Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans, 13094-13097 [E6-3633]

Download as PDF 13094 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 49 / Tuesday, March 14, 2006 / Notices This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate SKBC ............................ 0.17 percent regarding the reimbursement of antidumping or countervailing duties Liquidation prior to liquidation of the relevant The Department shall determine, and entries during this review period. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Failure to comply with this requirement (CBP) shall assess, antidumping duties could result in the Secretary’s on all appropriate entries. In accordance presumption that reimbursement of with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), we have antidumping or countervailing duties calculated exporter/importer–specific occurred and the subsequent assessment assessment rates. To calculate these of doubled antidumping duties. rates, we divided the total dumping This notice also serves as a reminder margins for the reviewed sales by the to parties subject to administrative total entered value of those reviewed protective orders (APO) of their sales for each importer. Id. The responsibility concerning the return or Department will issue appropriate destruction of proprietary information assessment instructions directly to CBP disclosed under APO in accordance within 15 days of publication of these with 19 CFR 351.305. Timely written final results of review. We will direct notification of the return or destruction CBP to assess the appropriate of APO materials or conversion to assessment rate against the entered judicial protective order is hereby Customs values for the subject requested. Failure to comply with the merchandise on each of the importer’s regulations and terms of an APO is a entries under the relevant order during violation which is subject to sanction. the POR. We are issuing and publishing this Cash Deposit Requirements notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act. The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon Dated: March 7, 2006. publication of this notice of final results David M. Spooner, of administrative review for all Assistant Secretary for Import shipments of stainless steel butt–weld Administration. pipe fittings from Korea entered, or [FR Doc. E6–3618 Filed 3–13–06; 8:45 am] withdrawn from warehouse, for BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S consumption on or after the date of publication, as provided by section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE amended (the Act): (1) Because the cash deposit rate for the reviewed company International Trade Administration is de minimis, (see 19 CFR 351.106(c)) no cash deposit shall be required; (2) for North American Free Trade Agreement previously reviewed or investigated (NAFTA), Article 1904 Binational Panel companies not listed above, the cash Reviews: Notice of Consent Motion To deposit rate will continue to be the Dismiss Panel Review company–specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) if the exporter is AGENCY: NAFTA Secretariat, United not a firm covered in this review, a prior States Section, International Trade Administration, Department of review, or the original less–than-fair– Commerce. value (LTFV) investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate ACTION: Notice of Consent Motion to will be the rate established for the most Dismiss the Panel Review of the final recent period for the manufacturer of material injury review made by the the merchandise; and (4) the cash International Trade Commission, deposit rate for all other manufacturers respecting Certain Durum Wheat and or exporters will continue to be 21.2 Hard Red Spring Wheat from Canada percent. This rate is the ‘‘All Others’’ (Secretariat File No. USA–CDA–2003– rate from the amended final 1904–05). determination in the LTFV investigation. See Antidumping Duty SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Notice of Order: Certain Welded Stainless Steel Consent Motion to Dismiss the Panel Butt–Weld Pipe Fittings From Korea, 58 Review by the complainants, the panel FR 11029 (February 23, 1993). These review is dismissed as of March 6, 2006. deposit requirements shall remain in Pursuant to Rule 71(2) of the Rules of effect until the publication of the final Procedure for Article 1904 Binational results of the next administrative Panel Review, this panel review is review. dismissed. wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Manufacturer / Exporter VerDate Aug<31>2005 Weighted Average Margin (percentage) 19:18 Mar 13, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Caratina L. Alston, United States Secretary, NAFTA Secretariat, Suite 2061, 14th and Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC 20230, (202) 482–5438. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Chapter 19 of the North American Free-Trade Agreement (‘‘Agreement’’) establishes a mechanism to replace domestic judicial review of final determinations in antidumping and countervailing duty cases involving imports from a NAFTA country with review by independent binational panels. When a Request for Panel Review is filed, a panel is established to act in place of national courts to review expeditiously the final determination to determine whether it conforms with the antidumping or countervailing duty law of the country that made the determination. Under Article 1904 of the Agreement, which came into force on January 1, 1994, the Government of the United States, the Government of Canada and the Government of Mexico established Rules of Procedure for Article 1904 Binational Panel Reviews (‘‘Rules’’). These Rules were published in the Federal Register on February 23, 1994 (59 FR 8686). The panel review in this matter was requested and terminated pursuant to these Rules. Dated: March 8, 2006. Caratina L. Alston, United States Secretary, NAFTA Secretariat. [FR Doc. E6–3571 Filed 3–13–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–GT–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [I.D. 030306D] Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Availability; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the availability for public review of the following two documents: the Draft Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan for Southeast Washington developed by the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board (SRSRB) for portions of three evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of salmon Snake River spring/summerrun Chinook salmon, Snake River fallrun Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus E:\FR\FM\14MRN1.SGM 14MRN1 wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 49 / Tuesday, March 14, 2006 / Notices tshawytscha), and Snake River sockeye salmon (O. nerka) and two distinct population segments (DPS) of steelhead Middle Columbia River steelhead and Snake River steelhead (O. mykiss) (Draft SRSRB Plan); and a Supplement to the Draft SRSRB Plan prepared by NMFS (the Supplement). NMFS is soliciting review and comment on the Draft SRSRB Plan and the Supplement from the public and all interested parties. DATES: NMFS will consider and address all substantive comments received during the comment period. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 15, 2006. A description of previous public and scientific review, including scientific peer review, can be found in the NMFS Supplement to the Plan. ADDRESSES: Please send written comments and materials to Carol Joyce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Salmon Recovery Division, 1201 N.E. Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. Comments may be submitted by e-mail. The mailbox address for providing e-mail comments is WashingtonSnakePlan.nwr@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the e-mail comment the following identifier: Comments on WA Snake Salmon Plan. Comments may also be submitted via facsimile (fax) to 503–872–2737. Persons wishing to review the Plan can obtain an electronic copy (i.e., CDROM) from Carol Joyce by calling 503– 230–5408 or by e-mailing a request to carol.joyce@noaa.gov with the subject line CD-ROM Request for WA Snake Salmon Plan. Electronic copies of the Plan are also available on-line on the NMFS website www.nwr.noaa.gov/ Salmon-Recovery-Planning/ESARecovery-Plans/Index.cfm or on the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board website: www.snakeriverboard.org/ library.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Hatcher, NMFS Salmon Recovery Coordinator (509–962–8911 ext. 223), or Elizabeth Gaar, NMFS Salmon Recovery Division (503–230–5434). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the conservation and recovery of species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). An ‘‘evolutionarily significant unit’’ (ESU) of Pacific salmon (Waples, 1991) and a ‘‘distinct population segment’’ (DPS) of steelhead (71 FR 834, January 5, 2006) are considered to be ‘‘species,’’ as defined in section 3 of the ESA. The ESA requires that recovery plans incorporate (1) Objective, measurable criteria that, when met, would result in VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:18 Mar 13, 2006 Jkt 208001 a determination that the species is no longer threatened or endangered; (2) site-specific management actions necessary to achieve the plan’s goals; and (3) estimates of the time required and costs to implement recovery actions. The ESA requires the development of recovery plans for listed species unless such a plan would not promote the recovery of a particular species. NMFS’ goal is to restore endangered and threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead ESA-listed species to the point that they are again secure, selfsustaining members of their ecosystems and no longer need the protections of the ESA. NMFS believes it is critically important to base its recovery plans on the many state, regional, tribal, local, and private conservation efforts already underway throughout the region. Therefore, the agency supports and participates in locally led collaborative efforts to develop recovery plans involving local communities, state, tribal, and Federal entities, and other stakeholders. On October 26, 2005, the SRSRB presented its locally developed recovery plan to NMFS. The SRSRB was formed in 2002 under Washington State statute to oversee and coordinate salmon and steelhead recovery efforts in the Lower Snake River region of Washington. It comprises representatives from county governments, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, irrigation districts, private landowners, and concerned citizens. The SRSRB’s mission is to protect and restore salmon habitat, consistent with the recovery plan, for current and future generations. The Draft SRSRB Plan addresses portions of five ESA-listed species under NMFS’ jurisdiction within the Southeast Washington Management Unit (a geographic unit that NMFS has defined for recovery planning purposes). NMFS intends to endorse the SRSRB Plan and Supplement as an interim regional recovery plan and combine it with other plans to make up a final domain recovery plan to meet ESA section 4(f) requirements for these species. By endorsing a locally developed interim regional recovery plan, NMFS is making a commitment to implement the actions in the plan for which we have authority, to work cooperatively on implementation of other actions, and to encourage other Federal agencies to implement plan actions for which they have responsibility and authority. We will also encourage the State of Washington to seek similar implementation commitments from PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13095 state agencies and local governments. NMFS expects that the interim regional recovery recovery plan will be used to help NMFS and other Federal agencies take a more consistent approach to future ESA section 7 consultations. For example, an interim regional recovery plan will provide greater biological context for the effects that a proposed action may have on the listed species. This context will be enhanced by adding recovery plan science to the ‘‘best available information’’ for section 7 consultations. Such information includes viability criteria for the ESUs and their independent populations, better understanding of and information on limiting factors and threats facing the ESUs, better information on priority areas for addressing specific limiting factors, and better geographic context for where the ESUs can tolerate varying levels of risk. After review of the Draft SRSRB Plan, NMFS added a Supplement, which describes how the Draft SRSRB Plan contributes to ESA recovery plan requirements, including qualifications and additional actions that NMFS believes are necessary to support recovery. The Supplement and the SRSRB’s plan together form a proposed interim regional recovery plan for the affected species. The Draft SRSRB Plan and the Supplement are now available for public review and comment. As noted above, the Draft SRSRB Plan is available at the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board website: www.snakeriverboard.org/library.htm and both the Draft SRSRB Plan and the Supplement are available at the NMFS Northwest Region Salmon Recovery Division website, www.nwr.noaa.gov/ Salmon-Recovery-Planning/index.cfm. NMFS will consider all substantive comments and information presented during the public comment period (see DATES). ESUs Addressed and Planning Area The SRSRB Plan encompasses the Lower Snake Mainstem, Walla Walla, Tucannon, and Asotin subbasins in the State of Washington, in which four of the 28 populations of the Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook ESU are found. The SRSRB Plan also includes the Washington portions of the Walla Walla and Grande Ronde subbasins, within which four of the 25 populations of the Snake River steelhead DPS, and 2 of the 17 populations of the Middle Columbia steelhead DPS are found. Sockeye salmon migrate through the recovery region, but spawn and rear higher in the Snake Basin. The fall-run Chinook salmon population is described but not evaluated in the recovery plan. E:\FR\FM\14MRN1.SGM 14MRN1 wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 13096 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 49 / Tuesday, March 14, 2006 / Notices The Snake River steelhead ESU was listed as threatened on August 18, 1997 (62 FR 43937). The Middle Columbia River steelhead ESU was listed as threatened on March 25, 1999 (64 FR 14517). Recently, NMFS revised its species determinations for West Coast steelhead under the ESA, delineating steelhead-only DPSs. NMFS listed both the Snake River and Middle Columbia River steelhead DPSs as threatened on January 5, 2006 (71 FR 834). The Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook and fall-run Chinook salmon ESUs were listed as threatened (57 FR 14658, April 22, 1992; correction 57 FR 23458, June 3, 1992). The Snake River sockeye salmon ESU was listed as endangered on November 20, 1991 (56 FR 58619). NMFS reaffirmed the threatened status of the Snake River spring/summer-run and fall-run Chinook salmon ESUs, and the endangered status of the Snake River sockeye salmon ESU, on June 28, 2005 (70 FR 37160). None of the listed species is entirely contained within the Washington Snake River recovery region. Because most state and local boundaries are not drawn on the basis of watersheds or ecosystems, the various groups and organizations formed for recovery planning do not necessarily correspond to ESU or DPS areas. Therefore, in order to develop species-wide recovery plans that are built from local recovery efforts, NMFS defined ‘‘management units’’ that roughly follow jurisdictional boundaries but, taken together, encompass the geography of entire species. For the Middle Columbia sub-domain, there are four management units: (1) Oregon; (2) Yakima; (3) Columbia Gorge (Klickitat/ Rock Creek/White Salmon); and (4) Southeast Washington (Walla Walla and Touchet). For the Snake River subdomain there are three management units: (1) Idaho; (2) Oregon; and (3) Southeast Washington. The Draft SRSRB Plan is the plan for the Southeast Washington Management Unit of both sub-domains. In 2006, the separate management unit plans will be ‘‘rolled up’’ or consolidated into ESU/DPS-level recovery plans. The final ESU/DPS-level recovery plans will incorporate the management unit plans and endorse the recommendations and decisions (for example, decisions on site-specific habitat actions) that are most appropriately left to the local recovery planners and implementers. The ESU/ DPS-level plans will also more completely address actions for the hatchery, harvest, and hydro sectors. VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:18 Mar 13, 2006 Jkt 208001 The Draft SRSRB Plan The Draft SRSRB Plan reflects the region’s strong commitment to its threatened salmonid populations. Citizens of the area consider recovery of salmonids to be highly desirable. Salmon and steelhead are harvested in commercial (outside the region) and recreational (inside and outside the region) fisheries as well as taken for tribal ceremonial purposes. Native Americans place great value on salmonids as a religious, nutritional, economic, and cultural resource. The salmon is also an enduring symbol of the Pacific Northwest for non-Native peoples. The Draft SRSRB Plan’s overarching goal is the following: Develop and maintain a healthy ecosystem that contributes to the rebuilding of key fish populations by providing abundant, productive, and diverse populations of aquatic species that support the social, cultural, and economic well-being of the communities both within and outside the recovery region. The Draft SRSRB Plan examines limiting factors and threats for Snake River salmon recovery in terms of habitat, hydropower, harvest, and hatcheries. 1. Habitat: The watersheds in the recovery region have similar salmonid habitat limitations because of similarities in topography, geology, vegetation, and land use. The Draft SRSRB Plan states that agriculture (including grazing), logging, and urbanization have resulted in increased sediment, higher water temperatures, and poorer riparian condition, and have caused major changes in channel form and function, resulting in lack of habitat diversity, increased channel instability, and low flows. 2. Hydropower: There are four major dams on the lower Snake River: Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor. Thus, depending on the locations of their native streams, adult and juvenile migrants must pass some or all of these dams as they migrate through the lower Snake River, as well as the four dams on the lower Columbia River. The Draft SRSRB Plan states that both adult passage upstream and juvenile passage downstream through the hydroelectric system have major effects on the fish. These effects can include predation on juveniles by other species in tailraces and reservoirs, dissolved gas bubble disease, entrapment and entrainment on/in mechanical portions of the dam (such as turbines), altered water temperatures, adult fallback, and alteration of normal migration rates. PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3. Harvest: In-region fisheries include recreational fisheries for salmon and steelhead authorized by Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fisheries. Since 2001, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized limited selective fisheries for spring/ summer Chinook salmon in late April, May and June. According to the Draft SRSRB Plan, catches of wild fish and impacts on them are relatively low. Mainstem Columbia River fisheries downstream from the Southeast Washington Management Unit are managed under in-season harvest regulations pursuant to the U.S. v. Oregon management plan. 4. Hatcheries: The Draft SRSRB Plan does not propose any new hatchery programs, but recognizes that hatcheries can play a role in recovering fish populations. Hatchery programs directly affecting Snake River populations include programs funded under the Lower Snake River Compensation Program, those funded by Idaho Power Company, and other programs. In 2002, 33 hatcheries and satellite facilities from throughout the basin released over 29 million juvenile salmon and steelhead into the Snake River. The Draft SRSRB Plan states that there is concern about hatchery fish straying into virtually all stream reaches in the recovery area. NMFS and other agencies are reviewing and assessing hatchery programs in the Columbia Basin in several different processes. These efforts are expected to provide information relevant to the SRSRB Plan in 2006. The Draft SRSRB Plan also discusses additional factors that affect Snake River salmon and steelhead: habitat alterations in the Columbia River and estuary, conditions in the Pacific Ocean, and dam operations on the Clearwater and Upper Snake mainstem. Recovery will depend on the concerted efforts of actions addressing habitat, harvest, hydroelectric operations, and hatcheries working together and adjusting over time as population conditions change. The Draft SRSRB Plan discusses ‘‘all-H integration,’’ which is further defined in the Supplement. The Draft SRSRB Plan incorporates the NMFS viable salmonid population (VSP) framework as a basis for biological status assessments and recovery goals. The Draft SRSRB Plan also incorporates the 2004 recommendations of the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team (ICTRT) appointed by NMFS, which provided recommendations on biological criteria for population and ESU viability. The ICTRT developed E:\FR\FM\14MRN1.SGM 14MRN1 wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 49 / Tuesday, March 14, 2006 / Notices ‘‘viability curves’’ showing the relationships between productivity and abundance that would indicate higher or lower risk of extinction for a given population. The SRSRB adopted strategic guidelines for recovery actions that emphasize projects with long persistence time and benefits distributed over the widest possible range of environmental attributes; immediate measures in addition to longterm actions; adaptive management; information contained in the applicable subbasin plans; consideration of recovery actions within the context of the four ‘‘Hs’’ (habitat, harvest, hatcheries, and hydroelectric); use of the Ecological Diagnosis and Treatment (EDT) analysis tool, in combination with other analyses, empirical data and professional opinion, to identify and prioritize habitat actions; and consideration of the economic, social, and cultural constraints identified by the recovery region. The Draft SRSRB Plan primarily focuses on actions to protect and restore habitat, and to remove ‘‘imminent threats’’ to salmon survival, such as fish passage barriers and toxic effluents. The Draft SRSRB Plan’s habitat actions are targeted for the major spawning areas (MSAs) identified by the ICTRT. The actions are designed to increase productivity, abundance, spatial structure, and diversity by addressing the limiting factors and threats. The actions are designed to improve upland habitat, riparian conditions, floodplain functions, instream habitat, water quantity, and water quality. The Draft SRSRB Plan does not propose actions for the hydropower system or for harvest, because these are managed in other venues, and these actions will be addressed in the ESUlevel plans. The plan does propose a hatchery strategy based on the Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) for the region, which are administered by NMFS. The strategy attempts to balance risks to recovery of listed fish populations with the achievement of harvest objectives. The SRSRB emphasizes adaptive management as a fundamental aspect of salmon recovery and envisions an extensive adaptive management program being developed in the implementation phase of the watershed planning process funded by the State of Washington. This adaptive management program will be incorporated into the final SRSRB Plan. The Draft SRSRB Plan details a 15– year implementation strategy at a projected cost of $6.9 million per year. However, NMFS emphasizes in the VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:18 Mar 13, 2006 Jkt 208001 Supplement that recovery planning and implementation cannot stop at 15 years, but must continue until the species is recovered. The SRSRB further proposes a specific, 18–month implementation plan containing actions that have been developed by multiple agencies and groups within the recovery region and that can be implemented quickly. The Draft SRSRB Plan states that, because salmon recovery efforts have been underway in the region since the early 1990s, much of the internal framework (policy, scientific, public support, and funding) needed to implement these actions is either in place or can be established quickly once the plan is adopted. Actions proposed in this 18– month plan vary from working to eliminate imminent threats to restoring riparian areas. The section also discusses policy, legislation and scientific ‘‘unknowns’’ that need to be resolved to fully implement the plan. The Draft SRSRB Plan includes a detailed cost estimate for site-specific actions in each MSA. The ICTRT provided technical guidance to the SRSRB for use in the Draft SRSRB Plan. This technical guidance was itself reviewed by multiple technical experts from Federal, state, and local agencies and the Umatilla Tribe. The Draft SRSRB Plan bases much of its information on the subbasin plans for the Lower Snake Mainstem, Walla Walla, Tucannon, Asotin, and Grand Ronde subbasins, and these plans were peer-reviewed by the Independent Scientific Review Panel, appointed by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), and by the Independent Scientific Advisory Board, appointed by the NPCC and NMFS. Public Comments Solicited NMFS solicits written comments on the Draft SRSRB Plan and the NMFS Supplement. The Supplement states NMFS’ assessment of the Draft SRSRB Plan’s relationship to ESA requirements for recovery plans. The Supplement also explains the agency’s intent to use the SRSRB Plan together with the Supplement as an interim regional recovery plan to guide and prioritize recovery actions and to roll up the interim regional recovery plan with other local plans into Federal ESA recovery plans for the respective domains. All substantive comments received by the date specified above will be considered prior to NMFS’ decision whether to endorse the SRSRB Plan as an interim regional recovery plan and incorporate it into the specieslevel plans. Additionally, NMFS will provide a summary of the comments PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13097 and responses through its regional web site and provide a news release for the public announcing the availability of the response to comments. NMFS seeks comments particularly in the following areas: (1) The analysis of limiting factors and threats; (2) the recovery strategies and measures; (3) the criteria for removing the ESUs and DPS from the Federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; and (4) meeting the ESA requirement for estimates of time and cost to implement recovery actions by soliciting implementation schedules. Authority The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: March 8, 2006. James H. Lecky, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–3633 Filed 3–13–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [I.D. 030706E] Fisheries off the West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Fishing Conducted Under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS); announcement of public scoping period; request for written comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS, in cooperation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), announces its intention to prepare an EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NMFS and the Council intend to expand the scope of an EIS they had initially announced as needed to assess the impacts of the 2007–2008 Pacific Coast groundfish fishery specifications and management measures on the human, biological, and physical environment. The scope of this EIS will be expanded to include an analysis of the impacts of revising the rebuilding plans for the seven overfished Pacific Coast groundfish species. Revisions to rebuilding plans will be incorporated in E:\FR\FM\14MRN1.SGM 14MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 49 (Tuesday, March 14, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13094-13097]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-3633]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 030306D]


Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of Availability; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the 
availability for public review of the following two documents: the 
Draft Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan for Southeast Washington 
developed by the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board (SRSRB) for portions 
of three evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of salmon Snake River 
spring/summer-run Chinook salmon, Snake River fall-run Chinook salmon 
(Oncorhynchus

[[Page 13095]]

tshawytscha), and Snake River sockeye salmon (O. nerka) and two 
distinct population segments (DPS) of steelhead Middle Columbia River 
steelhead and Snake River steelhead (O. mykiss) (Draft SRSRB Plan); and 
a Supplement to the Draft SRSRB Plan prepared by NMFS (the Supplement). 
NMFS is soliciting review and comment on the Draft SRSRB Plan and the 
Supplement from the public and all interested parties.

DATES: NMFS will consider and address all substantive comments received 
during the comment period. Comments must be received no later than 5 
p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 15, 2006. A description of previous 
public and scientific review, including scientific peer review, can be 
found in the NMFS Supplement to the Plan.

ADDRESSES: Please send written comments and materials to Carol Joyce, 
National Marine Fisheries Service, Salmon Recovery Division, 1201 N.E. 
Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. Comments may be 
submitted by e-mail. The mailbox address for providing e-mail comments 
is WashingtonSnakePlan.nwr@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the 
e-mail comment the following identifier: Comments on WA Snake Salmon 
Plan. Comments may also be submitted via facsimile (fax) to 503-872-
2737.
    Persons wishing to review the Plan can obtain an electronic copy 
(i.e., CD-ROM) from Carol Joyce by calling 503-230-5408 or by e-mailing 
a request to carol.joyce@noaa.gov with the subject line CD-ROM Request 
for WA Snake Salmon Plan. Electronic copies of the Plan are also 
available on-line on the NMFS website www.nwr.noaa.gov/Salmon-Recovery-
Planning/ESA-Recovery-Plans/Index.cfm or on the Snake River Salmon 
Recovery Board website: www.snakeriverboard.org/library.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Hatcher, NMFS Salmon Recovery 
Coordinator (509-962-8911 ext. 223), or Elizabeth Gaar, NMFS Salmon 
Recovery Division (503-230-5434).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Recovery plans describe actions considered 
necessary for the conservation and recovery of species listed under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). An ``evolutionarily significant unit'' (ESU) of Pacific salmon 
(Waples, 1991) and a ``distinct population segment'' (DPS) of steelhead 
(71 FR 834, January 5, 2006) are considered to be ``species,'' as 
defined in section 3 of the ESA. The ESA requires that recovery plans 
incorporate (1) Objective, measurable criteria that, when met, would 
result in a determination that the species is no longer threatened or 
endangered; (2) site-specific management actions necessary to achieve 
the plan's goals; and (3) estimates of the time required and costs to 
implement recovery actions. The ESA requires the development of 
recovery plans for listed species unless such a plan would not promote 
the recovery of a particular species.
    NMFS' goal is to restore endangered and threatened Pacific salmon 
and steelhead ESA-listed species to the point that they are again 
secure, self-sustaining members of their ecosystems and no longer need 
the protections of the ESA. NMFS believes it is critically important to 
base its recovery plans on the many state, regional, tribal, local, and 
private conservation efforts already underway throughout the region. 
Therefore, the agency supports and participates in locally led 
collaborative efforts to develop recovery plans involving local 
communities, state, tribal, and Federal entities, and other 
stakeholders.
    On October 26, 2005, the SRSRB presented its locally developed 
recovery plan to NMFS. The SRSRB was formed in 2002 under Washington 
State statute to oversee and coordinate salmon and steelhead recovery 
efforts in the Lower Snake River region of Washington. It comprises 
representatives from county governments, the Confederated Tribes of the 
Umatilla Indian Reservation, irrigation districts, private landowners, 
and concerned citizens. The SRSRB's mission is to protect and restore 
salmon habitat, consistent with the recovery plan, for current and 
future generations.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan addresses portions of five ESA-listed species 
under NMFS' jurisdiction within the Southeast Washington Management 
Unit (a geographic unit that NMFS has defined for recovery planning 
purposes). NMFS intends to endorse the SRSRB Plan and Supplement as an 
interim regional recovery plan and combine it with other plans to make 
up a final domain recovery plan to meet ESA section 4(f) requirements 
for these species.
    By endorsing a locally developed interim regional recovery plan, 
NMFS is making a commitment to implement the actions in the plan for 
which we have authority, to work cooperatively on implementation of 
other actions, and to encourage other Federal agencies to implement 
plan actions for which they have responsibility and authority. We will 
also encourage the State of Washington to seek similar implementation 
commitments from state agencies and local governments. NMFS expects 
that the interim regional recovery recovery plan will be used to help 
NMFS and other Federal agencies take a more consistent approach to 
future ESA section 7 consultations. For example, an interim regional 
recovery plan will provide greater biological context for the effects 
that a proposed action may have on the listed species. This context 
will be enhanced by adding recovery plan science to the ``best 
available information'' for section 7 consultations. Such information 
includes viability criteria for the ESUs and their independent 
populations, better understanding of and information on limiting 
factors and threats facing the ESUs, better information on priority 
areas for addressing specific limiting factors, and better geographic 
context for where the ESUs can tolerate varying levels of risk.
    After review of the Draft SRSRB Plan, NMFS added a Supplement, 
which describes how the Draft SRSRB Plan contributes to ESA recovery 
plan requirements, including qualifications and additional actions that 
NMFS believes are necessary to support recovery. The Supplement and the 
SRSRB's plan together form a proposed interim regional recovery plan 
for the affected species. The Draft SRSRB Plan and the Supplement are 
now available for public review and comment. As noted above, the Draft 
SRSRB Plan is available at the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board 
website: www.snakeriverboard.org/library.htm and both the Draft SRSRB 
Plan and the Supplement are available at the NMFS Northwest Region 
Salmon Recovery Division website, www.nwr.noaa.gov/Salmon-Recovery-
Planning/index.cfm. NMFS will consider all substantive comments and 
information presented during the public comment period (see DATES).

ESUs Addressed and Planning Area

    The SRSRB Plan encompasses the Lower Snake Mainstem, Walla Walla, 
Tucannon, and Asotin subbasins in the State of Washington, in which 
four of the 28 populations of the Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook 
ESU are found. The SRSRB Plan also includes the Washington portions of 
the Walla Walla and Grande Ronde subbasins, within which four of the 25 
populations of the Snake River steelhead DPS, and 2 of the 17 
populations of the Middle Columbia steelhead DPS are found. Sockeye 
salmon migrate through the recovery region, but spawn and rear higher 
in the Snake Basin. The fall-run Chinook salmon population is described 
but not evaluated in the recovery plan.

[[Page 13096]]

    The Snake River steelhead ESU was listed as threatened on August 
18, 1997 (62 FR 43937). The Middle Columbia River steelhead ESU was 
listed as threatened on March 25, 1999 (64 FR 14517). Recently, NMFS 
revised its species determinations for West Coast steelhead under the 
ESA, delineating steelhead-only DPSs. NMFS listed both the Snake River 
and Middle Columbia River steelhead DPSs as threatened on January 5, 
2006 (71 FR 834). The Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook and fall-
run Chinook salmon ESUs were listed as threatened (57 FR 14658, April 
22, 1992; correction 57 FR 23458, June 3, 1992). The Snake River 
sockeye salmon ESU was listed as endangered on November 20, 1991 (56 FR 
58619). NMFS reaffirmed the threatened status of the Snake River 
spring/summer-run and fall-run Chinook salmon ESUs, and the endangered 
status of the Snake River sockeye salmon ESU, on June 28, 2005 (70 FR 
37160).
    None of the listed species is entirely contained within the 
Washington Snake River recovery region. Because most state and local 
boundaries are not drawn on the basis of watersheds or ecosystems, the 
various groups and organizations formed for recovery planning do not 
necessarily correspond to ESU or DPS areas. Therefore, in order to 
develop species-wide recovery plans that are built from local recovery 
efforts, NMFS defined ``management units'' that roughly follow 
jurisdictional boundaries but, taken together, encompass the geography 
of entire species. For the Middle Columbia sub-domain, there are four 
management units: (1) Oregon; (2) Yakima; (3) Columbia Gorge 
(Klickitat/Rock Creek/White Salmon); and (4) Southeast Washington 
(Walla Walla and Touchet). For the Snake River sub-domain there are 
three management units: (1) Idaho; (2) Oregon; and (3) Southeast 
Washington. The Draft SRSRB Plan is the plan for the Southeast 
Washington Management Unit of both sub-domains.
    In 2006, the separate management unit plans will be ``rolled up'' 
or consolidated into ESU/DPS-level recovery plans. The final ESU/DPS-
level recovery plans will incorporate the management unit plans and 
endorse the recommendations and decisions (for example, decisions on 
site-specific habitat actions) that are most appropriately left to the 
local recovery planners and implementers. The ESU/DPS-level plans will 
also more completely address actions for the hatchery, harvest, and 
hydro sectors.

The Draft SRSRB Plan

    The Draft SRSRB Plan reflects the region's strong commitment to its 
threatened salmonid populations. Citizens of the area consider recovery 
of salmonids to be highly desirable. Salmon and steelhead are harvested 
in commercial (outside the region) and recreational (inside and outside 
the region) fisheries as well as taken for tribal ceremonial purposes. 
Native Americans place great value on salmonids as a religious, 
nutritional, economic, and cultural resource. The salmon is also an 
enduring symbol of the Pacific Northwest for non-Native peoples.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan's overarching goal is the following: Develop 
and maintain a healthy ecosystem that contributes to the rebuilding of 
key fish populations by providing abundant, productive, and diverse 
populations of aquatic species that support the social, cultural, and 
economic well-being of the communities both within and outside the 
recovery region.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan examines limiting factors and threats for 
Snake River salmon recovery in terms of habitat, hydropower, harvest, 
and hatcheries.
    1. Habitat: The watersheds in the recovery region have similar 
salmonid habitat limitations because of similarities in topography, 
geology, vegetation, and land use. The Draft SRSRB Plan states that 
agriculture (including grazing), logging, and urbanization have 
resulted in increased sediment, higher water temperatures, and poorer 
riparian condition, and have caused major changes in channel form and 
function, resulting in lack of habitat diversity, increased channel 
instability, and low flows.
    2. Hydropower: There are four major dams on the lower Snake River: 
Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor. Thus, 
depending on the locations of their native streams, adult and juvenile 
migrants must pass some or all of these dams as they migrate through 
the lower Snake River, as well as the four dams on the lower Columbia 
River.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan states that both adult passage upstream and 
juvenile passage downstream through the hydroelectric system have major 
effects on the fish. These effects can include predation on juveniles 
by other species in tailraces and reservoirs, dissolved gas bubble 
disease, entrapment and entrainment on/in mechanical portions of the 
dam (such as turbines), altered water temperatures, adult fallback, and 
alteration of normal migration rates.
    3. Harvest: In-region fisheries include recreational fisheries for 
salmon and steelhead authorized by Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and 
treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fisheries. Since 2001, the 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized limited 
selective fisheries for spring/summer Chinook salmon in late April, May 
and June. According to the Draft SRSRB Plan, catches of wild fish and 
impacts on them are relatively low. Mainstem Columbia River fisheries 
downstream from the Southeast Washington Management Unit are managed 
under in-season harvest regulations pursuant to the U.S. v. Oregon 
management plan.
    4. Hatcheries: The Draft SRSRB Plan does not propose any new 
hatchery programs, but recognizes that hatcheries can play a role in 
recovering fish populations. Hatchery programs directly affecting Snake 
River populations include programs funded under the Lower Snake River 
Compensation Program, those funded by Idaho Power Company, and other 
programs. In 2002, 33 hatcheries and satellite facilities from 
throughout the basin released over 29 million juvenile salmon and 
steelhead into the Snake River. The Draft SRSRB Plan states that there 
is concern about hatchery fish straying into virtually all stream 
reaches in the recovery area. NMFS and other agencies are reviewing and 
assessing hatchery programs in the Columbia Basin in several different 
processes. These efforts are expected to provide information relevant 
to the SRSRB Plan in 2006.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan also discusses additional factors that affect 
Snake River salmon and steelhead: habitat alterations in the Columbia 
River and estuary, conditions in the Pacific Ocean, and dam operations 
on the Clearwater and Upper Snake mainstem.
    Recovery will depend on the concerted efforts of actions addressing 
habitat, harvest, hydroelectric operations, and hatcheries working 
together and adjusting over time as population conditions change. The 
Draft SRSRB Plan discusses ``all-H integration,'' which is further 
defined in the Supplement.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan incorporates the NMFS viable salmonid 
population (VSP) framework as a basis for biological status assessments 
and recovery goals. The Draft SRSRB Plan also incorporates the 2004 
recommendations of the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team 
(ICTRT) appointed by NMFS, which provided recommendations on biological 
criteria for population and ESU viability. The ICTRT developed

[[Page 13097]]

``viability curves'' showing the relationships between productivity and 
abundance that would indicate higher or lower risk of extinction for a 
given population.
    The SRSRB adopted strategic guidelines for recovery actions that 
emphasize projects with long persistence time and benefits distributed 
over the widest possible range of environmental attributes; immediate 
measures in addition to long-term actions; adaptive management; 
information contained in the applicable subbasin plans; consideration 
of recovery actions within the context of the four ``Hs'' (habitat, 
harvest, hatcheries, and hydroelectric); use of the Ecological 
Diagnosis and Treatment (EDT) analysis tool, in combination with other 
analyses, empirical data and professional opinion, to identify and 
prioritize habitat actions; and consideration of the economic, social, 
and cultural constraints identified by the recovery region.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan primarily focuses on actions to protect and 
restore habitat, and to remove ``imminent threats'' to salmon survival, 
such as fish passage barriers and toxic effluents. The Draft SRSRB 
Plan's habitat actions are targeted for the major spawning areas (MSAs) 
identified by the ICTRT. The actions are designed to increase 
productivity, abundance, spatial structure, and diversity by addressing 
the limiting factors and threats. The actions are designed to improve 
upland habitat, riparian conditions, floodplain functions, instream 
habitat, water quantity, and water quality.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan does not propose actions for the hydropower 
system or for harvest, because these are managed in other venues, and 
these actions will be addressed in the ESU-level plans. The plan does 
propose a hatchery strategy based on the Hatchery and Genetic 
Management Plans (HGMPs) for the region, which are administered by 
NMFS. The strategy attempts to balance risks to recovery of listed fish 
populations with the achievement of harvest objectives.
    The SRSRB emphasizes adaptive management as a fundamental aspect of 
salmon recovery and envisions an extensive adaptive management program 
being developed in the implementation phase of the watershed planning 
process funded by the State of Washington. This adaptive management 
program will be incorporated into the final SRSRB Plan.
    The Draft SRSRB Plan details a 15-year implementation strategy at a 
projected cost of $6.9 million per year. However, NMFS emphasizes in 
the Supplement that recovery planning and implementation cannot stop at 
15 years, but must continue until the species is recovered. The SRSRB 
further proposes a specific, 18-month implementation plan containing 
actions that have been developed by multiple agencies and groups within 
the recovery region and that can be implemented quickly. The Draft 
SRSRB Plan states that, because salmon recovery efforts have been 
underway in the region since the early 1990s, much of the internal 
framework (policy, scientific, public support, and funding) needed to 
implement these actions is either in place or can be established 
quickly once the plan is adopted. Actions proposed in this 18-month 
plan vary from working to eliminate imminent threats to restoring 
riparian areas. The section also discusses policy, legislation and 
scientific ``unknowns'' that need to be resolved to fully implement the 
plan. The Draft SRSRB Plan includes a detailed cost estimate for site-
specific actions in each MSA.
    The ICTRT provided technical guidance to the SRSRB for use in the 
Draft SRSRB Plan. This technical guidance was itself reviewed by 
multiple technical experts from Federal, state, and local agencies and 
the Umatilla Tribe. The Draft SRSRB Plan bases much of its information 
on the subbasin plans for the Lower Snake Mainstem, Walla Walla, 
Tucannon, Asotin, and Grand Ronde subbasins, and these plans were peer-
reviewed by the Independent Scientific Review Panel, appointed by the 
Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), and by the Independent 
Scientific Advisory Board, appointed by the NPCC and NMFS.

Public Comments Solicited

    NMFS solicits written comments on the Draft SRSRB Plan and the NMFS 
Supplement. The Supplement states NMFS' assessment of the Draft SRSRB 
Plan's relationship to ESA requirements for recovery plans. The 
Supplement also explains the agency's intent to use the SRSRB Plan 
together with the Supplement as an interim regional recovery plan to 
guide and prioritize recovery actions and to roll up the interim 
regional recovery plan with other local plans into Federal ESA recovery 
plans for the respective domains. All substantive comments received by 
the date specified above will be considered prior to NMFS' decision 
whether to endorse the SRSRB Plan as an interim regional recovery plan 
and incorporate it into the species-level plans. Additionally, NMFS 
will provide a summary of the comments and responses through its 
regional web site and provide a news release for the public announcing 
the availability of the response to comments. NMFS seeks comments 
particularly in the following areas: (1) The analysis of limiting 
factors and threats; (2) the recovery strategies and measures; (3) the 
criteria for removing the ESUs and DPS from the Federal list of 
endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; and (4) meeting the ESA 
requirement for estimates of time and cost to implement recovery 
actions by soliciting implementation schedules.

Authority

    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: March 8, 2006.
James H. Lecky,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. E6-3633 Filed 3-13-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S