Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish, 2189-2196 [2016-00747]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices issued a FONSI in accordance with NEPA and NOAA Administrative Order 216–6. NMFS’ EA and FONSI for this activity are available upon request (see ADDRESSES). Authorization NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to LamontDoherty for the take of marine mammals, incidental to conducting a marine seismic survey in the South Atlantic Ocean January through March 2016. Dated: January 11, 2016. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–00660 Filed 1–14–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE396 Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Issuance seven new scientific research permits, and fourteen renewal scientific research permits. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has issued Permit 1440–2R to the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP); Permit 13675–2R to the Fishery Foundation of California (FFC); Permit 13791–2R to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office (SFWO); Permit 14516–2R to Dr. Jerry Smith, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University; Permit 15215 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Fisheries Branch, Fish Health Laboratory; Permit 16274 to the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC); Permit 17063 to the United States Forest Service (USFS), Redwood Sciences Laboratory; Permit 17077–2R to Dr. Peter Moyle, with the University of California at Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology; Permit 17219 and Permit 19320 to the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), Fisheries Ecology Division; Permit 17272 to the USFWS, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office Fisheries Program (AFWO); Permit 17351 to the Green Diamond Resource Company (GDRC); Permit 17396 to the mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 USFWS, Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP); Permit 17867 to the Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC); Permit 17877 to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR); Permit 17916 to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Arcata Field Office; Permit 18012 to the CDFW, Bay Delta Region; Permit 18712 to H.T. Harvey & Associates; Permit 18937 to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, California Sea Grant College Program (CSGCP); Permit 19121 to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), California Water Survey; and Permit 19400 to ICF consulting. ADDRESSES: The approved application for each permit is available on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS), https:// apps.nmfs.noaa.gov Web site by searching the permit number within the Search Database page. The applications, issued permits and supporting documents are also available upon written request or by appointment: Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 777 Sonoma Avenue, Room 325, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 ph: (707) 575–6080, fax: (707) 578–3435). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Abrams, Santa Rosa, CA (ph.: 707–575– 6080), Fax: 707–578–3435, email: Jeff.Abrams@noaa.gov). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The issuance of permits and permit modifications, as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531–1543) (ESA), is based on a finding that such permits/modifications: (1) Are applied for in good faith; (2) would not operate to the disadvantage of the listed species which are the subject of the permits; and (3) are consistent with the purposes and policies set forth in section 2 of the ESA. Authority to take listed species is subject to conditions set forth in the permits. Permits and modifications are issued in accordance with and are subject to the ESA and NMFS regulations (50 CFR parts 222–226) governing listed fish and wildlife permits. Species Covered in This Notice The following listed species are covered in this notice: Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened Snake River spring/summer-run (SR spr/sum); threatened Lower Columbia River (LCR);threatened California Coastal (CC); threatened Central Valley springrun (CVSR); endangered Sacramento River winter-run (SRWR). Coho salmon (O. kisutch): Threatened Southern Oregon/Northern California PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2189 Coast (SONCC); endangered Central California Coast (CCC). Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened Northern California (NC); threatened CCC; threatened California Central Valley (CCV); threatened South-Central California Coast (S–CCC); endangered Southern California (SC). North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medisrostris): Threatened southern distinct population segment (sDPS). Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): threatened sDPS. Permits Issued Permit 1440–2R A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (1440–2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 1440–2R was issued to IEP on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 1440–2R authorizes IEP to take CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, CCC steelhead and sDPS green sturgeon while conducting 11 surveys in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. The studies examine the abundance, and temporal and spatial distribution of various life stages of pelagic fishes of management concern, including listed species, and their food (e.g., zooplankton) resources, along with environmental conditions. These IEP studies are intended to monitor/inform the effectiveness of water operations, aquatic habitat restoration, and fish management practices, thereby providing a benefit to listed fish. The 11 studies included are: (1) Adult Striped Bass, a striped bass population study; (2) Fall Midwater Trawl, which monitors the relative abundance of native and introduced fish species; (3) Sturgeon Tagging, a white sturgeon tagging program; (4) Summer Townet, which targets delta smelt and young-of-the-year striped bass; (5) Estuarine and Marine Fish, a San Francisco Bay trawl study; (6) 20mm Survey, a study to monitor juvenile delta smelt distribution and relative abundance; (7) Yolo Bypass, a research effort to understand fish and invertebrate use of the Yolo Bypass seasonal floodplain; (8) Upper Estuary Zooplankton, which targets multiple zooplankters; (9) Spring Kodiak Trawl, which determines the relative abundance and distribution of spawning delta smelt; (10) Suisun Marsh Survey, monitoring to determine the effects of the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates operation on fish, including listed salmonids; and (11) Smelt Larva Survey, which provides distribution data for E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 2190 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES longfin smelt larvae in the Delta. Listed fish may be captured by fyke net, gill net, midwater trawl, trammel net, hoop net, otter trawl, larval fish net, zooplankton net, Kodiak trawl net, rotary screw trap, and beach seine. The majority of captured fishes will be identified to species, enumerated, measured for standard length, and released. Juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be identified using the Delta Model Length-at-Date-ofCapture Table. Listed species will be processed first and released. A subsample of wild juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon sized captures will be tissue sampled for genetic analysis, and a subsample of hatchery juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon sized captures will be sacrificed (i.e., intentional directed mortality) in order to collect coded wire tag data for management purposes and for stock confirmation. To reduce handling mortality, investigators will conduct water to water transfers, use fishfriendly nets, avoid handling when possible, and will not release fish from a vessel under way. Permit 13675–2R A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (13675–2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 13675–2R was issued to the FFC on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 13675–2R authorizes the FFC annually take juvenile-CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon while conducting research designed to monitor the use of the Fremont Landing Conservation Bank (FLCB) and the Bullock Bend Mitigation Bank (BBMB) at the confluence of the Sacramento and Feather rivers in California’s Central Valley. The banks are restored areas that provides mitigation for impacts on listed salmonid species in the Central Valley. The monitoring will evaluate the use of the FLCB and the BBMB by listed fish, provide data directly related to success criteria described in the conservation/mitigation bank management plan, and benefit listed fish by informing adaptive management strategies being conducted at the FLCB and the BBMB. The researchers will use beach seines and fyke nets to capture listed fish. Once captured, all listed fish will be identified by species and released. A subsample will be measured for fork length. No anesthesia will be used, and no additional handling procedures would take place. Captured fish will remain completely wetted at all times to minimize stress. Any fish VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 exhibiting signs of physiological stress would be immediately released. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but some may die as an unintended result of the research. Permit 13791–2R A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (13791–2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 13791–2R was issued to the USFWS SFWO on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 13791–2R authorizes the USFWS SFWO to annually take juvenile and smolt CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and juvenile and larval sDPS green sturgeon while conducting seven research studies. The purpose of the studies is to evaluate/monitor the: (1) Abundance, temporal and spatial distribution, and survival of salmonids and other fishes in the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the San Francisco Estuary (SFE); (2) occurrence and habitat use of fishes, especially early life history stages, within the Liberty Island and Cache Slough Complex, (3) relative gear efficiencies for all IEP fish survey nets, and also the distribution of delta smelt; (4) littoral habitat use of juvenile Chinook salmon within the Delta; (5) the effect of projected water operations on delta smelt; (6) length at date race criteria of SRWR Chinook salmon sized juvenile Chinook salmon; and (7) SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon floodplain usage in the Yolo bypass. These studies will result in capture/handle/release take, tissue sampling, and/or intentional directed mortality. Intentional directed mortality will apply to only juvenile hatchery adipose clipped salmonids and larval green sturgeon. Capture methods will include Kodiak trawl, midwater trawl, beach seine, zooplankton net, larval net, gill net, fyke net, purse seine, and boat electrofishing. All listed fish except adipose fin clipped SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be immediately collected from the sampling gears, placed in containers filled with river water collected at the location being sampled, processed, held in a recovery container filled with aerated river water, and subsequently released at the sampled location. A fin tissue sample will be collected from a subset of natural origin SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon for stock determination. The purpose of intentional mortality of hatchery origin (adipose clipped) SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be to collect coded wire tags (CWT), and up ten green PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 sturgeon larvae will be killed during larval fish collections in order to identify the contents of the larval trawl net, which can only be achieved in the lab. The data provided by these studies will provide natural resource managers real-time biological and population data on fishes to evaluate the effect of water operations and fish management practices within the SFE, thereby benefiting listed fish. Permit 14516–2R A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (14516–2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 14516–2R was issued to Dr. Jerry Smith on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 14516–2R authorizes Dr. Jerry Smith, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University to annually take multiple life stages of CCC coho salmon and CCC steelhead while conducting two studies: (1) Stream and lagoon surveys in Gazos Creek, Waddell Creek, and Scott Creek; and (2) lagoon surveys in Pescadero Creek Lagoon and San Gregorio Lagoon. The purpose of the studies is to: (1) Provide an annual index of relative abundance for juvenile listed salmonids, provide data on lagoon and upstream habitat utilization and growth, and provide an assessment of trends and year to year response to variations in habitat conditions; and (2) determine juvenile listed salmonid abundance and growth, and provide adult life history information in the lagoons. Capture methods will include backpack electrofishing, and beach seine. Captured salmonids will be measured, and a subset of juvenile captures and all adults will have scale samples taken, before being released at the capture location. A subsample of juvenile steelhead will also be marked via caudal fin clip to perform a markrecapture analysis. Scale and fin tissue samples will be taken from adult fish carcasses. Captured live fish will be held in flow-through live cars, covered with a towel to provide shade and cover to calm fish. Adult fish will be processed and released first. In lagoons, live cars will be kept in deeper water with cooler temperatures and less turbidity to prevent warming above ambient temperatures or a decrease in dissolved oxygen. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 15215 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (15215) E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 15215 was issued to CDFW on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 15215 authorizes the CDFW, Fisheries Branch, Fish Health Laboratory to take endangered SRWR Chinook salmon, CCC coho salmon and SC steelhead for a period of five years. The purpose of the research is to investigate wild fish kills/disease outbreaks that could occur in California that involve federally listed endangered species. The research will benefit the listed species by providing fisheries managers with the necessary information to help alleviate future outbreaks of fish disease through proper management of fishery and water resources. The research will only be conducted in the event of elevated and unexplained endangered species mortality or the presence of clinically diseased animals. Given such a triggering event, endangered fish will be collected in any of the state waters of California in which a disease outbreak/ fish die-off occurred. Adult and juvenile endangered fish will be collected by hand or dip-net, as only dead and/or moribund fish, or fish displaying clinical signs of disease, will be collected. Moribund or clinically diseased fish will be euthanized (i.e., intentional directed mortality). Trained CDFW pathologists and veterinarians will assess moribund or diseased fish prior to euthanasia, and only fish that will likely die regardless of the actions proposed by CDFW will be euthanized. Necropsies will be performed on dead and euthanized captured fish either in the laboratory or in the field, fish will be examined for signs of parasitic and bacterial infections, and fin and/or internal tissues will be collected for virology, histopathology, immunological testing and/or DNA testing. Permit 16274 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (16274) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 16274 was issued to the MRC on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 16274 authorizes the MRC to take CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, and CCC steelhead while conducting research and monitoring to assess juvenile and adult populations of salmonids and their distribution in streams within MRC’s property. Research will be conducted in several watersheds within Mendocino and northern Sonoma counties. The data VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 gathered will benefit listed fish by informing a better understanding of salmonid distribution, abundance, and habitat utilization in these areas. Juvenile salmonids will be captured by backpack electrofishing, anesthetized, weighed, measured to fork length, and released. A subsample of juvenile salmonids will be fin clipped to mark and to collect tissue samples for genetic analysis. Live adults and/or juveniles will be observed via snorkel surveys and spawning surveys. Carcasses will be measured and then marked to ensure duplicate measurements were not made. Outmigrant trapping will be conducted using a rotary screw trap or weir/pipe trap; captured outmigrants will be anesthetized, measured, and released. A subsample of outmigrants will be marked (dye, elastomer, or fin clip) or Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tagged. All anesthetized fish will be allowed to recover in a bucket containing aerated natal water prior to being released back into the stream from which they were taken. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17063 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17063) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17063 was issued to the USFS, Redwood Sciences Laboratory on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 170963 authorizes the USFS, Redwood Sciences Laboratory to perform eight studies that together will take CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, CC steelhead, and SC steelhead. The purposes of the eight studies are: (1) To investigate the invasion history of non-listed speckled dace in the Van Duzen River and the Eel River, (2) to investigate the invasion history of non-listed California roach in the Van Duzen River and the Eel River, (3) to develop an Individual Based Modeling (IBM) approach to predict the effects of management practices on salmonid population in Northern California, (4) to link abiotic factors (e.g., distance to spawning ground) to the expression of an anadromous or resident life history for O. mykiss in the Eel River, (5) to link the distribution and movement of watershed products (e.g., wood, sediment, and water) in tributaries and mainstem channels to fish diversity and abundance in Northern California rivers, (6) to provide managers with insights into the status PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2191 and relatedness of Sacramento sucker populations in northern California, (7) to document the speckled dace invasion of the Mad River, and (8) to provide managers with a tool to predict the effects of management decisions on Santa Ana suckers in the Santa Ana River. Listed adult and juvenile salmonids will be observed via snorkel surveys. Listed juvenile salmonids will be captured via backpack and/or boat electrofishing for all eight studies, and also via beach seine and/or fyke net for Study 6 (i.e., Sacramento sucker relatedness and distribution). For most studies, listed salmonids that are captured will be anesthetized, measured and/or weighed, and released. Captured fishes will be held in multiple live cars to prevent overcrowding and to maintain acceptable water quality conditions. In addition to capturing, handling and releasing fish, Study 4 (i.e. factors affecting the expression of an anadromous versus resident life history in O. mykiss) will also include intentional directed mortality for otolith microchemical analyses. A maximum of four O. mykiss will be sacrificed from each of seventy sample streams distributed throughout the Eel River, which will include both anadromous (listed as threatened) and resident (nonlisted) life history forms. Permit 17077–2R A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17077–2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17077–2R was issued to Dr. Peter Moyle on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17077–2R authorizes Dr. Peter Moyle, with the University of California at Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, to take listed species while conducting research designed to develop a better understanding of how physical habitat, flow and other factors interact to maintain assemblages of native and nonnative aquatic species in the upper SFE. This study will provide knowledge about food web and habitat support for native fishes, including listed anadromous fish, which are suspected of utilizing such habitats during development. While listed fish are not the target species for this study, the study will benefit listed fish by improving management decisions regarding creating additional habitat, and helping to anticipate the effects of drought and climate change on food and habitat availability. Sampling will be conducted in three distinct regions of the SFE: (1) The Cache-Lindsey complex, (2) the Sherman Lake complex E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 2192 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES and (3) Suisun Marsh, and will take juvenile and adult CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook Salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon. Capture methods will be similar for each of these regions, and will include otter trawling, beach seining and boat electrofishing, however electrofishing will be suspended immediately upon encountering a listed species. All sampled fish will be placed in a bucket with ambient water and an aerator, examined for responsiveness and returned to the water as soon as possible with a minimum of handling, after identification and length estimates were made. Juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be identified using published size-at-date criteria. Only adult green sturgeon captures will receive additional processing beyond identification and measuring for length. Adult green sturgeon will be scanned for the presence of a PIT tag, and a soft pelvic fin tissue sample will be collected. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17219 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17219) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17219 was issued to the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries Ecology Division on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17219 authorizes the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries Ecology Division to conduct research throughout California that will include take of SRWR Chinook salmon, CVSR Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, CCC steelhead, CCV steelhead, S–CCC steelhead, SC steelhead, and juvenile sDPS green sturgeon. The research will benefit listed fish by supporting conservation and management of listed anadromous salmonids and green sturgeon in California by directly addressing information needs identified by NMFS and other agencies. FED studies address priority topics identified in NMFS technical recovery team reports, NMFS recovery plans, joint programs such as the California Coastal Monitoring Program developed by NMFS and CDFW, and state programs such as the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. Research objectives of specific studies include: (1) Estimating population abundance and dynamics; (2) evaluating factors affecting growth, survival, and life-history; (3) assessing life-stage specific habitat use and movement; (4) collecting data necessary to construct VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 various types of models (e.g., population, life-cycle, bioenergetics, and habitat-use models); (5) determining genetic structure of populations; (6) evaluating the effects of activities such as water management and habitat restoration on populations; and (7) developing improved sampling and monitoring methods. Research and take will involve various life stages (juvenile, smolt, adult, and carcass). Listed fish will be observed during spawning surveys, and captured by electrofishing, beach seine, rotary screw trap, and/or hook-and-line. The majority of captured fish will be anesthetized, measured to fork length, and released. A subsample of captured fish will be further sampled by collection of scales, fin clips, gill clips or stomach contents; and/or marking or tagging including fin tissue clips, PIT tags, elastomer tags, acoustic tags, or radio tags. Species care after capture will include use of aerated buckets or live cars for holding and recovery, and minimization of handling time. The majority of fish captured will be released alive at their point of capture following recovery from handling. However, in limited cases some fish will be: (1) Retained in enclosures in streams for short-term growth and survival experiments and then released, or (2) euthanized for analysis of otoliths and/ or parasitological/pathological studies of parasites and diseases of wild juvenile steelhead. Permit 17272 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17272) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17272 was issued to the USFWS AFWO on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17272 authorizes the USFWS AFWO to take multiple life stages of hatchery and wild SONCC coho salmon via monitoring and research activities in Northwest California. The purposes of the five studies included are to monitor: (1) Chinook salmon fry production and disease incidence in the Klamath River below Iron Gate dam, (2) Chinook salmon escapement in the mainstem Klamath River below the Shasta River confluence, (3) Chinook salmon escapement in the mainstem Klamath River from Iron Gate dam to the Shasta River confluence, (4) coho salmon escapement between Iron Gate Dam and the Indian Creek confluence, and (5) long-term salmonid disease incidence in the lower Klamath River. Trained AFWO crews will conduct redd surveys, on foot and from rafts, which could observe/harass spawning SONCC coho PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 salmon. Crews will spend minimal time around redds and avoid walking on redds. Trained AFWO crews will also capture juvenile SONCC coho salmon using rotary-screw traps, frame nets, and beach seines. Juvenile coho salmon will be held in aerated holding buckets filled with fresh river water then anesthetized, measured for fork length, weighed, and released back into the river. There will be some intentional mortality of hatchery juvenile coho salmon for disease analysis. Aside from these hatchery fish, the researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. The studies will benefit listed coho salmon by informing the AFWO goal to develop conservation strategies for aquatic resources and to evaluate the success of aquatic habitat restoration efforts that will lead to the recovery and conservation of fish populations and fisheries in northern California. Permit 17351 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17351) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17351 was issued to the GDRC on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17351 authorizes the GDRC to take listed salmonids while conducting research and monitoring under an existing Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan (AHCP). The AHCP, which was approved in 2007 and is valid until 2057, identifies potential threats to three listed fish species that may result from GDRC’s timber harvest activities and describes minimization and mitigation measures and effectiveness monitoring to address potential threats. The requested take limits will allow for implementation of monitoring and research activities in several northern California watersheds including the Winchuk River, Smith River, Lower Klamath basin tributaries, Mad River, Little River, several Humboldt Bay tributaries, and Eel River. The three species identified which will be taken as a direct result of this monitoring are CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, and NC steelhead. Research and take will involve various life stages (fry, juvenile, smolt, adult, and carcass). Trained GDRC crews will observe listed salmonids during snorkel surveys and spawning surveys. Crews will avoid walking in suitable spawning habitats (e.g., riffle crests). Listed salmonids will be captured by various capture methods including backpack electrofishing, kick net sampling, rotary screw trapping, vnotch weir outmigrant trapping, and E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES minnow trapping. Most captured fish will be measured and released. A subsample of captured fish will be anesthetized, then marked via dorsal fin clip, fin tissue sampled, scale sampled, and/or PIT tagged. Anesthetized individuals will be allowed to recover in mesh containers placed in the stream channel prior to release. Data collected will be used to document long-term population trends and better understand the potential impacts on the covered species and their habitats that may result from AHCP covered activities. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17396 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (17396) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17396 was issued to the USFWS AFRP on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17396 authorizes the USFWS AFRP to take listed fish while conducting research designed to: (1) Provide data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of AFRP restoration projects, including appraisal of spawning gravel augmentation, inchannel and floodplain habitat enhancement actions, and water allocation/flow regime alteration actions; and (2) provide reconnaissancelevel population and biological data on contemporary anadromous fish population patterns within the Central Valley of California, in order to prioritize and select future restoration projects to benefit anadromous salmonids. All AFRP restoration monitoring projects will serve to benefit anadromous salmonids by providing data on restoration project effectiveness, and providing valuable information relating to adaptive management procedures. Take of listed species including various life stages of CVSR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon will result from activities in the following five projects: (1) Bobcat flat restoration effectiveness monitoring in the lower Tuolumne River; (2) adult sturgeon acoustic telemetry in the lower San Joaquin basin; (3) San Joaquin River sturgeon spawning habitat assessment; (4) steelhead sampling and acoustic tracking in the lower Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers; and (5) fish reconnaissance in the San Joaquin River system. Observe/harass take will result from snorkel surveys. Capture methods will include beach seine, trammel nets, gill nets, fyke nets, hook- VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 and-line, egg mats, benthic d-nets, and boat and backpack electrofishing. The majority of captured listed fish will be handled and released; a subsample of captures will be anesthetized, scale sampled, fin clipped (to mark and to collect fin tissue for genetic analysis), acoustic tagged, and/or subject to intentional directed mortality. Green sturgeon eggs (n = 100) and larvae (n = 5) will be intentionally sacrificed, which will be necessary to provide voucher tissue specimens, and will benefit the species by providing critical information on green sturgeon spawning habitat. To minimize physiological stress, all sturgeon will be held in a net pen submerged in river or with flowing water through their gills while waiting to be handled. All listed salmonids will be immediately collected from the sampling gears, placed in five gallon buckets filled with fresh river water from the location being sampled, processed, held in another container filled with fresh river water for recovery, and subsequently released in the sampled location. The new information on these species generated by these projects will help prioritize future restoration projects, thus benefiting listed species. Permit 17867 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17867) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17867 was issued to the HRC on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17867 authorizes the HRC to take juvenile and adult CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon and NC steelhead while conducting research and monitoring that satisfies two objectives: (1) To comply with CDFW’s Restorable Class I policy by sampling reaches through snorkel and electrofishing methods to identify Class I habitat within proposed timber harvest plans, and (2) to monitor fish occupancy trends at the reach, sub basin, watershed and HRC property level over time by repeated snorkel surveys at index and randomly selected reaches. Adult and juvenile salmonids will be observed during snorkel surveys, and juvenile salmonids will be captured by backpack electrofishing. Snorkel surveys will be the preferred method of detecting presence/absence of fish species. Captured fish will be identified, and transported upstream of the project area. All captured specimens will be kept in aerated buckets, observed closely, and not released until fully recovered. The monitoring will help to achieve HRC’s fisheries program’s general goal, which PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2193 is to determine the occurrence, distribution, population and habitat conditions of anadromous fishes on HRC lands as well as to monitor, protect, restore and enhance the anadromous fishery resources in watersheds owned by HRC. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17877 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (17877) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17877 was issued to the BOR on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17877 authorizes the BOR to take juvenile, smolt, adult and carcasses of SONCC coho salmon via: (1) Observation/harassment by way of snorkel surveys, hand netting that specifically targets other species, and spawning surveys; and (2) capture by rotary screw trap, boat electrofishing, hook-and-line, beach seine, fyke net, or minnow trapping. The BOR applied for this permit as a contingent of the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP), an inter-agency partnership of the BOR, USFWS, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, CDFW, Trinity County, USFS, NMFS, and the California Department of Water Resources. The TRRP benefits listed species by conducting large-scale channel restoration and habitat restoration activities in the Trinity River mainstem and watershed as a means of restoring declining fishery resources. The following six specific studies are included: (1) Trinity River juvenile salmonid outmigrant monitoring, (2) juvenile Chinook salmon density monitoring, (3) Trinity River Chinook salmon redd and carcass survey, (4) Trinity River invasive brown trout predation on coho investigation, (5) Trinity River juvenile coho salmon ecology study, and (6) watershed rehabilitation/research. Fin tissue samples will be collected from carcasses. The majority of captured juvenile coho salmon will be anesthetized, measured to fork length and released, but a subsample will also be PIT tagged. Tagged fish will be held in recovery pens post tagging to monitor and enhance post-tagging health. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17916 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 2194 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES (17916) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17916 was issued to the BLM on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 17916 authorizes the BLM to monitor the effects of current management actions related to the Northwest Forest Plan’s Aquatic Conservation Strategy on anadromous salmonids and their habitats. In order to monitor land management actions and implement the Northwest Forest Plan in northern California, BLM needs to obtain updated information on fish distribution and habitat. Sampling will occur in various watersheds, including the Mattole River, Eel River, Lost Coast region tributaries to the Pacific Ocean, and Humboldt Bay tributaries. Take of CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, and NC steelhead will result from this monitoring and research. The preponderance of requested take will result from spawning surveys, snorkel surveys, and presence/absence surveys from the bank, all of which will result in observe/harass take of juvenile and/ or adult salmonids. Capture methods that will take juvenile salmonids include backpack electrofishing and beach seine. A small number of salmonid fry may also be captured during kick net activities intended to sample invertebrates. Electrofishing will be used only when stream conditions prohibit less invasive sampling methods. Personnel handling fish will have wet hands and experience in fish handling. After length measurements were complete, fish will be placed in a bucket of freshwater for longer than 30 minutes to allow for recovery prior to being released. Recovering fish will be kept in cool, shaded, aerated water and will not be overcrowded. This research will benefit listed fish by informing adaptive management strategies intended to aid in the recovery of at-risk anadromous salmonids. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 18012 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit renewal (18012) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 18012 was issued to the CDFW, Bay Delta Region (Region III) on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 18012 authorizes the CDFW, Bay Delta Region to take listed species while conducting two research projects, the Watershed Restoration Project (WRP) and the Fisheries Management VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 Project (FMP), designed to assess and restore the productivity of CC Chinook salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, CCC steelhead, and S–CCC steelhead in Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties in north central California. Program staff will accomplish this goal by conducting habitat and salmonid surveys to determine potential limiting factors and stock status in order to identify the specific measures and actions needed to protect and increase production of listed salmonids. The authorized studies include: (1) Juvenile salmonid occurrence, distribution and habitat monitoring; (2) adult salmonid occurrence, passage, and distribution; (3) spawning ground surveys; (4) life cycle station monitoring; and (5) juvenile steelhead lagoon beach seining. Listed fish will be observed/harassed during snorkel surveys, spawning surveys, carcass surveys, and by the use of electronic counting stations (i.e., DIDSON camera, Vaki Riverwatcher and/or video weir). Listed salmonids will be captured using backpack electrofishing, beach seining, rotary screw traps, fyke/pipe traps, and potentially adults may be captured using a resistance board weir. The majority of juvenile captures will be handled (measured for fork length and weighed), and released. A subset of juvenile salmonid captures will be anesthetized, fin tissue sampled to collect tissue for genetic analysis, scale sampled, marked with an upper caudal fin clip, and/or PIT tagged. Only healthy fish with no signs of stress or injury will be subjected to marking or tagging. All fish will be allowed to recover fully and will be observed carefully for injury prior to release. Captured adult salmonids will be handled (i.e., identified, measured, weighed, and scale and tissue samples taken), tagged (bi-colored Floy tags and/or opercularhole-punched) and released upstream of the weir. All fish handled will be held in clean and decontaminated containers that are supplied with cool, aerated water and will be released back into the stream reach from which they were collected after recovery. Implementation of these activities under the WRP and the FMP will benefit listed species by informing recommendations on proposed habitat restoration projects and by determining the impacts of various management actions. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Permit 18712 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (18712) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 18712 was issued to H.T. Harvey & Associates on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 18712 authorizes H.T. Harvey & Associates to take juvenile and smolt CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, and adult sDPS eulachon while completing a project that is intended to meet three Marine Protected Area (MPA) monitoring goals set by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise. The three monitoring goals are: (1) To assess trends in the condition of ecosystems inside and outside of MPA’s, (2) to evaluate the effects of specific MPA design criteria such as MPA size and distance between MPAs, and (3) to evaluate the effect of visitors on MPAs. The project will contribute to the goals of the monitoring enterprise by describing the baseline biological community in four northern California estuaries: (1) Mad River Estuary in Humboldt County, (2) South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational Management Area in Humboldt County, (3) Ten Mile Estuary State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) in Mendocino County, and (4) Big River Estuary SMCA in Mendocino County. Beach seines and fyke nets will be used to capture fish whereby take (i.e., capture/handle/release) of listed salmonids will occur. Handling will consist of identifying and measuring fish to fork length. To ensure that handled fish will experience minimal adverse effects as a result of the sampling process, fish will be allowed to recover briefly either in live wells or in shaded, aerated buckets. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 18937 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (18937) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 18937 was issued to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CSGCP on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 18937 authorizes the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CSGCP to annually take listed CC Chinook salmon, CCC coho salmon, and CCC steelhead while monitoring the status E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices and trends of listed salmonids in the Russian River watershed. The CSGCP will collect data to estimate population metrics such as abundance, survival, growth, and spatial distribution of multiple life stages of salmonids, and relate them to different recovery actions including hatchery releases, habitat enhancement projects, and stream flow improvement projects. Data collection will be designed to meet four specific study objectives: (1) Evaluation of the Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program, (2) implementation of the California Coastal Salmonid Monitoring Plan, (3) comparing juvenile coho salmon oversummer survival with stream flow, and (4) evaluation of habitat enhancement projects. The four studies will provide resource agencies with valuable information that will help guide future decisions regarding recovery actions. Fish populations will be monitored in many tributaries of the Russian River watershed and several methods that could observe/harass and/ or capture fish will be employed, including: Snorkel surveys, spawning surveys, redd surveys, downstream migrant trapping (pipe/funnel trap), minnow trapping, operation of PIT tag detection systems (i.e., PIT tag arrays and PIT tag wand surveys), and backpack electrofishing. Handling of live fish captured in traps or during electrofishing surveys will include anesthetization, measuring for fork length, scanning for CWT and PIT tags, fin tissue sampling, scale sampling, PIT tagging, and/or gastric lavage. Adult salmonid carcasses encountered during spawning surveys will be scanned for PIT tags, measured, fin clipped, scale sampled, and otoliths will be extracted. All live fish will be released back into the stream following recovery in aerated buckets of cold water. Specific measures that will be taken to reduce the risk of injury or mortality to fish include minimizing the time that fish are handled, placing potential predators in separate holding buckets, running aerators in buckets, avoiding overcrowding in buckets, changing water in the anesthesia bucket frequently, placing a thermometer in holding buckets and replacing water frequently if the temperatures are rising, wetting measuring boards and weigh pans, processing listed species first, checking traps at least once per day and more frequently in high flow or windy conditions, and placing flow deflectors inside the trap box to provide refugia for fish. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 Permit 19121 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (19121) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 19121 was issued to the USGS, California Water Survey on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 19121 authorizes the USGS, California Water Survey take of listed species associated with completing two main objectives: (1) To examine research applications of the SmeltCam that have been developed and coordinated with the IEP, and (2) to provide fisheries science support for the BOR’s compliance with Biological Opinions. The studies are intended to: (1) Provide new quantitative data addressing the potential benefits of habitat restoration to the SFE and Delta ecosystem and its native fish populations, and (2) determine the vertical and lateral distribution of delta smelt, and the continued evaluation and application of SmeltCam technology for studies of delta smelt and other fishes. The results of these studies are expected to provide net benefits to listed species by improving our understanding of their ecology and habitat use, and by informing the development of new research tools that can guide management decisions and habitat restoration actions. Sampling will be conducted in Suisun Bay, and will take multiple life stages of CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon. Capture methods will include beach seine, fyke trap, larval net, otter trawl, midwater trawl, boat electrofishing, set line, and gill net. All sampling will follow methods and protocols designed to minimize take of listed species while conducting research and monitoring. For example, sampling gear such as gill nets will be watched closely to monitor the status of any fishes entangled in the net. Set times will be short (approximately one hour), and nets will be set in habitats that listed fish are unlikely to inhabit. Listed salmonids captured in the course of sampling will be identified, carefully measured for length and released. Green sturgeon will be anesthetized using MS–222, scanned for a presence of a PIT tag, PIT tagged if no PIT tag is present, tissue sampled, and allowed to recover prior to release. All fishes collected in any sampling gear will be handled as gently as possible to facilitate safe release back to the water. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2195 Permit 19320 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (19320) was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2015 (80 FR 18820). Permit 19320 was issued to the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries Ecology Division on December 1, 2015 and expires on October 29, 2020. Permit 19320 authorizes the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries Ecology Division to annually take sub-adult and juvenile listed salmon and steelhead for a period of five years. The permit will authorize research designed to (1) determine the inter-annual and seasonal variability in growth, feeding, and energy status among juvenile salmonids in the coastal ocean off northern and central California; (2) determine migration paths and spatial distribution among genetically distinct salmonid stocks during their early ocean residence; (3) characterize the biological and physical oceanographic features associated with juvenile salmon ocean habitat from the shore to the continental shelf break; (4) identify potential links between coastal geography, oceanographic features, and salmon distribution patterns; and (5) identify and test ecological indices for salmon survival. This research will benefit listed fish by informing comprehensive lifecycle models that incorporate both freshwater and marine conditions and recognize the relationship between the two habitats; it will also identify and predict sources of salmon mortality at sea and thereby help managers develop indices of salmonid survival in the marine environment. Listed fish will be captured primarily via surface trawling, however midwater trawling and beach seining will be used occasionally. Sub-adult salmonids (i.e., fish larger than 250 mm) that survive capture will have fin tissue and scale samples taken, and then be released. Any subadult salmonids that do not survive capture, and all juvenile salmonids (i.e., fish larger than 80 mm but less than 250 mm) will be lethally sampled (i.e., intentional directed mortality) in order to collect (1) otoliths for age and growth studies; (2) coded wire tags for origin and age of hatchery fish; (3) muscle tissue for stable isotopes and/or lipid assays; (4) stomachs and contents for diet studies; and (5) other tissues including the heart, liver, intestines, pyloric caeca, and kidney for special studies upon request. Permit 19400 A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research permit (19400) was published in the Federal Register E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 2196 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 10 / Friday, January 15, 2016 / Notices on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 19400 was issued to ICF consulting on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020. Permit 19400 authorizes ICF consulting to take juvenile CVSR Chinook salmon and SRWR Chinook salmon while conducting a study to investigate if longfin smelt in San Pablo Bay shift their vertical distribution under different environmental and biological conditions. Although this study principally targets longfin smelt, ESA listed Chinook salmon will be encountered during sampling. ICF will collect data that will be useful to local researchers on captured and/or photographed listed Chinook salmon, including abundance, length, and potentially tissue samples. Fish will be sampled using a midwater trawl, however the majority of tows will be conducted with only a video device (i.e., SmeltCam) acting as the codend. Therefore, the majority of take will be observe/harass. The fish camera image program will be able to determine the length, and thereby an estimate of the race/run/listing status, of salmon that pass through the net. In order to verify the results of the SmeltCam, some tows will be conducted with both the video device and a traditional codend. Physically captured juvenile salmonids will be placed in a bucket with aerated water, handled (i.e., measured to fork length and possibly fin tissue sampled for genetic analysis), and released. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture. Dated: January 12, 2016. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–00747 Filed 1–14–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Dated: January 12, 2016. Perry F.Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [FR Doc. 2016–00734 Filed 1–14–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P RIN 0648–XE394 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Species; Status Update on Preparation of Record of Decision, Mitchell Act Hatcheries Environmental Impact Statement National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released its final Environmental Impact Statement SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:01 Jan 14, 2016 (EIS) to Inform Columbia River Basin Hatchery Operations and the Funding of Mitchell Act Hatchery Programs in September 2014 (also known as the Mitchell Act Hatchery EIS). This notice serves as an update on preparation of the agency’s record of decision (ROD). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Dixon, (360) 534–9329 or email: james.dixon@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 3, 2004 (69 FR 53892), NMFS announced its intent to prepare an EIS pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and to conduct public scoping related to the allocation and distribution of Mitchell Act funds for Columbia River hatchery operations. Subsequently, in 2009, NMFS announced its decision to expand the scope of the EIS to include analysis of the environmental effects of all hatchery programs in the Columbia River Basin, regardless of the hatchery funding source, in a way that would inform future NMFS decisions about Endangered Species Act compliances for all Columbia River hatchery programs (74 FR 10724, March 12, 2009). A draft EIS was published in August 2010 (75 FR 47591, August 6, 2010). The final EIS was published in September 2014 (79 FR 54707, September 12, 2014) with a public review period through November 12, 2014. NMFS has been preparing its ROD through careful consideration of a range of comments received during public review of the final EIS. NMFS is also considering the anticipated effects of its preferred policy direction on species listed under the Endangered Species Act. It is anticipated that the ROD will be published in 2016. Jkt 238001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE348 Endangered Species; File No. 17225 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Notice is hereby given that the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center [Responsible Party: William Karp], 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543, has applied in due form for a permit to take Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and leatherback (Dermochelys coraicea) sea turtles for purposes of scientific research. DATES: Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before February 16, 2016. ADDRESSES: The application and related documents are available for review by selecting ‘‘Records Open for Public Comment’’ from the ‘‘Features’’ box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 17225 from the list of available applications. These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427–8401; fax (301) 713–0376. Written comments on this application should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713–0376, or by email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Please include the File No. in the subject line of the email comment. Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Malcolm Mohead or Amy Hapeman, (301) 427–8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222–226). The applicant requests a five-year permit to conduct research on sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon in the U.S. Atlantic exclusive economic zone from Massachusetts to Georgia. The purpose of the research is to evaluate bycatch reduction devices for commercial fishing gear to mitigate sea turtle and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 10 (Friday, January 15, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2189-2196]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-00747]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE396


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Issuance seven new scientific research permits, and fourteen 
renewal scientific research permits.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has issued Permit 1440-2R to 
the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP); Permit 13675-2R to the 
Fishery Foundation of California (FFC); Permit 13791-2R to the United 
States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Stockton Fish and Wildlife 
Office (SFWO); Permit 14516-2R to Dr. Jerry Smith, Associate Professor 
in the Department of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University; 
Permit 15215 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), 
Fisheries Branch, Fish Health Laboratory; Permit 16274 to the Mendocino 
Redwood Company (MRC); Permit 17063 to the United States Forest Service 
(USFS), Redwood Sciences Laboratory; Permit 17077-2R to Dr. Peter 
Moyle, with the University of California at Davis, Department of 
Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology; Permit 17219 and Permit 19320 
to the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), Fisheries 
Ecology Division; Permit 17272 to the USFWS, Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office Fisheries Program (AFWO); Permit 17351 to the Green Diamond 
Resource Company (GDRC); Permit 17396 to the USFWS, Anadromous Fish 
Restoration Program (AFRP); Permit 17867 to the Humboldt Redwood 
Company (HRC); Permit 17877 to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR); Permit 
17916 to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Arcata Field Office; 
Permit 18012 to the CDFW, Bay Delta Region; Permit 18712 to H.T. Harvey 
& Associates; Permit 18937 to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 
University of California, San Diego, California Sea Grant College 
Program (CSGCP); Permit 19121 to the United States Geological Survey 
(USGS), California Water Survey; and Permit 19400 to ICF consulting.

ADDRESSES: The approved application for each permit is available on the 
Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS), https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov Web site by searching the permit number within the 
Search Database page. The applications, issued permits and supporting 
documents are also available upon written request or by appointment: 
Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 777 Sonoma Avenue, Room 325, Santa 
Rosa, CA 95404 ph: (707) 575-6080, fax: (707) 578-3435).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Abrams, Santa Rosa, CA (ph.: 707-
575-6080), Fax: 707-578-3435, email: Jeff.Abrams@noaa.gov).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The issuance of permits and permit 
modifications, as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 
U.S.C. 1531-1543) (ESA), is based on a finding that such permits/
modifications: (1) Are applied for in good faith; (2) would not operate 
to the disadvantage of the listed species which are the subject of the 
permits; and (3) are consistent with the purposes and policies set 
forth in section 2 of the ESA. Authority to take listed species is 
subject to conditions set forth in the permits. Permits and 
modifications are issued in accordance with and are subject to the ESA 
and NMFS regulations (50 CFR parts 222-226) governing listed fish and 
wildlife permits.

Species Covered in This Notice

    The following listed species are covered in this notice:
    Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened Snake River 
spring/summer-run (SR spr/sum); threatened Lower Columbia River 
(LCR);threatened California Coastal (CC); threatened Central Valley 
spring-run (CVSR); endangered Sacramento River winter-run (SRWR).
    Coho salmon (O. kisutch): Threatened Southern Oregon/Northern 
California Coast (SONCC); endangered Central California Coast (CCC).
    Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened Northern California (NC); 
threatened CCC; threatened California Central Valley (CCV); threatened 
South-Central California Coast (S-CCC); endangered Southern California 
(SC).
    North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medisrostris): Threatened 
southern distinct population segment (sDPS).
    Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): threatened sDPS.

Permits Issued

Permit 1440-2R

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (1440-2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 1440-2R was issued to IEP on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 1440-2R authorizes IEP to take CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR 
Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, CCC steelhead and sDPS green sturgeon 
while conducting 11 surveys in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region. The 
studies examine the abundance, and temporal and spatial distribution of 
various life stages of pelagic fishes of management concern, including 
listed species, and their food (e.g., zooplankton) resources, along 
with environmental conditions. These IEP studies are intended to 
monitor/inform the effectiveness of water operations, aquatic habitat 
restoration, and fish management practices, thereby providing a benefit 
to listed fish. The 11 studies included are: (1) Adult Striped Bass, a 
striped bass population study; (2) Fall Midwater Trawl, which monitors 
the relative abundance of native and introduced fish species; (3) 
Sturgeon Tagging, a white sturgeon tagging program; (4) Summer Townet, 
which targets delta smelt and young-of-the-year striped bass; (5) 
Estuarine and Marine Fish, a San Francisco Bay trawl study; (6) 20mm 
Survey, a study to monitor juvenile delta smelt distribution and 
relative abundance; (7) Yolo Bypass, a research effort to understand 
fish and invertebrate use of the Yolo Bypass seasonal floodplain; (8) 
Upper Estuary Zooplankton, which targets multiple zooplankters; (9) 
Spring Kodiak Trawl, which determines the relative abundance and 
distribution of spawning delta smelt; (10) Suisun Marsh Survey, 
monitoring to determine the effects of the Suisun Marsh Salinity 
Control Gates operation on fish, including listed salmonids; and (11) 
Smelt Larva Survey, which provides distribution data for

[[Page 2190]]

longfin smelt larvae in the Delta. Listed fish may be captured by fyke 
net, gill net, midwater trawl, trammel net, hoop net, otter trawl, 
larval fish net, zooplankton net, Kodiak trawl net, rotary screw trap, 
and beach seine. The majority of captured fishes will be identified to 
species, enumerated, measured for standard length, and released. 
Juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be identified using the 
Delta Model Length-at-Date-of-Capture Table. Listed species will be 
processed first and released. A subsample of wild juvenile SRWR and 
CVSR Chinook salmon sized captures will be tissue sampled for genetic 
analysis, and a subsample of hatchery juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook 
salmon sized captures will be sacrificed (i.e., intentional directed 
mortality) in order to collect coded wire tag data for management 
purposes and for stock confirmation. To reduce handling mortality, 
investigators will conduct water to water transfers, use fish-friendly 
nets, avoid handling when possible, and will not release fish from a 
vessel under way.

Permit 13675-2R

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (13675-2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 13675-2R was issued to the FFC on 
December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 13675-2R authorizes the FFC annually take juvenile-CVSR 
Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green 
sturgeon while conducting research designed to monitor the use of the 
Fremont Landing Conservation Bank (FLCB) and the Bullock Bend 
Mitigation Bank (BBMB) at the confluence of the Sacramento and Feather 
rivers in California's Central Valley. The banks are restored areas 
that provides mitigation for impacts on listed salmonid species in the 
Central Valley. The monitoring will evaluate the use of the FLCB and 
the BBMB by listed fish, provide data directly related to success 
criteria described in the conservation/mitigation bank management plan, 
and benefit listed fish by informing adaptive management strategies 
being conducted at the FLCB and the BBMB. The researchers will use 
beach seines and fyke nets to capture listed fish. Once captured, all 
listed fish will be identified by species and released. A subsample 
will be measured for fork length. No anesthesia will be used, and no 
additional handling procedures would take place. Captured fish will 
remain completely wetted at all times to minimize stress. Any fish 
exhibiting signs of physiological stress would be immediately released. 
The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, 
but some may die as an unintended result of the research.

Permit 13791-2R

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (13791-2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 13791-2R was issued to the USFWS SFWO on 
December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 13791-2R authorizes the USFWS SFWO to annually take juvenile 
and smolt CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and 
juvenile and larval sDPS green sturgeon while conducting seven research 
studies. The purpose of the studies is to evaluate/monitor the: (1) 
Abundance, temporal and spatial distribution, and survival of salmonids 
and other fishes in the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the 
San Francisco Estuary (SFE); (2) occurrence and habitat use of fishes, 
especially early life history stages, within the Liberty Island and 
Cache Slough Complex, (3) relative gear efficiencies for all IEP fish 
survey nets, and also the distribution of delta smelt; (4) littoral 
habitat use of juvenile Chinook salmon within the Delta; (5) the effect 
of projected water operations on delta smelt; (6) length at date race 
criteria of SRWR Chinook salmon sized juvenile Chinook salmon; and (7) 
SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon floodplain usage in the Yolo bypass. These 
studies will result in capture/handle/release take, tissue sampling, 
and/or intentional directed mortality. Intentional directed mortality 
will apply to only juvenile hatchery adipose clipped salmonids and 
larval green sturgeon. Capture methods will include Kodiak trawl, 
midwater trawl, beach seine, zooplankton net, larval net, gill net, 
fyke net, purse seine, and boat electrofishing. All listed fish except 
adipose fin clipped SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be immediately 
collected from the sampling gears, placed in containers filled with 
river water collected at the location being sampled, processed, held in 
a recovery container filled with aerated river water, and subsequently 
released at the sampled location. A fin tissue sample will be collected 
from a subset of natural origin SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon for stock 
determination. The purpose of intentional mortality of hatchery origin 
(adipose clipped) SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon will be to collect coded 
wire tags (CWT), and up ten green sturgeon larvae will be killed during 
larval fish collections in order to identify the contents of the larval 
trawl net, which can only be achieved in the lab. The data provided by 
these studies will provide natural resource managers real-time 
biological and population data on fishes to evaluate the effect of 
water operations and fish management practices within the SFE, thereby 
benefiting listed fish.

Permit 14516-2R

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (14516-2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 14516-2R was issued to Dr. Jerry Smith 
on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 14516-2R authorizes Dr. Jerry Smith, Associate Professor in 
the Department of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University to 
annually take multiple life stages of CCC coho salmon and CCC steelhead 
while conducting two studies: (1) Stream and lagoon surveys in Gazos 
Creek, Waddell Creek, and Scott Creek; and (2) lagoon surveys in 
Pescadero Creek Lagoon and San Gregorio Lagoon. The purpose of the 
studies is to: (1) Provide an annual index of relative abundance for 
juvenile listed salmonids, provide data on lagoon and upstream habitat 
utilization and growth, and provide an assessment of trends and year to 
year response to variations in habitat conditions; and (2) determine 
juvenile listed salmonid abundance and growth, and provide adult life 
history information in the lagoons. Capture methods will include 
backpack electrofishing, and beach seine. Captured salmonids will be 
measured, and a subset of juvenile captures and all adults will have 
scale samples taken, before being released at the capture location. A 
subsample of juvenile steelhead will also be marked via caudal fin clip 
to perform a mark-recapture analysis. Scale and fin tissue samples will 
be taken from adult fish carcasses. Captured live fish will be held in 
flow-through live cars, covered with a towel to provide shade and cover 
to calm fish. Adult fish will be processed and released first. In 
lagoons, live cars will be kept in deeper water with cooler 
temperatures and less turbidity to prevent warming above ambient 
temperatures or a decrease in dissolved oxygen. The researchers are not 
proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may 
die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 15215

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (15215)

[[Page 2191]]

was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). 
Permit 15215 was issued to CDFW on December 23, 2015 and expires on 
December 31, 2020.
    Permit 15215 authorizes the CDFW, Fisheries Branch, Fish Health 
Laboratory to take endangered SRWR Chinook salmon, CCC coho salmon and 
SC steelhead for a period of five years. The purpose of the research is 
to investigate wild fish kills/disease outbreaks that could occur in 
California that involve federally listed endangered species. The 
research will benefit the listed species by providing fisheries 
managers with the necessary information to help alleviate future 
outbreaks of fish disease through proper management of fishery and 
water resources. The research will only be conducted in the event of 
elevated and unexplained endangered species mortality or the presence 
of clinically diseased animals. Given such a triggering event, 
endangered fish will be collected in any of the state waters of 
California in which a disease outbreak/fish die-off occurred. Adult and 
juvenile endangered fish will be collected by hand or dip-net, as only 
dead and/or moribund fish, or fish displaying clinical signs of 
disease, will be collected. Moribund or clinically diseased fish will 
be euthanized (i.e., intentional directed mortality). Trained CDFW 
pathologists and veterinarians will assess moribund or diseased fish 
prior to euthanasia, and only fish that will likely die regardless of 
the actions proposed by CDFW will be euthanized. Necropsies will be 
performed on dead and euthanized captured fish either in the laboratory 
or in the field, fish will be examined for signs of parasitic and 
bacterial infections, and fin and/or internal tissues will be collected 
for virology, histopathology, immunological testing and/or DNA testing.

Permit 16274

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (16274) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 16274 was issued to the MRC on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 16274 authorizes the MRC to take CC Chinook salmon, SONCC 
coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, and CCC steelhead while 
conducting research and monitoring to assess juvenile and adult 
populations of salmonids and their distribution in streams within MRC's 
property. Research will be conducted in several watersheds within 
Mendocino and northern Sonoma counties. The data gathered will benefit 
listed fish by informing a better understanding of salmonid 
distribution, abundance, and habitat utilization in these areas. 
Juvenile salmonids will be captured by backpack electrofishing, 
anesthetized, weighed, measured to fork length, and released. A 
subsample of juvenile salmonids will be fin clipped to mark and to 
collect tissue samples for genetic analysis. Live adults and/or 
juveniles will be observed via snorkel surveys and spawning surveys. 
Carcasses will be measured and then marked to ensure duplicate 
measurements were not made. Outmigrant trapping will be conducted using 
a rotary screw trap or weir/pipe trap; captured outmigrants will be 
anesthetized, measured, and released. A subsample of outmigrants will 
be marked (dye, elastomer, or fin clip) or Passive Integrated 
Transponder (PIT) tagged. All anesthetized fish will be allowed to 
recover in a bucket containing aerated natal water prior to being 
released back into the stream from which they were taken. The 
researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but 
a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 17063

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17063) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17063 was issued to the USFS, Redwood 
Sciences Laboratory on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 
2020.
    Permit 170963 authorizes the USFS, Redwood Sciences Laboratory to 
perform eight studies that together will take CC Chinook salmon, SONCC 
coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, CC steelhead, and SC 
steelhead. The purposes of the eight studies are: (1) To investigate 
the invasion history of non-listed speckled dace in the Van Duzen River 
and the Eel River, (2) to investigate the invasion history of non-
listed California roach in the Van Duzen River and the Eel River, (3) 
to develop an Individual Based Modeling (IBM) approach to predict the 
effects of management practices on salmonid population in Northern 
California, (4) to link abiotic factors (e.g., distance to spawning 
ground) to the expression of an anadromous or resident life history for 
O. mykiss in the Eel River, (5) to link the distribution and movement 
of watershed products (e.g., wood, sediment, and water) in tributaries 
and mainstem channels to fish diversity and abundance in Northern 
California rivers, (6) to provide managers with insights into the 
status and relatedness of Sacramento sucker populations in northern 
California, (7) to document the speckled dace invasion of the Mad 
River, and (8) to provide managers with a tool to predict the effects 
of management decisions on Santa Ana suckers in the Santa Ana River. 
Listed adult and juvenile salmonids will be observed via snorkel 
surveys. Listed juvenile salmonids will be captured via backpack and/or 
boat electrofishing for all eight studies, and also via beach seine 
and/or fyke net for Study 6 (i.e., Sacramento sucker relatedness and 
distribution). For most studies, listed salmonids that are captured 
will be anesthetized, measured and/or weighed, and released. Captured 
fishes will be held in multiple live cars to prevent overcrowding and 
to maintain acceptable water quality conditions. In addition to 
capturing, handling and releasing fish, Study 4 (i.e. factors affecting 
the expression of an anadromous versus resident life history in O. 
mykiss) will also include intentional directed mortality for otolith 
microchemical analyses. A maximum of four O. mykiss will be sacrificed 
from each of seventy sample streams distributed throughout the Eel 
River, which will include both anadromous (listed as threatened) and 
resident (non-listed) life history forms.

Permit 17077-2R

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17077-2R) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17077-2R was issued to Dr. Peter Moyle 
on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17077-2R authorizes Dr. Peter Moyle, with the University of 
California at Davis, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation 
Biology, to take listed species while conducting research designed to 
develop a better understanding of how physical habitat, flow and other 
factors interact to maintain assemblages of native and non-native 
aquatic species in the upper SFE. This study will provide knowledge 
about food web and habitat support for native fishes, including listed 
anadromous fish, which are suspected of utilizing such habitats during 
development. While listed fish are not the target species for this 
study, the study will benefit listed fish by improving management 
decisions regarding creating additional habitat, and helping to 
anticipate the effects of drought and climate change on food and 
habitat availability. Sampling will be conducted in three distinct 
regions of the SFE: (1) The Cache-Lindsey complex, (2) the Sherman Lake 
complex

[[Page 2192]]

and (3) Suisun Marsh, and will take juvenile and adult CVSR Chinook 
salmon, SRWR Chinook Salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon. 
Capture methods will be similar for each of these regions, and will 
include otter trawling, beach seining and boat electrofishing, however 
electrofishing will be suspended immediately upon encountering a listed 
species. All sampled fish will be placed in a bucket with ambient water 
and an aerator, examined for responsiveness and returned to the water 
as soon as possible with a minimum of handling, after identification 
and length estimates were made. Juvenile SRWR and CVSR Chinook salmon 
will be identified using published size-at-date criteria. Only adult 
green sturgeon captures will receive additional processing beyond 
identification and measuring for length. Adult green sturgeon will be 
scanned for the presence of a PIT tag, and a soft pelvic fin tissue 
sample will be collected. The researchers are not proposing to kill any 
of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended 
result of the activities.

Permit 17219

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17219) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17219 was issued to the NMFS SWFSC, 
Fisheries Ecology Division on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 
31, 2020.
    Permit 17219 authorizes the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries Ecology Division 
to conduct research throughout California that will include take of 
SRWR Chinook salmon, CVSR Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, CCC coho 
salmon, NC steelhead, CCC steelhead, CCV steelhead, S-CCC steelhead, SC 
steelhead, and juvenile sDPS green sturgeon. The research will benefit 
listed fish by supporting conservation and management of listed 
anadromous salmonids and green sturgeon in California by directly 
addressing information needs identified by NMFS and other agencies. FED 
studies address priority topics identified in NMFS technical recovery 
team reports, NMFS recovery plans, joint programs such as the 
California Coastal Monitoring Program developed by NMFS and CDFW, and 
state programs such as the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. 
Research objectives of specific studies include: (1) Estimating 
population abundance and dynamics; (2) evaluating factors affecting 
growth, survival, and life-history; (3) assessing life-stage specific 
habitat use and movement; (4) collecting data necessary to construct 
various types of models (e.g., population, life-cycle, bioenergetics, 
and habitat-use models); (5) determining genetic structure of 
populations; (6) evaluating the effects of activities such as water 
management and habitat restoration on populations; and (7) developing 
improved sampling and monitoring methods.
    Research and take will involve various life stages (juvenile, 
smolt, adult, and carcass). Listed fish will be observed during 
spawning surveys, and captured by electrofishing, beach seine, rotary 
screw trap, and/or hook-and-line. The majority of captured fish will be 
anesthetized, measured to fork length, and released. A subsample of 
captured fish will be further sampled by collection of scales, fin 
clips, gill clips or stomach contents; and/or marking or tagging 
including fin tissue clips, PIT tags, elastomer tags, acoustic tags, or 
radio tags. Species care after capture will include use of aerated 
buckets or live cars for holding and recovery, and minimization of 
handling time. The majority of fish captured will be released alive at 
their point of capture following recovery from handling. However, in 
limited cases some fish will be: (1) Retained in enclosures in streams 
for short-term growth and survival experiments and then released, or 
(2) euthanized for analysis of otoliths and/or parasitological/
pathological studies of parasites and diseases of wild juvenile 
steelhead.

Permit 17272

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17272) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17272 was issued to the USFWS AFWO on 
December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17272 authorizes the USFWS AFWO to take multiple life stages 
of hatchery and wild SONCC coho salmon via monitoring and research 
activities in Northwest California. The purposes of the five studies 
included are to monitor: (1) Chinook salmon fry production and disease 
incidence in the Klamath River below Iron Gate dam, (2) Chinook salmon 
escapement in the mainstem Klamath River below the Shasta River 
confluence, (3) Chinook salmon escapement in the mainstem Klamath River 
from Iron Gate dam to the Shasta River confluence, (4) coho salmon 
escapement between Iron Gate Dam and the Indian Creek confluence, and 
(5) long-term salmonid disease incidence in the lower Klamath River. 
Trained AFWO crews will conduct redd surveys, on foot and from rafts, 
which could observe/harass spawning SONCC coho salmon. Crews will spend 
minimal time around redds and avoid walking on redds. Trained AFWO 
crews will also capture juvenile SONCC coho salmon using rotary-screw 
traps, frame nets, and beach seines. Juvenile coho salmon will be held 
in aerated holding buckets filled with fresh river water then 
anesthetized, measured for fork length, weighed, and released back into 
the river. There will be some intentional mortality of hatchery 
juvenile coho salmon for disease analysis. Aside from these hatchery 
fish, the researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they 
capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the 
activities. The studies will benefit listed coho salmon by informing 
the AFWO goal to develop conservation strategies for aquatic resources 
and to evaluate the success of aquatic habitat restoration efforts that 
will lead to the recovery and conservation of fish populations and 
fisheries in northern California.

Permit 17351

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17351) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17351 was issued to the GDRC on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17351 authorizes the GDRC to take listed salmonids while 
conducting research and monitoring under an existing Aquatic Habitat 
Conservation Plan (AHCP). The AHCP, which was approved in 2007 and is 
valid until 2057, identifies potential threats to three listed fish 
species that may result from GDRC's timber harvest activities and 
describes minimization and mitigation measures and effectiveness 
monitoring to address potential threats. The requested take limits will 
allow for implementation of monitoring and research activities in 
several northern California watersheds including the Winchuk River, 
Smith River, Lower Klamath basin tributaries, Mad River, Little River, 
several Humboldt Bay tributaries, and Eel River. The three species 
identified which will be taken as a direct result of this monitoring 
are CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, and NC steelhead. Research 
and take will involve various life stages (fry, juvenile, smolt, adult, 
and carcass). Trained GDRC crews will observe listed salmonids during 
snorkel surveys and spawning surveys. Crews will avoid walking in 
suitable spawning habitats (e.g., riffle crests). Listed salmonids will 
be captured by various capture methods including backpack 
electrofishing, kick net sampling, rotary screw trapping, v-notch weir 
outmigrant trapping, and

[[Page 2193]]

minnow trapping. Most captured fish will be measured and released. A 
subsample of captured fish will be anesthetized, then marked via dorsal 
fin clip, fin tissue sampled, scale sampled, and/or PIT tagged. 
Anesthetized individuals will be allowed to recover in mesh containers 
placed in the stream channel prior to release. Data collected will be 
used to document long-term population trends and better understand the 
potential impacts on the covered species and their habitats that may 
result from AHCP covered activities. The researchers are not proposing 
to kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an 
unintended result of the activities.

Permit 17396

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (17396) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 
(80 FR 45197). Permit 17396 was issued to the USFWS AFRP on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17396 authorizes the USFWS AFRP to take listed fish while 
conducting research designed to: (1) Provide data necessary to evaluate 
the effectiveness of AFRP restoration projects, including appraisal of 
spawning gravel augmentation, in-channel and floodplain habitat 
enhancement actions, and water allocation/flow regime alteration 
actions; and (2) provide reconnaissance-level population and biological 
data on contemporary anadromous fish population patterns within the 
Central Valley of California, in order to prioritize and select future 
restoration projects to benefit anadromous salmonids. All AFRP 
restoration monitoring projects will serve to benefit anadromous 
salmonids by providing data on restoration project effectiveness, and 
providing valuable information relating to adaptive management 
procedures. Take of listed species including various life stages of 
CVSR Chinook salmon, CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon will result 
from activities in the following five projects: (1) Bobcat flat 
restoration effectiveness monitoring in the lower Tuolumne River; (2) 
adult sturgeon acoustic telemetry in the lower San Joaquin basin; (3) 
San Joaquin River sturgeon spawning habitat assessment; (4) steelhead 
sampling and acoustic tracking in the lower Stanislaus, Tuolumne and 
Merced Rivers; and (5) fish reconnaissance in the San Joaquin River 
system. Observe/harass take will result from snorkel surveys. Capture 
methods will include beach seine, trammel nets, gill nets, fyke nets, 
hook-and-line, egg mats, benthic d-nets, and boat and backpack 
electrofishing. The majority of captured listed fish will be handled 
and released; a subsample of captures will be anesthetized, scale 
sampled, fin clipped (to mark and to collect fin tissue for genetic 
analysis), acoustic tagged, and/or subject to intentional directed 
mortality. Green sturgeon eggs (n = 100) and larvae (n = 5) will be 
intentionally sacrificed, which will be necessary to provide voucher 
tissue specimens, and will benefit the species by providing critical 
information on green sturgeon spawning habitat. To minimize 
physiological stress, all sturgeon will be held in a net pen submerged 
in river or with flowing water through their gills while waiting to be 
handled. All listed salmonids will be immediately collected from the 
sampling gears, placed in five gallon buckets filled with fresh river 
water from the location being sampled, processed, held in another 
container filled with fresh river water for recovery, and subsequently 
released in the sampled location. The new information on these species 
generated by these projects will help prioritize future restoration 
projects, thus benefiting listed species.

Permit 17867

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17867) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17867 was issued to the HRC on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17867 authorizes the HRC to take juvenile and adult CC 
Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon and NC steelhead while conducting 
research and monitoring that satisfies two objectives: (1) To comply 
with CDFW's Restorable Class I policy by sampling reaches through 
snorkel and electrofishing methods to identify Class I habitat within 
proposed timber harvest plans, and (2) to monitor fish occupancy trends 
at the reach, sub basin, watershed and HRC property level over time by 
repeated snorkel surveys at index and randomly selected reaches. Adult 
and juvenile salmonids will be observed during snorkel surveys, and 
juvenile salmonids will be captured by backpack electrofishing. Snorkel 
surveys will be the preferred method of detecting presence/absence of 
fish species. Captured fish will be identified, and transported 
upstream of the project area. All captured specimens will be kept in 
aerated buckets, observed closely, and not released until fully 
recovered. The monitoring will help to achieve HRC's fisheries 
program's general goal, which is to determine the occurrence, 
distribution, population and habitat conditions of anadromous fishes on 
HRC lands as well as to monitor, protect, restore and enhance the 
anadromous fishery resources in watersheds owned by HRC. The 
researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, but 
a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 17877

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (17877) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 17877 was issued to the BOR on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17877 authorizes the BOR to take juvenile, smolt, adult and 
carcasses of SONCC coho salmon via: (1) Observation/harassment by way 
of snorkel surveys, hand netting that specifically targets other 
species, and spawning surveys; and (2) capture by rotary screw trap, 
boat electrofishing, hook-and-line, beach seine, fyke net, or minnow 
trapping. The BOR applied for this permit as a contingent of the 
Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP), an inter-agency partnership 
of the BOR, USFWS, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, CDFW, Trinity 
County, USFS, NMFS, and the California Department of Water Resources. 
The TRRP benefits listed species by conducting large-scale channel 
restoration and habitat restoration activities in the Trinity River 
mainstem and watershed as a means of restoring declining fishery 
resources. The following six specific studies are included: (1) Trinity 
River juvenile salmonid outmigrant monitoring, (2) juvenile Chinook 
salmon density monitoring, (3) Trinity River Chinook salmon redd and 
carcass survey, (4) Trinity River invasive brown trout predation on 
coho investigation, (5) Trinity River juvenile coho salmon ecology 
study, and (6) watershed rehabilitation/research. Fin tissue samples 
will be collected from carcasses. The majority of captured juvenile 
coho salmon will be anesthetized, measured to fork length and released, 
but a subsample will also be PIT tagged. Tagged fish will be held in 
recovery pens post tagging to monitor and enhance post-tagging health. 
The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish they capture, 
but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 17916

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal

[[Page 2194]]

(17916) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 
45197). Permit 17916 was issued to the BLM on December 23, 2015 and 
expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 17916 authorizes the BLM to monitor the effects of current 
management actions related to the Northwest Forest Plan's Aquatic 
Conservation Strategy on anadromous salmonids and their habitats. In 
order to monitor land management actions and implement the Northwest 
Forest Plan in northern California, BLM needs to obtain updated 
information on fish distribution and habitat. Sampling will occur in 
various watersheds, including the Mattole River, Eel River, Lost Coast 
region tributaries to the Pacific Ocean, and Humboldt Bay tributaries. 
Take of CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, and NC steelhead will 
result from this monitoring and research. The preponderance of 
requested take will result from spawning surveys, snorkel surveys, and 
presence/absence surveys from the bank, all of which will result in 
observe/harass take of juvenile and/or adult salmonids. Capture methods 
that will take juvenile salmonids include backpack electrofishing and 
beach seine. A small number of salmonid fry may also be captured during 
kick net activities intended to sample invertebrates. Electrofishing 
will be used only when stream conditions prohibit less invasive 
sampling methods. Personnel handling fish will have wet hands and 
experience in fish handling. After length measurements were complete, 
fish will be placed in a bucket of freshwater for longer than 30 
minutes to allow for recovery prior to being released. Recovering fish 
will be kept in cool, shaded, aerated water and will not be 
overcrowded. This research will benefit listed fish by informing 
adaptive management strategies intended to aid in the recovery of at-
risk anadromous salmonids. The researchers are not proposing to kill 
any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an 
unintended result of the activities.

Permit 18012

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit renewal (18012) was published in the Federal Register on July 
29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 18012 was issued to the CDFW, Bay Delta 
Region (Region III) on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 
2020.
    Permit 18012 authorizes the CDFW, Bay Delta Region to take listed 
species while conducting two research projects, the Watershed 
Restoration Project (WRP) and the Fisheries Management Project (FMP), 
designed to assess and restore the productivity of CC Chinook salmon, 
CCC coho salmon, NC steelhead, CCC steelhead, and S-CCC steelhead in 
Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey 
counties in north central California. Program staff will accomplish 
this goal by conducting habitat and salmonid surveys to determine 
potential limiting factors and stock status in order to identify the 
specific measures and actions needed to protect and increase production 
of listed salmonids. The authorized studies include: (1) Juvenile 
salmonid occurrence, distribution and habitat monitoring; (2) adult 
salmonid occurrence, passage, and distribution; (3) spawning ground 
surveys; (4) life cycle station monitoring; and (5) juvenile steelhead 
lagoon beach seining. Listed fish will be observed/harassed during 
snorkel surveys, spawning surveys, carcass surveys, and by the use of 
electronic counting stations (i.e., DIDSON camera, Vaki Riverwatcher 
and/or video weir). Listed salmonids will be captured using backpack 
electrofishing, beach seining, rotary screw traps, fyke/pipe traps, and 
potentially adults may be captured using a resistance board weir. The 
majority of juvenile captures will be handled (measured for fork length 
and weighed), and released. A subset of juvenile salmonid captures will 
be anesthetized, fin tissue sampled to collect tissue for genetic 
analysis, scale sampled, marked with an upper caudal fin clip, and/or 
PIT tagged. Only healthy fish with no signs of stress or injury will be 
subjected to marking or tagging. All fish will be allowed to recover 
fully and will be observed carefully for injury prior to release. 
Captured adult salmonids will be handled (i.e., identified, measured, 
weighed, and scale and tissue samples taken), tagged (bi-colored Floy 
tags and/or opercular-hole-punched) and released upstream of the weir. 
All fish handled will be held in clean and decontaminated containers 
that are supplied with cool, aerated water and will be released back 
into the stream reach from which they were collected after recovery. 
Implementation of these activities under the WRP and the FMP will 
benefit listed species by informing recommendations on proposed habitat 
restoration projects and by determining the impacts of various 
management actions. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of 
the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended 
result of the activities.

Permit 18712

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (18712) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 
(80 FR 45197). Permit 18712 was issued to H.T. Harvey & Associates on 
December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 18712 authorizes H.T. Harvey & Associates to take juvenile 
and smolt CC Chinook salmon, SONCC coho salmon, CCC coho salmon, NC 
steelhead, and adult sDPS eulachon while completing a project that is 
intended to meet three Marine Protected Area (MPA) monitoring goals set 
by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise. The three monitoring goals are: (1) 
To assess trends in the condition of ecosystems inside and outside of 
MPA's, (2) to evaluate the effects of specific MPA design criteria such 
as MPA size and distance between MPAs, and (3) to evaluate the effect 
of visitors on MPAs. The project will contribute to the goals of the 
monitoring enterprise by describing the baseline biological community 
in four northern California estuaries: (1) Mad River Estuary in 
Humboldt County, (2) South Humboldt Bay State Marine Recreational 
Management Area in Humboldt County, (3) Ten Mile Estuary State Marine 
Conservation Area (SMCA) in Mendocino County, and (4) Big River Estuary 
SMCA in Mendocino County. Beach seines and fyke nets will be used to 
capture fish whereby take (i.e., capture/handle/release) of listed 
salmonids will occur. Handling will consist of identifying and 
measuring fish to fork length. To ensure that handled fish will 
experience minimal adverse effects as a result of the sampling process, 
fish will be allowed to recover briefly either in live wells or in 
shaded, aerated buckets. The researchers are not proposing to kill any 
of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended 
result of the activities.

Permit 18937

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (18937) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 
(80 FR 45197). Permit 18937 was issued to the Scripps Institution of 
Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CSGCP on December 
23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 18937 authorizes the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 
University of California, San Diego, CSGCP to annually take listed CC 
Chinook salmon, CCC coho salmon, and CCC steelhead while monitoring the 
status

[[Page 2195]]

and trends of listed salmonids in the Russian River watershed. The 
CSGCP will collect data to estimate population metrics such as 
abundance, survival, growth, and spatial distribution of multiple life 
stages of salmonids, and relate them to different recovery actions 
including hatchery releases, habitat enhancement projects, and stream 
flow improvement projects. Data collection will be designed to meet 
four specific study objectives: (1) Evaluation of the Russian River 
Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program, (2) implementation of the 
California Coastal Salmonid Monitoring Plan, (3) comparing juvenile 
coho salmon oversummer survival with stream flow, and (4) evaluation of 
habitat enhancement projects. The four studies will provide resource 
agencies with valuable information that will help guide future 
decisions regarding recovery actions. Fish populations will be 
monitored in many tributaries of the Russian River watershed and 
several methods that could observe/harass and/or capture fish will be 
employed, including: Snorkel surveys, spawning surveys, redd surveys, 
downstream migrant trapping (pipe/funnel trap), minnow trapping, 
operation of PIT tag detection systems (i.e., PIT tag arrays and PIT 
tag wand surveys), and backpack electrofishing. Handling of live fish 
captured in traps or during electrofishing surveys will include 
anesthetization, measuring for fork length, scanning for CWT and PIT 
tags, fin tissue sampling, scale sampling, PIT tagging, and/or gastric 
lavage. Adult salmonid carcasses encountered during spawning surveys 
will be scanned for PIT tags, measured, fin clipped, scale sampled, and 
otoliths will be extracted. All live fish will be released back into 
the stream following recovery in aerated buckets of cold water. 
Specific measures that will be taken to reduce the risk of injury or 
mortality to fish include minimizing the time that fish are handled, 
placing potential predators in separate holding buckets, running 
aerators in buckets, avoiding overcrowding in buckets, changing water 
in the anesthesia bucket frequently, placing a thermometer in holding 
buckets and replacing water frequently if the temperatures are rising, 
wetting measuring boards and weigh pans, processing listed species 
first, checking traps at least once per day and more frequently in high 
flow or windy conditions, and placing flow deflectors inside the trap 
box to provide refugia for fish. The researchers are not proposing to 
kill any of the fish they capture, but a small number may die as an 
unintended result of the activities.

Permit 19121

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (19121) was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2015 
(80 FR 45197). Permit 19121 was issued to the USGS, California Water 
Survey on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 19121 authorizes the USGS, California Water Survey take of 
listed species associated with completing two main objectives: (1) To 
examine research applications of the SmeltCam that have been developed 
and coordinated with the IEP, and (2) to provide fisheries science 
support for the BOR's compliance with Biological Opinions. The studies 
are intended to: (1) Provide new quantitative data addressing the 
potential benefits of habitat restoration to the SFE and Delta 
ecosystem and its native fish populations, and (2) determine the 
vertical and lateral distribution of delta smelt, and the continued 
evaluation and application of SmeltCam technology for studies of delta 
smelt and other fishes. The results of these studies are expected to 
provide net benefits to listed species by improving our understanding 
of their ecology and habitat use, and by informing the development of 
new research tools that can guide management decisions and habitat 
restoration actions. Sampling will be conducted in Suisun Bay, and will 
take multiple life stages of CVSR Chinook salmon, SRWR Chinook salmon, 
CCV steelhead, and sDPS green sturgeon. Capture methods will include 
beach seine, fyke trap, larval net, otter trawl, midwater trawl, boat 
electrofishing, set line, and gill net. All sampling will follow 
methods and protocols designed to minimize take of listed species while 
conducting research and monitoring. For example, sampling gear such as 
gill nets will be watched closely to monitor the status of any fishes 
entangled in the net. Set times will be short (approximately one hour), 
and nets will be set in habitats that listed fish are unlikely to 
inhabit. Listed salmonids captured in the course of sampling will be 
identified, carefully measured for length and released. Green sturgeon 
will be anesthetized using MS-222, scanned for a presence of a PIT tag, 
PIT tagged if no PIT tag is present, tissue sampled, and allowed to 
recover prior to release. All fishes collected in any sampling gear 
will be handled as gently as possible to facilitate safe release back 
to the water. The researchers are not proposing to kill any of the fish 
they capture, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the 
activities.

Permit 19320

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (19320) was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2015 
(80 FR 18820). Permit 19320 was issued to the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries 
Ecology Division on December 1, 2015 and expires on October 29, 2020.
    Permit 19320 authorizes the NMFS SWFSC, Fisheries Ecology Division 
to annually take sub-adult and juvenile listed salmon and steelhead for 
a period of five years. The permit will authorize research designed to 
(1) determine the inter-annual and seasonal variability in growth, 
feeding, and energy status among juvenile salmonids in the coastal 
ocean off northern and central California; (2) determine migration 
paths and spatial distribution among genetically distinct salmonid 
stocks during their early ocean residence; (3) characterize the 
biological and physical oceanographic features associated with juvenile 
salmon ocean habitat from the shore to the continental shelf break; (4) 
identify potential links between coastal geography, oceanographic 
features, and salmon distribution patterns; and (5) identify and test 
ecological indices for salmon survival. This research will benefit 
listed fish by informing comprehensive lifecycle models that 
incorporate both freshwater and marine conditions and recognize the 
relationship between the two habitats; it will also identify and 
predict sources of salmon mortality at sea and thereby help managers 
develop indices of salmonid survival in the marine environment.
    Listed fish will be captured primarily via surface trawling, 
however midwater trawling and beach seining will be used occasionally. 
Sub-adult salmonids (i.e., fish larger than 250 mm) that survive 
capture will have fin tissue and scale samples taken, and then be 
released. Any subadult salmonids that do not survive capture, and all 
juvenile salmonids (i.e., fish larger than 80 mm but less than 250 mm) 
will be lethally sampled (i.e., intentional directed mortality) in 
order to collect (1) otoliths for age and growth studies; (2) coded 
wire tags for origin and age of hatchery fish; (3) muscle tissue for 
stable isotopes and/or lipid assays; (4) stomachs and contents for diet 
studies; and (5) other tissues including the heart, liver, intestines, 
pyloric caeca, and kidney for special studies upon request.

Permit 19400

    A notice of receipt of an application for scientific research 
permit (19400) was published in the Federal Register

[[Page 2196]]

on July 29, 2015 (80 FR 45197). Permit 19400 was issued to ICF 
consulting on December 23, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2020.
    Permit 19400 authorizes ICF consulting to take juvenile CVSR 
Chinook salmon and SRWR Chinook salmon while conducting a study to 
investigate if longfin smelt in San Pablo Bay shift their vertical 
distribution under different environmental and biological conditions. 
Although this study principally targets longfin smelt, ESA listed 
Chinook salmon will be encountered during sampling. ICF will collect 
data that will be useful to local researchers on captured and/or 
photographed listed Chinook salmon, including abundance, length, and 
potentially tissue samples. Fish will be sampled using a midwater 
trawl, however the majority of tows will be conducted with only a video 
device (i.e., SmeltCam) acting as the codend. Therefore, the majority 
of take will be observe/harass. The fish camera image program will be 
able to determine the length, and thereby an estimate of the race/run/
listing status, of salmon that pass through the net. In order to verify 
the results of the SmeltCam, some tows will be conducted with both the 
video device and a traditional codend. Physically captured juvenile 
salmonids will be placed in a bucket with aerated water, handled (i.e., 
measured to fork length and possibly fin tissue sampled for genetic 
analysis), and released. The researchers are not proposing to kill any 
of the fish they capture.

    Dated: January 12, 2016.
Perry F. Gayaldo,
Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-00747 Filed 1-14-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P