Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish, 52884-52888 [2017-24690]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 52884 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Notices permitted to carry and fish both groundfish trawl gear types (bottom trawl and midwater trawl) on the same trip, assuming the proper declarations are made, and bring a new haul on board before a previous haul is stowed. Finally, vessels fishing on an EFP trip would not be constrained by the mesh requirements regarding size or how it is measured. Participating vessels would carry observers or use a NMFS-approved electronic monitoring system on 100percent of trips, as is currently required in the IFQ program. NMFS has some concerns with the potential impacts these exemptions may have on protected and prohibited species. The best available data suggests that bycatch rates of Endangered Species Act listed salmon, eulachon, and green sturgeon could increase as a result of the increased effort resulting from this EFP. However, because a targeted fishery for chilipepper, widow, and yellowtail rockfish has not existed in more than a decade and the fishery has changed a lot since this data was collected, this data may not reflect current bycatch rates resulting in its limited utility for predicting current impacts to protected and prohibited species. Thus, NMFS has been working with the applicant to develop an EFP that would meet the applicants’ objectives to better target pelagic rockfish species while collecting information about bycatch and minimizing bycatch to the extent practicable. To address NMFS’s concerns, the applicants included in their application a requirement to collect bycatch information at the haul level and genetic samples on all salmon caught. Additionally, the applicants proposed and the Council recommended that all salmon caught by vessels participating in this EFP would be subject to a total salmon harvest guideline of 3,547 Chinook salmon. In addition, the Council recommend two sub-harvest guidelines to further help mitigate against potential impacts: • Prior to May 15th—All vessels fishing on an EFP trip north of 42° N. lat. would be subject to a sub-harvest guideline of 720 Chinook salmon (out of the 3,547 Chinook salmon total harvest guideline) for this area, including seaward, within, and shoreward of the trawl RCA, from the inception of this EFP until 12:01 a.m. on May 15th which corresponds to the start of the Primary whiting season for the Shorebased IFQ fishery. From May 15th through the end of this EFP, all EFP trips taken north of 42° N. lat. would be subject to the remainder of total harvest guideline (3,547 Chinook salmon) for the EFP. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 • South of 42° N. lat.—All vessels fishing on an EFP trip south of 42° N. lat. would be subject to a sub-harvest guideline of 80 Chinook salmon (out of the 3,547 Chinook salmon harvest guideline) for this area for the duration of this EFP. If the overall harvest guideline of 3,547 Chinook salmon for the EFP is reached, the EFP would be shut down. Additionally, if a sub-harvest guideline is reached EFP trips for which that subharvest guideline apply would be shut down. For example, if vessels fishing north of 42° N. lat. prior to May 15th catch more than 720 Chinook salmon, the EFP would be shut down until May 15th when it would open back up in this area under the 3,547 Chinook salmon harvest guideline. For the area south of 42° N. lat., if any time during the EFP vessels fishing in this area catch more than 80 Chinook salmon, the EFP activity in the area south of 42° N. lat. would be shut down and would not reopen for the remainder of the EFP. The applicants have not proposed a specific list of participating vessels, as is traditionally the case, but rather are proposing that NMFS publish a public notice to gauge interest from limited entry groundfish midwater and bottom trawl vessels. Depending on the amount of interest and where vessels may be fishing, NMFS may need to limit participation by time and area to mitigate against potential impacts. Participating vessels that enroll in the EFP would be required to declare into and out of the EFP on a monthly basis by notifying NMFS. Information collected under the EFP could be used to support the analysis for potential new and modifications to existing gear regulations. With many of the current gear regulations having been in place for more than ten years, it is difficult for NMFS, the Council, and industry to predict the impacts of removing these regulations. In the past ten years, the industry has changed significantly. Reduction in capacity, innovations in gear technologies, and changes in management have all contributed to these changes. This EFP would help demonstrate what potential impacts, if any, today’s fleet may have if some of the current gear, area, and time regulations are modified from what is currently in regulation. Therefore, NMFS is proposing to approve a 2018 trawl gear EFP, covering all the exemptions stated above following the conclusion of the public comment period, review of public comment, and completion of an analysis of the potential impacts. Pending approval, NMFS would issue the permits for the EFP to the vessel owner PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 or designated representative as the ‘‘EFP holder.’’ NMFS intends to use an adaptive management approach in which NMFS may revise requirements and protocols to improve the program without issuing another Federal Register Notice, provided that the modifications fall within the scope of the original EFP. In addition, the applicants may request minor modifications and extensions to the EFP throughout the course of research. EFP modifications and extensions may be granted without further public notice if they are determined essential to facilitate completion of the proposed research and result in only a minimal change in the scope or impacts of the initially approved EFP request. In accordance with NAO Administrative Order 216–6, a Categorical Exclusion or other appropriate National Environmental Policy Act document would be completed prior to the issuance of any permits under this EFP. After publication of this document in the Federal Register, the EFP, if approved by NMFS, may be implemented following the public comment period. NMFS would consider comments submitted, as well as the Council’s discussion at their September 2017 Council meeting, in deciding whether to approve the application as requested. NMFS may approve the application in its entirety or may make any alterations needed to achieve the goals of the EFP. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. Dated: November 9, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–24716 Filed 11–14–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF811 Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Applications for four new scientific research permits, two permit modifications, and eight permit renewals. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received 14 scientific SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Notices research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon, steelhead, eulachon, and green sturgeon. The proposed research is intended to increase knowledge of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to help guide management and conservation efforts. The applications may be viewed online at https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov/preview/ preview_open_for_comment.cfm. DATES: Comments or requests for a public hearing on the applications must be received at the appropriate address or fax number (see ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. Pacific standard time on December 15, 2017. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the applications should be sent to the Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232–1274. Comments may also be sent via fax to 503–230– 5441 or by email to nmfs.nwr.apps@ noaa.gov (include the permit number in the subject line of the fax or email). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Clapp, Portland, OR (Tel: 503–231– 2314, Fax: 503–230–5441, email: Robert.Clapp@noaa.gov). Permit application instructions are available from the address above, or online at https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Species Covered in This Notice The following listed species are covered in this notice: Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened Lower Columbia River (LCR); threatened Puget Sound (PS); threatened Snake River (SR) spring/summer-run; threatened Snake River (SR) fall-run; endangered Upper Columbia River (UCR) spring-run; threatened Upper Willamette River (UWR). Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened LCR; threatened Middle Columbia River (MCR); threatened PS; threatened SR; threatened UCR; threatened UWR. Chum salmon (O. keta): Threatened Hood Canal Summer-run (HCS); threatened Columbia River (CR). Coho salmon (O. kisutch): Threatened LCR; threatened Oregon Coast (OC) coho. Sockeye salmon (O. nerka): Threatened Ozette Lake (OL); endangered SR. Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): Threatened Southern (S). Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris): Threatened Southern (S). Authority Scientific research permits are issued in accordance with section 10(a)(1)(A) VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and regulations governing listed fish and wildlife permits (50 CFR 222–226). NMFS issues permits based on findings that such permits: (1) Are applied for in good faith; (2) if granted and exercised, would not operate to the disadvantage of the listed species that are the subject of the permit; and (3) are consistent with the purposes and policy of section 2 of the ESA. The authority to take listed species is subject to conditions set forth in the permits. Anyone requesting a hearing on an application listed in this notice should set out the specific reasons why a hearing on that application would be appropriate (see ADDRESSES). Such hearings are held at the discretion of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS. Applications Received Permit 10020–5R The City of Bellingham (COB) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile and adult PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead in Cemetery, Padden, Silver, and Squalicum creeks in Bellingham, WA. The purpose of the COB study is to assess the effectiveness of habitat restoration activities within the City of Bellingham by documenting population trends for salmonids inhabiting these urban creeks. These restoration actions include native riparian and upland plantings, large woody debris and gravel augmentation, re-routing and restructuring of degraded stream channel, and floodplain re-connection. This research would benefit the affected species by informing future restoration designs, providing data to support future enhancement projects, and helping managers assess salmonid population status in these urban systems. The COB proposes to capture fish using a smolt trap (V-shaped channel-spanning weirs with live boxes) in only one of the aforementioned streams annually. Captured fish would be anesthetized, identified to species, measured, have a tissue sample taken (to determine their origin), and allowed to recover in cool, aerated water before being released back to the stream. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. Permit 16069–3M The City of Portland is seeking to modify a permit that currently authorizes them to take juvenile and adult MCR steelhead, UCR spring Chinook salmon, UCR steelhead, SR PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52885 spring/summer-run Chinook salmon, SR fall-run Chinook salmon, SR steelhead, SR sockeye salmon, LCR Chinook salmon, LCR coho salmon, LCR steelhead, CR chum salmon, UWR Chinook salmon, UWR steelhead, OC coho salmon, and S green sturgeon in the Columbia and Willamette rivers and tributaries (Oregon). The research may also cause them to take adult S eulachon—a species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The permit modification would not change the methods or scope of the ongoing research, except to increase the number of incidental mortalities authorized for juvenile UWR steelhead from one to five juvenile fish annually. This research is part of the Portland Watershed Management Plan, which aims to improve watershed health in the Portland area. In this program, researchers sample 37 sites annually across all Portland watersheds for hydrology, habitat, water chemistry, and biological communities. The research would benefit listed salmonids by providing information to assess watershed health, status of critical habitat, effectiveness of watershed restoration actions, and compliance with regulatory requirements. The City of Portland proposes to capture juvenile fish using backpack and boat electrofishing, hold fish in a bucket of aerated water, take caudal fin clips for genetic analysis, and release fish at a point near their capture site that would be chosen to minimize the likelihood of recapture. The researchers would avoid contact with adult fish. The researchers do not propose to kill any fish but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 16303–2R The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take adult PS/GB bocaccio, juvenile HCS chum salmon and PS steelhead, and juvenile and adult PS Chinook salmon throughout the marine waters of Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Washington State). The USGS research may also cause them to take adult S eulachon and PS/GB yelloweye rockfish—species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The purpose of the USGS study is to examine salmonid stage-specific growth, bioenergetics, competition, and predation during the critical early marine growth period. Additionally, unlisted salmonid species, herring, and other forage fish species would be studied. This research would benefit the affected species by quantifying key E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1 52886 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES factors limiting Chinook survival and production. The USGS proposes capturing fish by mid-water trawl, hook and line (micro trolling), beach seine, and purse seine. The mid-water trawling would be conducted by Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (CDFO) research vessels using a midwater rope trawl during daylight at various depths and velocities and would be coordinated with surveys in Canadian waters. For the mid-water trawls, the fish would be identified to species, weighed, measured for length, tissue-sampled (fin clip and scales), and checked for coded wire tags (CWTs). Viable sub-adult/adult salmon and rockfish would be released. Listed rockfish would be released via rapid submergence to their capture depth to reduce the effects from barotrauma, and sub-adult/adult salmonids would be released at the surface. Juvenile salmonids that suffer lethal injuries due to crushing and descaling would be further sampled for CWTs, scales, fins, stomach contents, and otoliths. For the other capture methods, the fish would be anesthetized, identified to species, checked for CWTs, measured to length, gastric lavaged, tissue-sampled (fin clip and scales), and released. For the seining, all juvenile, hatchery-origin, CWT fish would be intentionally sacrificed to determine their origins. The researchers do not propose to kill any other captured fish, but some may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17258–2R The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon, HCS chum salmon, PS steelhead, and OL sockeye salmon throughout the streams of Clallam, Jefferson, and Grays Harbor counties in western Washington State. The purpose of the WDNR study is to determine potential fish presence or absence in streams located on WDNRmanaged lands in order to support a region-wide program of road maintenance and abandonment. This research would benefit the affected species by determining which streams with road-related passage barriers contain listed fish and, thus, allow WDNR to focus its resources on road improvements that would best help those species. The WDNR proposes to capture fish using backpack electrofishing equipment and minnow traps. Captured fish would be netted, identified to species, and released. In most cases, the stream survey would terminate when one listed fish is VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 located. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. Permit 17798–2R The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead. The NWFSC research may also cause them to take adult S eulachon—a species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. Study locations include several bays and estuaries in the Puget Sound that receive effluent from municipal wastewater plants and industrial contaminant sources. The purpose of the NWFSC study is to assess the bioaccumulation and toxic effects of Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Chinook salmon. Whole genome and molecular analyses of Chinook salmon would be conducted on various tissues, which would allow for identification of gene pathways and robust mechanismbased diagnostic indices for CEC toxicity. This research would benefit the listed species by identifying degraded estuaries, studying how CECs affect Chinook salmon, and providing information that can be used to mitigate and improve listed species habitat. The NWFSC proposes to capture fish using beach seines. Sampling would occur at seven locations up to two times annually. For each sample event, 40 juvenile Chinook salmon would be euthanized for whole body analysis. The researchers would prioritize using adipose-fin-clipped hatchery fish and unintentional mortalities over naturalorigin fish. Excess Chinook salmon (and all other species) would be released immediately after capture. The researchers do not propose to kill any of the listed steelhead or eulachon being captured, but some may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 17839–2R The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead in the Nooksack, Sauk, Skagit, and Stillaguamish River drainages of western Washington. The purpose of the USFS study is to expand distributional knowledge of the Salish sucker (Catostomus sp. cf. catostomus), a species listed as endangered in Canada since 2005 by the Species At Risk Act (SARA). Tissue samples would also be collected from captured Salish suckers for genetic analysis to determine their genetic separation from the longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus)—a PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 species that they are considered to be diverging from. The research would benefit the listed species by providing information on their distribution. The main benefactor of this research is the Salish sucker whose status is not well understood in the United States. The USFS proposes to capture fish using minnow and Feddes traps. Captured salmonids would be identified to species, checked for an adipose fin clip, and immediately released downstream. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. Permit 17851–3R The Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon, HCS chum salmon, and PS steelhead in the Elwha River estuary (Washington State). The CWI research may also cause them to take adult S eulachon—a species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The purpose of the CWI study is to research the nearshore restoration response to the Elwha River dam removals with an emphasis on ecological function of nearshore habitats for juvenile salmon and forage fish. The research would benefit listed species by providing a long-term continuous dataset on how salmonids use local nearshore areas after the dam removals on the Elwha River. This study provides information on how watersheds and fish populations recover after dam removals. The CWI proposes to capture fish using a beach seine. Captured fish would be identified to their lowest taxonomic level. At each sampling event, twenty individuals from each species would be measured and released. Salmonids would be scanned for fin clips and tags. The researchers do not propose to kill any listed fish being captured, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. Permit 18001–3R The Pierce County Department of Public Works and Utilities (PCDPWU) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead in the waterways of Pierce County, Washington. The purpose of the PCDPWU study is to determine the distribution and diversity of anadromous fish species in the waterbodies adjacent to and within the county’s levee system. The surveys would help establish listed salmonid presence in waterbodies—information that would be used to assess the impacts E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Notices proposed projects might have on listed species. The PCDPWU proposes to capture fish using seines, dip netting, minnow traps, fyke nets, hook and line, and backpack electrofishing. Electrofishing would largely be ‘‘spotshocking’’ for presence and absence and would not typically cover broad, continuous areas. Captured fish would be identified, measured, and then released at or near their capture site. Fish would not be removed from the water unless absolutely necessary. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Permit 20313 The NWFSC is seeking a two-year research permit to annually take adult PS/GB bocaccio and sub-adult PS Chinook salmon in the Puget Sound near the San Juan Islands (Washington state). The NWFSC research may also cause them to take adult PS/GB yelloweye rockfish—a species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The purpose of the NWFSC study is to assess the role Chinook salmon residency plays in salmon recovery—including growth, movement patterns, and population structure. This research would benefit the affected species by giving managers information on which populations contribute to the resident PS Chinook salmon population in the San Juan Islands and heling determine the relationship between the Chinook resident life-history type and overall marine survival. These efforts would serve as the foundation for evaluating the relative contribution residents make to the broader ESU—and thereby help managers understand how this behavior type can help salmon recovery. The NWFSC proposes to capture fish using hook and line angling equipment. Captured salmon would be scanned for CWT, measured for length, tissuesampled (scales and fin clips), and released. Hatchery-origin Chinook salmon would also be anesthetized and gastric lavaged. Fifty adipose-clipped, hatchery-origin subadult Chinook salmon would be intentionally sacrificed annually to obtain otolith samples movement patterns and early growth history may be analyzed. Listed rockfish would be released immediately via rapid submergence to their capture depth to reduce the effects from barotrauma. The researchers do not propose to kill any other captured fish, but some may die as an unintended result of the activities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 Permit 20451–2R The University of Washington (UW) is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile and adult OL sockeye salmon in Lake Ozette (northwest Washington State). The purpose of the UW study is to investigate the interactions of native predators (i.e., northern pikeminnow, sculpin) and non-native predators (i.e., largemouth bass, yellow perch) with Olympic mudminnow (Novumbra hubbsi), a state sensitive species. The research would benefit the listed species because OL sockeye salmon are similarly threatened by the same predators. The UW proposes to capture fish using minnow traps, hoop nets, gill nets, trammel nets, and hook and line. For OL sockeye salmon, captured fish would be handled and immediately released. After the listed fish are released, the remaining fish would be anesthetized, fin clipped, gastric lavaged, and released. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. Permit 20492–2M The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is seeking to modify a permit that currently authorizes research in lake, river, backwater, slough, and estuary habitats in the Willamette and Columbia basins (Oregon) and on the Oregon coast. The permit would cover the following projects for four years: (1) Warmwater and Recreational Game Fish Management, (2) District Fish Population Sampling in the Upper Willamette Basin, and (3) Salmonid Assessment and Monitoring in the Deschutes River. These studies provide information on fish population structure, abundance, genetics, disease occurrences, and species interactions, and is used to direct management actions to benefit listed species. The permit modification would not change the methods or scope of the ongoing research, except to add take of juvenile and adult UWR Chinook and UWR steelhead at new research sites in the Tualatin and Yamhill Rivers. The modified permit would authorize take of juvenile UCR spring-run Chinook salmon, UCR steelhead, SR spring/ summer-run Chinook salmon, SR fallrun Chinook salmon, SR Basin steelhead, SR sockeye salmon, MCR steelhead, LCR Chinook salmon, LCR coho salmon, LCR steelhead, CR chum salmon, and OC coho salmon; juvenile and adult UWR Chinook salmon and UWR steelhead; and adult S green PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52887 sturgeon. The ODFW research may also take adult S eulachon—a species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. Researchers would sample fish using boat electrofishing. A subset of captured juveniles would be anesthetized, weighed and measured, allowed to recover, and then released. Most juveniles and all adults would be allowed to swim away after being electroshocked, or they would be netted and released immediately. The ODFW does not intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. Permit 20713 The NWFSC is seeking a two-year permit that would allow them to take juvenile LCR Chinook salmon, SR fallrun Chinook salmon, SR spring/ summer-run Chinook salmon, UCR spring-run Chinook salmon, UWR Chinook salmon, CR chum salmon, LCR coho salmon, SR sockeye salmon, LCR steelhead, MCR steelhead, SR Basin steelhead, UCR steelhead, UWR steelhead, and S green sturgeon. The research may also cause them to take adult S eulachon—a species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The purpose of the study is to measure contaminant levels in juvenile UWR Chinook salmon in the lower Willamette River (Oregon) near a Superfund site with high levels of pollutants and to evaluate associations between toxins in fish tissues and fish growth and immune response. Study results would support an ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment. In addition, the data would be used in Chinook salmon life cycle models to compare how chemical pollution affects UWR Chinook salmon populations relative to other stressors. The researchers propose to collect fish with beach seines at sites in the lower 20 miles of the Willamette River. The researchers hope to complete all sampling between March and June 2018, but fieldwork could extend to other months and to 2019 if sample size targets are not met in the initial timeframe. The researchers propose to hold fish in buckets, identify and count fish, check fish for passive integrated transponder and coded wire tags, and then immediately release any fish that is not a juvenile Chinook salmon with an intact adipose fin. The researchers propose using a lethal dose of MS–222 to kill natural-origin juvenile Chinook salmon that are between 50 and 80 mm in fork length. The target ESU for contaminant analysis is UWR Chinook, but juvenile Chinook salmon from other ESUs in the Columbia River basin could E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1 52888 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES also be killed because juveniles from different ESUs cannot be distinguished visually. Fish that are killed would be frozen individually and later identified to ESU using genetic analysis. The researchers would pool UWR Chinook specimens into composite samples for toxicological analysis and would use scales and otoliths for analysis of age and growth. Specimens that are identified through genetic analysis to an ESU other than the UWR Chinook ESU would be saved and offered for use in other studies pending NMFS approval. The NWFSC researchers used information from past studies to estimate the number of fish needed to obtain enough tissues for statistically robust sample sizes, and to estimate expected mortality rates of fish from non-target ESUs. Based on this information, the NWFSC proposes to intentionally kill up to: 201 naturalorigin and 9 hatchery-origin (intact adipose fin) juvenile UWR Chinook salmon; 119 natural-origin and 5 hatchery-origin (intact adipose fin) juvenile LCR Chinook salmon; 4 natural-origin juvenile SR fall-run Chinook salmon; 2 natural-origin juvenile SR spring/summer-run Chinook salmon; and 5 natural-origin juvenile UCR spring-run Chinook salmon. Any Chinook salmon unintentionally killed during the research would be used in lieu of a fish that would otherwise be sacrificed. The NWFSC does not intend to kill any fish that is not a juvenile Chinook salmon, but a small number of individuals from other species may die as an unintended result of the research activities. Permit 21432 Cramer Fish Sciences is seeking a research permit, for two years, that would allow them to take juvenile LCR Chinook, LCR coho, LCR steelhead, and MCR steelhead in the Klickitat, Wind, and White Salmon River subbasins (Washington). The purpose of the research is to determine fish occupancy in stream reaches in lands owned by SDS Lumber Company. Cramer Fish Sciences proposes to capture fish using single-pass backpack electrofishing, identify fish while they are held briefly in hand-held dip nets, and return fish to the stream. The researchers would compare results of the electrofishing surveys with environmental DNA (eDNA) studies done in the same stream reaches, which would provide information on the utility of eDNA analysis for determining fish occupancy. The research would benefit listed fish by affording them protections if they are found in streams that previously were assessed as non-fish bearing. The VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 researchers do not propose to kill any fish but a small number may die as an unintended result of research activities. Permit 21507 Mount Hood Environmental is seeking a research permit, for three years, that would allow them to take juvenile and adult UWR steelhead and UWR Chinook in the Tualatin River (Oregon). The purpose of the research is to determine if salmonids and lamprey are present in the intake channel from the Tualatin River to the Spring Hill Pumping Plant and if these fish are likely to be entrained in the intake. The study would benefit listed fish by providing information to manage and mitigate for potential entrainment of these fish during early life-stages. The researchers propose to work in the intake channel, where they would measure water temperature and velocity, capture fish by seining, trapping, and boat-electrofishing, hold fish in aerated buckets, identify them, and then release them back to the channel. The researchers do not propose to kill any fish but a small number may die as an unintended result of research activities. This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA. NMFS will evaluate the applications, associated documents, and comments submitted to determine whether the applications meet the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA and Federal regulations. The final permit decisions will not be made until after the end of the 30-day comment period. NMFS will publish notice of its final action in the Federal Register. Dated: November 8, 2017. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–24690 Filed 11–14–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF728 Determination of Overfishing or an Overfished Condition National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This action serves as a notice that NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Commerce (Secretary), has found that the following stocks are subject to overfishing or approaching an overfished condition. The Stillaguamish coho salmon stock in Puget Sound is now subject to overfishing. The Klamath River fall Chinook salmon stock on the Northern California coast, the Queets coho salmon stock on the Washington coast, and the Skagit coho salmon stock in Puget Sound are all approaching an overfished condition. The Puerto Rico spiny lobster stock and the Puerto Rico Triggerfishes and Filefishes Complex are both still subject to overfishing. NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary, notifies the appropriate fishery management council (Council) whenever it determines that overfishing is occurring, a stock is in an overfished condition or a stock is approaching an overfished condition. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regina Spallone, (301) 427–8568. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 304(e)(2) of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1854(e)(2), NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary, must notify Councils, and publish in the Federal Register, whenever it determines that a stock or stock complex is subject to overfishing, overfished, or approaching an overfished condition. NMFS has determined that the Stillaguamish coho salmon stock in Puget Sound is now subject to overfishing, as the current estimate of fishing mortality (F) exceeds its maximum fishing mortality threshold (MFMT). This determination is based on a 2017 assessment—using data from 2015—produced by the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific Council) Salmon Technical Team (STT). The Pacific Council manages this stock. Since this stock migrates north, it is also managed under the Pacific Salmon Treaty (Treaty), a bilateral agreement to facilitate management of certain salmon stocks between the United States and Canada. The Pacific Salmon Commission (Commission) implements this Treaty. NMFS has informed the Pacific Council of this determination and that, if exceedance of MFMT for Stillaguamish coho continues, the Council may consider taking further action, consistent with the provisions of the FMP. Due to the international management of this stock, the Pacific Council has limited ability to control ocean fisheries in waters outside their jurisdiction. NMFS has determined that the Klamath River fall Chinook salmon stock on the Northern California coast, E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 15, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52884-52888]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-24690]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF811


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Applications for four new scientific research permits, two 
permit modifications, and eight permit renewals.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received 14 scientific

[[Page 52885]]

research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon, 
steelhead, eulachon, and green sturgeon. The proposed research is 
intended to increase knowledge of species listed under the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA) and to help guide management and conservation 
efforts. The applications may be viewed online at https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov/preview/preview_open_for_comment.cfm.

DATES: Comments or requests for a public hearing on the applications 
must be received at the appropriate address or fax number (see 
ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. Pacific standard time on December 15, 
2017.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the applications should be sent to the 
Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, 
Portland, OR 97232-1274. Comments may also be sent via fax to 503-230-
5441 or by email to nmfs.nwr.apps@noaa.gov (include the permit number 
in the subject line of the fax or email).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Clapp, Portland, OR (Tel: 503-231-
2314, Fax: 503-230-5441, email: Robert.Clapp@noaa.gov). Permit 
application instructions are available from the address above, or 
online at https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Species Covered in This Notice

    The following listed species are covered in this notice:
    Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened Lower 
Columbia River (LCR); threatened Puget Sound (PS); threatened Snake 
River (SR) spring/summer-run; threatened Snake River (SR) fall-run; 
endangered Upper Columbia River (UCR) spring-run; threatened Upper 
Willamette River (UWR).
    Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened LCR; threatened Middle Columbia 
River (MCR); threatened PS; threatened SR; threatened UCR; threatened 
UWR.
    Chum salmon (O. keta): Threatened Hood Canal Summer-run (HCS); 
threatened Columbia River (CR).
    Coho salmon (O. kisutch): Threatened LCR; threatened Oregon Coast 
(OC) coho.
    Sockeye salmon (O. nerka): Threatened Ozette Lake (OL); endangered 
SR.
    Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): Threatened Southern (S).
    Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris): Threatened Southern (S).

Authority

    Scientific research permits are issued in accordance with section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and regulations 
governing listed fish and wildlife permits (50 CFR 222-226). NMFS 
issues permits based on findings that such permits: (1) Are applied for 
in good faith; (2) if granted and exercised, would not operate to the 
disadvantage of the listed species that are the subject of the permit; 
and (3) are consistent with the purposes and policy of section 2 of the 
ESA. The authority to take listed species is subject to conditions set 
forth in the permits.
    Anyone requesting a hearing on an application listed in this notice 
should set out the specific reasons why a hearing on that application 
would be appropriate (see ADDRESSES). Such hearings are held at the 
discretion of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS.

Applications Received

Permit 10020-5R

    The City of Bellingham (COB) is seeking to renew, for five years, a 
research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile and adult 
PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead in Cemetery, Padden, Silver, and 
Squalicum creeks in Bellingham, WA. The purpose of the COB study is to 
assess the effectiveness of habitat restoration activities within the 
City of Bellingham by documenting population trends for salmonids 
inhabiting these urban creeks. These restoration actions include native 
riparian and upland plantings, large woody debris and gravel 
augmentation, re-routing and re-structuring of degraded stream channel, 
and floodplain re-connection. This research would benefit the affected 
species by informing future restoration designs, providing data to 
support future enhancement projects, and helping managers assess 
salmonid population status in these urban systems. The COB proposes to 
capture fish using a smolt trap (V-shaped channel-spanning weirs with 
live boxes) in only one of the aforementioned streams annually. 
Captured fish would be anesthetized, identified to species, measured, 
have a tissue sample taken (to determine their origin), and allowed to 
recover in cool, aerated water before being released back to the 
stream. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some 
may die as an inadvertent result of the research.

Permit 16069-3M

    The City of Portland is seeking to modify a permit that currently 
authorizes them to take juvenile and adult MCR steelhead, UCR spring 
Chinook salmon, UCR steelhead, SR spring/summer-run Chinook salmon, SR 
fall-run Chinook salmon, SR steelhead, SR sockeye salmon, LCR Chinook 
salmon, LCR coho salmon, LCR steelhead, CR chum salmon, UWR Chinook 
salmon, UWR steelhead, OC coho salmon, and S green sturgeon in the 
Columbia and Willamette rivers and tributaries (Oregon). The research 
may also cause them to take adult S eulachon--a species for which there 
are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The permit modification would 
not change the methods or scope of the ongoing research, except to 
increase the number of incidental mortalities authorized for juvenile 
UWR steelhead from one to five juvenile fish annually. This research is 
part of the Portland Watershed Management Plan, which aims to improve 
watershed health in the Portland area. In this program, researchers 
sample 37 sites annually across all Portland watersheds for hydrology, 
habitat, water chemistry, and biological communities. The research 
would benefit listed salmonids by providing information to assess 
watershed health, status of critical habitat, effectiveness of 
watershed restoration actions, and compliance with regulatory 
requirements. The City of Portland proposes to capture juvenile fish 
using backpack and boat electrofishing, hold fish in a bucket of 
aerated water, take caudal fin clips for genetic analysis, and release 
fish at a point near their capture site that would be chosen to 
minimize the likelihood of recapture. The researchers would avoid 
contact with adult fish. The researchers do not propose to kill any 
fish but a small number may die as an unintended result of the 
activities.

Permit 16303-2R

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking to renew, for 
five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take adult 
PS/GB bocaccio, juvenile HCS chum salmon and PS steelhead, and juvenile 
and adult PS Chinook salmon throughout the marine waters of Puget 
Sound, Hood Canal, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Washington State). 
The USGS research may also cause them to take adult S eulachon and PS/
GB yelloweye rockfish--species for which there are currently no ESA 
take prohibitions. The purpose of the USGS study is to examine salmonid 
stage-specific growth, bioenergetics, competition, and predation during 
the critical early marine growth period. Additionally, unlisted 
salmonid species, herring, and other forage fish species would be 
studied. This research would benefit the affected species by 
quantifying key

[[Page 52886]]

factors limiting Chinook survival and production. The USGS proposes 
capturing fish by mid-water trawl, hook and line (micro trolling), 
beach seine, and purse seine. The mid-water trawling would be conducted 
by Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (CDFO) research vessels 
using a mid-water rope trawl during daylight at various depths and 
velocities and would be coordinated with surveys in Canadian waters. 
For the mid-water trawls, the fish would be identified to species, 
weighed, measured for length, tissue-sampled (fin clip and scales), and 
checked for coded wire tags (CWTs). Viable sub-adult/adult salmon and 
rockfish would be released. Listed rockfish would be released via rapid 
submergence to their capture depth to reduce the effects from 
barotrauma, and sub-adult/adult salmonids would be released at the 
surface. Juvenile salmonids that suffer lethal injuries due to crushing 
and descaling would be further sampled for CWTs, scales, fins, stomach 
contents, and otoliths. For the other capture methods, the fish would 
be anesthetized, identified to species, checked for CWTs, measured to 
length, gastric lavaged, tissue-sampled (fin clip and scales), and 
released. For the seining, all juvenile, hatchery-origin, CWT fish 
would be intentionally sacrificed to determine their origins. The 
researchers do not propose to kill any other captured fish, but some 
may die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 17258-2R

    The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is 
seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently 
allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon, HCS chum salmon, PS 
steelhead, and OL sockeye salmon throughout the streams of Clallam, 
Jefferson, and Grays Harbor counties in western Washington State. The 
purpose of the WDNR study is to determine potential fish presence or 
absence in streams located on WDNR-managed lands in order to support a 
region-wide program of road maintenance and abandonment. This research 
would benefit the affected species by determining which streams with 
road-related passage barriers contain listed fish and, thus, allow WDNR 
to focus its resources on road improvements that would best help those 
species. The WDNR proposes to capture fish using backpack 
electrofishing equipment and minnow traps. Captured fish would be 
netted, identified to species, and released. In most cases, the stream 
survey would terminate when one listed fish is located. The researchers 
do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an 
inadvertent result of the research.

Permit 17798-2R

    The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) is seeking to renew, 
for five years, a research permit that currently allows them to take 
juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead. The NWFSC research may 
also cause them to take adult S eulachon--a species for which there are 
currently no ESA take prohibitions. Study locations include several 
bays and estuaries in the Puget Sound that receive effluent from 
municipal wastewater plants and industrial contaminant sources. The 
purpose of the NWFSC study is to assess the bioaccumulation and toxic 
effects of Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Chinook salmon. 
Whole genome and molecular analyses of Chinook salmon would be 
conducted on various tissues, which would allow for identification of 
gene pathways and robust mechanism-based diagnostic indices for CEC 
toxicity. This research would benefit the listed species by identifying 
degraded estuaries, studying how CECs affect Chinook salmon, and 
providing information that can be used to mitigate and improve listed 
species habitat. The NWFSC proposes to capture fish using beach seines. 
Sampling would occur at seven locations up to two times annually. For 
each sample event, 40 juvenile Chinook salmon would be euthanized for 
whole body analysis. The researchers would prioritize using adipose-
fin-clipped hatchery fish and unintentional mortalities over natural-
origin fish. Excess Chinook salmon (and all other species) would be 
released immediately after capture. The researchers do not propose to 
kill any of the listed steelhead or eulachon being captured, but some 
may die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 17839-2R

    The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is seeking to renew, for five years, 
a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS 
Chinook salmon and PS steelhead in the Nooksack, Sauk, Skagit, and 
Stillaguamish River drainages of western Washington. The purpose of the 
USFS study is to expand distributional knowledge of the Salish sucker 
(Catostomus sp. cf. catostomus), a species listed as endangered in 
Canada since 2005 by the Species At Risk Act (SARA). Tissue samples 
would also be collected from captured Salish suckers for genetic 
analysis to determine their genetic separation from the longnose sucker 
(Catostomus catostomus)--a species that they are considered to be 
diverging from. The research would benefit the listed species by 
providing information on their distribution. The main benefactor of 
this research is the Salish sucker whose status is not well understood 
in the United States. The USFS proposes to capture fish using minnow 
and Feddes traps. Captured salmonids would be identified to species, 
checked for an adipose fin clip, and immediately released downstream. 
The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die 
as an inadvertent result of the research.

Permit 17851-3R

    The Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI) is seeking to renew, for five 
years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile PS 
Chinook salmon, HCS chum salmon, and PS steelhead in the Elwha River 
estuary (Washington State). The CWI research may also cause them to 
take adult S eulachon--a species for which there are currently no ESA 
take prohibitions. The purpose of the CWI study is to research the 
nearshore restoration response to the Elwha River dam removals with an 
emphasis on ecological function of nearshore habitats for juvenile 
salmon and forage fish. The research would benefit listed species by 
providing a long-term continuous dataset on how salmonids use local 
nearshore areas after the dam removals on the Elwha River. This study 
provides information on how watersheds and fish populations recover 
after dam removals. The CWI proposes to capture fish using a beach 
seine. Captured fish would be identified to their lowest taxonomic 
level. At each sampling event, twenty individuals from each species 
would be measured and released. Salmonids would be scanned for fin 
clips and tags. The researchers do not propose to kill any listed fish 
being captured, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the 
research.

Permit 18001-3R

    The Pierce County Department of Public Works and Utilities (PCDPWU) 
is seeking to renew, for five years, a research permit that currently 
allows them to take juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead in the 
waterways of Pierce County, Washington. The purpose of the PCDPWU study 
is to determine the distribution and diversity of anadromous fish 
species in the waterbodies adjacent to and within the county's levee 
system. The surveys would help establish listed salmonid presence in 
waterbodies--information that would be used to assess the impacts

[[Page 52887]]

proposed projects might have on listed species. The PCDPWU proposes to 
capture fish using seines, dip netting, minnow traps, fyke nets, hook 
and line, and backpack electrofishing. Electrofishing would largely be 
``spotshocking'' for presence and absence and would not typically cover 
broad, continuous areas. Captured fish would be identified, measured, 
and then released at or near their capture site. Fish would not be 
removed from the water unless absolutely necessary. The researchers do 
not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent 
result of the research.

Permit 20313

    The NWFSC is seeking a two-year research permit to annually take 
adult PS/GB bocaccio and sub-adult PS Chinook salmon in the Puget Sound 
near the San Juan Islands (Washington state). The NWFSC research may 
also cause them to take adult PS/GB yelloweye rockfish--a species for 
which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The purpose of the 
NWFSC study is to assess the role Chinook salmon residency plays in 
salmon recovery--including growth, movement patterns, and population 
structure. This research would benefit the affected species by giving 
managers information on which populations contribute to the resident PS 
Chinook salmon population in the San Juan Islands and heling determine 
the relationship between the Chinook resident life-history type and 
overall marine survival. These efforts would serve as the foundation 
for evaluating the relative contribution residents make to the broader 
ESU--and thereby help managers understand how this behavior type can 
help salmon recovery. The NWFSC proposes to capture fish using hook and 
line angling equipment. Captured salmon would be scanned for CWT, 
measured for length, tissue-sampled (scales and fin clips), and 
released. Hatchery-origin Chinook salmon would also be anesthetized and 
gastric lavaged. Fifty adipose-clipped, hatchery-origin subadult 
Chinook salmon would be intentionally sacrificed annually to obtain 
otolith samples movement patterns and early growth history may be 
analyzed. Listed rockfish would be released immediately via rapid 
submergence to their capture depth to reduce the effects from 
barotrauma. The researchers do not propose to kill any other captured 
fish, but some may die as an unintended result of the activities.

Permit 20451-2R

    The University of Washington (UW) is seeking to renew, for five 
years, a research permit that currently allows them to take juvenile 
and adult OL sockeye salmon in Lake Ozette (northwest Washington 
State). The purpose of the UW study is to investigate the interactions 
of native predators (i.e., northern pikeminnow, sculpin) and non-native 
predators (i.e., largemouth bass, yellow perch) with Olympic mudminnow 
(Novumbra hubbsi), a state sensitive species. The research would 
benefit the listed species because OL sockeye salmon are similarly 
threatened by the same predators. The UW proposes to capture fish using 
minnow traps, hoop nets, gill nets, trammel nets, and hook and line. 
For OL sockeye salmon, captured fish would be handled and immediately 
released. After the listed fish are released, the remaining fish would 
be anesthetized, fin clipped, gastric lavaged, and released. The 
researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as 
an inadvertent result of the research.

Permit 20492-2M

    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is seeking to 
modify a permit that currently authorizes research in lake, river, 
backwater, slough, and estuary habitats in the Willamette and Columbia 
basins (Oregon) and on the Oregon coast. The permit would cover the 
following projects for four years: (1) Warmwater and Recreational Game 
Fish Management, (2) District Fish Population Sampling in the Upper 
Willamette Basin, and (3) Salmonid Assessment and Monitoring in the 
Deschutes River. These studies provide information on fish population 
structure, abundance, genetics, disease occurrences, and species 
interactions, and is used to direct management actions to benefit 
listed species. The permit modification would not change the methods or 
scope of the ongoing research, except to add take of juvenile and adult 
UWR Chinook and UWR steelhead at new research sites in the Tualatin and 
Yamhill Rivers. The modified permit would authorize take of juvenile 
UCR spring-run Chinook salmon, UCR steelhead, SR spring/summer-run 
Chinook salmon, SR fall-run Chinook salmon, SR Basin steelhead, SR 
sockeye salmon, MCR steelhead, LCR Chinook salmon, LCR coho salmon, LCR 
steelhead, CR chum salmon, and OC coho salmon; juvenile and adult UWR 
Chinook salmon and UWR steelhead; and adult S green sturgeon. The ODFW 
research may also take adult S eulachon--a species for which there are 
currently no ESA take prohibitions. Researchers would sample fish using 
boat electrofishing. A subset of captured juveniles would be 
anesthetized, weighed and measured, allowed to recover, and then 
released. Most juveniles and all adults would be allowed to swim away 
after being electroshocked, or they would be netted and released 
immediately. The ODFW does not intend to kill any of the fish being 
captured, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the 
activities.

Permit 20713

    The NWFSC is seeking a two-year permit that would allow them to 
take juvenile LCR Chinook salmon, SR fall-run Chinook salmon, SR 
spring/summer-run Chinook salmon, UCR spring-run Chinook salmon, UWR 
Chinook salmon, CR chum salmon, LCR coho salmon, SR sockeye salmon, LCR 
steelhead, MCR steelhead, SR Basin steelhead, UCR steelhead, UWR 
steelhead, and S green sturgeon. The research may also cause them to 
take adult S eulachon--a species for which there are currently no ESA 
take prohibitions. The purpose of the study is to measure contaminant 
levels in juvenile UWR Chinook salmon in the lower Willamette River 
(Oregon) near a Superfund site with high levels of pollutants and to 
evaluate associations between toxins in fish tissues and fish growth 
and immune response. Study results would support an ongoing Natural 
Resource Damage Assessment. In addition, the data would be used in 
Chinook salmon life cycle models to compare how chemical pollution 
affects UWR Chinook salmon populations relative to other stressors.
    The researchers propose to collect fish with beach seines at sites 
in the lower 20 miles of the Willamette River. The researchers hope to 
complete all sampling between March and June 2018, but fieldwork could 
extend to other months and to 2019 if sample size targets are not met 
in the initial timeframe. The researchers propose to hold fish in 
buckets, identify and count fish, check fish for passive integrated 
transponder and coded wire tags, and then immediately release any fish 
that is not a juvenile Chinook salmon with an intact adipose fin. The 
researchers propose using a lethal dose of MS-222 to kill natural-
origin juvenile Chinook salmon that are between 50 and 80 mm in fork 
length. The target ESU for contaminant analysis is UWR Chinook, but 
juvenile Chinook salmon from other ESUs in the Columbia River basin 
could

[[Page 52888]]

also be killed because juveniles from different ESUs cannot be 
distinguished visually. Fish that are killed would be frozen 
individually and later identified to ESU using genetic analysis. The 
researchers would pool UWR Chinook specimens into composite samples for 
toxicological analysis and would use scales and otoliths for analysis 
of age and growth. Specimens that are identified through genetic 
analysis to an ESU other than the UWR Chinook ESU would be saved and 
offered for use in other studies pending NMFS approval.
    The NWFSC researchers used information from past studies to 
estimate the number of fish needed to obtain enough tissues for 
statistically robust sample sizes, and to estimate expected mortality 
rates of fish from non-target ESUs. Based on this information, the 
NWFSC proposes to intentionally kill up to: 201 natural-origin and 9 
hatchery-origin (intact adipose fin) juvenile UWR Chinook salmon; 119 
natural-origin and 5 hatchery-origin (intact adipose fin) juvenile LCR 
Chinook salmon; 4 natural-origin juvenile SR fall-run Chinook salmon; 2 
natural-origin juvenile SR spring/summer-run Chinook salmon; and 5 
natural-origin juvenile UCR spring-run Chinook salmon. Any Chinook 
salmon unintentionally killed during the research would be used in lieu 
of a fish that would otherwise be sacrificed. The NWFSC does not intend 
to kill any fish that is not a juvenile Chinook salmon, but a small 
number of individuals from other species may die as an unintended 
result of the research activities.

Permit 21432

    Cramer Fish Sciences is seeking a research permit, for two years, 
that would allow them to take juvenile LCR Chinook, LCR coho, LCR 
steelhead, and MCR steelhead in the Klickitat, Wind, and White Salmon 
River subbasins (Washington). The purpose of the research is to 
determine fish occupancy in stream reaches in lands owned by SDS Lumber 
Company. Cramer Fish Sciences proposes to capture fish using single-
pass backpack electrofishing, identify fish while they are held briefly 
in hand-held dip nets, and return fish to the stream. The researchers 
would compare results of the electrofishing surveys with environmental 
DNA (eDNA) studies done in the same stream reaches, which would provide 
information on the utility of eDNA analysis for determining fish 
occupancy. The research would benefit listed fish by affording them 
protections if they are found in streams that previously were assessed 
as non-fish bearing. The researchers do not propose to kill any fish 
but a small number may die as an unintended result of research 
activities.

Permit 21507

    Mount Hood Environmental is seeking a research permit, for three 
years, that would allow them to take juvenile and adult UWR steelhead 
and UWR Chinook in the Tualatin River (Oregon). The purpose of the 
research is to determine if salmonids and lamprey are present in the 
intake channel from the Tualatin River to the Spring Hill Pumping Plant 
and if these fish are likely to be entrained in the intake. The study 
would benefit listed fish by providing information to manage and 
mitigate for potential entrainment of these fish during early life-
stages. The researchers propose to work in the intake channel, where 
they would measure water temperature and velocity, capture fish by 
seining, trapping, and boat-electrofishing, hold fish in aerated 
buckets, identify them, and then release them back to the channel. The 
researchers do not propose to kill any fish but a small number may die 
as an unintended result of research activities.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA. NMFS 
will evaluate the applications, associated documents, and comments 
submitted to determine whether the applications meet the requirements 
of section 10(a) of the ESA and Federal regulations. The final permit 
decisions will not be made until after the end of the 30-day comment 
period. NMFS will publish notice of its final action in the Federal 
Register.

    Dated: November 8, 2017.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-24690 Filed 11-14-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P