Listing Endangered or Threatened Species; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Winter-Run Puget Sound Chum Salmon in the Nisqually River System and Chambers Creek as a Threatened or Endangered Evolutionarily Significant Unit Under the Endangered Species Act, 33064-33068 [2017-15065]

Download as PDF 33064 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 137 / Wednesday, July 19, 2017 / Notices is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of imports of ESB rubber from Mexico no later than 45 days after the Department’s final determination. If the ITC determines that material injury or threat of material injury does not exist, the proceeding will be terminated and all securities posted will be refunded or canceled. If the ITC determines that such injury does exist, the Department will issue an antidumping duty order directing CBP to assess, upon further instruction by the Department, antidumping duties on appropriate imports of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of the suspension of liquidation. Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Orders This notice serves as a reminder to parties subject to an administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a violation subject to sanction. This determination and this notice are issued and published pursuant to sections 735(d) and 777(i)(1) of the Act. Dated: July 10, 2017. Gary Taverman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Appendix I Scope of the Investigation For purposes of this investigation, the product covered is cold-polymerized emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (ESB rubber). The scope of the investigation includes, but is not limited to, ESB rubber in primary forms, bales, granules, crumbs, pellets, powders, plates, sheets, strip, etc. ESB rubber consists of non-pigmented rubbers and oil-extended non-pigmented rubbers, both of which contain at least one percent of organic acids from the emulsion polymerization process. ESB rubber is produced and sold in accordance with a generally accepted set of product specifications issued by the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP). The scope of the investigation covers grades of ESB rubber included in the IISRP 1500 and 1700 series of synthetic rubbers. The 1500 grades are light in color and are often described as ‘‘Clear’’ or ‘‘White Rubber.’’ The 1700 grades VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:49 Jul 18, 2017 Jkt 241001 are oil-extended and thus darker in color, and are often called ‘‘Brown Rubber.’’ Specifically excluded from the scope of this investigation are products which are manufactured by blending ESB rubber with other polymers, high styrene resin master batch, carbon black master batch (i.e., IISRP 1600 series and 1800 series) and latex (an intermediate product). The products subject to this investigation are currently classifiable under subheadings 4002.19.0015 and 4002.19.0019 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). ESB rubber is described by Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) Registry No. 9003–55–8. This CAS number also refers to other types of styrene butadiene rubber. Although the HTSUS subheadings and CAS registry number are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive. Appendix II List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope Comments IV. Scope of the Investigation V. Margin Calculations VI. Discussion of the Issues Comment 1: Partial Adverse Fact Available for Negromex’s Financial Expense Rate Comment 2: Partial Adverse Facts Available for Negromex’s Domestic Brokerage and Handling Expenses, U.S. Brokerage and Handling Expenses, and U.S. Inland Freight From Warehouse to Customer Expenses Comment 3: Partial Adverse Facts Available for Certain Unreported Sales Comment 4: Eligibility for a CEP Offset Comment 5: Recalculation of Negromex’s G&A Expense Rate Comment 6: Billing Adjustment Comment 7: Treatment of Freight Expenses Included in Resirene’s SG&A Comment 8: Apply the Market Price of Styrene to Negromex’s COM Comment 9: Treatment of Technology Expenses in Negromex’s G&A Ratio Comment 10: Short-Term Interest Rate for Negromex’s Credit Expenses VII. Recommendation [FR Doc. 2017–14951 Filed 7–18–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P PO 00000 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 150902810–7646–01] RIN 0648–XE167 Listing Endangered or Threatened Species; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Winter-Run Puget Sound Chum Salmon in the Nisqually River System and Chambers Creek as a Threatened or Endangered Evolutionarily Significant Unit Under the Endangered Species Act National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding. AGENCY: We, NMFS, announce a 90Day finding on a petition to list the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek as a threatened or endangered evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. We find that the petition and information in our files do not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the winter-run chum salmon from the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek qualify as an ESU under the ESA. As such, we find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the winter-run chum salmon in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek are a ‘‘species’’ eligible for listing under the ESA. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the petition and other materials are available on the NMFS West Coast Region Web site at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Rule, NMFS West Coast Region, at gary.rule@noaa.gov, (503) 230–5424; or Maggie Miller, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, at margaret.h.miller@noaa.gov, (301) 427– 8457. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background On June 29, 2015, we received a petition from Mr. Sam Wright (Olympia, Washington) to list the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek as a threatened or endangered ESU under the ESA and to Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 137 / Wednesday, July 19, 2017 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. The petitioner asserts that (1) the designation of these two winter-run chum salmon populations as an ESU is justified because these populations are the only known winterrun chum salmon populations in the world, (2) a diverging trend in abundance between the Chambers Creek population and the fall-run chum salmon populations in southern Puget Sound renders the Nisqually River population as the only viable winter-run population and justifies an ESA listing of the petitioner’s proposed ESU as threatened or endangered, and (3) NMFS’s ‘‘Status Review of Chum Salmon from Washington, Oregon, and California (NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS–NWFSC–32)’’ (Johnson et al. 1997) did not address ‘‘global warming’’ or ‘‘climate change.’’ Copies of the petition are available upon request (see ADDRESSES). ESA Statutory, Regulatory, Policy Provisions, and Evaluation Framework Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires, to the maximum extent practicable, that within 90 days of receipt of a petition to list a species as threatened or endangered, the Secretary of Commerce make a finding on whether that petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted, and to promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)). When it is found that substantial scientific or commercial information in a petition indicates the petitioned action may be warranted (a ‘‘positive 90-day finding’’), we are required to promptly commence a review of the status of the species concerned during which we will conduct a comprehensive review of the best available scientific and commercial information. In such cases, we conclude the review with a finding as to whether, in fact, the petitioned action is warranted within 12 months of receipt of the petition. Because the finding at the 12-month stage is based on a more thorough review of the available information, as compared to the narrow scope of review at the 90-day stage, a ‘‘may be warranted’’ finding does not prejudge the outcome of the status review. Under the ESA, a listing determination may address a species, which is defined to also include subspecies and, for any vertebrate species, any distinct population segment (DPS) that interbreeds when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). To identify the proper taxonomic unit for VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:49 Jul 18, 2017 Jkt 241001 consideration in a salmon listing determination, we apply our Policy on Applying the Definition of Species under the ESA to Pacific Salmon (ESU Policy) (56 FR 58612; November 20, 1991). Under this policy, populations of salmon substantially reproductively isolated from other conspecific populations and representing an important component in the evolutionary legacy of the biological species are considered to be an ESU. In our listing determinations for Pacific salmon under the ESA, we have treated an ESU as constituting a DPS, and hence a ‘‘species,’’ under the ESA. A species, subspecies, or ESU is ‘‘endangered’’ if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and ‘‘threatened’’ if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), respectively, 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and (20)). Pursuant to the ESA and our implementing regulations, we determine whether species are threatened or endangered based on any one or a combination of the following five section 4(a)(1) factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and any other natural or manmade factors affecting the species’ existence (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1), 50 CFR 424.11(c)). At the 90-day finding stage, we evaluate the petitioners’ request based upon the information in the petition including its references and the information readily available in our files. We do not conduct additional research, and we do not solicit information from parties outside the agency to help us in evaluating the petition. We will accept the petitioners’ sources and characterizations of the information presented if they appear to be based on accepted scientific principles, unless we have specific information in our files that indicates the petition’s information is incorrect, unreliable, obsolete, or otherwise irrelevant to the requested action. Information that is susceptible to more than one interpretation or that is contradicted by other available information will not be dismissed at the 90-day finding stage, so long as it is reliable and a reasonable person would conclude it supports the petitioners’ assertions. In other words, conclusive information indicating the species may meet the ESA’s requirements for listing PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33065 is not required to make a positive 90day finding. We will not conclude that a lack of specific information alone necessitates a negative 90-day finding if a reasonable person would conclude that the unknown information itself suggests the species may be at risk of extinction presently or within the foreseeable future. To make a 90-day finding on a petition to list a species, we evaluate whether the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating the subject species may be either threatened or endangered, as defined by the ESA. ESA-implementing regulations issued jointly by NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (50 CFR 424.14(i)) define ‘‘substantial information’’ in the context of reviewing a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species as credible scientific information in support of the petition’s claims such that a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that the revision proposed in the petition may be warranted. Conclusions drawn in the petition without the support of credible scientific information will not be considered ‘‘substantial information.’’ The ‘‘substantial scientific or commercial information’’ standard must be applied in light of any prior reviews or findings we have made on the listing status of the species that is the subject of the petition. Where we have already conducted a finding on, or review of, the listing status of that species (whether in response to a petition or on our own initiative), we will evaluate any petition received thereafter seeking to list, delist, or reclassify that species to determine whether a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that the action proposed in the petition may be warranted despite the previous review or finding. Where the prior review resulted in a final agency action, a petitioned action generally would not be considered to present substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the action may be warranted unless the petition provides new information not previously considered. In evaluating the petition, we first evaluate whether the information presented in the petition, along with the information readily available in our files, indicates that the petitioned entity constitutes a ‘‘species’’ eligible for listing under the ESA. Next, we evaluate whether the information indicates that the species faces an extinction risk that is cause for concern; this may be indicated in information expressly discussing the species’ status and E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES 33066 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 137 / Wednesday, July 19, 2017 / Notices trends, or in information describing impacts and threats to the species. We evaluate any information on specific demographic factors pertinent to evaluating extinction risk for the species (e.g., population abundance and trends, productivity, spatial structure, age structure, sex ratio, diversity, current and historical range, habitat integrity or fragmentation), and the potential contribution of identified demographic risks to extinction risk for the species. We then evaluate the potential links between these demographic risks and the causative impacts and threats identified in section 4(a)(1). Information presented on impacts or threats should be specific to the species and should reasonably suggest that one or more of these factors may be operative threats that act or have acted on the species to the point that it may warrant protection under the ESA. Broad statements about generalized threats to the species, or identification of factors that could negatively impact a species, do not constitute substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted. We look for information indicating that not only is the particular species exposed to a factor, but that the species may be responding in a negative fashion; then we assess the potential significance of that negative response. Many petitions identify risk classifications made by nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the American Fisheries Society, or NatureServe, as evidence of extinction risk for a species. Risk classifications by such organizations or made under other Federal or state statutes may be informative, but such classification alone will not alone provide sufficient basis for a positive 90-day finding under the ESA. For example, as explained by NatureServe, their assessments of a species’ conservation status do ‘‘not constitute a recommendation by NatureServe for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act’’ because NatureServe assessments ‘‘have different criteria, evidence requirements, purposes and taxonomic coverage than government lists of endangered and threatened species, and therefore these two types of lists should not be expected to coincide’’ (http:// www.natureserve.org/prodServices/pdf/ NatureServeStatusAssessmentsListingDec%202008.pdf). Additionally, species classifications under IUCN and the ESA are not equivalent; data standards, criteria used to evaluate species, and treatment of uncertainty are also not necessarily the same. Thus, when a petition cites such classifications, we VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:49 Jul 18, 2017 Jkt 241001 will evaluate the source of information that the classification is based upon in light of the standards on extinction risk and impacts or threats discussed above. Previous Reviews of Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia Chum Salmon Under the ESA On March 14, 1994, NMFS was petitioned by the Professional Resources Organization—Salmon (PRO—Salmon) to list Washington’s Hood Canal, Discovery Bay, and Sequim Bay summer-run chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) as threatened or endangered species under the ESA (PRO—Salmon 1994). A second petition, received April 4, 1994, from the ‘‘Save Allison Springs’’ Citizens Committee (1994), requested listing of fall chum salmon found in the following southern Puget Sound streams or bays: Allison Springs, McLane Creek, tributaries of McLane Creek (Swift Creek and Beatty Creek), Perry Creek, and the southern section of Mud Bay/Eld Inlet. A third petition, received by NMFS on May 20, 1994, was submitted by Trout Unlimited (1994) and requested listing the Hood Canal summer chum. As the result of these three petitions, NMFS assembled a Biological Review Team (BRT) and initiated an ESA status review of all chum salmon populations in Washington, Oregon, and California. In December 1997, the status review was published as Johnson et al. (1997). In the status review, the BRT identified four ESUs—the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia ESU, Hood Canal summer-run ESU, Pacific Coast ESU, and Columbia River ESU. The winter-run chum salmon populations in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek were identified as part of the Puget Sound/ Strait of Georgia ESU. Despite these populations being one of the more genetically distinct populations in Puget Sound, the BRT (1) did not consider those differences distinct enough to warrant designating them as a separate ESU and (2) determined that these populations, along with the summer-run Puget Sound populations, reflected patterns of diversity within a large and complex ESU. The BRT determined that the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia chum salmon ESU was not presently at risk of extinction nor was it likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The BRT found that the (1) the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia chum salmon ESU’s abundance was at or near the historical annual run levels of over one million fish, (2) the majority of the populations had stable or increasing population trends, and (3) all populations with statistically significant PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 trends were increasing. The Pacific Coast chum salmon ESU, with its large geographic area and considerable diversity, was also not considered warranted for ESA listing. The BRT, however, determined that the Hood Canal summer-run chum salmon ESU and Columbia River chum salmon ESU are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future if present conditions continue. NMFS listed these ESUs as threatened species under the ESA on March 25, 1999 (64 FR 14507). Analysis of Petition and Information Readily Available in NMFS Files As mentioned above, in analyzing the request of the petitioner, we first evaluate whether the information presented in the petition, along with information readily available in our files, indicates that the petitioned entity constitutes a ‘‘species’’ eligible for listing under the ESA. Because the petition specifically requests listing of an ESU, we evaluate whether the information indicates that the petitioned entities, the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek, constitute an ESU pursuant to our ESU Policy. When identifying an ESU, our ESU Policy (56 FR 58612; November 20, 1991) stipulates two elements that must be considered: (1) It must be substantially reproductively isolated from other nonspecific population units, and (2) it must represent an important component in the evolutionary legacy of the species. In terms of reproductive isolation, the ESU Policy states that reproductive isolation does not have to be absolute, but it must be strong enough to permit evolutionarily important differences to accrue in different population units. Insights into the extent of reproductive isolation can be provided by movements of tagged fish, recolonization rates of other populations, measurements of genetic differences between population, and evaluations of the efficacy of natural barriers. In terms of evolutionary legacy of the species, that criterion would be met if the population contributed substantially to the ecological/genetic diversity of the species as a whole. To make that determination, the following questions are relevant: Is the population genetically distinct from other conspecific populations (genetic component)? Does the population occupy unusual or distinctive habitat (ecological component)? Does the population show evidence of unusual or distinctive adaptation to its environment (life-history component)? In evaluating this petition, we looked for information to suggest that the E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 137 / Wednesday, July 19, 2017 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES petitioned entities, the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek populations, may qualify as an ESU under both the reproductive isolation and evolutionary legacy of the species criteria of our ESU Policy. Our evaluation is discussed below. Qualification of the Winter-Run Puget Sound Chum Salmon in the Nisqually River System and Chambers Creek as an ESU The petitioner asserts that (1) the designation of these two winter-run chum salmon populations as an ESU is justified because they are the only known winter-run chum salmon populations in the world, (2) a diverging trend in abundance between the Chambers Creek population and the fallrun chum salmon populations in southern Puget Sound renders the Nisqually River population as the only viable winter-run population and justifies an ESA listing of the petitioner’s proposed ESU as threatened or endangered, and (3) Johnson et al. (1997) did not address ‘‘global warming’’ or ‘‘climate change.’’ To make the argument for identifying these two populations as an ESU, the petitioner relies almost exclusively on information from Johnson et al. (1997). The only other information that the petitioner presents is abundance data for the Chambers Creek (1968 through 2008) and Nisqually River (1968 through 2013) winter-run chum salmon populations. To direct our decision, we will first analyze the petition’s assertion that these two winter-run chum salmon populations are a separate ESU; and if we determine that to be true, we will then analyze the other two assertions described above. As stated previously, NMFS received three petitions in 1994 to list several populations of chum salmon in Puget Sound. In response to these petitions and to address general concerns about the species, NMFS assembled a BRT to conduct a status review of chum salmon to identify the ESUs and determine their statuses throughout the Pacific Northwest. The findings were published as Johnson et al. (1997). Based upon genetic, ecological, and life-history components, the BRT was able to analyze and group West Coast chum salmon populations into four different chum salmon ESUs. For these ESUs, the BRT analyzed the following available information. For the genetic component, the BRT analyzed the genetic variability at 39 polymorphic loci in 153 samples collected from 105 locations in southern British Columbia, Washington, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:49 Jul 18, 2017 Jkt 241001 Oregon (Phelps et al. 1994; Johnson et al. 1997). Seventy-two of those 105 locations were from Puget Sound including the Chambers Creek and Nisqually River winter-run populations. From that analysis, the Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca summer-run chum salmon were determined to be genetically distinct from the other Puget Sound populations and were described as the Hood Canal summer-run ESU. Genetically, the remaining Puget Sound and Hood Canal locations were clustered together with the winter-run chum salmon as genetic outliers most closely related to the fall-run Hood Canal and northern Puget Sound populations. Additional samples and analysis (Phelps 1995) resulted in three distinct clusters of samples: (1) Summer-run chum salmon of Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca; (2) Puget Sound fall-run and southern Puget Sound winter- and summer-run chum salmon; and (3) Strait of Juan de Fuca, coastal Washington, and Oregon fall-run chum salmon (Johnson et al. 1997). Recently, Waples (2015) analyzed genetic diversity and population structure from 174 chum salmon individuals at 10 Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia locations—including one Hood Canal summer-run ESU location (Hamma Hamma River), the Nisqually River winter-run location, and eight other Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia locations. In a FST matrix and phylogenetic tree analysis, the Hamma Hamma River location was most genetically diverse followed by the Nisqually River winter-run. A principle component analysis (PCA) evaluating the genetic relationships between the individuals from all 10 locations showed that the Hamma Hamma River location was the most genetically distinct with the other nine locations clustered together (including the Nisqually River winter-run). In response to this current petition, NMFS’s Northwest Fishery Science Center (NWFSC) examined the available data concerning the winter-run chum salmon from the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek. An analysis of these data (J. Hard, Supervisory Research Fishery Biologist, NWFSC, email September 2, 2015) confirmed the earlier conclusions from Johnson et al. (1997) that ‘‘the winter-run fish cluster closely with fall-run fish in Puget Sound and Hood Canal’’ and that ‘‘there is no clear genetic evidence to support the idea that the winter-run chum salmon in Puget Sound are substantially reproductively isolated from other chum salmon populations in southern Puget Sound.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33067 In examining the ecological component, neither the Nisqually River nor Chambers Creek watersheds are isolated geographically or reproductively from other chum salmon populations in southern Puget Sound; therefore, it does not qualify as an ESU. While there is no need to determine whether this cluster represents an important component in the evolutionary legacy of the species (2nd criterion of the ESU Policy), we include this information in order to be thorough. Both the Nisqually River and Chambers Creek watersheds have supported both summer- and fall-run chum salmon in the past, along with winter-run chum salmon (Johnson et al. 1997), so there is nothing unique preventing these watersheds from supporting multiple chum salmon runs. No additional ecological information was provided by the petitioner nor found in our files. For the life history component, Johnson et al. (1997) stated that ‘‘the distinctiveness of the winter-run populations was not sufficient to designate these populations as a separate ESU. Rather, the team concluded that these populations, along with the summer-run populations in southern Puget Sound, reflect patterns of diversity within a relatively large and complex ESU.’’ No additional life history information was provided by the petitioner nor found in our files; therefore, we find the conclusions in Johnson et al. (1997) remain valid. We conclude that the winter-run cluster does not represent an important component in the evolutionary legacy of the species. After reviewing the genetic, ecological, and life history components of these two winter-run chum salmon populations, we have concluded that these populations are not distinct from the other populations within the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia ESU and do not meet our criteria for identification as a separate ESU. Therefore, based upon the information from the petitioner and the data found in our files, we conclude that these populations are not a separate ESU and do not qualify for listing under the ESA. Other Information Provided by the Petitioner The petitioner also provided additional information on abundance for the two winter-run chum salmon populations and climate change. Since we determined that these two winterrun chum salmon populations do not qualify as an ESU, these two items were not analyzed. E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 33068 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 137 / Wednesday, July 19, 2017 / Notices Petition Finding After reviewing the information contained in the petition, as well as information readily available in our files, and based on the above analysis, we conclude that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action of identifying the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek as an ESU may be warranted. As such, we find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the winterrun Puget Sound chum salmon in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek populations are ‘‘species’’ eligible for listing under the ESA. References Cited The complete citations for the references used in this document can be obtained by contacting NMFS (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or on our Web site at: www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16. U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: July 13, 2017. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–15065 Filed 7–18–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF554 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; public meeting. AGENCY: The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Groundfish Management Team (GMT) will hold two webinars that are open to the public. DATES: The GMT webinars will be held Wednesday, August 2, 2017 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. and Wednesday, September 6, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Webinar end times are estimates, meetings will adjourn when business for each day is completed. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:49 Jul 18, 2017 The following login instructions will work for any of the webinars in this series. To attend the webinar (1) join the meeting by visiting this link http://www.gotomeeting.com/ online/webinar/join-webinar; (2) enter the Webinar ID: 740–284–043, and (3) enter your name and email address (required). After logging in to the webinar, please (1) dial this TOLL number (+1) (914) 614–3221 (not a tollfree number); (2) enter the attendee phone audio access code 572–823–832; and (3) then enter your audio phone pin (shown after joining the webinar). NOTE: We have disabled Mic/Speakers as on option and require all participants to use a telephone or cell phone to participate. Technical Information and System Requirements: PC-based attendees are required to use Windows® 7, Vista, or XP; Mac®-based attendees are required to use Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer; Mobile attendees are required to use iPhone®, iPad®, AndroidTM phone or Android tablet (See the GoToMeeting WebinarApps). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at Kris.Kleinschmidt@noaa.gov or contact him at 503–820–2280, extension 411 for technical assistance. A public listening station will also be available at the Pacific Council office. Council address: Pacific Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, Oregon 97220–1384; telephone: 503–820–2280. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Kelly Ames, Pacific Council, 503–820– 2426. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The primary purpose of the GMT webinars are to prepare for the September 2017 Pacific Council meeting. A detailed agenda for each webinar will be available on the Pacific Council’s Web site prior to the meeting. The GMT may also address other assignments relating to groundfish management. No management actions will be decided by the GMT. The GMT’s task will be to develop recommendations for consideration by the Pacific Council at its meetings in 2017. Although nonemergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency. ADDRESSES: Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Special Accommodations The public listening station is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt at 503–820–2411 at least ten business days prior to the meeting date. Dated: July 14, 2017. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–15138 Filed 7–18–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0649–XF555 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a public meeting. AGENCY: The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will hold a oneday meeting of its Outreach and Education Technical Committee. DATES: The meeting will convene on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., EDT. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Gulf Council Office. Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone: (813) 348–1630. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Muehlstein, Public Information Officer, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; emily.muehlstein@gulfcouncil.org, telephone: (813) 348–1630. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Agenda Tuesday, August 1, 2017; 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The committee will begin with introductions and adoption of agenda, approval of the June 2016 meeting summary, and discuss the use of proxy attendees. The committee will review and discuss agency efforts and identify the agency point person for Fish Measurement (triggerfish) Outreach, Barotrauma and Use of Venting and Descending Tools Outreach, Lionfish E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 137 (Wednesday, July 19, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33064-33068]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-15065]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[Docket No. 150902810-7646-01]
RIN 0648-XE167


Listing Endangered or Threatened Species; 90-Day Finding on a 
Petition To List the Winter-Run Puget Sound Chum Salmon in the 
Nisqually River System and Chambers Creek as a Threatened or Endangered 
Evolutionarily Significant Unit Under the Endangered Species Act

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

ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 90-Day finding on a petition to list the 
winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) in the Nisqually 
River system and Chambers Creek as a threatened or endangered 
evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) under the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA) and to designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. 
We find that the petition and information in our files do not present 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
winter-run chum salmon from the Nisqually River system and Chambers 
Creek qualify as an ESU under the ESA. As such, we find that the 
petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that the winter-run chum salmon in the Nisqually 
River system and Chambers Creek are a ``species'' eligible for listing 
under the ESA.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the petition and other materials are 
available on the NMFS West Coast Region Web site at 
www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Rule, NMFS West Coast Region, at 
gary.rule@noaa.gov, (503) 230-5424; or Maggie Miller, NMFS Office of 
Protected Resources, at margaret.h.miller@noaa.gov, (301) 427-8457.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On June 29, 2015, we received a petition from Mr. Sam Wright 
(Olympia, Washington) to list the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon 
(Oncorhynchus keta) in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek as 
a threatened or endangered ESU under the ESA and to

[[Page 33065]]

designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing. The 
petitioner asserts that (1) the designation of these two winter-run 
chum salmon populations as an ESU is justified because these 
populations are the only known winter-run chum salmon populations in 
the world, (2) a diverging trend in abundance between the Chambers 
Creek population and the fall-run chum salmon populations in southern 
Puget Sound renders the Nisqually River population as the only viable 
winter-run population and justifies an ESA listing of the petitioner's 
proposed ESU as threatened or endangered, and (3) NMFS's ``Status 
Review of Chum Salmon from Washington, Oregon, and California (NOAA 
Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-32)'' (Johnson et al. 1997) did not 
address ``global warming'' or ``climate change.'' Copies of the 
petition are available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

ESA Statutory, Regulatory, Policy Provisions, and Evaluation Framework

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.), requires, to the maximum extent practicable, that within 90 
days of receipt of a petition to list a species as threatened or 
endangered, the Secretary of Commerce make a finding on whether that 
petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information 
indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted, and to promptly 
publish such finding in the Federal Register (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)). 
When it is found that substantial scientific or commercial information 
in a petition indicates the petitioned action may be warranted (a 
``positive 90-day finding''), we are required to promptly commence a 
review of the status of the species concerned during which we will 
conduct a comprehensive review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information. In such cases, we conclude the review with a 
finding as to whether, in fact, the petitioned action is warranted 
within 12 months of receipt of the petition. Because the finding at the 
12-month stage is based on a more thorough review of the available 
information, as compared to the narrow scope of review at the 90-day 
stage, a ``may be warranted'' finding does not prejudge the outcome of 
the status review.
    Under the ESA, a listing determination may address a species, which 
is defined to also include subspecies and, for any vertebrate species, 
any distinct population segment (DPS) that interbreeds when mature (16 
U.S.C. 1532(16)). To identify the proper taxonomic unit for 
consideration in a salmon listing determination, we apply our Policy on 
Applying the Definition of Species under the ESA to Pacific Salmon (ESU 
Policy) (56 FR 58612; November 20, 1991). Under this policy, 
populations of salmon substantially reproductively isolated from other 
conspecific populations and representing an important component in the 
evolutionary legacy of the biological species are considered to be an 
ESU. In our listing determinations for Pacific salmon under the ESA, we 
have treated an ESU as constituting a DPS, and hence a ``species,'' 
under the ESA. A species, subspecies, or ESU is ``endangered'' if it is 
in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range, and ``threatened'' if it is likely to become endangered within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), respectively, 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and 
(20)). Pursuant to the ESA and our implementing regulations, we 
determine whether species are threatened or endangered based on any one 
or a combination of the following five section 4(a)(1) factors: The 
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of 
habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; inadequacy 
of existing regulatory mechanisms; and any other natural or manmade 
factors affecting the species' existence (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1), 50 CFR 
424.11(c)).
    At the 90-day finding stage, we evaluate the petitioners' request 
based upon the information in the petition including its references and 
the information readily available in our files. We do not conduct 
additional research, and we do not solicit information from parties 
outside the agency to help us in evaluating the petition. We will 
accept the petitioners' sources and characterizations of the 
information presented if they appear to be based on accepted scientific 
principles, unless we have specific information in our files that 
indicates the petition's information is incorrect, unreliable, 
obsolete, or otherwise irrelevant to the requested action. Information 
that is susceptible to more than one interpretation or that is 
contradicted by other available information will not be dismissed at 
the 90-day finding stage, so long as it is reliable and a reasonable 
person would conclude it supports the petitioners' assertions. In other 
words, conclusive information indicating the species may meet the ESA's 
requirements for listing is not required to make a positive 90-day 
finding. We will not conclude that a lack of specific information alone 
necessitates a negative 90-day finding if a reasonable person would 
conclude that the unknown information itself suggests the species may 
be at risk of extinction presently or within the foreseeable future.
    To make a 90-day finding on a petition to list a species, we 
evaluate whether the petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating the subject species may be either 
threatened or endangered, as defined by the ESA. ESA-implementing 
regulations issued jointly by NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(50 CFR 424.14(i)) define ``substantial information'' in the context of 
reviewing a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species as 
credible scientific information in support of the petition's claims 
such that a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review 
would conclude that the revision proposed in the petition may be 
warranted. Conclusions drawn in the petition without the support of 
credible scientific information will not be considered ``substantial 
information.'' The ``substantial scientific or commercial information'' 
standard must be applied in light of any prior reviews or findings we 
have made on the listing status of the species that is the subject of 
the petition. Where we have already conducted a finding on, or review 
of, the listing status of that species (whether in response to a 
petition or on our own initiative), we will evaluate any petition 
received thereafter seeking to list, delist, or reclassify that species 
to determine whether a reasonable person conducting an impartial 
scientific review would conclude that the action proposed in the 
petition may be warranted despite the previous review or finding. Where 
the prior review resulted in a final agency action, a petitioned action 
generally would not be considered to present substantial scientific and 
commercial information indicating that the action may be warranted 
unless the petition provides new information not previously considered.
    In evaluating the petition, we first evaluate whether the 
information presented in the petition, along with the information 
readily available in our files, indicates that the petitioned entity 
constitutes a ``species'' eligible for listing under the ESA. Next, we 
evaluate whether the information indicates that the species faces an 
extinction risk that is cause for concern; this may be indicated in 
information expressly discussing the species' status and

[[Page 33066]]

trends, or in information describing impacts and threats to the 
species. We evaluate any information on specific demographic factors 
pertinent to evaluating extinction risk for the species (e.g., 
population abundance and trends, productivity, spatial structure, age 
structure, sex ratio, diversity, current and historical range, habitat 
integrity or fragmentation), and the potential contribution of 
identified demographic risks to extinction risk for the species. We 
then evaluate the potential links between these demographic risks and 
the causative impacts and threats identified in section 4(a)(1).
    Information presented on impacts or threats should be specific to 
the species and should reasonably suggest that one or more of these 
factors may be operative threats that act or have acted on the species 
to the point that it may warrant protection under the ESA. Broad 
statements about generalized threats to the species, or identification 
of factors that could negatively impact a species, do not constitute 
substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted. We 
look for information indicating that not only is the particular species 
exposed to a factor, but that the species may be responding in a 
negative fashion; then we assess the potential significance of that 
negative response.
    Many petitions identify risk classifications made by 
nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Union on the 
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the American Fisheries Society, or 
NatureServe, as evidence of extinction risk for a species. Risk 
classifications by such organizations or made under other Federal or 
state statutes may be informative, but such classification alone will 
not alone provide sufficient basis for a positive 90-day finding under 
the ESA. For example, as explained by NatureServe, their assessments of 
a species' conservation status do ``not constitute a recommendation by 
NatureServe for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act'' because 
NatureServe assessments ``have different criteria, evidence 
requirements, purposes and taxonomic coverage than government lists of 
endangered and threatened species, and therefore these two types of 
lists should not be expected to coincide'' (http://www.natureserve.org/prodServices/pdf/NatureServeStatusAssessmentsListing-Dec%202008.pdf). 
Additionally, species classifications under IUCN and the ESA are not 
equivalent; data standards, criteria used to evaluate species, and 
treatment of uncertainty are also not necessarily the same. Thus, when 
a petition cites such classifications, we will evaluate the source of 
information that the classification is based upon in light of the 
standards on extinction risk and impacts or threats discussed above.

Previous Reviews of Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia Chum Salmon Under the 
ESA

    On March 14, 1994, NMFS was petitioned by the Professional 
Resources Organization--Salmon (PRO--Salmon) to list Washington's Hood 
Canal, Discovery Bay, and Sequim Bay summer-run chum salmon 
(Oncorhynchus keta) as threatened or endangered species under the ESA 
(PRO--Salmon 1994). A second petition, received April 4, 1994, from the 
``Save Allison Springs'' Citizens Committee (1994), requested listing 
of fall chum salmon found in the following southern Puget Sound streams 
or bays: Allison Springs, McLane Creek, tributaries of McLane Creek 
(Swift Creek and Beatty Creek), Perry Creek, and the southern section 
of Mud Bay/Eld Inlet. A third petition, received by NMFS on May 20, 
1994, was submitted by Trout Unlimited (1994) and requested listing the 
Hood Canal summer chum. As the result of these three petitions, NMFS 
assembled a Biological Review Team (BRT) and initiated an ESA status 
review of all chum salmon populations in Washington, Oregon, and 
California. In December 1997, the status review was published as 
Johnson et al. (1997). In the status review, the BRT identified four 
ESUs--the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia ESU, Hood Canal summer-run ESU, 
Pacific Coast ESU, and Columbia River ESU. The winter-run chum salmon 
populations in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek were 
identified as part of the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia ESU. Despite 
these populations being one of the more genetically distinct 
populations in Puget Sound, the BRT (1) did not consider those 
differences distinct enough to warrant designating them as a separate 
ESU and (2) determined that these populations, along with the summer-
run Puget Sound populations, reflected patterns of diversity within a 
large and complex ESU. The BRT determined that the Puget Sound/Strait 
of Georgia chum salmon ESU was not presently at risk of extinction nor 
was it likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. The BRT found that the (1) 
the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia chum salmon ESU's abundance was at or 
near the historical annual run levels of over one million fish, (2) the 
majority of the populations had stable or increasing population trends, 
and (3) all populations with statistically significant trends were 
increasing. The Pacific Coast chum salmon ESU, with its large 
geographic area and considerable diversity, was also not considered 
warranted for ESA listing. The BRT, however, determined that the Hood 
Canal summer-run chum salmon ESU and Columbia River chum salmon ESU are 
likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future if present 
conditions continue. NMFS listed these ESUs as threatened species under 
the ESA on March 25, 1999 (64 FR 14507).

Analysis of Petition and Information Readily Available in NMFS Files

    As mentioned above, in analyzing the request of the petitioner, we 
first evaluate whether the information presented in the petition, along 
with information readily available in our files, indicates that the 
petitioned entity constitutes a ``species'' eligible for listing under 
the ESA. Because the petition specifically requests listing of an ESU, 
we evaluate whether the information indicates that the petitioned 
entities, the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon in the Nisqually River 
system and Chambers Creek, constitute an ESU pursuant to our ESU 
Policy.
    When identifying an ESU, our ESU Policy (56 FR 58612; November 20, 
1991) stipulates two elements that must be considered: (1) It must be 
substantially reproductively isolated from other nonspecific population 
units, and (2) it must represent an important component in the 
evolutionary legacy of the species. In terms of reproductive isolation, 
the ESU Policy states that reproductive isolation does not have to be 
absolute, but it must be strong enough to permit evolutionarily 
important differences to accrue in different population units. Insights 
into the extent of reproductive isolation can be provided by movements 
of tagged fish, recolonization rates of other populations, measurements 
of genetic differences between population, and evaluations of the 
efficacy of natural barriers. In terms of evolutionary legacy of the 
species, that criterion would be met if the population contributed 
substantially to the ecological/genetic diversity of the species as a 
whole. To make that determination, the following questions are 
relevant: Is the population genetically distinct from other conspecific 
populations (genetic component)? Does the population occupy unusual or 
distinctive habitat (ecological component)? Does the population show 
evidence of unusual or distinctive adaptation to its environment (life-
history component)?
    In evaluating this petition, we looked for information to suggest 
that the

[[Page 33067]]

petitioned entities, the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon in the 
Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek populations, may qualify as 
an ESU under both the reproductive isolation and evolutionary legacy of 
the species criteria of our ESU Policy. Our evaluation is discussed 
below.

Qualification of the Winter-Run Puget Sound Chum Salmon in the 
Nisqually River System and Chambers Creek as an ESU

    The petitioner asserts that (1) the designation of these two 
winter-run chum salmon populations as an ESU is justified because they 
are the only known winter-run chum salmon populations in the world, (2) 
a diverging trend in abundance between the Chambers Creek population 
and the fall-run chum salmon populations in southern Puget Sound 
renders the Nisqually River population as the only viable winter-run 
population and justifies an ESA listing of the petitioner's proposed 
ESU as threatened or endangered, and (3) Johnson et al. (1997) did not 
address ``global warming'' or ``climate change.'' To make the argument 
for identifying these two populations as an ESU, the petitioner relies 
almost exclusively on information from Johnson et al. (1997). The only 
other information that the petitioner presents is abundance data for 
the Chambers Creek (1968 through 2008) and Nisqually River (1968 
through 2013) winter-run chum salmon populations. To direct our 
decision, we will first analyze the petition's assertion that these two 
winter-run chum salmon populations are a separate ESU; and if we 
determine that to be true, we will then analyze the other two 
assertions described above.
    As stated previously, NMFS received three petitions in 1994 to list 
several populations of chum salmon in Puget Sound. In response to these 
petitions and to address general concerns about the species, NMFS 
assembled a BRT to conduct a status review of chum salmon to identify 
the ESUs and determine their statuses throughout the Pacific Northwest. 
The findings were published as Johnson et al. (1997). Based upon 
genetic, ecological, and life-history components, the BRT was able to 
analyze and group West Coast chum salmon populations into four 
different chum salmon ESUs. For these ESUs, the BRT analyzed the 
following available information.
    For the genetic component, the BRT analyzed the genetic variability 
at 39 polymorphic loci in 153 samples collected from 105 locations in 
southern British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon (Phelps et al. 1994; 
Johnson et al. 1997). Seventy-two of those 105 locations were from 
Puget Sound including the Chambers Creek and Nisqually River winter-run 
populations. From that analysis, the Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de 
Fuca summer-run chum salmon were determined to be genetically distinct 
from the other Puget Sound populations and were described as the Hood 
Canal summer-run ESU. Genetically, the remaining Puget Sound and Hood 
Canal locations were clustered together with the winter-run chum salmon 
as genetic outliers most closely related to the fall-run Hood Canal and 
northern Puget Sound populations. Additional samples and analysis 
(Phelps 1995) resulted in three distinct clusters of samples: (1) 
Summer-run chum salmon of Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca; (2) 
Puget Sound fall-run and southern Puget Sound winter- and summer-run 
chum salmon; and (3) Strait of Juan de Fuca, coastal Washington, and 
Oregon fall-run chum salmon (Johnson et al. 1997). Recently, Waples 
(2015) analyzed genetic diversity and population structure from 174 
chum salmon individuals at 10 Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia locations--
including one Hood Canal summer-run ESU location (Hamma Hamma River), 
the Nisqually River winter-run location, and eight other Puget Sound/
Strait of Georgia locations. In a FST matrix and 
phylogenetic tree analysis, the Hamma Hamma River location was most 
genetically diverse followed by the Nisqually River winter-run. A 
principle component analysis (PCA) evaluating the genetic relationships 
between the individuals from all 10 locations showed that the Hamma 
Hamma River location was the most genetically distinct with the other 
nine locations clustered together (including the Nisqually River 
winter-run). In response to this current petition, NMFS's Northwest 
Fishery Science Center (NWFSC) examined the available data concerning 
the winter-run chum salmon from the Nisqually River system and Chambers 
Creek. An analysis of these data (J. Hard, Supervisory Research Fishery 
Biologist, NWFSC, email September 2, 2015) confirmed the earlier 
conclusions from Johnson et al. (1997) that ``the winter-run fish 
cluster closely with fall-run fish in Puget Sound and Hood Canal'' and 
that ``there is no clear genetic evidence to support the idea that the 
winter-run chum salmon in Puget Sound are substantially reproductively 
isolated from other chum salmon populations in southern Puget Sound.''
    In examining the ecological component, neither the Nisqually River 
nor Chambers Creek watersheds are isolated geographically or 
reproductively from other chum salmon populations in southern Puget 
Sound; therefore, it does not qualify as an ESU. While there is no need 
to determine whether this cluster represents an important component in 
the evolutionary legacy of the species (2nd criterion of the ESU 
Policy), we include this information in order to be thorough. Both the 
Nisqually River and Chambers Creek watersheds have supported both 
summer- and fall-run chum salmon in the past, along with winter-run 
chum salmon (Johnson et al. 1997), so there is nothing unique 
preventing these watersheds from supporting multiple chum salmon runs. 
No additional ecological information was provided by the petitioner nor 
found in our files.
    For the life history component, Johnson et al. (1997) stated that 
``the distinctiveness of the winter-run populations was not sufficient 
to designate these populations as a separate ESU. Rather, the team 
concluded that these populations, along with the summer-run populations 
in southern Puget Sound, reflect patterns of diversity within a 
relatively large and complex ESU.'' No additional life history 
information was provided by the petitioner nor found in our files; 
therefore, we find the conclusions in Johnson et al. (1997) remain 
valid. We conclude that the winter-run cluster does not represent an 
important component in the evolutionary legacy of the species.
    After reviewing the genetic, ecological, and life history 
components of these two winter-run chum salmon populations, we have 
concluded that these populations are not distinct from the other 
populations within the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia ESU and do not 
meet our criteria for identification as a separate ESU. Therefore, 
based upon the information from the petitioner and the data found in 
our files, we conclude that these populations are not a separate ESU 
and do not qualify for listing under the ESA.

Other Information Provided by the Petitioner

    The petitioner also provided additional information on abundance 
for the two winter-run chum salmon populations and climate change. 
Since we determined that these two winter-run chum salmon populations 
do not qualify as an ESU, these two items were not analyzed.

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Petition Finding

    After reviewing the information contained in the petition, as well 
as information readily available in our files, and based on the above 
analysis, we conclude that the petition does not present substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned 
action of identifying the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon 
(Oncorhynchus keta) in the Nisqually River system and Chambers Creek as 
an ESU may be warranted. As such, we find that the petition does not 
present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating 
that the winter-run Puget Sound chum salmon in the Nisqually River 
system and Chambers Creek populations are ``species'' eligible for 
listing under the ESA.

References Cited

    The complete citations for the references used in this document can 
be obtained by contacting NMFS (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or 
on our Web site at: www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov.

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16. U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: July 13, 2017.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-15065 Filed 7-18-17; 8:45 am]
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