Subsistence Management Program for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determination Process, 77005-77007 [2012-31359]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices location and hours of the reading room). You may also request paper copies of the data standards by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Done in Washington, DC, this 20th day of December, 2012. . Kevin Shea, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2012–31401 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R7–SM–2012–N248;FXFR133 50700640–134–FF07J00000] Subsistence Management Program for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determination Process Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCIES: Federal subsistence regulations require that the rural or nonrural status of communities or areas be reviewed every 10 years. In 2009, the Secretary of the Interior initiated a review of the Federal Subsistence Management Program. An ensuing directive was for the Federal Subsistence Board (Board) to review its process for determining the rural and nonrural status of communities. As a result, the Board has initiated a review of the rural determination process and is requesting comments from the public. These comments will be used by the Board, coordinating with the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, to assist in making decisions regarding the scope and nature of possible changes to improve the rural determination process. SUMMARY: Comments: Comments on this notice must be received or postmarked by November 1, 2013. Public meetings: The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils will hold public meetings to receive comments and make recommendations to the Federal Subsistence Board on this notice on several dates between August 19 and October 30, 2013. See Public Meetings under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific information on dates and locations of the public meetings. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 Comments: Comments on this notice must be received or postmarked by November 1, 2013. You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Electronically: Comments addressing this notice may be sent to subsistence@fws.gov. • By hard copy: U.S. mail or handdelivery to: USFWS, Office of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, MS 121, Attn: Theo Matuskowitz, Anchorage, AK 99503– 6199, or hand delivery to the Designated Federal Official attending any of the Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council public meetings. Comments received will be available for public review during public meetings held by the Board on this issue. This generally means that any personal information you provide us will be available during public review. Public meetings: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific information on dates and locations of the public meetings. If the Board decides additional meetings are required, public announcements will be made that provide meeting dates and locations. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Peter J. Probasco, Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786– 3888; or subsistence@fws.gov. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve Kessler, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region; (907) 743–9461; or skessler@fs.fed.us. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: Background Under Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111–3126), the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) jointly implement the Federal Subsistence Management Program. This Program provides a priority for taking of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The Secretaries published temporary regulations to implement this Program in the Federal Register on June 29, 1990 (55 FR 27114), and final regulations in the Federal Register on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940). The Secretaries have amended these regulations a number of times. Because this Program is a joint effort between Interior and Agriculture, these regulations are located in two titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Title 36, ‘‘Parks, Forests, and PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77005 Public Property,’’ and Title 50, ‘‘Wildlife and Fisheries,’’ at 36 CFR 242.1–28 and 50 CFR 100.1–28, respectively. The regulations contain the following subparts: Subpart A, General Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, Board Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife. Federal Subsistence Board Consistent with subpart B of these regulations, the Secretaries established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The Board comprises: • A Chair, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service; • The Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management; • The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; • The Alaska Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service; and • Two public members appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture. Through the Board, these agencies and public members participate in the development of regulations for subparts C and D, which, among other things, set forth program eligibility and specific harvest seasons and limits. In administering the program, the Secretaries divided Alaska into 10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council. The Councils provide a forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence management of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands in Alaska. The Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user interests within each region. Public Meetings The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils have a substantial role in reviewing subsistence issues and making recommendations to the Board. The Federal Subsistence Board, through the Councils, will hold public meetings to accept comments on this notice during the fall meeting cycle. You may present comments on this notice during those meetings at the following locations in Alaska, on the following dates: E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 77006 Region Region Region Region Region Region Region Region Region Region Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices 1—Southeast Regional Council .......................................................................................... 2—Southcentral Regional Council ...................................................................................... 3—Kodiak/Aleutians Regional Council ............................................................................... 4—Bristol Bay Regional Council ......................................................................................... 5—Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta Regional Council .................................................................. 6—Western Interior Regional Council ................................................................................ 7—Seward Peninsula Regional Council ............................................................................. 8—Northwest Arctic Regional Council ................................................................................ 9—Eastern Interior Regional Council ................................................................................. 10—North Slope Regional Council ..................................................................................... mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with A notice will be published of specific dates, times, and meeting locations in local and statewide newspapers, and on the Web at http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/ index.cfml, prior to these meetings. Locations and dates may change based on weather or local circumstances. Tribal Consultation and Comment As expressed in Executive Order 13175, ‘‘Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,’’ the Federal officials that have been delegated authority by the Secretaries are committed to honoring the unique government-to-government relationship that exists between the Federal Government and Federally Recognized Indian Tribes (Tribes) as listed in 75 FR 60810 (October 1, 2010). Consultation with Alaska Native corporations is based on Public Law 108–199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Public Law 108–447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267, which provides that: ‘‘The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order No. 13175.’’ The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Title VIII (16 U.S.C. 3111–3126), does not provide specific rights to Tribes for the subsistence taking of wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, because tribal members and Alaska Native corporations are affected by subsistence regulations, the Secretaries, through the Board, will provide Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations an opportunity to consult. The Board provides a variety of opportunities for consultation: engaging in dialogue at the Council meetings; engaging in dialogue at the Board’s meetings; and providing input in person, or by mail, email, or phone at any time during the comment period. The Board will engage in outreach efforts for this notice, including a notification letter, to ensure that Tribes and Alaska Native corporations are advised of the mechanisms by which they can participate. The Board will VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 commit to efficiently and adequately providing an opportunity to Tribes and Alaska Native corporations to prior to the adoption of any changes in policy or regulation concerning the rural determination process. The Board will consider Tribes’ and Alaska Native corporations’ information, input, and recommendations, and endeavor to address their concerns. Purpose of This Notice In accordance with § l.10(d)(4)(ii), one of the responsibilities given to the Federal Subsistence Board is to determine which communities or areas of the State are rural or nonrural. Only residents of areas identified as rural are eligible to participate in the Federal Subsistence Management Program on Federal public lands in Alaska. The Board determines if a community or area is rural in accordance with established guidelines set forth in § l.15(a). The Board reviews rural determinations on a 10-year cycle and may review determinations out-of-cycle in special circumstances. The Board conducts rulemaking to determine if the list at § l.23(a), which defines the rural/nonrural status of communities and/or areas, needs revision. Residents would have five years to comply with a rural to nonrural change. A change from nonrural to rural would be effective 30 days after publication of the rule. On May 7, 2007, the Board published a final rule, ‘‘Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart C; Nonrural Determinations’’ (72 FR 25688). This rule revised the list of nonrural areas identified by the Board. The Board changed Adak’s status to rural, added Prudhoe Bay to the list of nonrural areas, and adjusted the boundaries of the following nonrural areas: the Kenai Area; the Wasilla/ Palmer Area, including Point McKenzie; the Homer Area, including Fritz Creek East (except Voznesenka) and the North Fork Road area; and the Ketchikan Area, including Saxman and portions of Gravina Island. The effective date was June 6, 2007, with a 5-year compliance date of May 7, 2012. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Petersburg ................. Copper Center ........... Cold Bay .................... Dillingham .................. St. Marys ................... Fairbanks ................... Nome ......................... Kiana ......................... Fairbanks ................... Barrow ....................... September 24, 2013. October 2, 2013. September 24, 2013. October 29, 2013. September 25, 2013. October 8, 2013. October 8, 2013. August 21, 2013. October 16, 2013. August 19, 2013. On October 23, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Salazar announced the initiation of a Departmental review of the Federal Subsistence Management Program in Alaska; Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack later concurred with this course of action. The review focused on how the Program is meeting the purposes and subsistence provisions of Title VIII of ANILCA, and how the Program is serving rural subsistence users as envisioned when it began in the early 1990s. On August 31, 2010, the Secretaries announced the findings of the review, which included several proposed administrative and regulatory reviews and/or revisions to strengthen the Program and make it more responsive to those who rely on it for their subsistence uses. One proposal called for a review, with Council input, of the rural and nonrural determination process and, if needed, recommendations for regulatory changes. On January 20, 2012, the Board met to consider the Secretarial directive, consider the Council’s recommendations, and review all public, Tribal, and Native Corporation comments on the initial review of the rural determinations process. After discussion and careful review, the Board voted unanimously to initiate a review of the rural determination process and the 2010 decennial review. Consequently, based on that action, the Board found that it was in the public’s best interest to extend the compliance date of its 2007 final rule (72 FR 25688; May 7, 2007) on rural and nonrural determinations until after the review of the rural determination process and decennial review are complete or in 5 years, whichever comes first. The Board has already published a final rule (77 FR 12477; March 1, 2012) extending the compliance date. Request for Input To comply with the Secretarial directives and the Federal subsistence regulations, the Federal Subsistence Board is proceeding with a review of the rural determination process. As part of the Secretaries’ commitment to open E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices government and in accordance with Executive Order 13563, the Board requests input from the public on the rural determination process and regulations, and ways to improve them for the benefit of rural Alaskans. The Board has identified the following components in the process for review: Population thresholds, rural characteristics, aggregation of communities, timelines, and information sources. We describe these components below and include questions for public consideration and comment. Population thresholds. The Federal Subsistence Board currently uses several guidelines to determine whether a specific area of Alaska is rural. One guideline sets population thresholds. A community or area with a population below 2,500 will be considered rural. A community or area with a population between 2,500 and 7,000 will be considered rural or nonrural, based on community characteristics and criteria used to group communities together. Communities with populations more than 7,000 will be considered nonrural, unless such communities possess significant characteristics of a rural nature. In 2008, the Board recommended to the Secretaries that the upper population threshold be changed to 11,000. The Secretaries have taken no action on this recommendation. (1) Are these population threshold guidelines useful for determining whether a specific area of Alaska is rural? (2) If they are not, please provide population size(s) to distinguish between rural and nonrural areas, and the reasons for the population size you believe more accurately reflects rural and nonrural areas in Alaska. Rural characteristics. The Board recognizes that population alone is not the only indicator of rural or nonrural status. Other characteristics the Board considers include, but are not limited to, the following: Use of fish and wildlife; development and diversity of the economy; community infrastructure; transportation; and educational institutions. (3) Are these characteristics useful for determining whether a specific area of Alaska is rural? (4) If they are not, please provide a list of characteristics that better define or enhance rural and nonrural status. Aggregation of communities. The Board recognizes that communities and areas of Alaska are connected in diverse ways. Communities that are economically, socially, and communally integrated are considered in the aggregate in determining rural and VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 nonrural status. The aggregation criteria are as follows: Do 30 percent or more of the working people commute from one community to another; do they share a common high school attendance area; and are the communities in proximity and road-accessible to one another? (5) Are these aggregation criteria useful in determining rural and nonrural status? (6) If they are not, please provide a list of criteria that better specify how communities may be integrated economically, socially, and communally for the purposes of determining rural and nonrural status. Timelines. The Board reviews rural determinations on a 10-year cycle, and out of cycle in special circumstances. (7) Should the Board review rural determinations on a 10-year cycle? If so, why; if not, why not? Information sources. Current regulations state that population data from the most recent census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as updated by the Alaska Department of Labor, shall be utilized in the rural determination process. The information collected and the reports generated during the decennial census vary between each census; as such, data used during the Board’s rural determination may vary. (8) These information sources as stated in regulations will continue to be the foundation of data used for rural determinations. Do you have any additional sources you think would be beneficial to use? (9) In addition to the preceding questions, do you have any additional comments on how to make the rural determination process more effective? This notice announces to the public, including rural Alaska residents, Federally recognized Tribes of Alaska, and Alaska Native corporations, the request for comments on the Federal Subsistence Program’s rural determination process. These comments will be used by the Board to assist in making decisions regarding the scope and nature of possible changes to improve the rural determination process, which may include, where the Board has authority, proposed regulatory action(s) or in areas where the Secretaries maintain purview, recommended courses of action. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77007 Dated: December 5, 2012. Peter J. Probasco, Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board. Dated: December 6, 2012. Steve Kessler, Subsistence Program Leader, USDA–Forest Service. [FR Doc. 2012–31359 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P ; 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Transfer of Land to the Department of Interior Forest Service, USDA. Notice of Land Transfer. AGENCY: ACTION: Approximately 353.63 acres of National Forest System lands are transferred to the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Interior pursuant to the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act (Pub. L. 100–580; 102 Stat. 2924 (1988)). Transfer of Jurisdiction of Certain National Forest System Lands in California to the Department of the Interior for the benefit of the Yurok Tribe. DATES: This notice becomes effective December 31, 2012. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Louisa Herrera, National Title Program Manager, (202) 205–1255, Lands and Realty Management. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act (Pub. L. 100–580;102; Stat. 2924 (1988)), hereafter ‘‘Act’’, provides at section 2(c) that, subject to valid existing rights, certain enumerated National Forest System lands shall be ‘‘held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Yurok Tribe and shall be part of the Yurok Reservation’’ (102 Stat. 2926). A condition precedent to such lands being held in trust is adoption of a resolution of the Interim Council of the Yurok Tribe as provided in section 2(c)(4) of the Act (102 Stat. 2926). On March 21, 2007, the Yurok Tribal Council enacted Resolution No. 07–037, waiving certain claims and consenting to uses of tribal funds pursuant to the Act. The Department of the Interior has determined that the resolution meets the requirements of section 2(c)(4) of the Act, and that determination has been accepted by the Department of Agriculture. Therefore, the conditions of transfer having been met, subject to valid existing rights, administrative jurisdiction over the following Federally SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 250 (Monday, December 31, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77005-77007]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31359]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R7-SM-2012-N248;FXFR13350700640-134-FF07J00000]


Subsistence Management Program for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural 
Determination Process

AGENCIES: Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: Federal subsistence regulations require that the rural or 
nonrural status of communities or areas be reviewed every 10 years. In 
2009, the Secretary of the Interior initiated a review of the Federal 
Subsistence Management Program. An ensuing directive was for the 
Federal Subsistence Board (Board) to review its process for determining 
the rural and nonrural status of communities. As a result, the Board 
has initiated a review of the rural determination process and is 
requesting comments from the public. These comments will be used by the 
Board, coordinating with the Secretaries of the Interior and 
Agriculture, to assist in making decisions regarding the scope and 
nature of possible changes to improve the rural determination process.

DATES: Comments: Comments on this notice must be received or postmarked 
by November 1, 2013.
    Public meetings: The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils 
will hold public meetings to receive comments and make recommendations 
to the Federal Subsistence Board on this notice on several dates 
between August 19 and October 30, 2013. See Public Meetings under 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific information on dates and 
locations of the public meetings.

ADDRESSES: Comments: Comments on this notice must be received or 
postmarked by November 1, 2013. You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
     Electronically: Comments addressing this notice may be 
sent to subsistence@fws.gov.
     By hard copy: U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: USFWS, Office 
of Subsistence Management, 1011 East Tudor Road, MS 121, Attn: Theo 
Matuskowitz, Anchorage, AK 99503-6199, or hand delivery to the 
Designated Federal Official attending any of the Federal Subsistence 
Regional Advisory Council public meetings.
    Comments received will be available for public review during public 
meetings held by the Board on this issue. This generally means that any 
personal information you provide us will be available during public 
review.
    Public meetings: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific 
information on dates and locations of the public meetings. If the Board 
decides additional meetings are required, public announcements will be 
made that provide meeting dates and locations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Peter J. Probasco, Office of 
Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888; or subsistence@fws.gov. For 
questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve 
Kessler, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, 
Alaska Region; (907) 743-9461; or skessler@fs.fed.us.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation 
Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), the Secretary of the Interior and 
the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) jointly implement the 
Federal Subsistence Management Program. This Program provides a 
priority for taking of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses 
on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The Secretaries published 
temporary regulations to implement this Program in the Federal Register 
on June 29, 1990 (55 FR 27114), and final regulations in the Federal 
Register on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 22940). The Secretaries have amended 
these regulations a number of times. Because this Program is a joint 
effort between Interior and Agriculture, these regulations are located 
in two titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Title 36, 
``Parks, Forests, and Public Property,'' and Title 50, ``Wildlife and 
Fisheries,'' at 36 CFR 242.1-28 and 50 CFR 100.1-28, respectively. The 
regulations contain the following subparts: Subpart A, General 
Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, Board 
Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife.

Federal Subsistence Board

    Consistent with subpart B of these regulations, the Secretaries 
established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal 
Subsistence Management Program. The Board comprises:
     A Chair, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with 
concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture;
     The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service;
     The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service;
     The Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management;
     The Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian 
Affairs;
     The Alaska Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service; and
     Two public members appointed by the Secretary of the 
Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture.
    Through the Board, these agencies and public members participate in 
the development of regulations for subparts C and D, which, among other 
things, set forth program eligibility and specific harvest seasons and 
limits.
    In administering the program, the Secretaries divided Alaska into 
10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a 
Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council. The Councils provide a 
forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions 
and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence 
management of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands in Alaska. The 
Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user 
interests within each region.

Public Meetings

    The Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils have a 
substantial role in reviewing subsistence issues and making 
recommendations to the Board. The Federal Subsistence Board, through 
the Councils, will hold public meetings to accept comments on this 
notice during the fall meeting cycle. You may present comments on this 
notice during those meetings at the following locations in Alaska, on 
the following dates:

[[Page 77006]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Region 1--Southeast Regional Council..  Petersburg.........................  September 24, 2013.
Region 2--Southcentral Regional         Copper Center......................  October 2, 2013.
 Council.
Region 3--Kodiak/Aleutians Regional     Cold Bay...........................  September 24, 2013.
 Council.
Region 4--Bristol Bay Regional Council  Dillingham.........................  October 29, 2013.
Region 5--Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta         St. Marys..........................  September 25, 2013.
 Regional Council.
Region 6--Western Interior Regional     Fairbanks..........................  October 8, 2013.
 Council.
Region 7--Seward Peninsula Regional     Nome...............................  October 8, 2013.
 Council.
Region 8--Northwest Arctic Regional     Kiana..............................  August 21, 2013.
 Council.
Region 9--Eastern Interior Regional     Fairbanks..........................  October 16, 2013.
 Council.
Region 10--North Slope Regional         Barrow.............................  August 19, 2013.
 Council.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A notice will be published of specific dates, times, and meeting 
locations in local and statewide newspapers, and on the Web at http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/index.cfml, prior to these meetings. Locations and 
dates may change based on weather or local circumstances.

Tribal Consultation and Comment

    As expressed in Executive Order 13175, ``Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,'' the Federal officials 
that have been delegated authority by the Secretaries are committed to 
honoring the unique government-to-government relationship that exists 
between the Federal Government and Federally Recognized Indian Tribes 
(Tribes) as listed in 75 FR 60810 (October 1, 2010). Consultation with 
Alaska Native corporations is based on Public Law 108-199, div. H, Sec. 
161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Public Law 108-447, 
div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267, which provides 
that: ``The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all 
Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native 
corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order 
No. 13175.''
    The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Title VIII (16 
U.S.C. 3111-3126), does not provide specific rights to Tribes for the 
subsistence taking of wildlife, fish, and shellfish. However, because 
tribal members and Alaska Native corporations are affected by 
subsistence regulations, the Secretaries, through the Board, will 
provide Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native corporations an 
opportunity to consult. The Board provides a variety of opportunities 
for consultation: engaging in dialogue at the Council meetings; 
engaging in dialogue at the Board's meetings; and providing input in 
person, or by mail, email, or phone at any time during the comment 
period.
    The Board will engage in outreach efforts for this notice, 
including a notification letter, to ensure that Tribes and Alaska 
Native corporations are advised of the mechanisms by which they can 
participate. The Board will commit to efficiently and adequately 
providing an opportunity to Tribes and Alaska Native corporations to 
prior to the adoption of any changes in policy or regulation concerning 
the rural determination process.
    The Board will consider Tribes' and Alaska Native corporations' 
information, input, and recommendations, and endeavor to address their 
concerns.

Purpose of This Notice

    In accordance with Sec.  --.10(d)(4)(ii), one of the 
responsibilities given to the Federal Subsistence Board is to determine 
which communities or areas of the State are rural or nonrural. Only 
residents of areas identified as rural are eligible to participate in 
the Federal Subsistence Management Program on Federal public lands in 
Alaska.
    The Board determines if a community or area is rural in accordance 
with established guidelines set forth in Sec.  --.15(a). The Board 
reviews rural determinations on a 10-year cycle and may review 
determinations out-of-cycle in special circumstances. The Board 
conducts rulemaking to determine if the list at Sec.  --.23(a), which 
defines the rural/nonrural status of communities and/or areas, needs 
revision. Residents would have five years to comply with a rural to 
nonrural change. A change from nonrural to rural would be effective 30 
days after publication of the rule.
    On May 7, 2007, the Board published a final rule, ``Subsistence 
Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart C; Nonrural 
Determinations'' (72 FR 25688). This rule revised the list of nonrural 
areas identified by the Board. The Board changed Adak's status to 
rural, added Prudhoe Bay to the list of nonrural areas, and adjusted 
the boundaries of the following nonrural areas: the Kenai Area; the 
Wasilla/Palmer Area, including Point McKenzie; the Homer Area, 
including Fritz Creek East (except Voznesenka) and the North Fork Road 
area; and the Ketchikan Area, including Saxman and portions of Gravina 
Island. The effective date was June 6, 2007, with a 5-year compliance 
date of May 7, 2012.
    On October 23, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Salazar announced 
the initiation of a Departmental review of the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program in Alaska; Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack later 
concurred with this course of action. The review focused on how the 
Program is meeting the purposes and subsistence provisions of Title 
VIII of ANILCA, and how the Program is serving rural subsistence users 
as envisioned when it began in the early 1990s.
    On August 31, 2010, the Secretaries announced the findings of the 
review, which included several proposed administrative and regulatory 
reviews and/or revisions to strengthen the Program and make it more 
responsive to those who rely on it for their subsistence uses. One 
proposal called for a review, with Council input, of the rural and 
nonrural determination process and, if needed, recommendations for 
regulatory changes.
    On January 20, 2012, the Board met to consider the Secretarial 
directive, consider the Council's recommendations, and review all 
public, Tribal, and Native Corporation comments on the initial review 
of the rural determinations process. After discussion and careful 
review, the Board voted unanimously to initiate a review of the rural 
determination process and the 2010 decennial review. Consequently, 
based on that action, the Board found that it was in the public's best 
interest to extend the compliance date of its 2007 final rule (72 FR 
25688; May 7, 2007) on rural and nonrural determinations until after 
the review of the rural determination process and decennial review are 
complete or in 5 years, whichever comes first. The Board has already 
published a final rule (77 FR 12477; March 1, 2012) extending the 
compliance date.

Request for Input

    To comply with the Secretarial directives and the Federal 
subsistence regulations, the Federal Subsistence Board is proceeding 
with a review of the rural determination process. As part of the 
Secretaries' commitment to open

[[Page 77007]]

government and in accordance with Executive Order 13563, the Board 
requests input from the public on the rural determination process and 
regulations, and ways to improve them for the benefit of rural 
Alaskans.
    The Board has identified the following components in the process 
for review: Population thresholds, rural characteristics, aggregation 
of communities, timelines, and information sources. We describe these 
components below and include questions for public consideration and 
comment.
    Population thresholds. The Federal Subsistence Board currently uses 
several guidelines to determine whether a specific area of Alaska is 
rural. One guideline sets population thresholds. A community or area 
with a population below 2,500 will be considered rural. A community or 
area with a population between 2,500 and 7,000 will be considered rural 
or nonrural, based on community characteristics and criteria used to 
group communities together. Communities with populations more than 
7,000 will be considered nonrural, unless such communities possess 
significant characteristics of a rural nature. In 2008, the Board 
recommended to the Secretaries that the upper population threshold be 
changed to 11,000. The Secretaries have taken no action on this 
recommendation.
    (1) Are these population threshold guidelines useful for 
determining whether a specific area of Alaska is rural?
    (2) If they are not, please provide population size(s) to 
distinguish between rural and nonrural areas, and the reasons for the 
population size you believe more accurately reflects rural and nonrural 
areas in Alaska.
    Rural characteristics. The Board recognizes that population alone 
is not the only indicator of rural or nonrural status. Other 
characteristics the Board considers include, but are not limited to, 
the following: Use of fish and wildlife; development and diversity of 
the economy; community infrastructure; transportation; and educational 
institutions.
    (3) Are these characteristics useful for determining whether a 
specific area of Alaska is rural?
    (4) If they are not, please provide a list of characteristics that 
better define or enhance rural and nonrural status.
    Aggregation of communities. The Board recognizes that communities 
and areas of Alaska are connected in diverse ways. Communities that are 
economically, socially, and communally integrated are considered in the 
aggregate in determining rural and nonrural status. The aggregation 
criteria are as follows: Do 30 percent or more of the working people 
commute from one community to another; do they share a common high 
school attendance area; and are the communities in proximity and road-
accessible to one another?
    (5) Are these aggregation criteria useful in determining rural and 
nonrural status?
    (6) If they are not, please provide a list of criteria that better 
specify how communities may be integrated economically, socially, and 
communally for the purposes of determining rural and nonrural status.
    Timelines. The Board reviews rural determinations on a 10-year 
cycle, and out of cycle in special circumstances.
    (7) Should the Board review rural determinations on a 10-year 
cycle? If so, why; if not, why not?
    Information sources. Current regulations state that population data 
from the most recent census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as 
updated by the Alaska Department of Labor, shall be utilized in the 
rural determination process. The information collected and the reports 
generated during the decennial census vary between each census; as 
such, data used during the Board's rural determination may vary.
    (8) These information sources as stated in regulations will 
continue to be the foundation of data used for rural determinations. Do 
you have any additional sources you think would be beneficial to use?
    (9) In addition to the preceding questions, do you have any 
additional comments on how to make the rural determination process more 
effective?
    This notice announces to the public, including rural Alaska 
residents, Federally recognized Tribes of Alaska, and Alaska Native 
corporations, the request for comments on the Federal Subsistence 
Program's rural determination process. These comments will be used by 
the Board to assist in making decisions regarding the scope and nature 
of possible changes to improve the rural determination process, which 
may include, where the Board has authority, proposed regulatory 
action(s) or in areas where the Secretaries maintain purview, 
recommended courses of action.

     Dated: December 5, 2012.
Peter J. Probasco,
Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Acting 
Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.
    Dated: December 6, 2012.
Steve Kessler,
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA-Forest Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-31359 Filed 12-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P ; 4310-55-P