Draft South Denali Implementation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement
The National Park Service (NPS) announces the availability of the Draft South Denali Implementation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Denali National Park and Preserve. The document describes and analyzes the environmental impacts of a preferred alternative and one action alternative for expanding visitor facilities and access opportunities in the south Denali region. A no action alternative also is evaluated. This notice announces the 60-day public comment period and solicits comments on the draft plan and EIS.
Environmental Impact Statement; Notice of Availability
Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the National Park Service (NPS) announces the availability of the stream management plan draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Iowa.
Utah Museum of Natural History, Environmental Impact Statement, University of Utah and National Park Service and as Joint Lead Agencies, Salt Lake County, UT
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332 (C) and (D) (NEPA), the University of Utah and the National Park Service as Joint Lead Agencies, are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the construction and operation of a proposed new Utah Museum of Natural History museum facility at the University of Utah, Salt Lake County, Utah. The NEPA process is being followed because federal funds, as grants through the National Park Service, are contributing to the design and construction costs of the new museum facility. The EIS will identify potential environmental effects of construction and operation of the proposed 169,000 square foot museum building, parking, and related appurtenances and mitigation measures to minimize adverse environmental impacts on the 17-acre site provided to the Museum by the University of Utah. This site is near the University of Utah's Research Park, south of Red Butte Gardens and Arboretum in Salt Lake County, Utah. The Utah Public Lands Artifact Preservation Act, Pub. L. 107-329, enacted in 2002, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make a grant to the University of Utah to pay the Federal share of the costs of construction of a new facility including design, planning, furnishing, and equipping of the Museum. Seventy-five percent of the Museum's collection is material recovered from federally managed public lands including lands administered by the National Park Service. In January 2005, the Museum initiated an Environmental Assessment on the proposed project. After completion of public scoping and the identification of issues, the agencies decided to prepare an EIS. The EIS will analyze the proposed action, a no action alternative, alternative approaches to site and facilities design and placement, and other reasonable alternatives, if any, identified during the NEPA process. The EIS will also consider mitigation measures to minimize potential adverse environmental effects. Based on current information it is not expected that the EIS alternatives will include alternative sites for the museum facility, for several reasons. (1) The University of Utah and the Museum concluded a site selection process in 1995, and in 1997 the University of Utah Board of Trustees reserved the Research Park site for use by the Museum. Since that time considerable resources have been devoted to site planning, and substantial private, state and federal financial commitments have been received for design, construction and operation of a museum on the designated site. It would not be practical or economically feasible for the Museum to abandon this site for an alternative location. (2) Congress, in enacting the 2002 Utah Public Lands Artifact Preservation Act and in making subsequent appropriations, contemplated that the new museum would be located at the 17-acre Research Park site and it authorized and has since appropriated funding for a facility at that site. (3) If the new museum were built at an alternative location, the Research Park site would nonetheless still be developed, meaning that there would not likely be a decrease in overall impacts. Issues that were identified by the public during scoping for the EA and that will be addressed in the EIS include: vegetation and wildlife; recreation and trail use; open space, visual quality and aesthetics; traffic, transportation and parking; socioeconomics/cultural; air quality; soils, geological and seismic concerns; surface and groundwater quality and management; consideration of alternative sites; hazardous materials; and archaeological, cultural, historic and paleontological resources. Scoping for the EA was conducted February 15 through March 16, 2005 with a scoping meeting on March 8. The meeting was widely publicized and was attended by over 90 members of the public. Approximately 350 comments were received by letter or email. A scoping brochure has been prepared that details the issues identified to date. Copies of the brochure may be obtained from the project's NEPA contractor, Bear West, 145 South 400 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111, phone (801) 355-8816. The scoping brochure along with a request for any additional scoping comments is being mailed to the project mailing list including those who attended the initial scoping meeting or submitted written comments. One or more workshops, open houses or similar meetings may be conducted during preparation of the EIS. Because there was a well attended public meeting during scoping for the EA, no additional public meetings are planned as part of the EIS scoping process. For questions regarding the proposed action, contact Utah Museum of Natural History, Sarah George, Director, 1390 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0050. For questions regarding NEPA compliance, contact National Park Service, Cordell Roy, Utah State Coordinator, 324 South State Street, Suite 200, Box 30, Salt Lake City, UT 84111.
Fire Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Chiricahua National Monument, AZ
Pursuant to Sec. 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 83 Stat. 852, 853, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of the Record of Decision for the Fire Management Plan, Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona. On August 2, 2005 the Director, Intermountain Region approved the Record of Decision for the project. As soon as practicable, the National Park Service will begin to implement the Preferred Alternative contained in the FEIS issued on July 1, 2005. The following course of action will occur under the preferred alternative, the Watershed Alternative. This course of action and 2 alternatives were analyzed in the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements. The full range of foreseeable environmental consequences was assessed, and appropriate mitigating measures were identified. The Record of Decision includes a statement of the decision made, synopses of other alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a description of the environmentally preferable alternative, a finding on impairment of park resources and values, a listing of measures to minimize environmental harm, and an overview of public involvement in the decision-making process.
Fire Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Saguaro National Park, AZ
Pursuant to National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Fire Management Plan, Saguaro National Park, Arizona.
60-Day Notice of Intention To Request Clearance of Collection of Information; Opportunity for Public Comment
The National Park Service (NPS) Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) program (Pub. L. 91-357) is collecting information from volunteers in the form of a survey for the purposes of evaluating the program and its effectiveness. In order to effectively manage the increasing trend of volunteerism in the NPS, it is imperative that the agency assess its strengths and weaknesses and determine methods for improved efficiency. A servicewide volunteer program assessment has not been conducted to date. Current VIPs will be surveyed (mail-back/Internet-based questionnaire) during this process to collect information about the current status and needs of the program. In addition, follow-up focus groups (3 with up to 20 participants each) and telephone interviews (up to 40) will be conducted to acquire detailed data expanding on questionnaire results). Recommendations for improvements will be made based on the findings. This process will not only aid in creating an improved, streamlined program, but may also serve as a model for other Federal agencies.
Plan of Operations, Categorical Exclusion, Big Thicket National Preserve, TX
Notice is hereby given in accordance with Sec. 9.52(b) of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 9, Subpart B, that the National Park Service (NPS) has received from Century Exploration Houston, Inc., a Plan of Operations to conduct the JASPO 3-D ``Cable- Only'' Seismic Survey of the Lower Neches River Corridor Unit of Big Thicket National Preserve, within Hardin, Jasper, and Orange Counties, Texas. The NPS has prepared a Categorical Exclusion on this proposal.
Plan of Operations, Categorical Exclusion, Big Thicket National Preserve, TX
Notice is hereby given in accordance with Section 9.52(b) of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 9, subpart B, that the National Park Service (NPS) has received from Krescent Energy Company, LLC, a Plan of Operations to conduct the Tyler 3-D ``Cable- Only'' Seismic Survey of the Upper Neches River Corridor Unit of Big Thicket National Preserve, within Tyler and Jasper Counties, Texas. The NPS has prepared a Categorical Exclusion on this proposal.
Announcement of the National Park Subsistence Resource Commission (SRC) meetings for Cape Krusenstern National Monument and Kobuk Valley National Park
The National Park Service (NPS) announces the SRC meeting schedule for the following NPS areas within the Alaska Region: Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Kobuk Valley National Park and Denali National Park. The purpose of each meeting is to develop and continue work on subsistence hunting program recommendations and other related subsistence management issues. Each meeting is open to the public and will have time allocated for public testimony. The public is welcomed to present written or oral comments to the SRC. The NPS SRC program is authorized under Title VIII, Section 808, of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Public Law 96-487, to operate in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Draft meeting minutes will be available for public inspection approximately six weeks after each meeting: Superintendent Western Arctic National Parklands, P.O. Box 1029, Kotzebue, AK 99752.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement/General Management Plan: Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, Island County, WA; Notice of Availability
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(C), and the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR part 1500-1508), the National Park Service has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed general management plan for Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve (Reserve) located in northwestern Washington. In addition to a ``no-action'' alternative (which would maintain current management), the Draft EIS describes and analyzes two ``action'' alternatives which respond to public concerns and issues identified during the scoping process, as well as NPS's conservation planning requirements. These alternatives present varying management strategies that address visitor use and preservation of cultural and natural resources that protect and reflect the rural community on Whidbey Island from 19th century exploration and settlement in Puget Sound to the present time. The potential environmental consequences of each alternative, and mitigation strategies, are identified and analyzed; a determination as to the ``environmentally preferred'' alternative is also provided in the Draft EIS. Scoping: A Notice of Intent announcing preparation of the Draft EIS and general management plan was published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2000. Public involvement has included public meetings, presentations and meetings with organizations located within the Reserve and additional organizations, newsletter mailings, local press releases, website postings, and postcards. Preceding the formal EIS analysis process, the NPS had organized an interdisciplinary planning team to initiate the general management plan process for the Reserve. The team included the Reserve's Trust Board and staff, representatives from Washington State, Island County and Town of Coupeville, and NPS staff from the Pacific West Region Office in Seattle, Washington. The purpose of these initial meetings was to help characterize the scale and extent of the planning process. The formal public scoping efforts began in June 2000 with release of a scoping newsletter to approximately 650 people on the Reserve's mailing list. In addition, over 2800 newsletters were distributed at local public places such as libraries, civic buildings, businesses, and parks. The planning team received 36 letters during the official public scoping period ending August 15, 2000. In addition, during June 2000, three public scoping meetings were held in Seattle, Washington and Coupeville, Washington (in total, 141 verbal comments were recorded). Individual scoping meetings were also held between August 2000 and January 2001 with organizations located within the Reserve to discuss issues of mutual interest. Other meetings with other interested organizations were also scheduled. Proposed Plan and Alternatives: Alternative A constitutes the No- Action alternative and serves as an environmental baseline to facilitate comparisons between the ``action'' alternatives. Alternative A assumes that existing programs, facilities, staffing, and funding would generally continue at their current levels. The NPS would dispose of NPS-owned and managed farms within the Reserve to the private sector after placing conservation easements on them. Alternative B is the ``agency preferred'' alternative. The Reserve's Trust Board, and the NPS, in cooperation with partners, would enhance existing programs and resources management, as well as administrative, maintenance, and visitor services within the Reserve. To maintain and protect the rural landscape, the NPS would continue to purchase conservation easements on priority properties based upon a new land protection plan. The NPS would exchange NPS-owned farms to private farm owners for additional protection on other properties within the Reserve. Historic buildings would be rehabilitated to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. The county would be encouraged to develop a zoning overlay for the Reserve to aid in land use control. In addition, a minor boundary adjustment would be recommended. To orient and inform visitors about the Reserve, three gateway kiosks would be developed along State Route 20 and a visitor center/contact station would be operated within an historic building in Coupeville or within the historic district (three development concept plans for three sites are included). As documented in the Draft EIS this alternative is deemed to be ``environmentally preferred''. Alternative C changes the management structure of the Reserve from a Trust Board of volunteers to a paid Commission structure. Many actions are similar to Alternative B but with some distinctions. Approximately five acres of NPS-owned land at Farm II would be retained for administrative and maintenance use before exchanging the remaining farmland to a private farm owner for additional protection on other properties within the Reserve. One of the three gateways would be in a historic building in the north of the Reserve. The Reserve would partner for a visitor contact facility at a proposed marine science center. Public Review and Comment: The Draft GMP/EIS has now been released for public review, and a limited number of printed copies are available upon request (see below). In addition, the document may be reviewed at the public library in Coupeville. Also a Draft General Management Plan Alternatives Newsletter is being issued concurrently. Written comments may be submitted using several methods. Responses are encouraged online using the electronic comment form accessed at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment System (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ ebla). A postage-paid comment response form is included in the Alternatives Newsletter (additional pages may be attached to this form as necessary). Written comments may be directly mailed to: Rob Harbour, Reserve Manager, Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, P.O. Box 774, 162 Cemetery Road, Coupeville, WA 98239. In addition, oral comments may be offered at one of several public workshops to be conducted in fall, 2005. Confirmed details on dates, locations and times for these workshops will be announced in local newspapers, in the Alternatives Newsletter, via the park's website, or may be obtained by telephone at (360) 678-6084. All written comments must be postmarked or transmitted not later than 60 days after the EPA's notice of filing is published in the Federal Register (immediately upon confirmation of this date it will be announced on the park's website). All comments will become part of the public record. If individuals submitting comments request that their name or address be withheld from public disclosure, the request will be honored to the extent allowable by law. Such requests must be stated prominently in the beginning of comments. There also may be circumstances in which the NPS will withhold from the record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. As always: The NPS will make available to public inspection all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses; and anonymous comments may not be considered. Decision: Following the opportunity to review the Draft EIS/GMP, all public and agency comments received will be carefully considered in preparing the final document. The Final EIS is anticipated to be completed during the Fall/Winter 2006 and its availability will be similarly announced in the Federal Register and via local and regional press media. As a delegated EIS, the official responsible for the final decision is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region; subsequently the approved plan would be implemented by the Trust Board, Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, in conjunction with the Reserve Manager.