Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans, 90785-90787 [2016-30163]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 241 / Thursday, December 15, 2016 / Notices (Secretary) as to whether implementation of the joint plans will appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of ESA-listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon and Puget Sound steelhead. This notice further advises the public of the availability for review of a draft Environmental Assessment of the effects of the NMFS determination on the subject joint plans. DATES: Comments must be received at the appropriate address or fax number (see ADDRESSES) no later than 5:00 p.m. Pacific time on January 17, 2017. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the proposed evaluation and pending determination should be addressed to the Tim Tynan, NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 510 Desmond Drive, Suite 103, Lacey, WA 98503. Comments may be submitted by email. The mailbox address for providing email comments is: SnohomishHatcheries.wcr@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the email comment the following identifier: Comments on Snohomish River hatchery programs. The documents are available on the Internet at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. Comments received will also be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours by calling (360) 753–9579. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Tynan at (360) 753–9579 or by email at tim.tynan@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ESA-Listed Species Covered in This Notice Dated: December 12, 2016. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–30180 Filed 12–14–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE939 Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; extension of public comment period. AGENCY: Background rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Authority Under section 4 of the ESA, the Secretary of Commerce is required to adopt such regulations as she deems necessary and advisable for the conservation of species listed as threatened. The ESA salmon and steelhead 4(d) Rule (65 FR 42422; July 10, 2000, as updated in 70 FR 37160; June 28, 2005) specifies categories of activities that contribute to the conservation of listed salmonids and sets out the criteria for such activities. Limit 6 of the updated 4(d) Rule (50 CFR 223.203(b)(6)) further provides that the prohibitions of paragraph (a) of the updated 4(d) Rule (50 CFR 223.203(a)) do not apply to activities associated with a joint state/tribal artificial propagation plan provided that the joint plan has been determined by NMFS to be in accordance with the salmon and steelhead 4(d) Rule (65 FR 42422; July 10, 2000, as updated in 70 FR 37160; June 28, 2005). DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): threatened, naturally produced and artificially propagated Puget Sound. Steelhead (O. mykiss): threatened, naturally produced and artificially propagated Puget Sound. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Tulalip Tribes have submitted to NMFS plans for six jointly operated hatchery programs in the Snohomish River region. The plans were submitted from December 2012 to September 2016, pursuant to limit 6 of the 4(d) Rule for ESA-listed salmon and steelhead. The hatchery programs release ESA-listed Chinook salmon and non-listed coho and fall chum salmon into the Snohomish River basin and nearby. As required by the ESA 4(d) Rule (65 FR 42422; July 10, 2000, as updated in 70 FR 37160; June 28, 2005), the Secretary is seeking public comment on VerDate Sep<11>2014 her pending determination as to whether the joint plans for hatchery programs in the Snohomish River basin would appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the ESA-listed Puget Sound salmon and steelhead. 15:19 Dec 14, 2016 Jkt 241001 We, NMFS, announce the extension of the comment period for the Proposed Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan for Snake River Spring/ Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead (Proposed Plan) published on October 27, 2016. The Proposed Plan addresses the Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha) evolutionarily significant unit (ESU), which is listed as threatened under the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 90785 ESA, and the Snake River Steelhead (Onchorhynchus mykiss) distinct population segment (DPS), which is listed as threatened under the ESA. The geographic area covered by the Proposed Plan is the lower mainstem Snake River and its tributaries, as well as the mainstem Columbia River below its confluence with the Snake River. As required under the ESA, the Proposed Plan contains objective, measurable delisting criteria, site-specific management actions necessary to achieve the Proposed Plan’s goals, and estimates of the time and cost required to implement recovery actions. We are soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the Proposed Plan. The close of the comment period is being extended— from December 27, 2016, to February 9, 2017—to provide additional opportunity for public comment. DATES: The deadline for receipt of comments on the Proposed Plan published on October 27, 2016 (81 FR 74770), is extended to close of business on February 9, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the Proposed Plan by the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via: nmfs_ snakeriver_ssch_st_plan.wcr@noaa.gov. Please include ‘‘Comments on Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook and Steelhead Recovery Plan’’ in the subject line of the email. • Facsimile: (503) 230–5441. • Mail: Rosemary Furfey, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1201 NE. Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that they are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period, may not be considered. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are part of the public record and NMFS will generally post for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g. name, address, etc), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender is publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the Proposed Plan are available at: http:// E:\FR\FM\15DEN1.SGM 15DEN1 90786 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 241 / Thursday, December 15, 2016 / Notices www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ protected_species/salmon_steelhead/ recovery_planning_and_ implementation/snake_river/snake_ river_sp-su_chinook_steelhead.html. Persons wishing to obtain an electronic copy on CD ROM of the Proposed Plan may do so by calling Bonnie Hossack at (503) 736–4741, or by emailing a request to mail to: bonnie.hossack@noaa.gov with the subject line ‘‘CD ROM Request for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead Recovery Plan.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosemary Furfey, NMFS Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Coordinator, at (503) 231–2149, or mail to: Rosemary.Furfey@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Extension of Comment Period On October 27, 2016 (81 FR 74770), we (NMFS) published in the Federal Register a request for public comment on the Proposed Endangered Species Act Recovery Plan for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead. The public comment period for this action is set to end on December 27, 2016. The comment period is being extended through February 9, 2017, to provide additional opportunity for public comment. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Background We are responsible for developing and implementing recovery plans for Pacific salmon and steelhead listed under the ESA of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The ESA requires the development of recovery plans for each listed species unless such a plan would not promote its recovery. We believe it is essential to have local support of recovery plans by those whose activities directly affect the listed species and whose continued commitment and leadership will be needed to implement the necessary recovery actions. We, therefore, support and participate in collaborative efforts to develop recovery plans that involve state, tribal, and federal entities, local communities, and other stakeholders. For this Proposed Plan for threatened Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead, we worked collaboratively with state, tribal, and Federal partners to produce a recovery plan that satisfies the ESA requirements. We have determined that this Proposed ESA Recovery Plan for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:19 Dec 14, 2016 Jkt 241001 meets the statutory requirements for a recovery plan and are proposing to adopt it as the ESA recovery plan for these threatened species. Section 4(f) of the ESA, as amended in 1988, requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment be provided prior to final approval of a recovery plan. This notice solicits comments on this Proposed Plan. Development of the Proposed Plan For the purpose of recovery planning for the ESA-listed species of Pacific salmon and steelhead in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, NMFS designated five geographically based ‘‘recovery domains.’’ The Snake River Spring/ Summer Chinook Salmon ESU and Snake River Steelhead DPS spawning and rearing range is in the Snake River recovery domain of the Interior Columbia area. For each domain, NMFS appointed a team of scientists, nominated for their geographic and species expertise, to provide a solid scientific foundation for recovery plans. The technical recovery team responsible for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead, the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team, included biologists from NMFS, other Federal agencies, states, tribes, and academic institutions. A primary task for the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team was to recommend criteria for determining when each component population within an ESU or DPS should be considered viable (i.e., when they have a low risk of extinction over a 100-year period) and when ESUs or DPSs have a risk of extinction consistent with no longer needing the protections of the ESA. All Technical Recovery Teams used the same biological principles for developing their recommendations; these principles are described in the NOAA technical memorandum Viable Salmonid Populations and the Recovery of Evolutionarily Significant Units (McElhany et al., 2000). Viable salmonid populations (VSP) are defined in terms of four parameters: Abundance, productivity or growth rate, spatial structure, and diversity. We also collaborated with state, tribal, and Federal biologists and resource managers to provide technical information used to write the Proposed Plan which is built upon locally-led recovery efforts. In addition, NMFS established a multi-state (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington), tribal, and Federal partners’ regional forum called the Snake River Coordination Group that addresses the four ESA-listed Snake River salmon and steelhead species, PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 including the two species addressed in the Proposed Plan. They met twice a year to be briefed and provide technical and policy information to NMFS. We presented regular updates on the status of this Proposed Plan to the Snake River Coordination Group and posted draft chapters on NMFS’ West Coast Region Snake River recovery planning Web page. We also made full drafts of the Proposed Plan available for review to the state, tribal, and federal entities with which we collaborated to develop the plan. For the purpose of recovery planning in the Snake River recovery domain, NMFS divided the domain into three different ‘‘management units’’ based on jurisdictional boundaries, as well as areas where local planning efforts were underway. The three Snake River domain management units include: The Northeast Oregon unit, Southeast Washington unit, and the Idaho unit. A recovery plan addressing tributary conditions for both species was developed for each management unit. All three management unit plans were developed in coordination with respective state, federal, and local agencies, tribes, and others. This Proposed Plan synthesizes relevant information from the three management unit plans at the species level and includes them as appendices: Appendix A is the Northeast Oregon Management Unit Plan, Appendix B is the Southeast Washington Management Unit Plan, and Appendix C is the Idaho Management Unit Plan. In addition to the Proposed Plan, we developed and incorporated the Module for the Ocean Environment (Fresh et al., 2014) as Appendix D to address Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead recovery needs in the Columbia River estuary, plume, and Pacific Ocean. To address recovery needs related to the Lower Columbia River mainstem and estuary, we incorporated the Columbia River Estuary ESA Recovery Plan Module for Salmon and Steelhead (NMFS 2011a) as Appendix E. To address recovery needs for fishery harvest management in the mainstem Snake and Columbia Rivers, Columbia River estuary, and ocean, we developed and incorporated the Snake River Harvest Module (NMFS 2014a) as Appendix F. To address recovery needs related to the Columbia River Hydropower System, we developed and incorporated the Supplemental Recovery Plan Module for Snake River Salmon and Steelhead Mainstem Columbia River Hydropower Projects (NMFS 2014b) as Appendix G of this Proposed Plan. E:\FR\FM\15DEN1.SGM 15DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 241 / Thursday, December 15, 2016 / Notices The Proposed Recovery Plan The Proposed Plan contains biological background and contextual information that includes descriptions of the ESU and DPS, the planning area, and the context of the plan’s development. It presents relevant information on ESU and DPS structure, guidelines for assessing salmonid population and ESU and DPS status, and a brief summary of Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team products on population structure and species status. It also presents NMFS’ proposed biological viability criteria and threats criteria for delisting. The Proposed Plan also describes specific information on the following: current status of Snake River Spring/ Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead (Chapter 4); limiting factors and threats throughout the life cycle that have contributed to each species’ decline (Chapter 5); recovery strategies and actions addressing these limiting factors and threats (Chapter 6); and a proposed research, monitoring, and evaluation program for adaptive management (Chapter 7). For recovery actions, the Proposed Plan incorporates the site-specific actions in each management unit plan, together with the associated location, life stage affected and potential implementing entity. The Proposed Plan also summarizes time and costs (Chapter 8) required to implement recovery actions. In some cases, costs of implementing actions could not be determined at this time and NMFS is interested in additional information regarding scale, scope, and costs of these actions. We are also particularly interested in comments on establishing appropriate forums (Chapter 9) to coordinate implementation of the Proposed Plan. We are also interested in information to address critical uncertainties identified in the Proposed Plan, particularly regarding causes of mortality of juvenile fish as they move from natal tributaries into the Salmon and Snake Rivers during migration to the Pacific Ocean. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Public Comments Solicited We are soliciting written comments on the Proposed Plan. All substantive comments received by the date specified above will be considered and incorporated, as appropriate, prior to our decision whether to approve the plan. While we invite comments on all aspects of the Proposed Plan, we are particularly interested in comments on addressing critical uncertainties in our knowledge about the early juvenile life stage survival from natal tributaries downstream into the Salmon and Snake Rivers, comments on the cost of VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:19 Dec 14, 2016 Jkt 241001 recovery actions for which we have not yet determined implementation costs, and comments on establishing an appropriate implementation forum for the plan. After considering the public comments, we will issue a news release announcing the adoption and availability of the final plan. We will post on the NMFS West Coast Region Web site (www.wcr.noaa.gov) a summary of, and responses to, the comments received, along with electronic copies of the final plan and its appendices. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. Dated: December 12, 2016. Donna Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–30163 Filed 12–14–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF077 Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; request for comments. AGENCY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this notice announces that NMFS intends to obtain information necessary to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for salmon and steelhead hatchery programs currently operating in the Upper Willamette River Basin of Oregon. NMFS is also requesting public review and comment on four Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for evaluation and determination under Limit 5 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 4(d) rule for threatened salmon and steelhead. The HGMPs specify the propagation of hatchery spring Chinook salmon released in the North Santiam, South Santiam, McKenzie, Middle Fork Willamette, Coast Fork Willamette, and Molalla Rivers. NMFS provides this notice to: (1) Advise other agencies and the public of its plans to analyze effects related to the action, and (2) obtain suggestions and information that may be useful to the scope of issues and alternatives to SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 90787 include in the EIS. This notice further serves to notify the public of the availability of the four HGMPs for comment prior to a decision by NMFS on whether to approve the proposed hatchery programs. DATES: Written or electronic scoping comments must be received at the appropriate address or email mailbox (see ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time January 30, 2017. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments by either of the following methods: • Email to the following address: WillametteHatcheryEIS.wcr@noaa.gov with the following identifier in the subject line: Comments on Intent to Prepare the Willamette Hatchery EIS. • Mail or hand-deliver to NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 2900 NW. Stewart Parkway, Roseburg, OR 97471. • Fax to (541) 957–3386. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. All comments received are part of the public record and NMFS will generally post for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Additional information to assist with consideration of the notice of intent, as well as the HGMPs themselves, is available on the Internet at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lance Kruzic, NMFS, by phone at (541) 957–3381, or email to lance.kruzic@ noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ESA-listed Species Covered in This Notice Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha): threatened, naturally-produced and specified artificially-produced stocks in the Upper Willamette ESU. Winter steelhead (O. mykiss): threatened, naturally-produced in the Upper Willamette distinct population segment. Background The USACE has submitted four HGMPs for spring Chinook salmon hatchery programs in the Upper E:\FR\FM\15DEN1.SGM 15DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 241 (Thursday, December 15, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 90785-90787]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-30163]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE939


Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; extension of public comment period.

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

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce the extension of the comment period for the 
Proposed Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan for Snake River 
Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead (Proposed Plan) 
published on October 27, 2016. The Proposed Plan addresses the Snake 
River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha) 
evolutionarily significant unit (ESU), which is listed as threatened 
under the ESA, and the Snake River Steelhead (Onchorhynchus mykiss) 
distinct population segment (DPS), which is listed as threatened under 
the ESA. The geographic area covered by the Proposed Plan is the lower 
mainstem Snake River and its tributaries, as well as the mainstem 
Columbia River below its confluence with the Snake River. As required 
under the ESA, the Proposed Plan contains objective, measurable 
delisting criteria, site-specific management actions necessary to 
achieve the Proposed Plan's goals, and estimates of the time and cost 
required to implement recovery actions. We are soliciting review and 
comment from the public and all interested parties on the Proposed 
Plan. The close of the comment period is being extended--from December 
27, 2016, to February 9, 2017--to provide additional opportunity for 
public comment.

DATES: The deadline for receipt of comments on the Proposed Plan 
published on October 27, 2016 (81 FR 74770), is extended to close of 
business on February 9, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the Proposed Plan by the 
following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via: nmfs_snakeriver_ssch_st_plan.wcr@noaa.gov. Please include 
``Comments on Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook and Steelhead Recovery 
Plan'' in the subject line of the email.
     Facsimile: (503) 230-5441.
     Mail: Rosemary Furfey, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
1201 NE. Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that they are received, documented, and considered by 
NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or 
individual, or received after the comment period, may not be 
considered. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments 
received are part of the public record and NMFS will generally post for 
public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal 
identifying information (e.g. name, address, etc), confidential 
business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted 
voluntarily by the sender is publicly accessible. NMFS will accept 
anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to 
remain anonymous).
    Electronic copies of the Proposed Plan are available at: http://

[[Page 90786]]

www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/salmon_steelhead/
recovery_planning_and_implementation/snake_river/snake_river_sp-
su_chinook_steelhead.html.
    Persons wishing to obtain an electronic copy on CD ROM of the 
Proposed Plan may do so by calling Bonnie Hossack at (503) 736-4741, or 
by emailing a request to mail to: bonnie.hossack@noaa.gov with the 
subject line ``CD ROM Request for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook 
Salmon and Snake River Steelhead Recovery Plan.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rosemary Furfey, NMFS Snake River 
Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Coordinator, at 
(503) 231-2149, or mail to: Rosemary.Furfey@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Extension of Comment Period

    On October 27, 2016 (81 FR 74770), we (NMFS) published in the 
Federal Register a request for public comment on the Proposed 
Endangered Species Act Recovery Plan for Snake River Spring/Summer 
Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead. The public comment period for 
this action is set to end on December 27, 2016. The comment period is 
being extended through February 9, 2017, to provide additional 
opportunity for public comment.

Background

    We are responsible for developing and implementing recovery plans 
for Pacific salmon and steelhead listed under the ESA of 1973, as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The ESA requires the development of 
recovery plans for each listed species unless such a plan would not 
promote its recovery.
    We believe it is essential to have local support of recovery plans 
by those whose activities directly affect the listed species and whose 
continued commitment and leadership will be needed to implement the 
necessary recovery actions. We, therefore, support and participate in 
collaborative efforts to develop recovery plans that involve state, 
tribal, and federal entities, local communities, and other 
stakeholders. For this Proposed Plan for threatened Snake River Spring/
Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead, we worked 
collaboratively with state, tribal, and Federal partners to produce a 
recovery plan that satisfies the ESA requirements. We have determined 
that this Proposed ESA Recovery Plan for Snake River Spring/Summer 
Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead meets the statutory 
requirements for a recovery plan and are proposing to adopt it as the 
ESA recovery plan for these threatened species. Section 4(f) of the 
ESA, as amended in 1988, requires that public notice and an opportunity 
for public review and comment be provided prior to final approval of a 
recovery plan. This notice solicits comments on this Proposed Plan.

Development of the Proposed Plan

    For the purpose of recovery planning for the ESA-listed species of 
Pacific salmon and steelhead in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, NMFS 
designated five geographically based ``recovery domains.'' The Snake 
River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon ESU and Snake River Steelhead DPS 
spawning and rearing range is in the Snake River recovery domain of the 
Interior Columbia area. For each domain, NMFS appointed a team of 
scientists, nominated for their geographic and species expertise, to 
provide a solid scientific foundation for recovery plans. The technical 
recovery team responsible for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon 
and Snake River Steelhead, the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery 
Team, included biologists from NMFS, other Federal agencies, states, 
tribes, and academic institutions.
    A primary task for the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team 
was to recommend criteria for determining when each component 
population within an ESU or DPS should be considered viable (i.e., when 
they have a low risk of extinction over a 100-year period) and when 
ESUs or DPSs have a risk of extinction consistent with no longer 
needing the protections of the ESA. All Technical Recovery Teams used 
the same biological principles for developing their recommendations; 
these principles are described in the NOAA technical memorandum Viable 
Salmonid Populations and the Recovery of Evolutionarily Significant 
Units (McElhany et al., 2000). Viable salmonid populations (VSP) are 
defined in terms of four parameters: Abundance, productivity or growth 
rate, spatial structure, and diversity.
    We also collaborated with state, tribal, and Federal biologists and 
resource managers to provide technical information used to write the 
Proposed Plan which is built upon locally-led recovery efforts. In 
addition, NMFS established a multi-state (Idaho, Oregon, and 
Washington), tribal, and Federal partners' regional forum called the 
Snake River Coordination Group that addresses the four ESA-listed Snake 
River salmon and steelhead species, including the two species addressed 
in the Proposed Plan. They met twice a year to be briefed and provide 
technical and policy information to NMFS. We presented regular updates 
on the status of this Proposed Plan to the Snake River Coordination 
Group and posted draft chapters on NMFS' West Coast Region Snake River 
recovery planning Web page. We also made full drafts of the Proposed 
Plan available for review to the state, tribal, and federal entities 
with which we collaborated to develop the plan.
    For the purpose of recovery planning in the Snake River recovery 
domain, NMFS divided the domain into three different ``management 
units'' based on jurisdictional boundaries, as well as areas where 
local planning efforts were underway. The three Snake River domain 
management units include: The Northeast Oregon unit, Southeast 
Washington unit, and the Idaho unit. A recovery plan addressing 
tributary conditions for both species was developed for each management 
unit. All three management unit plans were developed in coordination 
with respective state, federal, and local agencies, tribes, and others. 
This Proposed Plan synthesizes relevant information from the three 
management unit plans at the species level and includes them as 
appendices: Appendix A is the Northeast Oregon Management Unit Plan, 
Appendix B is the Southeast Washington Management Unit Plan, and 
Appendix C is the Idaho Management Unit Plan.
    In addition to the Proposed Plan, we developed and incorporated the 
Module for the Ocean Environment (Fresh et al., 2014) as Appendix D to 
address Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River 
Steelhead recovery needs in the Columbia River estuary, plume, and 
Pacific Ocean. To address recovery needs related to the Lower Columbia 
River mainstem and estuary, we incorporated the Columbia River Estuary 
ESA Recovery Plan Module for Salmon and Steelhead (NMFS 2011a) as 
Appendix E. To address recovery needs for fishery harvest management in 
the mainstem Snake and Columbia Rivers, Columbia River estuary, and 
ocean, we developed and incorporated the Snake River Harvest Module 
(NMFS 2014a) as Appendix F. To address recovery needs related to the 
Columbia River Hydropower System, we developed and incorporated the 
Supplemental Recovery Plan Module for Snake River Salmon and Steelhead 
Mainstem Columbia River Hydropower Projects (NMFS 2014b) as Appendix G 
of this Proposed Plan.

[[Page 90787]]

The Proposed Recovery Plan

    The Proposed Plan contains biological background and contextual 
information that includes descriptions of the ESU and DPS, the planning 
area, and the context of the plan's development. It presents relevant 
information on ESU and DPS structure, guidelines for assessing salmonid 
population and ESU and DPS status, and a brief summary of Interior 
Columbia Technical Recovery Team products on population structure and 
species status. It also presents NMFS' proposed biological viability 
criteria and threats criteria for delisting.
    The Proposed Plan also describes specific information on the 
following: current status of Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon 
and Snake River Steelhead (Chapter 4); limiting factors and threats 
throughout the life cycle that have contributed to each species' 
decline (Chapter 5); recovery strategies and actions addressing these 
limiting factors and threats (Chapter 6); and a proposed research, 
monitoring, and evaluation program for adaptive management (Chapter 7). 
For recovery actions, the Proposed Plan incorporates the site-specific 
actions in each management unit plan, together with the associated 
location, life stage affected and potential implementing entity. The 
Proposed Plan also summarizes time and costs (Chapter 8) required to 
implement recovery actions. In some cases, costs of implementing 
actions could not be determined at this time and NMFS is interested in 
additional information regarding scale, scope, and costs of these 
actions. We are also particularly interested in comments on 
establishing appropriate forums (Chapter 9) to coordinate 
implementation of the Proposed Plan. We are also interested in 
information to address critical uncertainties identified in the 
Proposed Plan, particularly regarding causes of mortality of juvenile 
fish as they move from natal tributaries into the Salmon and Snake 
Rivers during migration to the Pacific Ocean.

Public Comments Solicited

    We are soliciting written comments on the Proposed Plan. All 
substantive comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered and incorporated, as appropriate, prior to our decision 
whether to approve the plan. While we invite comments on all aspects of 
the Proposed Plan, we are particularly interested in comments on 
addressing critical uncertainties in our knowledge about the early 
juvenile life stage survival from natal tributaries downstream into the 
Salmon and Snake Rivers, comments on the cost of recovery actions for 
which we have not yet determined implementation costs, and comments on 
establishing an appropriate implementation forum for the plan. After 
considering the public comments, we will issue a news release 
announcing the adoption and availability of the final plan. We will 
post on the NMFS West Coast Region Web site (www.wcr.noaa.gov) a 
summary of, and responses to, the comments received, along with 
electronic copies of the final plan and its appendices.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: December 12, 2016.
Donna Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-30163 Filed 12-14-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P