Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish, 37838-37841 [2019-16469]

Download as PDF 37838 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 149 / Friday, August 2, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Milstein, NMFS West Coast Region, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232–1274; 503– 231–6268. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On February 14, 2005, NMFS received a request from the Makah Indian Tribe for a waiver of the MMPA moratorium on the take of marine mammals to allow for take of ENP gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus). The Tribe requested that NMFS authorize a tribal hunt for ENP gray whales in the coastal portion of the Tribe’s usual and accustomed fishing area for ceremonial and subsistence purposes and the making and sale of handicrafts. The MMPA imposes a general moratorium on the taking of marine mammals but authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to waive the moratorium and issue regulations governing the take if certain statutory criteria are met. On April 5, 2019, NMFS published a Notice of Hearing and the associated proposed regulations in the Federal Register (84 FR 13639 and 84 FR 13604). Pursuant to an interagency agreement, a Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge was assigned to conduct the formal hearing and issue a recommended decision in this matter under the procedures set forth at 50 CFR part 228. A prehearing conference took place on June 17, 2019 at the Jackson Federal Building, Seattle, WA. In compliance with 50 CFR 228.12, Judge George J. Jordan issued a notice of final agenda for publication in the Federal Register (June 26, 2019; 84 FR 30088). The final agenda set out the issues of fact for the hearing and identified one new issue of fact which had not previously been included in the notice of hearing (April 5, 2019; 84 FR 13639). At the prehearing conference, several parties requested a change in the date of the proceeding due to issues concerning the availability of witnesses and counsel. The presiding officer ordered a briefing on this issue and, after thoroughly considering all the parties’ arguments, determined a continuance was warranted. After consulting with the parties during a second prehearing conference on July 23, 2019, the presiding officer set the hearing to begin on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. The presiding officer, Administrative Law Judge George J. Jordan, prepared the contents of this notice. A copy of the draft notice Judge Jordan submitted to the NMFS Regulations Unit for filing with the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) was made available to all parties VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:02 Aug 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 to this proceeding. The NMFS Regulations Unit reviewed the notice to ensure consistency with the OFR filing requirements. NMFS was otherwise not involved in the review of the contents of the notice. The signature of NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator Barry Thom is required to authorize the filing of the notice with the OFR. Dated: July 30, 2019. Barry A. Thom, Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–16559 Filed 8–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XR028 Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; Applications for seven new scientific research permits, three permit renewals, and one permit modification. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received 11 scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon and steelhead, rockfish, and eulachon. 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 5p.m. Pacific standard time on September 3, 2019. 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.wcr-apps@ noaa.gov (include the permit number in the subject line of the fax or email). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Clapp, Portland, OR (ph.: 503–231– 2314), Fax: 503–230–5441, email: Robert.Clapp@noaa.gov). Permit application instructions are available SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 from the address above, or online at https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Species Covered in This Notice Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened Puget Sound (PS); threatened lower Columbia River (LCR); threatened Upper Willamette River (UWR); endangered upper Columbia River (UCR); threatened Snake River (SR) spring/summer (spr/ sum); threatened SR fall. Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened PS; threatened UCR; threatened middle Columbia River (MCR); threatened SR, threatened LCR; threatened UWR; threatened Central California Coast (CCC); South-Central California Coast (SCCC). Coho salmon (O. kisutch): Threatened Oregon Coast (OC); threatened LCR, endangered Central California Coast (CCC). Sockeye salmon (O. nerka): Endangered SR. Chum salmon (O. keta): Threatened Hood Canal Summer-run (HCS); threatened Columbia River (CR). Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): Threatened southern (S). Rockfish (Sebastes spp.): Endangered Puget Sound/Georgia Basin (PS/GB) bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis); threatened PS/GB yelloweye rockfish (S. ruberrimus). 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 1560–5R The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking to renew for five years a permit that allows them to annually take juvenile and adult LCR Chinook E:\FR\FM\02AUN1.SGM 02AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 149 / Friday, August 2, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES and coho, CR chum, and MCR steelhead while conducting research designed to (1) determine the diversity and distribution of fish species in the White Salmon River (Washington State) and its tributaries, (2) compare populations of salmonids in the White Salmon and tributaries to pre-dam removal levels, (3) contribute to complimentary efforts by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to characterize life history, genetics, and fish health of Chinook stocks in the lower White Salmon River. The study would benefit listed salmonids by providing information on the effects dam removal may have on important fish species such as Chinook, coho, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, bull trout, and sea-run cutthroat trout. The USGS would capture fish by using a screw trap, backpack electrofishing equipment, and fyke and minnow traps. Captured fish would be anesthetized, measured, weighed, and externally inspected for diseases. Researchers would take fin clips of some captured fish in order to collect genetic tissues. Some juvenile fish would be tagged with passive integrated transponders (PIT) to determine smolt trap efficiency and provide life history information through recaptures and detections at Bonneville Dam as juveniles or adults. The researchers would avoid adult salmonids, but some may be encountered. The researchers do not expect to kill any listed salmonids but a small number may die as an unintended result of the research activities. Permit 16298–4R The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (SBT) are seeking to renew for five years a permit that has been in place since 2011. Under the renewed permit, they would annually take juvenile and adult SR spr/sum Chinook and SR steelhead in Bear Valley Creek, Idaho. The purpose of the research is to estimate fish abundance, smolt-to-adult return rates, and adult productivity in Bear Valley Creek with a high degree of accuracy. The researchers are seeking to generate information that may be used widely throughout the Salmon River subbasin. This monitoring project was recommended as part of a larger monitoring effort that developed through the Columbia Basin Coordinated Anadromous Monitoring Workshop. The work would benefit fish by giving managers key information about population status in the Salmon River subbasin which, in turn, would be used to inform recovery plans and landmanagement activities. The SBT would count and monitor adult spr/sum Chinook at a video station, and they VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:02 Aug 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 would handle, measure, tag, and tissue sample juvenile SR spr/sum Chinook and steelhead at a screw trap. They would also do some harvest monitoring (creel surveys) and spawning ground surveys. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed salmonids, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. In addition to this permit, the U.S. Forest Service would issue a special use permit for the SBT to conduct the work. Permit 19263–2R The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is seeking to renew a fiveyear permit to take juvenile SR steelhead, sockeye, and spr/sum Chinook during the course of three research tasks in the upper Salmon River of Idaho State. They would (a) conduct a general fish population inventory, (b) monitor fish population responses to habitat improvement and restoration activities, and (c) document juvenile Chinook salmon rearing and winter habitat use in the Salmon River. The researchers would use drift boat and raft-mounted electrofishing gear to capture fish and estimate trout abundances in up to five monitoring reaches of the Salmon River during the fall. Captured fish would be identified by species, measured (total length & fork length), and weighed to the nearest gram. During marking runs, captured target species (rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish) would be marked with a hole punch in the caudal fin. Any juvenile Chinook salmon the researchers encounter would be identified, measured (fork length), weighed, and examined for tags/marks. Unmarked juvenile Chinook salmon would be implanted with PIT tags. Some captured fish may be anesthetized to minimize stress. In all cases, adult salmonids would be avoided and none would be captured. To help with this, the researchers would operate at times and in locations where no adults are likely to be present. The research activities would benefit the fish by providing information on a suite of factors— population abundance and response to restoration actions, predator and competitor abundance and interactions, and life history and behavior characteristics—all of which would be used to inform management, restoration, and recovery decisions in the Salmon River. The researchers do not intend to kill any fish, but a small number may die as a consequence of the planned activities. PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 37839 Permit 16318–3M Hagar Environmental Science (HES) is seeking to modify a five-year permit that currently allows them to take juvenile and smolt CCC coho salmon, CCC steelhead, and SCCC steelhead in the San Lorenzo River (including Newell Creek, Zayante Creek, and Mountain Charlie Creek), Liddell Creek, Laguna Creek, and Majors Creek in Santa Cruz County, and in the Salinas River (including Arroyo Seco River, Nacimiento River, San Antonio River, and upper tributaries) in Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, CA. The research is designed to (1) provide ESAlisted salmonid population, distribution, and habitat assessment data to inform watershed management, and (2) establish baseline population abundances preceding the implementation of habitat conservation measures. The researchers propose to capture fish with beach seines and backpack electrofishing. Fish would be enumerated, measured, and observed for external condition. A subset of the captured fish would be anesthetized, measured, weighed, PIT-tagged, have a tissue sample taken, allowed to recover, and released. The researchers would also observe fish during snorkel/dive surveys. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of the research. This modification is being requested to increase the number of juvenile CCC steelhead allowed under the permit because, in previous years, the researchers encountered greater numbers of CCC steelhead than were originally expected. Permit 22319 Herrera Environmental Consultants (HEC) is seeking a five-year research permit to annually take juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS steelhead while conducting a study in streams near Redmond, Washington. The purpose of the research is to conduct a paired watershed study monitoring stream health by collecting benthic macroinvertebrates in urban and nearby relatively pristine streams. Due to the collection methods, there is a possibility of capturing juvenile salmonids. The research would benefit listed fish by determining the effectiveness of stormwater management in urban streams which can lead directly to water quality and habitat improvement. The HEC proposes capturing fish using a Dframe kick net. Any fish captured would be identified to species and released. The researchers do not intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small E:\FR\FM\02AUN1.SGM 02AUN1 37840 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 149 / Friday, August 2, 2019 / Notices number may die as an unintended consequence of the proposed activities. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Permit 22596 The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking a five-year research permit to annually take juvenile and adult OC coho salmon downstream of Lake Creek Falls in Lane Creek in the Siuslaw River watershed (Lane County, OR). The purpose of the research is to evaluate timing, duration, and probability of successful passage through the fish passage structures over Lake Creek Falls. The research would benefit the recovery of the OC coho salmon in this basin by providing information to help guide decisions regarding the need to either maintain or modify passage structures at Lake Creek Falls which allows for access to high quality, upstream spawning habitat in Lake Creek. The USGS proposes capturing fish using hook-and-line angling, beach seines, and net traps. Adult coho salmon would be captured, anesthetized with MS–222, gastrically implanted with an internal radiotelemetry tag, allowed to recover, and released. Fish would be tracked on at least a daily basis. All other captured fish would be identified to species and released. The USGS does not intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small number may die as an unintended consequence of the proposed activities. Permit 22865 The United States Forest Service (USFS) is seeking a five-year permit that would allow them to annually take juvenile endangered UCR Chinook salmon, juvenile threatened UCR steelhead, and juvenile threatened MCR steelhead during research activities taking place at various points in the Yakima, Methow, Entiat, and Wenatchee River drainages in Washington State. The USFS conducted has previously conducted this research under another permit (1422), but that permit was allowed to expire and they are seeking to start again. Under the new permit, the fish would be captured (using minnow traps, hook-and-line angling, and electrofishing equipment), identified, and immediately released. The purpose of the research is to determine fish distribution in the subbasins listed above. The research would benefit the fish by giving land managers information they need in order to design forest management activities (e.g., timber sales, grazing plans, road building) so that they have the least possible effect on listed species. The USFS does not intend to kill any of the listed fish being captured, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:02 Aug 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 but a small number may die as an unintended result of the research activities. Permit 22929 The USFS is seeking a five-year research permit to annually take juvenile and adult UWR Chinook salmon in the South Fork McKenzie River (Lane County, OR). The purposes of the study is to determine how food webs change through time following Stage-0 stream restoration by quantifying (1) the secondary production of aquatic invertebrates, (2) the proportion of different food items in fish and invertebrate diets, and (3) the food web pathways that support fish. Stage-0 restoration restores fluvial processes at the valley scale, and then letting the river valley shape itself in response to environmental and biological drivers. Stage-0 restoration has now been implemented at 20 sites in Oregon. The research would benefit the affected species by determining if this type of stream and habitat restoration is beneficial to listed salmon by comparing these stage-0 sites to control sites. The USFS proposes to capture fish using backpack electrofishing equipment, beach seines, minnow traps, and hook and line angling. Any adult Chinook salmon would be immediately released. All other fish would be moved to an aerated bucket, anesthetized with AQUI–S, identified to species, measured for length, and weighed. Annually, up to 120 juvenile Chinook salmon would undergo gastric lavage for diet analysis and be fin clipped (caudal) for isotope analysis. After handling, fish would be placed in a recovery bucket and released when ready. The USFS does not intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small number may die as an unintended consequence of the proposed activities. Permit 22944 The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) is seeking a five-year permit that would allow it to annually take listed salmonids while collecting data from a suite of reference sites in the Lower Columbia River. The NWFSC is requesting to take SR spring/summer Chinook salmon, SR fall Chinook salmon, SR sockeye, SR steelhead, UCR Chinook salmon, UCR steelhead, MCR steelhead, LCR Chinook salmon, LCR coho salmon, LCR steelhead, UWR Chinook salmon, UWR steelhead, and CR chum salmon. The purposes of the study are to (1) document patterns of habitat occurrence in juvenile salmon stocks in tidal freshwater habitats in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam, PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (2) collect salmon data on diets and prey availability; (3) collect information on indicators of salmon health and growth; and (4) monitor effectiveness of salmonid habitat restoration activities. The study would benefit listed fish by providing information on how habitat degradation may be affecting listed stocks, and helping managers take steps to improve habitat quality. The NWFSC would use beach- and pole seines to collect the fish. Most of the collected juveniles would be identified, counted, weighed, measured, and checked for tags and fin clips. A subset of salmon species may be selected for non-lethal tissue take for genetics analysis. A further subset of Chinook salmon would be sacrificed to determine lipid content and collect otoliths (for health and growth assessment), collect stomach contents for diet analyses, and collect tissue samples for genetic stock identification. The great majority of the captured fish are expected to be released unharmed. Permit 22998 The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is seeking a two-year research permit to annually take juvenile and adult PS Chinook salmon, HCS chum salmon, and PS steelhead in streams and waterbodies on the Kitsap Peninsula (Kitsap County, WA). The purpose of the study is to determine if ESA-listed salmonids are present which would help guide future land use management and fulfill requirements in the Navy Base Kitsap’s Natural Resource Management Plan. This research would benefit the affected species by helping guide habitat restoration and providing baseline information on species distribution. Currently, there is no information about the distribution of ESA-listed salmonids on Navy Base Kitsap lands. The FWS proposes to capture fish using backpack electrofishing equipment, beach seines, and dip nets. For electrofishing, fish would be anesthetized (MS–222), identified to species, measured for length, weighed, and released after recovery. For beach seines and dip netting, captured fish would be identified to species and released. Snorkel and spawner surveys would also be conducted. The FWS does not intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small number may die as an unintended consequence of the proposed activities. Permit 23029 The NWFSC is seeking a two-year research permit to annually take juvenile and adult PS Chinook salmon and juvenile PS steelhead and PS/GB E:\FR\FM\02AUN1.SGM 02AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 149 / Friday, August 2, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES bocaccio in multiple Puget Sound river estuaries and bays (Washington State). The NWFSC research may also cause them to take juvenile PS/GB yelloweye rockfish and adult and juvenile S eulachon—species for which there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The primary study site would be the lower Duwamish River while secondary Puget Sound reference sites would include (but are not exclusive to) the Skagit, Stillaguamish, Puyallup, Nisqually, Snohomish, and Deschutes river estuaries and associated bays. The purpose of the study is to collect juvenile English sole (Parophrys vetulus) to determine contaminant exposure and the impacts from these contaminants upon the species. Due to their benthic life history and relatively protracted residency in shallow estuarine habitats, juvenile English sole serve well as an indicator species for environmental contaminant exposure. This research would benefit the affected species by identifying the environmental contaminants present that can impact the ESA-listed species, their prey, and their habitat. The NWFSC proposes to capture fish using a beach seine and an otter trawl. Juvenile English sole would be bagged and frozen for whole body and contaminant analyses (i.e., otoliths, stomach contents, and livers). All other species, including ESA-listed species, would be identified to species, checked for tags and fin clips, and immediately released. The NWFSC does not intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small number may die as an unintended consequence of the proposed 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: July 29, 2019. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–16469 Filed 8–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:02 Aug 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG956 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the South Quay Wall Recapitalization Project, Mayport, Florida National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of incidental harassment authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast and Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic (the Navy) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during construction activities associated with the South Quay Wall Recapitalization Project at Naval Station Mayport (NAVSTA), Jacksonville, Florida. SUMMARY: This Authorization is effective from February 15, 2020, through February 14, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jaclyn Daly, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: Background The MMPA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a incidental take PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 37841 authorization may be provided to the public for review. Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other ‘‘means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact’’ on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to in shorthand as ‘‘mitigation’’); and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. The NDAA (Pub. L. 108–136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity.’’ The definitions of all applicable MMPA statutory terms cited above are included in the relevant sections below. Summary of Request On December 4, 2018, NMFS received a request from the Navy for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving at the South Quay wall, NAVSTA Mayport, Florida. The application was deemed adequate and complete on April 16, 2019. The Navy’s request is for take of a small number of bottlenose dolphins, by Level B harassment only. Neither the Navy nor NMFS expect serious injury or mortality to result from this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate. NMFS previously issued several IHAs to the Navy for similar work at NAVSTA Mayport, specifically at Bravo Wharf (81 FR 52637, August 9, 2018; 83 FR 9287, March 5, 2019) and Wharf C–2 (78 FR 71566, November 29, 2013; 80 FR 55598, September 16, 2015). The Navy complied with all the requirements (e.g., mitigation, monitoring, and reporting) of the previous IHAs and information regarding their monitoring results may be found at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. Description of the Activity The Navy proposes to install 240 24inch (in) steel sheet piles within 5 feet (ft) of the existing South Quay bulkhead E:\FR\FM\02AUN1.SGM 02AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 149 (Friday, August 2, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37838-37841]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-16469]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XR028


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; Applications for seven new scientific 
research permits, three permit renewals, and one permit modification.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received 11 scientific 
research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmon and 
steelhead, rockfish, and eulachon. 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 5p.m. Pacific standard time on September 3, 
2019.

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 [email protected] (include the permit number 
in the subject line of the fax or email).

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Species Covered in This Notice

    Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened Puget Sound 
(PS); threatened lower Columbia River (LCR); threatened Upper 
Willamette River (UWR); endangered upper Columbia River (UCR); 
threatened Snake River (SR) spring/summer (spr/sum); threatened SR 
fall.
    Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened PS; threatened UCR; threatened 
middle Columbia River (MCR); threatened SR, threatened LCR; threatened 
UWR; threatened Central California Coast (CCC); South-Central 
California Coast (SCCC).
    Coho salmon (O. kisutch): Threatened Oregon Coast (OC); threatened 
LCR, endangered Central California Coast (CCC).
    Sockeye salmon (O. nerka): Endangered SR.
    Chum salmon (O. keta): Threatened Hood Canal Summer-run (HCS); 
threatened Columbia River (CR).
    Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): Threatened southern (S).
    Rockfish (Sebastes spp.): Endangered Puget Sound/Georgia Basin (PS/
GB) bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis); threatened PS/GB yelloweye 
rockfish (S. ruberrimus).

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 1560-5R

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking to renew for 
five years a permit that allows them to annually take juvenile and 
adult LCR Chinook

[[Page 37839]]

and coho, CR chum, and MCR steelhead while conducting research designed 
to (1) determine the diversity and distribution of fish species in the 
White Salmon River (Washington State) and its tributaries, (2) compare 
populations of salmonids in the White Salmon and tributaries to pre-dam 
removal levels, (3) contribute to complimentary efforts by the 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to characterize life 
history, genetics, and fish health of Chinook stocks in the lower White 
Salmon River. The study would benefit listed salmonids by providing 
information on the effects dam removal may have on important fish 
species such as Chinook, coho, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, bull trout, 
and sea-run cutthroat trout.
    The USGS would capture fish by using a screw trap, backpack 
electrofishing equipment, and fyke and minnow traps. Captured fish 
would be anesthetized, measured, weighed, and externally inspected for 
diseases. Researchers would take fin clips of some captured fish in 
order to collect genetic tissues. Some juvenile fish would be tagged 
with passive integrated transponders (PIT) to determine smolt trap 
efficiency and provide life history information through recaptures and 
detections at Bonneville Dam as juveniles or adults. The researchers 
would avoid adult salmonids, but some may be encountered. The 
researchers do not expect to kill any listed salmonids but a small 
number may die as an unintended result of the research activities.

Permit 16298-4R

    The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (SBT) are seeking to renew for five 
years a permit that has been in place since 2011. Under the renewed 
permit, they would annually take juvenile and adult SR spr/sum Chinook 
and SR steelhead in Bear Valley Creek, Idaho. The purpose of the 
research is to estimate fish abundance, smolt-to-adult return rates, 
and adult productivity in Bear Valley Creek with a high degree of 
accuracy. The researchers are seeking to generate information that may 
be used widely throughout the Salmon River subbasin. This monitoring 
project was recommended as part of a larger monitoring effort that 
developed through the Columbia Basin Coordinated Anadromous Monitoring 
Workshop. The work would benefit fish by giving managers key 
information about population status in the Salmon River subbasin which, 
in turn, would be used to inform recovery plans and land-management 
activities. The SBT would count and monitor adult spr/sum Chinook at a 
video station, and they would handle, measure, tag, and tissue sample 
juvenile SR spr/sum Chinook and steelhead at a screw trap. They would 
also do some harvest monitoring (creel surveys) and spawning ground 
surveys. The researchers do not intend to kill any listed salmonids, 
but a small number may die as an unintended result of the activities. 
In addition to this permit, the U.S. Forest Service would issue a 
special use permit for the SBT to conduct the work.

Permit 19263-2R

    The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is seeking to renew a 
five-year permit to take juvenile SR steelhead, sockeye, and spr/sum 
Chinook during the course of three research tasks in the upper Salmon 
River of Idaho State. They would (a) conduct a general fish population 
inventory, (b) monitor fish population responses to habitat improvement 
and restoration activities, and (c) document juvenile Chinook salmon 
rearing and winter habitat use in the Salmon River. The researchers 
would use drift boat and raft-mounted electrofishing gear to capture 
fish and estimate trout abundances in up to five monitoring reaches of 
the Salmon River during the fall.
    Captured fish would be identified by species, measured (total 
length & fork length), and weighed to the nearest gram. During marking 
runs, captured target species (rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat 
trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish) would be marked with a hole 
punch in the caudal fin. Any juvenile Chinook salmon the researchers 
encounter would be identified, measured (fork length), weighed, and 
examined for tags/marks. Unmarked juvenile Chinook salmon would be 
implanted with PIT tags. Some captured fish may be anesthetized to 
minimize stress. In all cases, adult salmonids would be avoided and 
none would be captured. To help with this, the researchers would 
operate at times and in locations where no adults are likely to be 
present. The research activities would benefit the fish by providing 
information on a suite of factors--population abundance and response to 
restoration actions, predator and competitor abundance and 
interactions, and life history and behavior characteristics--all of 
which would be used to inform management, restoration, and recovery 
decisions in the Salmon River. The researchers do not intend to kill 
any fish, but a small number may die as a consequence of the planned 
activities.

Permit 16318-3M

    Hagar Environmental Science (HES) is seeking to modify a five-year 
permit that currently allows them to take juvenile and smolt CCC coho 
salmon, CCC steelhead, and SCCC steelhead in the San Lorenzo River 
(including Newell Creek, Zayante Creek, and Mountain Charlie Creek), 
Liddell Creek, Laguna Creek, and Majors Creek in Santa Cruz County, and 
in the Salinas River (including Arroyo Seco River, Nacimiento River, 
San Antonio River, and upper tributaries) in Monterey and San Luis 
Obispo Counties, CA. The research is designed to (1) provide ESA-listed 
salmonid population, distribution, and habitat assessment data to 
inform watershed management, and (2) establish baseline population 
abundances preceding the implementation of habitat conservation 
measures. The researchers propose to capture fish with beach seines and 
backpack electrofishing. Fish would be enumerated, measured, and 
observed for external condition. A subset of the captured fish would be 
anesthetized, measured, weighed, PIT-tagged, have a tissue sample 
taken, allowed to recover, and released. The researchers would also 
observe fish during snorkel/dive surveys. The researchers do not intend 
to kill any listed fish, but some may die as an inadvertent result of 
the research. This modification is being requested to increase the 
number of juvenile CCC steelhead allowed under the permit because, in 
previous years, the researchers encountered greater numbers of CCC 
steelhead than were originally expected.

Permit 22319

    Herrera Environmental Consultants (HEC) is seeking a five-year 
research permit to annually take juvenile PS Chinook salmon and PS 
steelhead while conducting a study in streams near Redmond, Washington. 
The purpose of the research is to conduct a paired watershed study 
monitoring stream health by collecting benthic macroinvertebrates in 
urban and nearby relatively pristine streams. Due to the collection 
methods, there is a possibility of capturing juvenile salmonids. The 
research would benefit listed fish by determining the effectiveness of 
stormwater management in urban streams which can lead directly to water 
quality and habitat improvement. The HEC proposes capturing fish using 
a D-frame kick net. Any fish captured would be identified to species 
and released. The researchers do not intend to kill any of the fish 
being captured, but a small

[[Page 37840]]

number may die as an unintended consequence of the proposed activities.

Permit 22596

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking a five-year 
research permit to annually take juvenile and adult OC coho salmon 
downstream of Lake Creek Falls in Lane Creek in the Siuslaw River 
watershed (Lane County, OR). The purpose of the research is to evaluate 
timing, duration, and probability of successful passage through the 
fish passage structures over Lake Creek Falls. The research would 
benefit the recovery of the OC coho salmon in this basin by providing 
information to help guide decisions regarding the need to either 
maintain or modify passage structures at Lake Creek Falls which allows 
for access to high quality, upstream spawning habitat in Lake Creek. 
The USGS proposes capturing fish using hook-and-line angling, beach 
seines, and net traps. Adult coho salmon would be captured, 
anesthetized with MS-222, gastrically implanted with an internal radio-
telemetry tag, allowed to recover, and released. Fish would be tracked 
on at least a daily basis. All other captured fish would be identified 
to species and released. The USGS does not intend to kill any of the 
fish being captured, but a small number may die as an unintended 
consequence of the proposed activities.

Permit 22865

    The United States Forest Service (USFS) is seeking a five-year 
permit that would allow them to annually take juvenile endangered UCR 
Chinook salmon, juvenile threatened UCR steelhead, and juvenile 
threatened MCR steelhead during research activities taking place at 
various points in the Yakima, Methow, Entiat, and Wenatchee River 
drainages in Washington State. The USFS conducted has previously 
conducted this research under another permit (1422), but that permit 
was allowed to expire and they are seeking to start again. Under the 
new permit, the fish would be captured (using minnow traps, hook-and-
line angling, and electrofishing equipment), identified, and 
immediately released. The purpose of the research is to determine fish 
distribution in the subbasins listed above. The research would benefit 
the fish by giving land managers information they need in order to 
design forest management activities (e.g., timber sales, grazing plans, 
road building) so that they have the least possible effect on listed 
species. The USFS does not intend to kill any of the listed fish being 
captured, but a small number may die as an unintended result of the 
research activities.

Permit 22929

    The USFS is seeking a five-year research permit to annually take 
juvenile and adult UWR Chinook salmon in the South Fork McKenzie River 
(Lane County, OR). The purposes of the study is to determine how food 
webs change through time following Stage-0 stream restoration by 
quantifying (1) the secondary production of aquatic invertebrates, (2) 
the proportion of different food items in fish and invertebrate diets, 
and (3) the food web pathways that support fish. Stage-0 restoration 
restores fluvial processes at the valley scale, and then letting the 
river valley shape itself in response to environmental and biological 
drivers. Stage-0 restoration has now been implemented at 20 sites in 
Oregon. The research would benefit the affected species by determining 
if this type of stream and habitat restoration is beneficial to listed 
salmon by comparing these stage-0 sites to control sites. The USFS 
proposes to capture fish using backpack electrofishing equipment, beach 
seines, minnow traps, and hook and line angling. Any adult Chinook 
salmon would be immediately released. All other fish would be moved to 
an aerated bucket, anesthetized with AQUI-S, identified to species, 
measured for length, and weighed. Annually, up to 120 juvenile Chinook 
salmon would undergo gastric lavage for diet analysis and be fin 
clipped (caudal) for isotope analysis. After handling, fish would be 
placed in a recovery bucket and released when ready. The USFS does not 
intend to kill any of the fish being captured, but a small number may 
die as an unintended consequence of the proposed activities.

Permit 22944

    The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) is seeking a five-
year permit that would allow it to annually take listed salmonids while 
collecting data from a suite of reference sites in the Lower Columbia 
River. The NWFSC is requesting to take SR spring/summer Chinook salmon, 
SR fall Chinook salmon, SR sockeye, SR steelhead, UCR Chinook salmon, 
UCR steelhead, MCR steelhead, LCR Chinook salmon, LCR coho salmon, LCR 
steelhead, UWR Chinook salmon, UWR steelhead, and CR chum salmon. The 
purposes of the study are to (1) document patterns of habitat 
occurrence in juvenile salmon stocks in tidal freshwater habitats in 
the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam, (2) collect salmon data on 
diets and prey availability; (3) collect information on indicators of 
salmon health and growth; and (4) monitor effectiveness of salmonid 
habitat restoration activities. The study would benefit listed fish by 
providing information on how habitat degradation may be affecting 
listed stocks, and helping managers take steps to improve habitat 
quality. The NWFSC would use beach- and pole seines to collect the 
fish. Most of the collected juveniles would be identified, counted, 
weighed, measured, and checked for tags and fin clips. A subset of 
salmon species may be selected for non-lethal tissue take for genetics 
analysis. A further subset of Chinook salmon would be sacrificed to 
determine lipid content and collect otoliths (for health and growth 
assessment), collect stomach contents for diet analyses, and collect 
tissue samples for genetic stock identification. The great majority of 
the captured fish are expected to be released unharmed.

Permit 22998

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is seeking a two-
year research permit to annually take juvenile and adult PS Chinook 
salmon, HCS chum salmon, and PS steelhead in streams and waterbodies on 
the Kitsap Peninsula (Kitsap County, WA). The purpose of the study is 
to determine if ESA-listed salmonids are present which would help guide 
future land use management and fulfill requirements in the Navy Base 
Kitsap's Natural Resource Management Plan. This research would benefit 
the affected species by helping guide habitat restoration and providing 
baseline information on species distribution. Currently, there is no 
information about the distribution of ESA-listed salmonids on Navy Base 
Kitsap lands. The FWS proposes to capture fish using backpack 
electrofishing equipment, beach seines, and dip nets. For 
electrofishing, fish would be anesthetized (MS-222), identified to 
species, measured for length, weighed, and released after recovery. For 
beach seines and dip netting, captured fish would be identified to 
species and released. Snorkel and spawner surveys would also be 
conducted. The FWS does not intend to kill any of the fish being 
captured, but a small number may die as an unintended consequence of 
the proposed activities.

Permit 23029

    The NWFSC is seeking a two-year research permit to annually take 
juvenile and adult PS Chinook salmon and juvenile PS steelhead and PS/
GB

[[Page 37841]]

bocaccio in multiple Puget Sound river estuaries and bays (Washington 
State). The NWFSC research may also cause them to take juvenile PS/GB 
yelloweye rockfish and adult and juvenile S eulachon--species for which 
there are currently no ESA take prohibitions. The primary study site 
would be the lower Duwamish River while secondary Puget Sound reference 
sites would include (but are not exclusive to) the Skagit, 
Stillaguamish, Puyallup, Nisqually, Snohomish, and Deschutes river 
estuaries and associated bays.
    The purpose of the study is to collect juvenile English sole 
(Parophrys vetulus) to determine contaminant exposure and the impacts 
from these contaminants upon the species. Due to their benthic life 
history and relatively protracted residency in shallow estuarine 
habitats, juvenile English sole serve well as an indicator species for 
environmental contaminant exposure. This research would benefit the 
affected species by identifying the environmental contaminants present 
that can impact the ESA-listed species, their prey, and their habitat. 
The NWFSC proposes to capture fish using a beach seine and an otter 
trawl. Juvenile English sole would be bagged and frozen for whole body 
and contaminant analyses (i.e., otoliths, stomach contents, and 
livers). All other species, including ESA-listed species, would be 
identified to species, checked for tags and fin clips, and immediately 
released. The NWFSC does not intend to kill any of the fish being 
captured, but a small number may die as an unintended consequence of 
the proposed 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: July 29, 2019.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-16469 Filed 8-1-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P