[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 34 (Thursday, February 20, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9759-9760]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03605]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R7-R-2013-N070; FXRS12650700000-145-FF07R05000]


Record of Decision for Final Environmental Impact Statement; 
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Proposed Land Exchange/Road Corridor, 
Cold Bay, Alaska

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: record of decision.

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SUMMARY: We, the Department of the Interior (Department) and the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the 
record of decision (ROD) for the final environmental impact statement 
(EIS) for a proposed land exchange/road corridor on the Izembek 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), Alaska. We prepared this ROD 
pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and 
its implementing regulations. We provide this notice to advise the 
public and other agencies of our decision and of availability of the 
ROD.

DATES: Both the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 
Secretary of the Interior signed the ROD on December 23, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the ROD by any of the 
following methods:
    Web site: Download a copy of the document(s) at http://izembek.fws.gov/eis.htm.
    Email: [email protected]; include ``Izembek National Wildlife 
Refuge ROD'' in the subject line of the message.
    Fax: Attn: Stephanie Brady, Project Team Leader, 907-786-3901.
    U.S. Mail: Stephanie Brady, Project Team Leader, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Rd., MS-231, Anchorage, AK 99503.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: You may view or pick up a copy of the 
ROD during regular business hours at the address listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Brady, 907-306-7448, or by 
one of the addresses above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we finalize the EIS 
process for the Proposed Land Exchange/Road Corridor in the Izembek 
Refuge, Alaska. In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) requirements, this notice announces the 
availability of the ROD for the final EIS for a Proposed Land Exchange/
Road Corridor in the Izembek Refuge. We completed a thorough analysis 
of the effects on the human environment of each alternative considered, 
including environmental, social, and economic considerations, which 
were included in the final EIS. The ROD documents our selection of 
Alternative 1, the No Land Exchange Alternative (No Action 
Alternative), which was the Service's preferred alternative in the 
final EIS. Under this decision, the Service will not exchange land with 
the State of Alaska and the King Cove Corporation for the purpose of 
constructing a road between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay, 
Alaska. Under this decision, we will continue to manage lands within 
the Refuge consistent with and following the Izembek Refuge 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan. For more background on the Refuge, and 
the public involvement process to date, please see our notice published 
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 (78 FR 8577).

Background

    The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-11, 
Title VI, Subtitle E) (OPLMA) directed the Secretary of the Interior to 
analyze the land exchange, alternatives for road construction and 
operation, and a specific road corridor through the Izembek Refuge and 
the Izembek Wilderness. The proposed land exchange would transfer to 
the State of Alaska all right, title, and interest to a road corridor 
for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a single-lane 
gravel road between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay, Alaska. 
As provided by OPLMA, the road ``shall be used primarily for health and 
safety purposes (including access to and from the Cold Bay Airport) and 
only for noncommercial purposes.'' The OPLMA requires the Secretary to 
make this decision in compliance with NEPA, which requires analysis of 
the effects of alternatives, including a ``no action'' alternative, and 
any other applicable law.

Alternatives Considered

    The Final EIS evaluated in detail five alternatives, including a No 
Action Alternative and four action alternatives:

Alternative 1--No Action and Preferred Alternative

    Under Alternative 1, the Service would not exchange lands with the 
King Cove Corporation and the State of Alaska for the purpose of 
constructing a road between King Cove and Cold Bay, Alaska. Current 
modes of transportation

[[Page 9760]]

between the cities of King Cove and Cold Bay, including air and marine 
routes, would continue to operate and be developed.

Alternative 2--Land Exchange and Southern Road Alignment

    Alternative 2 proposed a land exchange between the Federal 
Government, the State of Alaska, and the King Cove Corporation that 
would result in a road/road corridor through Izembek Refuge and Izembek 
Wilderness. Under the proposed land exchange, approximately 201 acres 
of federal land (surface and subsurface estate) of the Izembek Refuge 
and Izembek Wilderness as well as 1,600 acres (surface and subsurface 
estate) within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Sitkinak 
Island would be conveyed to the State of Alaska. In exchange, the 
Service would receive approximately 43,093 acres of land owned by the 
State of Alaska (to be designated wilderness), as well as approximately 
13,300 acres of land owned by King Cove Corporation. In addition, the 
King Cove Corporation would relinquish 5,430 acres of selected lands 
within the Izembek Refuge and Izembek Wilderness boundary. The proposed 
road/road corridor would be located approximately \1/2\ mile to 1 mile 
north of Kinzarof Lagoon.

Alternative 3--Land Exchange and Central Road Alignment

    Alternative 3 proposed a land exchange between the Federal 
Government, the State of Alaska, and the King Cove Corporation that 
would result in a road/road corridor through Izembek Refuge and Izembek 
Wilderness. Under the proposed land exchange, approximately 227 acres 
of federal land (surface and subsurface estate) of the Izembek Refuge 
and Izembek Wilderness as well as 1,600 acres (surface and subsurface 
estate) within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Sitkinak 
Island would be conveyed to the State of Alaska. In exchange, the 
Service would receive approximately 43,093 acres of land owned by the 
State of Alaska (to be designated wilderness), as well as approximately 
13,300 acres of land owned by King Cove Corporation. In addition, the 
King Cove Corporation would relinquish 5,430 acres of selected lands 
within the Izembek Refuge and Izembek Wilderness boundary. The proposed 
road/road corridor would be located more centrally within the Izembek 
isthmus approximately 1 to 1\1/2\ mile north of Kinzarof lagoon and \1/
2\ to 1 mile south of Izembek Lagoon.

Alternative 4--Hovercraft Operations From the Northeast Terminal to 
Cross Wind Cove

    Alternative 4 proposed operation of a hovercraft service 6 days per 
week to provide access between the communities of King Cove and Cold 
Bay, running between the Northeast Terminal and Cross Wind Cove. A land 
exchange was not considered under this alternative.

Alternative 5--Lenard Harbor Ferry With Cold Bay Dock Improvements

    Alternative 5 proposed use of a ferry to provide access between 
King Cove and Cold Bay that would travel 14 miles between a terminal in 
Lenard Harbor to a substantially modified Cold Bay dock. Under this 
alternative, ferry service would be provided 6 days per week and a land 
exchange would not occur.

Factors We Considered in Decisionmaking

    We based our decision on a thorough analysis of the effects to the 
human environment, including environmental, social, and economic 
considerations found in the Final EIS. We have evaluated the effects of 
proposed roads through Izembek Refuge and Izembek Wilderness in 
numerous analyses since 1960, including the 1985 Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan and through the completion of the current EIS. We 
have consistently found that the impacts of building a proposed road on 
the wildlife resources, habitats, and designated Wilderness would 
create irreversible change and damage to a unique and ecologically 
important area, and especially to designated Wilderness. The no action 
alternative selected in the ROD supports the continued management of 
the Izembek Refuge consistent with the purposes for which it was 
established.
    Decision: After a thorough review of the potential environmental, 
social, and economic consequences of all alternatives evaluated in the 
Final EIS, we selected Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative. 
Selecting Alternative 1 preserves the integrity of the Izembek National 
Wildlife Refuge and Izembek Wilderness, ensures the continued 
protection of unique and internationally recognized habitats, and 
maintains the integrity of designated Wilderness.

    Dated: February 13, 2014.
Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska.
[FR Doc. 2014-03605 Filed 2-19-14; 8:45 am]
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