[Federal Register: September 23, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 184)]
[Page 51517-51518]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
[I.D. 091799E]

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for All Activities in the 
State of Washington Associated with Their Hydraulic Project Approval 

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, Commerce; Fish and Wildlife Service, 

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) (collectively, the Services) intend to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to the proposed issuance 
of an Incidental Take Permit (Permit) to the Washington Department of 
Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for all activities in the State of Washington 
associated with their Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) program. The 
proposed Permit would authorize take of Federally listed fish and 
shellfish species in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (ESA) and certain other unlisted fish and shellfish 
species should they be listed in the future. As required by the ESA, 
the applicant is preparing a Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan). The 
Permit application is related to the state-wide issuance of HPAs for 
activities that will alter the natural flow or bed of any salt or fresh 
waters of the State. The Services, with WDFW, are preparing the EIS as 
a joint document in

[[Page 51518]]

accordance with NEPA and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act.
    The Services are furnishing this notice to advise other agencies 
and the public of our intentions and to announce the initiation of a 
60-day public scoping period during which other agencies and the public 
are invited to provide written comments on the scope of issues and 
potential alternatives to be included in the EIS.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before November 22, 
1999. Public hearings have been scheduled (see SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for dates, times, and locations).

ADDRESSES: Comments and requests for additional information should be 
sent to the HPA HCP Project, WDFW Habitat Program, 600 Capitol Way 
North, MS 43200, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091, E-mailed to 
HPAHCPComments@dfw.wa.gov or submitted on-line via the WDFW web site, 
http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/. From this site, click on ``Habitat Sciences,'' 
then to the HPA/HCP Project under ``Permits and Regulations.'' Select 
the draft document to which your comments refer, then follow the 
directions to complete and send the on-screen response form.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Romanski, FWS, 510 Desmond Drive, 
SE, Suite 102, Lacey, Washington 98503-1273, telephone (360) 753-5823, 
facsimile (360) 534-9331; or Gordon Zillges, NMFS, 510 Desmond Drive, 
SE, Suite 103, Lacey, Washington 98503-1273, telephone (360) 753-9090, 
facsimile (360) 453-9517.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: WDFW is responsible under State law for the 
protection of Washington State's fish and wildlife resources. Chapter 
75.20 Revised Code of Washington directs WDFW to review, and approve as 
appropriate, hydraulic projects or other work that will use, divert, 
obstruct, or change the natural flow or bed of any of the salt or fresh 
waters of the State, to ensure the proper protection of fish and 
shellfish life. The authority under which HPAs are written only applies 
to fish and shellfish. Standards for fish protection by specific 
project type are set in Chapter 220-110 Washington Administrative Code. 
WDFW issues 6,000 to 8,000 HPAs in a typical year.
    Each project conducted pursuant to a HPA has the potential to 
impact fish or shellfish species that are subject to protection under 
the ESA. Section 10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for the 
issuance of permits to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered 
and threatened species, provided the take is incidental to otherwise 
lawful activities and will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild. An applicant for a 
permit under Section 10 of the ESA must prepare and submit to the 
Services for approval a Plan containing a strategy for minimizing and 
mitigating, to the maximum extent practicable, all take associated with 
the proposed activities. The applicant must also ensure that adequate 
funding for the proposed Plan will be provided.
    WDFW has initiated discussions with the Services regarding the 
possibility of a permit and associated programmatic Plan for the 
activities associated with HPA issuance throughout the State. The 
proposed Plan is expected to encompass all HPA types and forms issued 
by WDFW and will address impacts to all Federal proposed or listed fish 
or shellfish species in Washington State waters.
    The Services will conduct an environmental review of the Plan and 
prepare an EIS. The environmental review will analyze the proposal as 
well as a full range of reasonable alternatives and the associated 
impacts of each. The Services and WDFW are currently in the process of 
developing alternatives for analysis. Alternatives thus far include a 
No Action Alternative and one Plan Alternative. Under the No Action 
Alternative, WDFW would not have incidental take coverage for HPAs 
issued. The applicant's Plan Alternative proposes that WDFW implement 
the proposed Plan throughout the State and the Services issue 
incidental take permits. The scoping process will be used to develop 
additional alternatives.
    Comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties to 
ensure that the full range of issues related to these proposed actions 
are addressed and that all significant issues are identified. Comments, 
questions or requests for additional information concerning this 
proposed action and the environmental review should be directed to the 
    Public meetings are scheduled to be held at the following times and 
locations: October 6, 1999, from 7:00-9:30 p.m., Washington State 
Capitol Campus, General Administration Building Auditorium, 210 
11<SUP>th</SUP> Avenue South, Olympia, Washington; October 7, 1999, 
from 7:00-9:30 p.m.,Central Washington University Student Union 
Building, Yakima Room, Ellensburg, Washington; October 12, 1999 from 
7:00-9:30 p.m., at the Cowlitz County Public Utility District, 961 
12<SUP>th</SUP> Avenue, Longview, Washington; October 14, 1999, from 
7:00-9:30 p.m., at the Everett Community College, Jackson Center, JCR 
Room, 801 Wetmore Avenue, Everett, Washington; October 19, 1999, from 
7:00-9:30 p.m., at the Spokane Falls Community College, Student Union 
Building in Lounge Rooms A and B, 3410 West Fort George Wright Drive, 
Spokane, Washington; and October 20, 1999, from 7:00-9:30 p.m., 
Okanogan Public Utility District, 1331 2<SUP>nd</SUP> Avenue North, 
Okanogan, Washington.
    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on 
Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), the requirements 
of the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (Chapter 197-11 WAC 
and Chapter 43.21C RCW) and of other appropriate Federal laws and 
regulations and policies and procedures of the Services for compliance 
with those regulations. We estimate the draft Environmental Impact 
Statement will be available for public review during December of 2000.

    Dated: September 16, 1999.
Cynthia U. Barry,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Portland, Oregon.

    Dated: September 17, 1999.
Wanda L. Cain,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 99-24764 Filed 9-22-99; 8:45 am]
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