[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 92 (Monday, May 12, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27003-27005]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-10480]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2008-N0101; 1265000010137-S3]


Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Lakeview, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental impact statement; announcement of four public open 
house meetings; and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Sheldon 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). An environmental impact statement 
(EIS) evaluating effects of various CCP

[[Page 27004]]

alternatives, will also be prepared. The Refuge is located in Washoe 
and Humboldt County, Nevada, and Lake County, Oregon. We provide this 
notice in compliance with our CCP policy to: advise other Federal and 
State agencies, Tribes, and the public of our intentions, and obtain 
suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider in the 
planning process. We are also announcing public open house meetings and 
requesting public comments.

DATES: Please provide your written comments by June 30th, 2008. We will 
hold four open house public meetings to begin the CCP planning process; 
see Public Meetings under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for dates, times, 
and locations.

ADDRESSES: Additional information concerning CCP development is 
available on the following Internet site: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/
planning. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for the addresses of the four 
public open house meeting locations. Send your comments or requests for 
more information by any of the following methods.
    E-mail: SheldonCCP@fws.gov.
    U.S. Mail: Paul Steblein, Project Leader, Sheldon-Hart Mountain 
National Wildlife Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 111, Lakeview, OR 97630.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Steblein, Project Leader, via E-
mail: SheldonCCP@fws.gov or at phone number: (541) 947-3315.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    With this notice, we initiate our process for developing a CCP for 
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Washoe and Humboldt Counties, 
Nevada, and Lake County, Oregon. This notice complies with our CCP 
policy and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended 
(NEPA) to (1) Advise other Federal and State agencies, Tribes, and the 
public of our intention to conduct detailed planning on this refuge, 
and (2) obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to 
consider in the environmental document and during development of the 
CCP.

Background

The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Improvement Act), which amended the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, 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, consistent with sound principles of 
fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our 
policies. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in 
accordance with the Improvement Act.
    Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was established 
for specific purposes. We use these purposes as the foundation for 
developing and prioritizing the management goals and objectives for 
each refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System mission, and to 
determine how the public can use each refuge. The planning process is a 
way for us and the public to identify and evaluate management goals and 
objectives for wildlife habitat conservation and wildlife-dependent 
recreation opportunities compatible with each refuge's establishing 
purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
    Our CCP process provides participation opportunities for Tribal, 
state, and local governments; agencies; organizations; and the public. 
At this time we encourage input in the form of issues, concerns, ideas, 
and suggestions for the future management of Sheldon National Wildlife 
Refuge.
    We will conduct the environmental review of the Sheldon CCP/EIS in 
accordance with the requirements of NEPA, NEPA regulations (40 CFR 
parts 1500-1508); other appropriate Federal laws and regulations; and 
our policies and procedures for compliance with those laws and 
regulations.

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge

    The Refuge's approved boundary encompasses approximately 572,876 
acres of high desert sagebrush-steppe ecosystem in Washoe and Humboldt 
Counties, Nevada and Lake County, Oregon. The Refuge was originally 
established in 1931, and the Refuge purposes are:
     ``* * * as a refuge and breeding ground for wild animals 
and birds * * *'' (Executive Order 5540 dated January 26, 1931 signed 
by Herbert Hoover);
     ``* * * set apart for the conservation and development of 
natural wildlife resources and for the protection and improvement of 
public grazing lands and natural forage resources * * * '' and ``* * * 
the natural resources therein shall be first utilized for the purpose 
of sustaining in a healthy condition a maximum of three thousand five 
hundred (3,500) antelope, the primary species, and such non-predatory 
secondary species in such numbers as may be necessary to maintain a 
balanced wildlife population * * *.'' (Executive Order 7522 dated 
December 21, 1936);
     ``* * * to conserve (1) fish or wildlife which are listed 
as endangered species or threatened species * * * or (B) plants * * *'' 
16 U.S.C. 1534 (Endangered Species Act of 1973); and
     ``* * * for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any 
other management purpose, for migratory birds.'' 16 U.S.C. 715d 
(Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929).
    The high desert is characterized by wide-open spaces and a variety 
of landforms. The two most common landforms include narrow canyons that 
empty into rolling valleys with no drainage outlets to the ocean, and 
broad flat tables that end abruptly in vertical cliffs. The elevations 
of these landforms range from a high of 7,294 feet on Catnip Mountain, 
to a low of approximately 4,200 feet on the northeastern boundary. The 
area generally decreases in altitude from west to east.
    The extent of the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem has substantially 
declined across the landscape primarily as a result of habitat 
conversion, catastrophic wildfire, and introduced exotic species. The 
Refuge currently represents one of the last reasonably intact examples 
of a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem in the Great Basin. It provides a 
variety of critical habitats for a host of species endemic to 
sagebrush-steppe, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, greater 
sage-grouse, pygmy rabbit, migratory birds, desert fishes, and a range 
of rare plants and invertebrates.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. Additional issues may be identified 
during public scoping.
    Habitat Management and Restoration: What actions shall the Service 
take to sustain and restore priority species and habitats over the next 
15 years?
    Public Use and Access: What type and level of recreational 
opportunities should be provided? How will public use and associated 
facilities be managed, taking into consideration wildlife disturbance, 
restrictions, liability, compatibility, and future needs?
    Cultural Resources: How will the Refuge protect and manage its 
significant archaeological and historic

[[Page 27005]]

sites? What level and type of cultural resources education should be 
provided to the public?
    Feral Horses and Burros: How can feral horses and burros best be 
managed for the long term consistent with refuge purposes? Should 
interim management guidelines adopted under the recent Feral Horse and 
Burro Management EA continue in the future?

Public Open House Meetings

    Four public open house meetings will be held to provide 
opportunities for the public to learn more about the Refuge and its 
programs from the CCP planning team and to obtain public comments. 
Meeting details follow.

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             Date                      Time               Location
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May 14, 2008..................  6 p.m. to 9 p.m..  Daly Middle School
                                                    Gym, 220 South H
                                                    Street, Lakeview,
                                                    Oregon.
May 22, 2008..................  6 p.m. to 9 p.m..  West Hall, Convention
                                                    and Visitors
                                                    Authority, 50 W.
                                                    Winnemucca Blvd.,
                                                    Winnemucca, NV.
June 4, 2008..................  6 p.m. to 9 p.m..  Christian Life
                                                    Assembly, 225 West B
                                                    Street, Alturas, CA.
June 11, 2008.................  6 p.m. to 9 p.m..  Pantera/Tartuca
                                                    Rooms, Siena Hotel
                                                    and Casino, One
                                                    South Lake Street,
                                                    Reno, NV.
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Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Dated: April 14, 2008.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E8-10480 Filed 5-9-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P