[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 71 (Wednesday, April 13, 2011)]
[Pages 20706-20707]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-8813]

[[Page 20706]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-R-2011-N041; 1261-0000-80230-W5]

South Farallon Islands Nonnative Mouse Eradication Project; 
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, California; Intent To Prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for public comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), advise the 
public that we intend to gather information necessary to prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, for a proposed project to eradicate 
nonnative mice from the South Farallon Islands, part of the Farallon 
National Wildlife Refuge off the coast of California. We encourage the 
public and other agencies to participate in the planning process by 
sending written comments on management actions that we should consider.

DATES: To ensure that we have adequate time to evaluate and incorporate 
suggestions and other input, we must receive your comments on or before 
May 27, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments or requests to be added to our project 
mailing list to: Gerry McChesney, Refuge Manager, Farallon National 
Wildlife Refuge, 9500 Thornton Avenue, Newark, CA 94560. Alternatively, 
you may send written comments or requests by fax to (510) 745-9285 or 
by e-mail to sfbaynwrc@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gerry McChesney, Refuge Manager, (510) 



    In 2009, the Service completed a Comprehensive Conservation Plan 
(CCP) and Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact to 
guide the management of Farallon National Wildlife Refuge over a 15-
year period (75 FR 5102 February 1, 2010). The wildlife management goal 
of the selected management alternative in the CCP is to protect, 
inventory, monitor, and restore to historic levels breeding populations 
of 12 seabird species, 5 marine mammal species, and other native 
wildlife. One of the strategies identified to meet this goal is the 
eradication of the house mouse and the prevention of future human 
introduction of mice.
    We now propose to eradicate nonnative house mice (Mus musculus) 
from the South Farallon Islands. The purpose of this project is to 
protect and restore the ecosystem of the South Farallon Islands, 
particularly for seabirds and other native biological resources. The 
South Farallon Islands have sustained ecological damage over many years 
from the presence of introduced mice.
    In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Farallon 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), as a preserve and breeding ground 
for marine birds under Executive Order 1043. The Refuge originally 
encompassed only the North and Middle Farallon Islands and Noonday 
Rock. In 1969 the Refuge was expanded to include the South Farallon 
Islands and is still managed with the same basic purpose today. The 
isolated nature, varied and extensive habitats, and adjacent productive 
marine environment make the South Farallon Islands an ideal breeding 
and resting location for wildlife, especially seabirds and marine 
mammals. The Refuge comprises the largest continental U.S. seabird 
breeding colony south of Alaska, and supports the world's largest 
breeding colonies of ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa), 
Brandt's cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) and western gull (Larus 
occidentalis). Prior to the introduction of non-native mammals, the 
South Farallon Islands were nearly devoid of land-based predatory 
threats. Introduced European rabbits and cats, which were later 
removed, and mice, which remain on the South Farallon Islands today, 
have had noticeable negative impacts on native species.
    Introduced nonnative mice directly and indirectly cause negative 
impacts to the populations of small burrow- and crevice-nesting 
seabirds on the South Farallones, particularly storm-petrels. In order 
to reduce this impact, the Service has identified mouse eradication as 
a critical step in fulfilling its main purpose to protect and restore 
the native ecosystems of the South Farallon Islands. Eradicating mice 
would increase the survivorship, and would likely increase the local 
population sizes, of at least two seabird species, the ashy storm-
petrel and Leach's storm-petrel. The eradication project may also 
benefit other seabirds, as well as native amphibians, insects, 
invertebrates, and plants, including the endemic Farallon arboreal 
salamander (Aneides lugubris farallonensis) and Farallon camel cricket 
(Farallonophilus cavernicolus).
    The Service has initially identified three possible alternatives:
    (1) No Action, which would allow mice to remain on the South 
Farallon Islands, maintaining the status quo.
    (2) Mouse eradication, with an aerial broadcast of granular pellets 
with the rodenticide brodifacoum as the primary technique, with the 
entire island group treated simultaneously.
    (3) Mouse eradication, with an aerial broadcast of granular bait 
pellets with the rodenticide brodifacoum as the primary technique, 
conducted in phases, in which different islands of the group would be 
treated from days to weeks apart.
    The Service is currently determining what measures could be 
included to minimize adverse effects to nontarget species, while 
ensuring that every mouse has access to the bait during the eradication 

Public Comment

    We are furnishing this notice in accordance with section 1501.7 of 
the NEPA implementing regulations, to obtain suggestions and 
information from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues 
to be addressed in the EIS. We invite written comments from interested 
parties to ensure identification of the full range of alternatives, 
issues and concerns. Information gathered through this scoping process 
will assist us in developing a range of alternatives. A detailed 
description of the proposed action and alternatives will be included in 
the EIS. The EIS will also address the direct, indirect, and cumulative 
impacts of the alternatives on environmental resources and identify 
appropriate mitigation measures for adverse environmental effects.
    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. Before including your address, phone 
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including 
your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available 
at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your 
personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    In addition to providing written comments, the public is encouraged 
to attend a public scoping meeting to provide us with suggestions and 
information on the scope of issues and alternatives to consider when 

[[Page 20707]]

the EIS. A public scoping meeting will be held in San Francisco, 
California, in the spring of 2011. We will mail a separate announcement 
to the public with the exact date, time, and location of the public 
scoping meeting. We will accept both oral and written comments at the 
scoping meeting.

NEPA Compliance

    We will conduct environmental review in accordance with the 
requirements of NEPA, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other applicable 
regulations, and our procedures for compliance with those regulations. 
We anticipate that a draft EIS will be available for public review in 
the fall of 2011.

    Dated: April 7, 2011.
Alexandra Pitts,
Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-8813 Filed 4-12-11; 8:45 am]