June 15, 2006). The full range of foreseeable environmental consequences were assessed, and appropriate mitigation measures identified. Both a No Action alternative and two additional ``action'' alternatives were identified and analyzed. Alternative D was determined to be the ``environmentally preferred'' course of action. Copies: Interested parties desiring to review the Record of Decision may obtain a copy by contacting the Superintendent, Olympic National Park, 600 East Park Ave., Port Angeles, WA 98362; or via telephone request at (360) 565-3000.
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the General Management Plan (GMP) for Fort Donelson National Battlefield, TN
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and Director's Order Number 12 (Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-Making) the NPS is preparing an EIS for a GMP for Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Tennessee. The GMP will prescribe the resource conditions and visitor experiences that are to be achieved and maintained in the national battlefield over the next 20 years. The clarification of what must be achieved according to law and policy will be based on review of the battlefield's purpose, significance, special mandates, and the body of laws and policies directing park management. Based on determinations of desired conditions, the GMP will outline the types of resource management activities, visitor activities, and development that would be appropriate in the future. A range of reasonable management alternatives will be developed through this planning process and will include, at a minimum, a no-action alternative and a preferred alternative. Issues to be addressed will include but are not limited to the following: Management of Fort Henry and Fort Heiman properties and tracts adjacent to the boundary that were recently added to the national battlefield; potential impacts from outside development including the Highway 79 realignment; and the inventory and preservation of cultural and natural resources.
Montana Regulatory Program
We are announcing receipt of a proposed amendment to the Montana regulatory program (hereinafter, the ``Montana program'') under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (``SMCRA'' or ``the Act''). Montana proposes additions of rules and revisions to the Administrative Record of Montana (ARM) concerning Normal Husbandry Practices. Montana intends to revise its program to improve operational efficiency. This document gives the times and locations that the Montana program and proposed amendment to that program are available for your inspection, the comment period during which you may submit written comments on the amendment, and the procedures that we will follow for the public hearing, if one is requested.
Abbreviated Final Environmental Impact Statement/Comprehensive Management Plan; Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, Hawaii County, HI; Notice of Availability
Pursuant to Sec. 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-190, as amended), and the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (CEQ) (40 CFR Part 1500-1508), the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, has prepared an abbreviated final environmental impact statement for the proposed Comprehensive Management Plan for the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (NHT) located on the island of Hawaii. Three CMP alternatives are identified and analyzed relative both to NPS planning requirements and to the public's concerns and issues identified during the scoping and public involvement process (in addition to a no-action alternative, an environmentally preferred alternative is also identified). Each alternative presents administrative, management, and partnership strategies for resource protection and preservation, education and interpretation, visitor uses and facilities, and long-term operations and management of the national trail. The potential environmental consequences of all the alternatives, and appropriate mitigation strategies, are identified and analyzed. Background: On April 4, 2003, the Federal Register published the Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the comprehensive management plan (CMP) for the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. The initial scoping phase was designed to proactively elicit public issues, concerns, and other relevant information deemed necessary to address during the overall planning. A total of 200 people representing the general public, private landowners, trail advocacy groups, Native Hawaiian organizations, and state, county, and federal agencies participated overall. Several public meetings around the island were hosted (about 25 comment forms were returned to the trail office). In addition, the NPS planning team met with numerous individuals, community groups, private landowners, and government agency representatives to understand their concerns and visions for the Ala Kahakai NHT. The scoping phase extended through June 28, 2003. The NPS encouraged public involvement during two additional phases of the EIS process. In the second phase, the NPS engaged the public in developing preliminary alternatives intended to address the specific issues and concerns that surfaced during the public scoping. Nine public workshops were held around the island of Hawaii. The third phase of involvement afforded the opportunity for public review of the Draft EIS/CMP, notice of which appeared in the Federal Register on October 26, 2007. Government entities and the public were invited to submit comments by regular mail, e-mail, fax, and online. In addition, the NPS held seven public meetings on the island of Hawaii in November 2007 to provide further opportunity to learn about the proposed plan and to offer comments; over 90 people attended these meetings. The formal comment period closed on December 31, 2007, although the NPS received several comments during the next two weeks. Aside from approximately 83 individual statements recorded on the meeting flip charts and 21 comment sheets completed at the meetings, the NPS received 40 written communications. No comments received from interested individuals and groups, area residents and businesses, and public agencies required the NPS to add other alternatives, significantly alter existing alternatives, or make changes to the impact analysis of the effect of any alternative. Thus, an abbreviated format is used to fully document all responses to comments in the Final CMP/EIS in compliance with the CEQ implementing regulations (40 CFR 1503.4[c]) for the National Environmental Policy Act. Proposed Plan and Alternatives: Alternative A, the No Action Alternative, assumes that existing programs, facilities, staffing, and funding would generally continue at their current levels. The Ala Kahakai NHT would consist of trail segments within the four national parks through which it passes and only a few other segments (e.g., on state lands). As recommended in the Ala Kahakai National Trail Study and Environmental Impact Statement, January 1998, (Feasibility Study) on which national trail status was based, a continuous trail would be the goal but would not be implemented, even in the long-term. However, an auto tour would be completed that would lead visitors to 18 sites associated with the trail. Recreation along the trail and interpretation of its history would generally be limited to these sites. Alternative B proposes the completion of a single continuous trail comprised of unaltered or verified ancient and historic portions of the ala loa (coastal trail around the island) linked as needed by later pre-1892 trails, pathways, and modern connector trails. Within the planning period of 15 years, the goal would be to complete the linear trail within the priority zone from Kawaihae through Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park to Ho'okena and to protect other segments outside of that area as feasible. In the long-term, cultural and natural resources along the entire trail tread and agreed upon adjacent areas would be protected and interpreted to the public. The NPS would administer the trail, but management outside of the national parks would remain with the land managing agency or landowner. The NPS would offer technical assistance and limited financial assistance to these management partners. Partnerships with state and county agencies, community organizations, and private individuals would help protect trail resources and provide appropriate trail user services. An auto tour would be completed as in Alternative A. Alternative C, the NPS proposed action and the ``environmentally preferred'' alternative, is based on the traditional Hawaiian trail system in which multiple trail alignments within the ahupua'a (mountain to sea land division) are integral to land use and stewardship. The linear trail would be protected as in Alternative B, but on publicly- owned lands the Ala Kahakai NHT includes inland portions of ala loa or other historic trails that run lateral to the shoreline and would be connected to ancient or historic mauka-makai (mountain to sea) trails that would have traditionally been part of the ahupua'a system. As with Alternative B, during the 15-year planning period, the priority zone from Kawaihae to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park through Ho'okena would be the focus of administration and management, but sections outside of that zone would protected as feasible. Through an agreement, the state of Hawaii could convey to the NPS a less-than-fee management interest in trail segments that are state-owned under the Highways Act of 1892 within the Ala Kahakai NHT corridor. The NPS would then be responsible for managing these segments and federal law would fully apply. However, in cooperation with the NPS, local communities of the ahupua'a would be encouraged to take responsibility for trail management using the traditional Hawaiian principles of land management and stewardship. The Ala Kahakai Trail Association would be expected to be robust enough play a major part in trail management, promotion, and funding. An auto tour would be completed similarly as in the other alternatives. Copies: The abbreviated Final EIS/CMP is now available, and may be obtained by contacting the Superintendent, Ala Kahakai NHT, 73-4786 Kanalani Street, 14, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 or by telephone at 808-326-6012. Copies of the Draft EIS/CMP are available, if needed. The Final EIS/CMP may also be reviewed electronically via the Web site http://parkplanning.nps.gov/alka or at area libraries. Decision Process: Following the release of the abbreviated Final EIS/CMP, a Record of Decision will be prepared not sooner than 30 days after the EPA has published its notice of filing of the document in the Federal Register. Announcement of the approved CMP would be similarly published. As a delegated EIS, the official responsible for the final decision is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service. Subsequently, the official responsible for implementing the approved CMP would be the Superintendent, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.