Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), requires all lands within the NWRS to be managed in accordance with an approved CCP. A CCP guides refuge management decisions, and identifies long-range goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving the purposes for which the refuge was established. During the CCP planning process for Kootenai Refuge many elements will be considered, including wildlife and habitat protection and management, public use opportunities, and cultural resource protection.
Public input during the planning process is essential. To initiate the public scoping phase of the CCP planning process we held two public open house meetings in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, on January 23, 2009. We announced the meetings in a press release and in a planning update mailed to 239 addressees, including refuge neighbors, interested individuals and organizations, elected officials, Tribes, and local, State, and Federal government and nongovernment stakeholders. Approximately 30 people attended the meetings. Public scoping will continue until March 25, 2009.
The Refuge's CCP will describe desired Refuge conditions and the long-term goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving those conditions. To evaluate potential impacts of CCP alternatives, we will prepare an EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4371
The Refuge was established in 1964 under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act “for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds” with emphasis on providing migration and breeding habitat for migratory waterfowl. The Refuge's habitats include wetlands, mixed moist deciduous and coniferous forest, riparian woodland, riverine, and dry forest. Managed grasslands and croplands are also present on the Refuge.
The Refuge supports tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl, especially during fall migration. The Refuge also provides important stop-over habitat for spring migratory swans that winter in southeastern Oregon and nest in northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta. Habitat for the federally listed bull trout; winter habitat for deer and elk; and occasionally, habitat and/or travel corridors for wide-ranging species such as woodland caribou, grizzly bear, and gray wolves is also provided on the Refuge.
We identified the following categories of preliminary issues for consideration in the planning process: water and wetland management, including dike maintenance and water rights; cropland management; integrated pest management; deer and elk management; maintenance and restoration of riparian, upland forest, and instream habitats; the Refuge's role in recovery of rare and listed fish species; providing sustainable wildlife-dependent recreation with a small staff and land base; reducing visitor conflicts and law enforcement violations; and managing on-going Refuge programs and commitments in an era of tight budgets. Additional issues may be identified during public scoping.
All comments we receive become part of the public record. Requests for comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and Service and Department of the Interior policies and procedures. 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 it from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.