Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits; Klamath, Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook, Wasco, and Sherman Counties, Oregon, 53164-53167 [2019-21631]

Download as PDF 53164 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices Dated: October 1, 2019. Seth D. Renkema, Branch Chief, Economic Impact Analysis Branch, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. [FR Doc. 2019–21668 Filed 10–3–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection [1651–0074] Agency Information Collection Activities: Prior Disclosure U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: 60-Day notice and request for comments; extension of an existing collection of information. AGENCY: The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). The information collection is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies. DATES: Comments are encouraged and must be submitted no later than December 3, 2019 to be assured of consideration. SUMMARY: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice must include the OMB Control Number 1651–0074 in the subject line and the agency name. To avoid duplicate submissions, please use only one of the following methods to submit comments: (1) Email. Submit comments to: CBP_ PRA@cbp.dhs.gov. (2) Mail. Submit written comments to CBP Paperwork Reduction Act Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings, Economic Impact Analysis Branch, 90 K Street NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229–1177. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional PRA information should be directed to Seth Renkema, Chief, Economic Impact Analysis Branch, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings, 90 K Street NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229–1177, Telephone number 202–325–0056 or via email CBP_PRA@cbp.dhs.gov. Please note that the contact information provided here is solely for questions khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:18 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 regarding this notice. Individuals seeking information about other CBP programs should contact the CBP National Customer Service Center at 877–227–5511, (TTY) 1–800–877–8339, or CBP website at https://www.cbp. gov/. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: CBP invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on the proposed and/or continuing information collections pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.8. Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) suggestions to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) suggestions to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. The comments that are submitted will be summarized and included in the request for approval. All comments will become a matter of public record. Overview of This Information Collection Title: Prior Disclosure. OMB Number: 1651–0074. Form number: N/A. Abstract: The Prior Disclosure program establishes a method for a potential violator to disclose to CBP that they have committed an error or a violation with respect to the legal requirements of entering merchandise into the United States, such as underpaid tariffs or duties, or misclassified merchandise. The procedure for making a prior disclosure is set forth in 19 CFR 162.74 which requires that respondents submit information about the merchandise involved, a specification of the false statements or omissions, and what the true and accurate information should be. A valid prior disclosure will entitle the disclosing party to the reduced penalties pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1592(c)(4). PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Current Actions: CBP proposes to extend the expiration date of this information collection with no change to the burden hours or to the information collected. Type of Review: Extension (without change). Affected Public: Businesses. Estimated Number of Respondents: 3,500. Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 3,500. Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 3,500. Dated: October 1, 2019. Seth D. Renkema, Branch Chief, Economic Impact Analysis Branch, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. [FR Doc. 2019–21664 Filed 10–3–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2019–0091; FXES11140100000–190–FF01E00000] Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits; Klamath, Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook, Wasco, and Sherman Counties, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of incidental take permit (ITP) applications received from the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC), on behalf of its eight member irrigation districts, and the City of Prineville (applicants). The eight irrigation districts that make up the DBBC are Arnold, Central Oregon, Lone Pine, North Unit, Ochoco, Swalley, Three Sisters, and Tumalo. The applicants have submitted applications for ITPs to both the Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for the species under each agency’s jurisdiction. Applicants are seeking authorization for the incidental take of five species that is expected to result from the storage, release, diversion, and return of irrigation water by the DBBC member districts and groundwater withdrawals, effluent discharges, and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices surface water diversions by the City of Prineville. Also available for review is the Service’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which was prepared, pursuant to NEPA, in response to the applications. We are seeking public comments on the HCP and DEIS. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before November 18, 2019. Comments submitted online at https:// www.regulations.gov/ (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 18, 2019. Public Meetings: The Service will host two open house public meetings at the following times during the public comment and review period: • Bend, OR: Tuesday, October 15, 2019, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. • Prineville, OR: Wednesday, October 16, 2019, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents for Review: The documents this notice announces, as well as any comments and other material that we receive, will be available for public inspection online in Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2019–0091 at http://www.regulations.gov/. Documents will also be available at https://www.fws.gov/Oregonfwo/ articles.cfm?id=149489716. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by the following methods: • Online: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R1–ES– 2019–0091. • Public meetings: A computer will be available at the public meetings to allow attendees to submit comments. The meetings will be held at the following locations: Æ Mount Bachelor Village Resort & Event Center, 19717 Mt Bachelor Drive, Bend, OR 97702. Æ Carey Foster Hall, Crook County Fairgrounds, 1280 Main Street, Prineville, OR 97754. • Hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R1– ES–2019–0091; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: JAO/ 1N, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post online any personal information that you provide (see Public Availability of Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION). We request that you submit comments by only the methods described above. Reviewing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comments on the draft HCP and DEIS: See EPA’s Role VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 53165 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). We are making the HCP and DEIS available for public review and comment. Bridget Moran, by telephone at 541– 383–7146, or by email at bridget_ moran@fws.gov. Hearing or speech impaired individuals may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339 for TTY assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) received incidental take permit (ITP) applications on August 30, 2019, from the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC) member districts (Arnold, Central Oregon, Lone Pine, North Unit, Ochoco, Swalley, Three Sisters, and Tumalo Irrigation Districts) and the City of Prineville (applicants) in accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicants prepared the draft Deschutes Basin habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of the ITP applications and are seeking authorization for take of the federally threatened Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) from the Service, and take of the federally threatened Middle Columbia River steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and the non-listed Middle Columbia River spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and sockeye salmon (O. nerka) from the NMFS. Hereafter, these five species are collectively referred to as the ‘‘covered species.’’ The ITPs, if issued, would authorize take of the covered species that may occur incidental to the storage, release, diversion, and return of irrigation water by the DBBC member districts, and groundwater withdrawals, effluent discharges, and surface water diversions by the City of Prineville (the covered activities). The HCP specifies the impacts that will likely result from the taking of covered species and describes the steps the applicants will take to minimize and mitigate such impacts. The HCP also discusses alternative actions to the taking that were considered by the applicants and the reasons why such alternatives are not being utilized. The HCP also describes the covered species’ life history and ecology, as well as biological goals and objectives of the HCP, adaptive management, monitoring, and funding assurances. The Service prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) in response to the ITP applications in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act Background All eight water districts are quasimunicipal corporations formed and operated according to Oregon State law to distribute water to irrigators (patrons) within designated geographic boundaries and in accordance with the individual water rights held by those patrons. The City of Prineville operates City-owned infrastructure and provides essential services—including public safety, municipal water supply, and sewage treatment—for more than 9,000 residents. The applicants have determined that continued operation of irrigation and essential services requires ITPs to address unavoidable take of listed species, which is ongoing. The applicants have proposed a conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for impacts to the covered species. The HCP addresses the negative effects of the covered activities on the covered species by reducing or eliminating those effects to the maximum extent practicable, and by mitigating effects that cannot be eliminated altogether. In general, negative effects on listed species can result from direct harm or injury of individuals of the species, and through changes in habitat that interfere with the essential life activities of the species. Both types of effects are addressed in the HCP conservation measures. The covered activities affect the covered species primarily through changes in the hydrology (flow) of occupied waters associated with the storage, release, diversion, and return of irrigation water. In the course of storing, releasing, diverting, and returning irrigation water, the applicants alter the hydrology of the Deschutes River and a number of its tributaries. In a similar fashion, the pumping of groundwater for municipal water supply by the City of Prineville affects the hydrology in one of those tributaries, the Crooked River. These changes in hydrology alter habitat conditions for the three species protected under the ESA, thereby creating the potential for incidental take of the species. The activities covered by the HCP cause changes in surface water hydrology that alter the quantity and/or quality of aquatic habitats for the listed species. The covered activities modify the timing and magnitude of flow in the Deschutes River and a number of its tributaries through the storage, release, diversion, and return of irrigation water. In most cases, the hydrologic changes resulting from irrigation activities have in the EIS Process under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 53166 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES negative impacts on aquatic habitats for the covered species. When flows are reduced, the total area of usable habitat for aquatic species generally decreases and water temperatures typically increase to the extent that habitat quality is negatively impacted. The HCP’s conservation measures will modify irrigation activities that reduce instream flow (storage and diversion of water) to address the negative effects. As a result, flows in the affected reaches will be higher than they were historically (over the last 50+ years) in the winter, and water temperatures (particularly peak summer temperatures) will be lower. The applicants have continued to refine the HCP based on technical assistance from the Service and NMFS. The applicants recognize this continued assistance in their transmittal memo provided with the ITP applications, and note that they are considering certain additional measures analyzed in the DEIS (under Alternatives 3 and 4) that are not currently reflected in the proposed HCP, including the concept of a habitat improvement fund for projects in the Upper Deschutes, and the possibility of increasing winter flows below Wickiup Dam. The applicants may choose to incorporate these and/or additional elements analyzed in the DEIS into their HCP. Further discussions are also needed about the permit structure itself, including what happens if one or more permittees decide to relinquish their permit coverage. The Service and NMFS anticipate addressing these remaining issues after the public has had the opportunity to review and comment on both the HCP and the DEIS. Proposed Action We propose to issue a 30-year permit for incidental take of the Oregon spotted frog and bull trout if the HCP meets all section 10(a)(1)(B) permit issuance criteria. The permit would authorize take of these two covered species incidental to the storage, release, diversion, and return of irrigation water by the DBBC member districts and groundwater withdrawals, effluent discharges, and surface water diversions by the City of Prineville. NMFS will make an independent decision regarding coverage for incidental take of the three species under its jurisdiction. Endangered Species Act Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)). In addition, section 4 of the ESA allows the Service and NMFS to issue VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 regulations that prohibit the take of any fish and wildlife species listed as threatened (16 U.S.C. 1533(d)). Take prohibition has been extended, in whole or in part, to the three covered species that are listed as threatened. Under section 3 of the ESA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1538). Under section 10(a) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed fish and wildlife species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing ITPs to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: 1. The taking will be incidental; 2. The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; 3. The applicant will ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will be provided; 4. The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and 5. The applicant will carry out any other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. National Environmental Policy Act In compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service prepared a DEIS, in which we analyze the proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action. Four alternatives are analyzed in the DEIS. Alternative 1—No-action Alternative: No permit would be issued, and the applicant’s HCP would not be implemented. Under Alternative 1, ongoing applicant activities would remain subject to take prohibition for listed species under the ESA. Ongoing applicant activities or future actions that may result in incidental take of federally listed species would need to be authorized through separate ITP applications submitted by each applicant under ESA section 10. This alternative assumes continuation of the actions covered in the current ESA section 7 biological opinion for the Upper Deschutes River to address take of the Oregon spotted frog, and of the actions covered in the current Service and NMFS ESA section 7 consultation documents for the Deschutes River Basin Projects to address effects to the Middle Columbia River steelhead trout PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and bull trout, as well as other predictable current and future conditions. Alternative 2—Proposed Action, Deschutes Basin HCP: Under this alternative, the Service and NMFS would issue 30-year ITPs to the applicants for incidental take of covered species caused by covered activities in the plan area, and the applicants would implement the HCP. The HCP’s conservation strategy modifies the timing and magnitude of the storage, release, and diversion of irrigation water. Over the 30-year period, flows are modified to mimic more natural hydrography to support the various life stages of the covered species. Alternative 3—Enhanced Variable Streamflows: Under this alternative, the Service and NMFS would issue ITPs to the applicants for the same plan area, covered lands and waters, covered species, covered activities, and permit term as described for the proposed action, but with modifications to the HCP conservation strategy including increased fall and winter flows in the Deschutes River below Wickiup Dam, in-stream protection of uncontracted water releases on the Crooked River for fish and wildlife, and the inclusion of a habitat improvement fund for projects in the Upper Deschutes. Alternative 4—Accelerated Schedule for Enhanced Variable Streamflows: Under this alternative, the Service and NMFS would issue ITPs to the applicants for the same plan area, covered lands and waters, covered species, and covered activities as described for the proposed action, but with a 20-year permit term and modifications to the HCP conservation strategy for an accelerated schedule for increases in fall and winter flows in the Deschutes River below Wickiup Dam, in-stream protection of additional uncontracted water releases on the Crooked River for fish and wildlife, and the habitat improvement fund for projects in the Upper Deschutes. The environmental consequences of each alternative were analyzed to determine if significant impacts to the human environment would occur. EPA’s Role in the EIS Process The EPA is charged with reviewing all Federal agencies’ EISs and commenting on the adequacy and acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in EISs. Therefore, EPA is publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing this EIS, as required under section 309 of the Clean Air Act. The publication date of EPA’s notice of availability is the official beginning of the public comment E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices period. EPA’s notices are published on Fridays. EPA serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by Federal agencies. All EISs must be filed with EPA. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Public Comments You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods in ADDRESSES. We specifically request information on the following: 1. Potential impacts to the human environment that may occur during the permit term; 2. Biological information and relevant data concerning the covered species and other wildlife; 3. Potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that implementation of the proposed HCP’s mitigation/minimization measures could have on the covered species, other endangered or threatened species, associated ecological communities or habitats for such species, and other aspects of the human environment; 4. Whether there are additional connected, similar, or reasonably foreseeable cumulative actions and their possible impacts on the human environment, including, without limitation, Oregon spotted frog, bull trout, Mid-Columbia steelhead, chinook salmon, and sockeye salmon, all of which were not identified in the DEIS; 5. The identification and evaluation of archaeological and historic resources that the proposed project may affect; 6. Other possible reasonable alternatives to the proposed permit action that the Service should consider, including additional or alternative avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures; and 7. Other information relevant to the proposed HCP and impacts to the human environment. Public Availability of Comments We will post on http://regulations.gov all public comments and information received electronically. All comments we receive become part of the administrative record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Reasonable Accommodations Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in the public meetings should contact the Service’s Bend Field Office, using one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please make contact no later than one week before the public meetings. Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request. Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1503.1 and 1506.6). materials, and any comments and other materials that we receive will be available for public inspection at http:// www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–HQ–IA–2019–0090. Submitting Comments: When submitting comments, please specify the name of the applicant and the permit number at the beginning of your comment. You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. Search for and submit comments on Docket No. FWS– HQ–IA–2019–0090. • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–HQ–IA–2019–0090; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PERMA, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. For more information, see Public Comment Procedures under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Monica Thomas, by phone at 703–358– 2104, via email at DMAFR@fws.gov, or via the Federal Relay Service at 800– 877–8339. Robyn Thorson, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2019–21631 Filed 10–3–19; 8:45 am] I. Public Comment Procedures BILLING CODE 4333–15–P A. How do I comment on submitted applications? DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–HQ–IA–2019–0090; FXIA16710900000–190–FF09A30000] Foreign Endangered Species; Receipt of Permit Applications Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of receipt of permit applications; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on applications to conduct certain activities with foreign species that are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is issued that allows such activities. The ESA also requires that we invite public comment before issuing permits for any activity otherwise prohibited by the ESA with respect to any endangered species. DATES: We must receive comments by November 4, 2019. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: The applications, application supporting SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 53167 Sfmt 4703 We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods in ADDRESSES. We will not consider comments sent by email or fax, or to an address not in ADDRESSES. We will not consider or include in our administrative record comments we receive after the close of the comment period (see DATES). When submitting comments, please specify the name of the applicant and the permit number at the beginning of your comment. Provide sufficient information to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include. The comments and recommendations that will be most useful and likely to influence agency decisions are: (1) Those supported by quantitative information or studies; and (2) those that include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 193 (Friday, October 4, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53164-53167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21631]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2019-0091; FXES11140100000-190-FF01E00000]


Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Habitat 
Conservation Plan; Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits; 
Klamath, Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook, Wasco, and Sherman Counties, 
Oregon

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) in support of incidental take permit (ITP) 
applications received from the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC), 
on behalf of its eight member irrigation districts, and the City of 
Prineville (applicants). The eight irrigation districts that make up 
the DBBC are Arnold, Central Oregon, Lone Pine, North Unit, Ochoco, 
Swalley, Three Sisters, and Tumalo. The applicants have submitted 
applications for ITPs to both the Service and the National Marine 
Fisheries Service for the species under each agency's jurisdiction. 
Applicants are seeking authorization for the incidental take of five 
species that is expected to result from the storage, release, 
diversion, and return of irrigation water by the DBBC member districts 
and groundwater withdrawals, effluent discharges, and

[[Page 53165]]

surface water diversions by the City of Prineville. Also available for 
review is the Service's draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), 
which was prepared, pursuant to NEPA, in response to the applications. 
We are seeking public comments on the HCP and DEIS.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
November 18, 2019. Comments submitted online at https://www.regulations.gov/ (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on November 18, 2019.
    Public Meetings: The Service will host two open house public 
meetings at the following times during the public comment and review 
period:
     Bend, OR: Tuesday, October 15, 2019, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
     Prineville, OR: Wednesday, October 16, 2019, from 6 a.m. 
to 8 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents for Review: The documents this notice 
announces, as well as any comments and other material that we receive, 
will be available for public inspection online in Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-
2019-0091 at http://www.regulations.gov/. Documents will also be 
available at https://www.fws.gov/Oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489716.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by the following 
methods:
     Online: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow instructions 
for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2019-0091.
     Public meetings: A computer will be available at the 
public meetings to allow attendees to submit comments. The meetings 
will be held at the following locations:
    [cir] Mount Bachelor Village Resort & Event Center, 19717 Mt 
Bachelor Drive, Bend, OR 97702.
    [cir] Carey Foster Hall, Crook County Fairgrounds, 1280 Main 
Street, Prineville, OR 97754.
     Hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand delivery to Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2019-0091; U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: JAO/1N, Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803.
    We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post online any personal information that 
you provide (see Public Availability of Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION). We request that you submit comments by only the methods 
described above.
    Reviewing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comments on 
the draft HCP and DEIS: See EPA's Role in the EIS Process under 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bridget Moran, by telephone at 541-
383-7146, or by email at [email protected]. Hearing or speech 
impaired individuals may call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 
for TTY assistance.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) received incidental take 
permit (ITP) applications on August 30, 2019, from the Deschutes Basin 
Board of Control (DBBC) member districts (Arnold, Central Oregon, Lone 
Pine, North Unit, Ochoco, Swalley, Three Sisters, and Tumalo Irrigation 
Districts) and the City of Prineville (applicants) in accordance with 
the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applicants prepared the draft Deschutes Basin 
habitat conservation plan (HCP) in support of the ITP applications and 
are seeking authorization for take of the federally threatened Oregon 
spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) 
from the Service, and take of the federally threatened Middle Columbia 
River steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and the non-listed Middle 
Columbia River spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and 
sockeye salmon (O. nerka) from the NMFS. Hereafter, these five species 
are collectively referred to as the ``covered species.''
    The ITPs, if issued, would authorize take of the covered species 
that may occur incidental to the storage, release, diversion, and 
return of irrigation water by the DBBC member districts, and 
groundwater withdrawals, effluent discharges, and surface water 
diversions by the City of Prineville (the covered activities).
    The HCP specifies the impacts that will likely result from the 
taking of covered species and describes the steps the applicants will 
take to minimize and mitigate such impacts. The HCP also discusses 
alternative actions to the taking that were considered by the 
applicants and the reasons why such alternatives are not being 
utilized. The HCP also describes the covered species' life history and 
ecology, as well as biological goals and objectives of the HCP, 
adaptive management, monitoring, and funding assurances.
    The Service prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) 
in response to the ITP applications in accordance with the requirements 
of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.). We are making the HCP and DEIS available for public review and 
comment.

Background

    All eight water districts are quasi-municipal corporations formed 
and operated according to Oregon State law to distribute water to 
irrigators (patrons) within designated geographic boundaries and in 
accordance with the individual water rights held by those patrons. The 
City of Prineville operates City-owned infrastructure and provides 
essential services--including public safety, municipal water supply, 
and sewage treatment--for more than 9,000 residents. The applicants 
have determined that continued operation of irrigation and essential 
services requires ITPs to address unavoidable take of listed species, 
which is ongoing.
    The applicants have proposed a conservation program to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate for impacts to the covered species. The HCP 
addresses the negative effects of the covered activities on the covered 
species by reducing or eliminating those effects to the maximum extent 
practicable, and by mitigating effects that cannot be eliminated 
altogether. In general, negative effects on listed species can result 
from direct harm or injury of individuals of the species, and through 
changes in habitat that interfere with the essential life activities of 
the species. Both types of effects are addressed in the HCP 
conservation measures. The covered activities affect the covered 
species primarily through changes in the hydrology (flow) of occupied 
waters associated with the storage, release, diversion, and return of 
irrigation water.
    In the course of storing, releasing, diverting, and returning 
irrigation water, the applicants alter the hydrology of the Deschutes 
River and a number of its tributaries. In a similar fashion, the 
pumping of groundwater for municipal water supply by the City of 
Prineville affects the hydrology in one of those tributaries, the 
Crooked River. These changes in hydrology alter habitat conditions for 
the three species protected under the ESA, thereby creating the 
potential for incidental take of the species.
    The activities covered by the HCP cause changes in surface water 
hydrology that alter the quantity and/or quality of aquatic habitats 
for the listed species. The covered activities modify the timing and 
magnitude of flow in the Deschutes River and a number of its 
tributaries through the storage, release, diversion, and return of 
irrigation water. In most cases, the hydrologic changes resulting from 
irrigation activities have

[[Page 53166]]

negative impacts on aquatic habitats for the covered species. When 
flows are reduced, the total area of usable habitat for aquatic species 
generally decreases and water temperatures typically increase to the 
extent that habitat quality is negatively impacted. The HCP's 
conservation measures will modify irrigation activities that reduce 
instream flow (storage and diversion of water) to address the negative 
effects. As a result, flows in the affected reaches will be higher than 
they were historically (over the last 50+ years) in the winter, and 
water temperatures (particularly peak summer temperatures) will be 
lower.
    The applicants have continued to refine the HCP based on technical 
assistance from the Service and NMFS. The applicants recognize this 
continued assistance in their transmittal memo provided with the ITP 
applications, and note that they are considering certain additional 
measures analyzed in the DEIS (under Alternatives 3 and 4) that are not 
currently reflected in the proposed HCP, including the concept of a 
habitat improvement fund for projects in the Upper Deschutes, and the 
possibility of increasing winter flows below Wickiup Dam. The 
applicants may choose to incorporate these and/or additional elements 
analyzed in the DEIS into their HCP. Further discussions are also 
needed about the permit structure itself, including what happens if one 
or more permittees decide to relinquish their permit coverage. The 
Service and NMFS anticipate addressing these remaining issues after the 
public has had the opportunity to review and comment on both the HCP 
and the DEIS.

Proposed Action

    We propose to issue a 30-year permit for incidental take of the 
Oregon spotted frog and bull trout if the HCP meets all section 
10(a)(1)(B) permit issuance criteria. The permit would authorize take 
of these two covered species incidental to the storage, release, 
diversion, and return of irrigation water by the DBBC member districts 
and groundwater withdrawals, effluent discharges, and surface water 
diversions by the City of Prineville. NMFS will make an independent 
decision regarding coverage for incidental take of the three species 
under its jurisdiction.

Endangered Species Act

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit 
``take'' of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered (16 U.S.C. 
1538(a)(1)). In addition, section 4 of the ESA allows the Service and 
NMFS to issue regulations that prohibit the take of any fish and 
wildlife species listed as threatened (16 U.S.C. 1533(d)). Take 
prohibition has been extended, in whole or in part, to the three 
covered species that are listed as threatened. Under section 3 of the 
ESA, the term ``take'' means to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any 
such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1538). Under section 10(a) of the ESA, the 
Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed fish 
and wildlife species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the ESA as take 
that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an 
otherwise lawful activity. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains 
provisions for issuing ITPs to non-Federal entities for the take of 
endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are 
met:
    1. The taking will be incidental;
    2. The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize 
and mitigate the impact of such taking;
    3. The applicant will ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will 
be provided;
    4. The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
    5. The applicant will carry out any other measures that the Service 
may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the 
HCP.

National Environmental Policy Act

    In compliance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Service 
prepared a DEIS, in which we analyze the proposed action and a 
reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action. Four 
alternatives are analyzed in the DEIS.
    Alternative 1--No-action Alternative: No permit would be issued, 
and the applicant's HCP would not be implemented. Under Alternative 1, 
ongoing applicant activities would remain subject to take prohibition 
for listed species under the ESA. Ongoing applicant activities or 
future actions that may result in incidental take of federally listed 
species would need to be authorized through separate ITP applications 
submitted by each applicant under ESA section 10. This alternative 
assumes continuation of the actions covered in the current ESA section 
7 biological opinion for the Upper Deschutes River to address take of 
the Oregon spotted frog, and of the actions covered in the current 
Service and NMFS ESA section 7 consultation documents for the Deschutes 
River Basin Projects to address effects to the Middle Columbia River 
steelhead trout and bull trout, as well as other predictable current 
and future conditions.
    Alternative 2--Proposed Action, Deschutes Basin HCP: Under this 
alternative, the Service and NMFS would issue 30-year ITPs to the 
applicants for incidental take of covered species caused by covered 
activities in the plan area, and the applicants would implement the 
HCP. The HCP's conservation strategy modifies the timing and magnitude 
of the storage, release, and diversion of irrigation water. Over the 
30-year period, flows are modified to mimic more natural hydrography to 
support the various life stages of the covered species.
    Alternative 3--Enhanced Variable Streamflows: Under this 
alternative, the Service and NMFS would issue ITPs to the applicants 
for the same plan area, covered lands and waters, covered species, 
covered activities, and permit term as described for the proposed 
action, but with modifications to the HCP conservation strategy 
including increased fall and winter flows in the Deschutes River below 
Wickiup Dam, in-stream protection of uncontracted water releases on the 
Crooked River for fish and wildlife, and the inclusion of a habitat 
improvement fund for projects in the Upper Deschutes.
    Alternative 4--Accelerated Schedule for Enhanced Variable 
Streamflows: Under this alternative, the Service and NMFS would issue 
ITPs to the applicants for the same plan area, covered lands and 
waters, covered species, and covered activities as described for the 
proposed action, but with a 20-year permit term and modifications to 
the HCP conservation strategy for an accelerated schedule for increases 
in fall and winter flows in the Deschutes River below Wickiup Dam, in-
stream protection of additional uncontracted water releases on the 
Crooked River for fish and wildlife, and the habitat improvement fund 
for projects in the Upper Deschutes.
    The environmental consequences of each alternative were analyzed to 
determine if significant impacts to the human environment would occur.

EPA's Role in the EIS Process

    The EPA is charged with reviewing all Federal agencies' EISs and 
commenting on the adequacy and acceptability of the environmental 
impacts of proposed actions in EISs. Therefore, EPA is publishing a 
notice in the Federal Register announcing this EIS, as required under 
section 309 of the Clean Air Act. The publication date of EPA's notice 
of availability is the official beginning of the public comment

[[Page 53167]]

period. EPA's notices are published on Fridays.
    EPA serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by 
Federal agencies. All EISs must be filed with EPA. You may search for 
EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods in 
ADDRESSES. We specifically request information on the following:
    1. Potential impacts to the human environment that may occur during 
the permit term;
    2. Biological information and relevant data concerning the covered 
species and other wildlife;
    3. Potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that 
implementation of the proposed HCP's mitigation/minimization measures 
could have on the covered species, other endangered or threatened 
species, associated ecological communities or habitats for such 
species, and other aspects of the human environment;
    4. Whether there are additional connected, similar, or reasonably 
foreseeable cumulative actions and their possible impacts on the human 
environment, including, without limitation, Oregon spotted frog, bull 
trout, Mid-Columbia steelhead, chinook salmon, and sockeye salmon, all 
of which were not identified in the DEIS;
    5. The identification and evaluation of archaeological and historic 
resources that the proposed project may affect;
    6. Other possible reasonable alternatives to the proposed permit 
action that the Service should consider, including additional or 
alternative avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures; and
    7. Other information relevant to the proposed HCP and impacts to 
the human environment.

Public Availability of Comments

    We will post on http://regulations.gov all public comments and 
information received electronically. All comments we receive become 
part of the administrative record associated with this action. Before 
including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your 
comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from 
public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 
entirety.

Reasonable Accommodations

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public meetings should contact the Service's Bend 
Field Office, using one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES as soon as 
possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please 
make contact no later than one week before the public meetings. 
Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative 
formats upon request.

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA and its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR 1503.1 and 1506.6).

Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-21631 Filed 10-3-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P