[Federal Register: May 19, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 96)]
[Page 27236-27237]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Fish and Wildlife Service
[I.D. 051399A]

Availability of a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement on a Proposed Modification of Plum Creek Timber Company's 
Incidental Take Permit for Threatened and Endangered Species on 
portions of its lands in the Central Cascades, King, and Kittitas 
Counties, Washington

AGENCIES: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce; Fish and Wildlife Service 
(FWS), Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a final supplemental environmental 
impact statement.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement (Supplement) is available for review. 
Plum Creek Timber Company has requested modification of their 
incidental take permit (PRT-808398) (Permit) to accommodate the new 
land base expected as a result of a legislated land exchange with the 
U.S. Forest Service. NMFS and FWS (Services) prepared the Supplement. 
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (Statement) associated with 
the original Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and Permit is not being 
re-opened or re-analyzed, and the decisions based on the original 
Statement are not being reconsidered. The Services herein announce the 
availability of the final Supplement for the proposed modification 
pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 

DATES: Publication of the Record of Decision will occur no sooner than 
June 18, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Individuals wishing copies of the final Supplement should 
contact William Vogel, FWS, or Dennis Carlson, NMFS, Pacific Northwest 
Habitat Conservation Plan Program, 510 Desmond Drive SE., Suite 102, 
Lacey, Washington 98503-1273; telephone (360) 753-9440 or (360) 753-
5828 respectively. Copies may also be obtained by contacting Michael 
Collins, Project Leader, Plum Creek Timber Company, 999 Third Avenue, 
Suite 2300, Seattle, Washington 98104; or call (206) 467-3639. See 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for other locations where the final 
Supplement and supporting documents may be obtained.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Vogel, FWS, or Dennis Carlson, 
NMFS. Both are located at the office of the Pacific Northwest Habitat 
Conservation Plan Program, at the addresses and telephone numbers 
listed (see ADDRESSES).


Availability of Documents

     Copies of the final Supplement and supporting documents are also 
available at the following libraries:

    Wenatchee Public Library, Attention: Sandy Purcell, 310 Douglas 
Street, Wenatchee, Washington 98801

    University of Washington Library, Attention: Carolyn Aamot, 
Government Publications Department, 170 Suzzallo Library, Seattle, 
Washington 98195-2900

    Seattle Public Library, Attention: Jeanette Voiland, Government 
Publications Department, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104

    Evergreen State College, Attention: Lee Lyttle, Library Campus 
Parkway - L23100H, Olympia, Washington 98505

    Central Washington University, Attention: Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, 
Library Collection Development, Ellensburg, Washington 98926

    King County Library System, Attention: Cheryl Standley, Documents 
Department, 1111 110th Avenue Northeast, Bellevue, Washington 98004

    The Plum Creek Plan for the central Cascades was accepted and the 
Permit was originally issued on June 27, 1996. Both apply to a 170,600-
acre Project Area located within a 418,700-acre Planning Area. The 
Planning Area is located within east King County and west Kittitas 
County, Washington, and is bisected by U.S. Interstate-90. The Planning 
Area includes not only Plum Creek lands, but National Forest lands and 
lands of other ownerships.

    The Permit allows Plum Creek to incidentally take threatened and 
endangered fish and wildlife while requiring implementation of a 
conservation plan with a habitat-based, prescriptive-management 
strategy designed to minimize and mitigate such incidental take. The 
Plan approved in 1996 contemplated that Plum Creek lands managed under 
the Plan and Permit would likely change as a result of future land 
exchanges with the United States. Consequently, the Plan and associated 
Implementation Agreement provide procedures and criteria for 
modification of the Plan to accommodate the exchange of lands. The Plan 
describes two scenarios for land exchanges with the United States 
whereby the biological integrity of the Plan would be either maintained 
or improved. One scenario exchanges Plum Creek-owned lands in the 
Planning Area for Government-owned lands outside of the Planning Area. 
Another scenario describes an exchange of Federal and Plum Creek lands 
so that within the Planning Area there is: (1) an increase in National 
Forest land managed as Late-Successional Reserves or Adaptive 
Management Areas under the Northwest Forest Plan; (2) reduced Federal 
ownership of lands managed as Matrix under the Forest Plan; and (3) 
there is a net decrease in harvestable area.

    In October of 1998, House Resolution 4328 authorized and directed 
the consummation of the Interstate-90 Land Exchange. The potential land 
exchange would result in a transfer to the Forest Service of up to 
50,000 acres of the 170,600-acre Project Area previously covered by 
Plum Creek's Permit and Plan, and the transfer of up to 10,200 acres of 
National Forest lands within the 418,700-acre Planning Area to Plum 
Creek. Plum Creek would also acquire additional lands outside the 
Planning Area which are not addressed in the final Supplement as these 
lands would not be included on the Permit. The authorized land exchange 
is a combination of the two scenarios

[[Page 27237]]

determined to be beneficial in the original Plan.

    A draft Supplement was released on December 18, 1998 (63 FR 70155), 
and the 52-day comment period closed on February 8, 1999. The final 
Supplement contains summaries and responses to the comments received.

    The final Supplement analyzes Plum Creek's proposal in order to 
determine the environmental impact (beneficial or adverse) that would 
result from implementation of the Plan modification, as compared to the 
original Federal Action (approval and implementation of the original 
Plan and issuance of a Permit). It does not address the Federal action 
of land exchange.

    The final Supplement considers three alternatives, including the 
Proposed Action and the No-action Alternatives. Under the No-action 
Alternative, Plum Creek would continue to implement the existing Plan 
on the current land base. This alternative includes specific mitigation 
for wildlife whether or not those species are listed under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Proposed Action would allow the 
modification of the Plan to accommodate the new land base and would, 
therefore, apply the Plan standards to the newly acquired Plum Creek 
lands. The Northwest Forest Plan would apply to newly acquired National 
Forest lands. The Partial-Modification Alternative would allow the 
transfer of lands from Plum Creek to the Forest Service, but would not 
add the newly acquired Plum Creek lands to the Plan. Instead, take 
prohibitions under section 9 of the ESA would apply with respect to 
listed species, but no conservation would be required for other 
wildlife and special habitats.

    Author: William O. Vogel, Pacific Northwest Habitat Conservation 
Plan Program.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407, 1531-1544, and 4201-4245.

    Dated: May 11, 1999.
Thomas Dwyer,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Dated: May 13, 1999.
Margaret Lorenz,
Acting Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 99-12611 Filed 5-18-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-F, 4310-55-F