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Scoping Begins for Environmental Assessment on Restoration of Naked Island Group - Prince William Sound Pigeon Guillemot Populations

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), along with the U.S. Forest
Service-Chugach National Forest (Forest Service), and the Alaska Department
of Fish and Game (State) announces the beginning of the scoping period for
preparing an Environmental Assessment exploring the potential of restoring
seabirds, particularly; Pigeon Guillemots in the Naked Island group (Naked,
Peak, and Storey Islands) in Prince William Sound through the removal of
introduced American mink.

The Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) is now the only marine bird species
injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill listed as "not recovering" on
the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council's Injured Resources List and
they have shown no sign of population recovery. Since 1989, the population
of Pigeon Guillemots in Prince William Sound has declined 47 percent and
there is no sign of population stabilization. The weight of available
evidence indicates the primary limiting factor for guillemot reproductive
success and population recovery at the Naked Island group is now predation
by a recent introduction of the American mink. Also, nest predation by
introduced mink has likely caused declines in other seabirds nesting at the
Naked Island group. Given this steady and long-term trend, restoration
action is necessary for the recovery of the Pigeon Guillemot population in
Prince William Sound. The Naked Island group is historically the most
important breeding location for guillemots in Prince William Sound.

The Service is responsible for preparation of this Environmental
Assessment. However, the Naked Island group is administered by the Forest
Service. As such, this Environmental Assessment must meet all Forest
Service requirements and mandates. The State also has an interest in this
project in order to ensure their mandate for fish and game management is
met.

We request that you become involved in helping develop this Environmental
Assessment by expressing your issues, concerns, and ideas. We will be
conducting public scoping meetings at the following locations/dates/times.
We hope to see you there.

Public Scoping Meeting Locations/Dates/Times

Valdez - City Council Chambers, 312 Chenega Avenue.  February 21, 2012.
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Cordova - Public Library Meeting Room, 622 First Street.  February 22,
2012.  7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Whittier - City Council Chambers, P12 Building.  February 23, 2012. 5:00 pm
to 7:00 pm.

Anchorage - Campbell Creek Science Center, 5600 Science Center Road (off
Elmore Road).
                February 27, 2012.  7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

If you cannot attend any of the public meetings, please feel free to
contact Environmental Assessment project leader, David Irons by telephone,
email, and/or in writing.

David Irons, Seabird Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1011 East Tudor Road, MS-201
Anchorage, Alaska 99503 USA
email david_irons@fws.gov
Phone 907/786-3376 Fax 907/786-3641

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats
for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and
trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on
our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with
our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at
www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at
http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq

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