[Federal Register: June 25, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 122)]
[Page 34216-34217]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 34216]]


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine 
Fisheries Service


Fish and Wildlife Service
[I.D. 061099C]

Notice of Application to Amend an Endangered Species Act 
Incidental Take Permit to Include Canada Lynx and Puget Sound/Coastal 
Bull Trout on the Plum Creek Timber Company Permit for Timber Harvest 
in the State of Washington, and to Issue an Incidental Take Permit for 
Middle Columbia River Steelhead, and Puget Sound Chinook to Plum Creek 
Timber Company in the State of Washington.

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

ACTION: Receipt of applications to amend an incidental take permit 
(PRT-808398) and to issue an incidental take permit (1220).


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that FWS has received a request 
to add Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and Puget Sound/Coastal bull trout 
(Salvelinus confluentus) to the species covered by incidental take 
permit PRT-808398, issued to the Plum Creek Timber Company on June 27, 
1996. NMFS has received a request for an incidental take permit (1220) 
for the Middle Columbia River (MCR) steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and 
Puget Sound (PuS) chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha). These requests have 
been submitted to FWS and NMFS (the Services) pursuant to the 
Implementation Agreement for the Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) 
accompanying the incidental take permit. FWS is proposing to add Canada 
Lynx and Puget Sound/Coastal bull trout to Plum Creek's permit, and 
NMFS is proposing to issue an incidental take permit for the MCR 
steelhead and PuS chinook salmon. The purpose of this notice is to seek 
public comment on FWS' proposed permit amendment and NMFS' permit 

DATES: Written comments regarding FWS' proposal to add Canada lynx and 
Coastal/Puget Sound bull trout to the Plum Creek permit or on NMFS' 
proposal to issue a permit for MCR steelhead and PuS chinook must be 
received on or before July 26, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on lynx and bull trout should be addressed 
to William Vogel, FWS; 510 Desmond Drive, S.E; Suite 101; Lacey, 
Washington 98503; and written comments on steelhead and chinook should 
be addressed to Dennis Carlson, NMFS; 510 Desmond Drive, S.E; Suite 
103; Lacey, Washington 98503. Comments addressing general issues and 
all four species may be sent to either of the Services. Documents cited 
in this notice and comments received will be available for public 
inspection by appointment during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Vogel, Wildlife Biologist; 
FWS; 510 Desmond Drive, S.E; Suite 101; Lacey, Washington 98503, (360) 
753-4367 or Dennis Carlson, Fisheries Biologist; NMFS; 510 Desmond 
Drive, S.E; Suite 101; Lacey, Washington 98503, (360) 753-5828.



    On June 27, 1996, FWS issued an incidental take permit (PRT-808398) 
to Plum Creek Timber Company, L.P., pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1532 et 
seq.). The permit authorized the incidental take of the threatened 
northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), marbled murrelet 
(Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus), and grizzly bear (Ursus 
arctos=U.a. horribilis), and the endangered gray wolf (Canis lupus), in 
the course of the otherwise lawful forest management and related land-
use activities on Plum Creek lands in portions of King and Kittitas 
Counties, Washington. NMFS did not issue a permit as no species under 
NMFS' jurisdiction on the Plum Creek lands were listed under the ESA at 
the time the FWS permit was issued. Pursuant to the Plan and the 
Implementation Agreement, Plum Creek received assurances from the 
Services that then-unlisted vertebrate species, which may occur on Plum 
Creek lands would be added to the permit upon listing of those species 
in accordance with the ESA, the Implementation Agreement, and the Plan. 
On September 11, 1997, Plum Creek requested the addition of bull trout 
to their permit. On July 14, 1998, following the completion of a public 
comment period, Biological Opinion, and Set of Findings, FWS amended 
incidental take permit PRT-808398 to include the Columbia River Basin 
population of bull trout on the permit.
    On July 8, 1998, FWS proposed to list the Canada lynx as threatened 
throughout its range in the contiguous United States, (63 FR 36994). On 
June 10, 1998, FWS proposed to list the Puget Sound/Coastal population 
of bull trout as threatened, (63 FR 31693).
    On March 25, 1999, NMFS published a final rule listing the MCR and 
Upper Willamette River evolutionary significant units (ESUs) of 
steelhead as threatened species (64 FR 14517). In addition, on February 
5, 1999, NMFS proposed to designate critical habitat for nine ESUs of 
steelhead previously listed and currently proposed for listing under 
the ESA, including Washington ESUs (64 FR 5740). Also on March 24, 
1999, NMFS published a final rule listing the PuS chinook salmon as 
threatened (63 FR 11482).
    The September 11, 1997, request from Plum Creek to add bull trout 
to the permit was partially fulfilled when FWS included the Columbia 
River Basin population of bull trout on the permit. That request is 
still effective with regard to the Puget Sound/Coastal population of 
bull trout. On May 20, 1998, Plum Creek requested that the MCR 
steelhead be added to the permit. On August 7, 1998, Plum Creek also 
requested that Canada lynx be added to the permit. On December 15, 
1998, Plum Creek requested that PuS chinook be added to their permit as 
well. While FWS has not yet made final listing decisions for the Puget 
Sound/Coastal population of bull trout or Canada lynx, it is proposing 
to respond to Plum Creek's request and determine if addition of these 
species to the permit is appropriate.

Implementation Agreement Provisions

    The Implementation Agreement is a legal document describing the 
roles and responsibilities of the Services and Plum Creek during the 
permit period. Under the Implementation Agreement, plan species are 
those vertebrate species dependent on the various habitat types 
analyzed in the Plan. The Implementation Agreement specifies that 
should any of the plan species that were unlisted at the time of permit 
issuance subsequently become listed under the ESA, Plum Creek may 
request a permit amendment to have that species added to their permit.
    Plum Creek received assurances, absent extraordinary circumstances 
(as defined in the Implementation Agreement), that plan species would 
be added to the permit without requiring additional mitigation from 
Plum Creek if the Services determined that such action would not 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the 
affected species, or any other

[[Page 34217]]

species, in the wild and that adding the species to the permit would be 
consistent with the Services' other responsibilities.
    To determine whether adding Canada lynx and bull trout to Plum 
Creek's permit and issuing a permit for steelhead and chinook would 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of those 
species, or any other species, the Services will follow the Section 7 
process under the ESA. The Services will also determine whether the 
permit amendment meets each of the issuance criteria described in 
section 10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA and that a substantial and material 
adverse change in the status of Canada lynx, bull trout, steelhead, or 
chinook has not occurred since initial permit issuance.


    At the time of initial permit issuance, the Services made a 
preliminary determination that the Plan adequately provided protection 
for lynx, bull trout, steelhead, and chinook. Based on that analysis, 
it appeared that the Plan would have minimal adverse impacts on lynx, 
bull trout, steelhead, and chinook.
    With respect to lynx, use of edge habitat as a surrogate for 
``classic'' lynx foraging habitat definitions, the Services predict a 
decrease in foraging habitat. Should lynx occur in the planning area, 
they would most likely use edges for foraging and would most likely 
rely on secondary prey items. The Plan is expected to maintain as 
conducive a landscape for lynx as is possible given the geographic 
    The Plan generally provides for improving conditions for bull 
trout, steelhead, and chinook. Buffers on fishbearing and other 
perennial streams are expected to provide for the natural processes and 
functions that steelhead and chinook rely on such as large woody debris 
inputs, detrital and litter input, root strength and bank stability. 
The Services expect to see reductions in delivery of fine sediment from 
roads and recovery of forest stand structures to improve hydrologic 
conditions, and reduce peak flows and mass-wasting risks.
    Significant public comments and data were received by the Services 
on the proposals to list lynx, bull trout, steelhead, and chinook as 
threatened or endangered under the ESA. The Services are reviewing that 
information to determine if the Services' initial lynx, bull trout, 
steelhead, and chinook determinations for the Plum Creek permit remain 
    The Environmental Impact Statement developed for the initial permit 
decision analyzed the effects that implementing the Plan would have on 
lynx, bull trout, steelhead, chinook, and other species. The effects of 
a proposed land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service and incorporation 
of that new land base into the Plan are also addressed in a Draft 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and will be further 
addressed in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

    Dated: June 8, 1999.
Cynthia U. Barry,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Dated: June 21, 1999.
Wanda L. Cain,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 99-16206 Filed 6-24-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-F and 4310-55-F