Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restoration of Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Fresno and Tulare Counties, California, 38213-38214 [2016-13840]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 113 / Monday, June 13, 2016 / Notices Dated: June 8, 2016. John C. Brock, Program Coordinator, NCGMP, Designated Federal Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–13886 Filed 6–10–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4311–AM–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR United States Geological Survey [GX16EN05ESB0500] Nomination Period for Northeastern State Government Members of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science U.S. Geological Survey, Interior Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science (Committee) has a vacancy for a representative from state government in the region covered by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. SUMMARY: Written nominations must be received by July 13, 2016. ADDRESSES: Send nominations to: Robin O’Malley, Policy and Partnership Coordinator, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 516, Reston, VA 20192, romalley@usgs.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robin O’Malley, Policy and Partnership Coordinator, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 516, Reston, VA 20192, romalley@usgs.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science (Committee) provides advice on matters and actions relating to the establishment and operations of the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the DOI Climate Science Centers. See: https:// nccwsc.usgs.gov/acccnrs for more information. See https:// www.neafwa.org/members.html for the area covered by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The committee charter calls for representatives from state government (see below for membership categories), and the historically has had four such representatives, one from each of the four regional associations of state fish and wildlife management agencies. At present, there is no representative from srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:48 Jun 10, 2016 Jkt 238001 the Northeastern U.S. and the Department seeks to fill this vacancy. Nominations should include a resume that describes the nominee’s qualifications in enough detail to enable us to make an informed decision regarding meeting the membership requirements of the Committee and to contact a potential member. The Committee is composed of approximately 25 members from the Federal Government, and the following interests: (1) State and local governments, including state membership entities; (2) Nongovernmental organizations, including those whose primary mission is professional and scientific and those whose primary mission is conservation and related scientific and advocacy activities; (3) American Indian tribes and other Native American entities; (4) Academia; (5) Landowners, businesses, and organizations representing landowners or businesses. In addition, the Committee may include scientific experts, and will include rotating representation from one or more of the institutions that host the DOI Climate Science Centers. The Committee will meet approximately 2–4 times annually, and at such times as designated by the DFO. The Secretary of the Interior will appoint members to the Committee. Members appointed as special Government employees are required to file on an annual basis a confidential financial disclosure report. No individual who is currently registered as a Federal lobbyist is eligible to serve as a member of the Committee. Robin O’Malley, Designated Federal Officer, ACCCNRS. [FR Doc. 2016–13887 Filed 6–10–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4311–MP–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–PWR–PWRO–20687; PPPWSEKI00/ PX.DSEKI1303.00.1] Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restoration of Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Fresno and Tulare Counties, California National Park Service, Interior. Notice of availability. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared a Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38213 restoration of native species in high elevation aquatic ecosystems within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI)—(Restoration Plan/Final EIS). The Restoration Plan/Final EIS will guide management actions by the NPS to restore and conserve the native species diversity and ecological function of selected high elevation aquatic ecosystems that have been adversely impacted by human activities and to increase the resistance and resilience of these species and ecosystems to human induced environmental modifications, such as nonnative fish, disease, and climate change. The Restoration Plan/Final EIS would be implemented over a period of 20 to 35 years, depending on the alternative selected, with an internal evaluation of management effectiveness scheduled every 5 to 10 years. DATES: The NPS will execute a Record of Decision not sooner than 30 days from the date of publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of availability for the Restoration Plan/Final EIS in the Federal Register. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Hendricks, Environmental Compliance and Planning Coordinator, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA 93271, (559)565–3102. Electronic versions of the complete document are available online at https:// parkplanning.nps.gov/aquatics. Request printed documents or CDs through email (seki_planning@nps.gov) (type ‘‘Restoration Plan/Final EIS’’ in the subject line) or telephone (559)565– 3102. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Park Service has prepared the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restoration of Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan. This process was conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the implementing regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR part 1502.9). The overall goal of this Restoration Plan/Final EIS is to restore clusters of waterbodies to their naturally fishless state in strategic locations across SEKI to create high elevation ecosystems having more favorable habitat conditions for the persistence of native species and ecosystem processes. Preserving and restoring native wildlife and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur is one of the guiding principles for managing biological resources in national parks and is among the desired conditions E:\FR\FM\13JNN1.SGM 13JNN1 srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 38214 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 113 / Monday, June 13, 2016 / Notices established in SEKI’s General Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement, approved in 2007. From 1870 to 1988, nonnative fish were introduced into many heretofore fishless waterbodies throughout SEKI. Surveys conducted from 1997 to 2002 determined that self-sustaining nonnative trout populations had become established in approximately 575 lakes, ponds, and marshes, plus connecting streams, and nearly all streams that drain these sites from high to low elevations. Impacts of nonnative trout on high elevation aquatic and adjacent terrestrial ecosystems are well documented and occur at all levels of the food web. Nonnative trout impact native species directly through predation and indirectly through competition for food resources. Nonnative trout can disrupt the type and distribution of species, and thus the natural function of aquatic ecosystems. Two species of mountain yellowlegged frogs (MYLFs) are integral components of SEKI’s high elevation aquatic ecosystems. Formerly abundant MYLFs are today among the world’s endangered amphibians: Over 92% of their populations in the Sierra Nevada have disappeared, and most of the remaining populations are much smaller and more isolated than they were historically. Extensive research has identified two primary factors for this decline. The first factor is the introduction of nonnative trout. Nonnative trout have several direct effects on MYLFs, including predation, competition for food, restriction of breeding to marginal habitat, and fragmentation of remaining populations. The second factor is the recent spread of chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by amphibian chytrid fungus, which has infected and imperiled most remaining MYLF populations. A third emerging factor is global climate change, which has begun to dry up smaller, shallower ponds in SEKI. Ponds have become important habitat for MYLFs because, in basins where nonnative trout occur, fish occupy most of the larger lakes, which are more resistant to climate change. This has restricted many MYLF populations to smaller waterbodies that are more vulnerable to drought and warming. The Restoration Plan/Final EIS therefore proposes to recover smaller relatively-simple habitats using physical tools and larger more-complex habitats (including whole basins) using alternative tools. Because eradication of nonnative fish from larger, morecomplex habitats has been determined infeasible using gill nets and electrofishers, the NPS is considering VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:48 Jun 10, 2016 Jkt 238001 alternatives using piscicides (rotenone) in order to restore these ecologically significant habitats. Alternative A: No-action/Status Quo would continue the ongoing ecosystem restoration effort for 25 waterbodies, but no new fish eradication activities would be initiated. Physical treatment methods (gill netting, electrofishing, disturbing redds, and/or temporarily covering spawning habitat with boulders) would continue to be utilized until 2017. Native species and ecological processes in high elevation aquatic ecosystems would be monitored. Research on native species, ecological processes, and their stressors would continue in accordance with NPS policy. After all treatments are completed, self-sustaining nonnative trout populations would continue to exist in 550 waterbodies (252 lakes, 235 ponds, 63 marshes) and hundreds of miles of stream. Alternative B (NPS preferred alternative) would include physical and piscicide treatments preceding restoration. Under this alternative, a prescription (detailed plan of action) for restoration would be developed for each proposed restoration area based on the criteria for basin selection, pretreatment surveys, habitat size, basin topography, wilderness values, visitor use, and field crew safety. Prescriptions would consider the actual distribution of fish, results of amphibian surveys, and whether any unique habitats were detected (such as springs). Physical treatment as described under alternative A, plus trapping, would be utilized. Piscicide treatment methods would be considered for waterbodies determined infeasible for physical treatment. Based on current knowledge of the proposed fish eradication sites, physical treatment would be applied in 52 waterbodies (27 lakes, 24 ponds, 1 marsh; total of 492 ac/199 ha) and 15 mi (25 km) of streams in 17 basins, and piscicide treatment would be applied in 33 waterbodies (4 lakes, 25 ponds, and 4 marshes; total of 142 ac/57 ha) and 16 mi (25 km) of streams in 9 basins. In addition, any unsurveyed habitat adjacent to treated lakes, ponds, marshes, and streams found to contain nonnative fish would also require treatment in order to eradicate fish from the geographic area. After all treatments are completed, selfsustaining nonnative trout populations would continue to exist in 465 waterbodies (221 lakes, 186 ponds, 58 marshes) and hundreds of miles of stream. Alternative C would use physical treatment methods only to eradicate nonnative fish, and blasting rock to create vertical fish barriers (if needed). In comparison to alternative B, excluded PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 from the list of proposed restoration waterbodies are long reaches of stream, several large lakes, and interconnected lake complexes that are too large for effective physical treatment. Physical treatment methods would be applied in 52 waterbodies (27 lakes, 24 ponds, and 1 marsh; total of 492 ac/199 ha) and 15 mi (25 km) of streams contained in 17 basins. In addition, any unsurveyed habitat adjacent to treated lakes, ponds, marshes, and streams found to contain nonnative fish would be treated to eradicate fish from the entire scope of the restoration area. After all treatments are completed, self-sustaining nonnative trout populations would continue to exist in 498 waterbodies (225 lakes, 211 ponds, 62 marshes) and hundreds of miles of stream. Alternative D emphasizes speed in recovering habitat because MYLF populations are declining rapidly. To achieve this, only piscicide treatment would be used for nonnative fish eradication, which can be conducted faster than using physical methods. Piscicide treatment would be used for 85 waterbodies (31 lakes, 49 ponds, and 5 marshes; total of 634 ac/257 ha), approximately 31 mi (50 km) of streams, and connected fish-containing habitat as necessary. After all treatments are completed, self-sustaining nonnative trout populations would continue to exist in 465 waterbodies (221 lakes, 186 ponds, 58 marshes) and hundreds of miles of stream. Dated: March 25, 2016. Patricia L. Neubacher, Acting Regional Director, Pacific West Region. [FR Doc. 2016–13840 Filed 6–10–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–IMR–SAGU–20976; PPIMIMLAE6 PS.SIMLA0044.00.1] Minor Boundary Revision at Saguaro National Park National Park Service, Interior. Notification of boundary revision. AGENCY: ACTION: The boundary of Saguaro National Park is modified to include 273.08 acres of land located in Pima County, Arizona, immediately adjacent to the boundary of the park. Subsequent to the proposed boundary revision, the United States will acquire the land by donation from The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13JNN1.SGM 13JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 113 (Monday, June 13, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38213-38214]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-13840]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-PWR-PWRO-20687; PPPWSEKI00/PX.DSEKI1303.00.1]


Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restoration of 
Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan, Sequoia and 
Kings Canyon National Parks, Fresno and Tulare Counties, California

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared a Plan and Final 
Environmental Impact Statement for the restoration of native species in 
high elevation aquatic ecosystems within Sequoia and Kings Canyon 
National Parks (SEKI)--(Restoration Plan/Final EIS). The Restoration 
Plan/Final EIS will guide management actions by the NPS to restore and 
conserve the native species diversity and ecological function of 
selected high elevation aquatic ecosystems that have been adversely 
impacted by human activities and to increase the resistance and 
resilience of these species and ecosystems to human induced 
environmental modifications, such as nonnative fish, disease, and 
climate change. The Restoration Plan/Final EIS would be implemented 
over a period of 20 to 35 years, depending on the alternative selected, 
with an internal evaluation of management effectiveness scheduled every 
5 to 10 years.

DATES: The NPS will execute a Record of Decision not sooner than 30 
days from the date of publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency's notice of availability for the Restoration Plan/Final EIS in 
the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Hendricks, Environmental 
Compliance and Planning Coordinator, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National 
Parks, 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA 93271, (559)565-3102. 
Electronic versions of the complete document are available online at 
https://parkplanning.nps.gov/aquatics. Request printed documents or CDs 
through email (seki_planning@nps.gov) (type ``Restoration Plan/Final 
EIS'' in the subject line) or telephone (559)565-3102.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Park Service has prepared the 
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Restoration of Native 
Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan. This process was 
conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the implementing regulations promulgated by 
the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR part 1502.9).
    The overall goal of this Restoration Plan/Final EIS is to restore 
clusters of waterbodies to their naturally fishless state in strategic 
locations across SEKI to create high elevation ecosystems having more 
favorable habitat conditions for the persistence of native species and 
ecosystem processes. Preserving and restoring native wildlife and the 
communities and ecosystems in which they occur is one of the guiding 
principles for managing biological resources in national parks and is 
among the desired conditions

[[Page 38214]]

established in SEKI's General Management Plan/Final Environmental 
Impact Statement, approved in 2007.
    From 1870 to 1988, nonnative fish were introduced into many 
heretofore fishless waterbodies throughout SEKI. Surveys conducted from 
1997 to 2002 determined that self-sustaining nonnative trout 
populations had become established in approximately 575 lakes, ponds, 
and marshes, plus connecting streams, and nearly all streams that drain 
these sites from high to low elevations. Impacts of nonnative trout on 
high elevation aquatic and adjacent terrestrial ecosystems are well 
documented and occur at all levels of the food web. Nonnative trout 
impact native species directly through predation and indirectly through 
competition for food resources. Nonnative trout can disrupt the type 
and distribution of species, and thus the natural function of aquatic 
ecosystems.
    Two species of mountain yellow-legged frogs (MYLFs) are integral 
components of SEKI's high elevation aquatic ecosystems. Formerly 
abundant MYLFs are today among the world's endangered amphibians: Over 
92% of their populations in the Sierra Nevada have disappeared, and 
most of the remaining populations are much smaller and more isolated 
than they were historically. Extensive research has identified two 
primary factors for this decline. The first factor is the introduction 
of nonnative trout. Nonnative trout have several direct effects on 
MYLFs, including predation, competition for food, restriction of 
breeding to marginal habitat, and fragmentation of remaining 
populations. The second factor is the recent spread of 
chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by amphibian chytrid fungus, which 
has infected and imperiled most remaining MYLF populations. A third 
emerging factor is global climate change, which has begun to dry up 
smaller, shallower ponds in SEKI. Ponds have become important habitat 
for MYLFs because, in basins where nonnative trout occur, fish occupy 
most of the larger lakes, which are more resistant to climate change. 
This has restricted many MYLF populations to smaller waterbodies that 
are more vulnerable to drought and warming.
    The Restoration Plan/Final EIS therefore proposes to recover 
smaller relatively-simple habitats using physical tools and larger 
more-complex habitats (including whole basins) using alternative tools. 
Because eradication of nonnative fish from larger, more-complex 
habitats has been determined infeasible using gill nets and 
electrofishers, the NPS is considering alternatives using piscicides 
(rotenone) in order to restore these ecologically significant habitats.
    Alternative A: No-action/Status Quo would continue the ongoing 
ecosystem restoration effort for 25 waterbodies, but no new fish 
eradication activities would be initiated. Physical treatment methods 
(gill netting, electrofishing, disturbing redds, and/or temporarily 
covering spawning habitat with boulders) would continue to be utilized 
until 2017. Native species and ecological processes in high elevation 
aquatic ecosystems would be monitored. Research on native species, 
ecological processes, and their stressors would continue in accordance 
with NPS policy. After all treatments are completed, self-sustaining 
nonnative trout populations would continue to exist in 550 waterbodies 
(252 lakes, 235 ponds, 63 marshes) and hundreds of miles of stream.
    Alternative B (NPS preferred alternative) would include physical 
and piscicide treatments preceding restoration. Under this alternative, 
a prescription (detailed plan of action) for restoration would be 
developed for each proposed restoration area based on the criteria for 
basin selection, pre-treatment surveys, habitat size, basin topography, 
wilderness values, visitor use, and field crew safety. Prescriptions 
would consider the actual distribution of fish, results of amphibian 
surveys, and whether any unique habitats were detected (such as 
springs). Physical treatment as described under alternative A, plus 
trapping, would be utilized. Piscicide treatment methods would be 
considered for waterbodies determined infeasible for physical 
treatment. Based on current knowledge of the proposed fish eradication 
sites, physical treatment would be applied in 52 waterbodies (27 lakes, 
24 ponds, 1 marsh; total of 492 ac/199 ha) and 15 mi (25 km) of streams 
in 17 basins, and piscicide treatment would be applied in 33 
waterbodies (4 lakes, 25 ponds, and 4 marshes; total of 142 ac/57 ha) 
and 16 mi (25 km) of streams in 9 basins. In addition, any unsurveyed 
habitat adjacent to treated lakes, ponds, marshes, and streams found to 
contain nonnative fish would also require treatment in order to 
eradicate fish from the geographic area. After all treatments are 
completed, self-sustaining nonnative trout populations would continue 
to exist in 465 waterbodies (221 lakes, 186 ponds, 58 marshes) and 
hundreds of miles of stream.
    Alternative C would use physical treatment methods only to 
eradicate nonnative fish, and blasting rock to create vertical fish 
barriers (if needed). In comparison to alternative B, excluded from the 
list of proposed restoration waterbodies are long reaches of stream, 
several large lakes, and interconnected lake complexes that are too 
large for effective physical treatment. Physical treatment methods 
would be applied in 52 waterbodies (27 lakes, 24 ponds, and 1 marsh; 
total of 492 ac/199 ha) and 15 mi (25 km) of streams contained in 17 
basins. In addition, any unsurveyed habitat adjacent to treated lakes, 
ponds, marshes, and streams found to contain nonnative fish would be 
treated to eradicate fish from the entire scope of the restoration 
area. After all treatments are completed, self-sustaining nonnative 
trout populations would continue to exist in 498 waterbodies (225 
lakes, 211 ponds, 62 marshes) and hundreds of miles of stream.
    Alternative D emphasizes speed in recovering habitat because MYLF 
populations are declining rapidly. To achieve this, only piscicide 
treatment would be used for nonnative fish eradication, which can be 
conducted faster than using physical methods. Piscicide treatment would 
be used for 85 waterbodies (31 lakes, 49 ponds, and 5 marshes; total of 
634 ac/257 ha), approximately 31 mi (50 km) of streams, and connected 
fish-containing habitat as necessary. After all treatments are 
completed, self-sustaining nonnative trout populations would continue 
to exist in 465 waterbodies (221 lakes, 186 ponds, 58 marshes) and 
hundreds of miles of stream.

    Dated: March 25, 2016.
Patricia L. Neubacher,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific West Region.
[FR Doc. 2016-13840 Filed 6-10-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-FF-P