[Federal Register: November 1, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 210)]

[Rules and Regulations]               

[Page 58909-58933]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


[[Page 58909]]


Part II

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of 

Threatened Status for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States; 

Final Rule

Notice of Intent To Prepare a Proposed Special Rule Pursuant to Section 

4(d) of the Endangered Species Act for the Bull Trout; Proposed Rule

[[Page 58910]]


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF01


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of 

Threatened Status for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, determine threatened 

status for all populations of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) 

within the coterminous United States, with a special rule, pursuant to 

the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This 

determination is based on our finding that the Coastal-Puget Sound and 

St. Mary-Belly River population segments are threatened, coupled with 

our earlier findings of threatened status for the Klamath River, 

Columbia River, and Jarbidge River population segments. These 

population segments are disjunct and geographically isolated from one 

another with no genetic interchange between them due to natural and 

man-made barriers. These population segments collectively encompass the 

entire range of the species in the coterminous United States. 

Therefore, for the purposes of consultation and recovery, we recognize 

these five distinct population segments as interim recovery units. With 

this final rule, the bull trout will now be listed as threatened 

throughout its entire range in the coterminous United States.

    The Coastal-Puget Sound bull trout population segment encompasses 

all Pacific coast drainages within Washington, including Puget Sound. 

The St. Mary-Belly River bull trout population segment occurs in 

northwest Montana. Bull trout are threatened by the combined effects of 

habitat degradation, fragmentation and alterations associated with 

dewatering, road construction and maintenance, mining, and grazing; the 

blockage of migratory corridors by dams or other diversion structures; 

poor water quality; incidental angler harvest; entrainment (process by 

which aquatic organisms are pulled through a diversion or other device) 

into diversion channels; and introduced non-native species. This final 

determination was based on the best available scientific and commercial 

information including current data and new information received during 

the comment period.

EFFECTIVE DATE: December 1, 1999.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 

by appointment, during normal business hours at the Snake River Basin 

Office, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Room 368, Boise, Idaho 83709.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Ruesink, Supervisor, at the 

above address (telephone 208/378-5243; facsimile 208/378-5262) to make 

an appointment to inspect the complete file for this rule or for 

information pertaining to the Columbia River population segment; Gerry 

Jackson, Manager, Western Washington Office (telephone 360/753-9440; 

facsimile 360/753-9008) for information pertaining to the Coastal-Puget 

Sound population segment; Kemper McMaster, Field Supervisor, Montana 

Field Office (telephone 406/449-5225; facsimile 406/449-5339) for 

information pertaining to the St. Mary-Belly River population segment; 

Steven Lewis, Field Supervisor, Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office 

(telephone 541/885-8481; facsimile 541/885-7837) for information 

pertaining to the Klamath River population segment; Robert D. Williams, 

Field Supervisor, Nevada State Office (telephone 775/861-6300; 

facsimile 775/861-6301) for information pertaining to the Jarbidge 

River population segment.



    Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), members of the family 

Salmonidae, are char native to the Pacific northwest and western 

Canada. They historically occurred in major river drainages in the 

Pacific northwest from about 41 deg. N to 60 deg. N latitude, from the 

southern limits in the McCloud River in northern California and the 

Jarbidge River in Nevada, north to the headwaters of the Yukon River in 

Northwest Territories, Canada (Cavender 1978; Bond 1992). To the west, 

bull trout range includes Puget Sound, various coastal rivers of 

Washington, British Columbia, Canada, and southeast Alaska (Bond 1992; 

Leary and Allendorf 1997). Bull trout are relatively dispersed 

throughout tributaries of the Columbia River Basin, including its 

headwaters in Montana and Canada. Bull trout also occur in the Klamath 

River Basin of south-central Oregon. East of the Continental Divide, 

bull trout are found in the headwaters of the Saskatchewan River in 

Alberta and the MacKenzie River system in Alberta and British Columbia 

(Cavender 1978; Brewin and Brewin 1997).

    Bull trout were first described as Salmo spectabilis by Girard in 

1856 from a specimen collected on the lower Columbia River, and 

subsequently described under a number of names such as Salmo 

confluentus and Salvelinus malma (Cavender 1978). Bull trout and Dolly 

Varden (Salvelinus malma) were previously considered a single species 

(Cavender 1978; Bond 1992). Cavender (1978) presented morphometric 

(measurement), meristic (counts), osteological (bone structure), and 

distributional evidence to document specific distinctions between Dolly 

Varden and bull trout. Subsequently, bull trout and Dolly Varden were 

formally recognized as separate species by the American Fisheries 

Society in 1980 (Robins et al. 1980). Although bull trout and Dolly 

Varden co-occur in several northwestern Washington River drainages, 

there is little evidence of introgression and the two species appear to 

be maintaining distinct genomes (Leary and Allendorf 1997).

    Bull trout exhibit both resident and migratory life-history 

strategies through much of the current range (Rieman and McIntyre 

1993). Resident bull trout complete their life cycles in the tributary 

streams in which they spawn and rear. Migratory bull trout spawn in 

tributary streams, and juvenile fish rear from 1 to 4 years before 

migrating to either a lake (adfluvial), river (fluvial), or in certain 

coastal areas, saltwater (anadromous), to mature (Fraley and Shepard 

1989; Goetz 1989). Anadromy is the least studied life-history type in 

bull trout, and some biologists believe the existence of true anadromy 

in bull trout is still uncertain (McPhail and Baxter 1996). However, 

historical accounts, collection records, and recent evidence suggests 

an anadromous life-history form for bull trout (Suckley and Cooper 

1860; Cavender 1978; McPhail and Baxter 1996; Washington Department of 

Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) et al. 1997--formerly the Washington 

Department of Wildlife (WDW)). Resident and migratory forms may be 

found together, and bull trout may produce offspring exhibiting either 

resident or migratory behavior (Rieman and McIntyre 1993).

    Compared to other salmonids, bull trout have more specific habitat 

requirements (Rieman and McIntyre 1993) that appear to influence their 

distribution and abundance. Critical parameters include water 

temperature, cover, channel form and stability, valley form, spawning 

and rearing substrates, and migratory corridors (Oliver 1979; Pratt 

1984, 1992; Fraley and Shepard 1989; Goetz 1989; Hoelscher and Bjornn 

1989; Sedell and Everest 1991; Howell and Buchanan 1992; Rieman and

[[Page 58911]]

McIntyre 1993, 1995; Rich 1996; Watson and Hillman 1997). Watson and 

Hillman (1997) concluded that watersheds must have specific physical 

characteristics to provide the necessary habitat requirements for bull 

trout spawning and rearing, and that the characteristics are not 

necessarily ubiquitous throughout watersheds in which bull trout occur. 

Because bull trout exhibit a patchy distribution, even in undisturbed 

habitats (Rieman and McIntyre 1993), fish would not likely occupy all 

available habitats simultaneously (Rieman et al. 1997).

    Bull trout are typically associated with the colder streams in a 

river system, although fish can occur throughout larger river systems 

(Fraley and Shepard 1989; Rieman and McIntyre 1993, 1995; Buchanan and 

Gregory 1997; Rieman et al. 1997). For example, water temperature above 

15 deg. C (59 deg. F) is believed to negatively influence bull trout 

distribution, which partially explains the generally patchy 

distribution within a watershed (Fraley and Shepard 1989; Rieman and 

McIntyre 1995). Spawning areas are often associated with cold-water 

springs, groundwater infiltration, and the coldest streams in a given 

watershed (Pratt 1992; Rieman and McIntyre 1993; Rieman et al. 1997).

    All life history stages of bull trout are associated with complex 

forms of cover, including large woody debris, undercut banks, boulders, 

and pools (Oliver 1979; Fraley and Shepard 1989; Goetz 1989; Hoelscher 

and Bjornn 1989; Sedell and Everest 1991; Pratt 1992; Thomas 1992; Rich 

1996; Sexauer and James 1997; Watson and Hillman 1997). Jakober (1995) 

observed bull trout overwintering in deep beaver ponds or pools 

containing large woody debris in the Bitterroot River drainage, 

Montana, and suggested that suitable winter habitat may be more 

restrictive than summer habitat. Maintaining bull trout populations 

requires stream channel and flow stability (Rieman and McIntyre 1993). 

Juvenile and adult bull trout frequently inhabit side channels, stream 

margins, and pools with suitable cover (Sexauer and James 1997). These 

areas are sensitive to activities that directly or indirectly affect 

stream channel stability and alter natural flow patterns. For example, 

altered stream flow in the fall may disrupt bull trout during the 

spawning period, and channel instability may decrease survival of eggs 

and young juveniles in the gravel during winter through spring (Fraley 

and Shepard 1989; Pratt 1992; Pratt and Huston 1993).

    Preferred spawning habitat generally consists of low gradient 

stream reaches often found in high gradient streams that have loose, 

clean gravel (Fraley and Shepard 1989) and water temperatures of 5 to 

9 deg. C (41 to 48 deg. F) in late summer to early fall (Goetz 1989). 

Pratt (1992) reported that increases in fine sediments reduce egg 

survival and emergence. High juvenile densities were observed in Swan 

River, Montana, and tributaries characterized by diverse cobble 

substrate and a low percent of fine sediments (Shepard et al. 1984).

    The size and age of maturity for bull trout is variable depending 

upon life-history strategy. Growth of resident fish is generally slower 

than migratory fish; resident fish tend to be smaller at maturity and 

less fecund (productive) (Fraley and Shepard 1989; Goetz 1989). 

Resident adults range from 150 to 300 millimeters (mm) (6 to 12 inches 

(in)) total length and migratory adults commonly reach 600 mm (24 in) 

or more (Pratt 1985; Goetz 1989). The largest verified bull trout is a 

14.6 kilogram (kg) (32 pound (lb)) specimen caught in Lake Pend 

Oreille, Idaho, in 1949 (Simpson and Wallace 1982).

    Bull trout normally reach sexual maturity in 4 to 7 years and can 

live 12 or more years. Biologists report repeat and alternate year 

spawning, although repeat spawning frequency and post-spawning 

mortality are not well known (Leathe and Graham 1982; Fraley and 

Shepard 1989; Pratt 1992; Rieman and McIntyre 1996). Bull trout 

typically spawn from August to November during periods of decreasing 

water temperatures. However, migratory bull trout may begin spawning 

migrations as early as April, and move upstream as far as 250 

kilometers (km) (155 miles (mi)) to spawning grounds in some areas of 

their range (Fraley and Shepard 1989; Swanberg 1997). In the Blackfoot 

River, Montana, bull trout began spawning migrations in response to 

increasing temperatures (Swanberg 1997). Temperatures during spawning 

generally range from 4 to 10 deg. C (39 to 51 deg. F), with redds 

(spawning beds) often constructed in stream reaches fed by springs or 

near other sources of cold groundwater (Goetz 1989; Pratt 1992; Rieman 

and McIntyre 1996). Depending on water temperature, egg incubation is 

normally 100 to 145 days (Pratt 1992), and juveniles remain in the 

substrate after hatching. Time from egg deposition to emergence may 

surpass 200 days. Fry normally emerge from early April through May 

depending upon water temperatures and increasing stream flows (Pratt 

1992; Ratliff and Howell 1992).

    Bull trout are opportunistic feeders, with food habits primarily a 

function of size and life-history strategy. Resident and juvenile bull 

trout prey on terrestrial and aquatic insects, macro-zooplankton, 

amphipods, mysids, crayfish, and small fish (Wyman 1975; Rieman and 

Lukens 1979 in Rieman and McIntyre 1993; Boag 1987; Goetz 1989; Donald 

and Alger 1993). Adult migratory bull trout are primarily piscivorous, 

known to feed on various trout and salmon species (Onchorynchus spp.), 

whitefish (Prosopium spp.), yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and sculpin 

(Cottus spp.) (Fraley and Shepard 1989; Donald and Alger 1993).

    In the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River population 

segments, bull trout co-evolved with, and in some areas, co-occur with 

native cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki subspecies (ssp.)), 

migratory rainbow trout (O. mykiss ssp.), chinook salmon (O. 

tshawytscha), coho salmon (O. kisutch), sockeye salmon (O. nerka), 

mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni), pygmy whitefish (P. 

coulteri), and various sculpin, sucker (Catastomidae) and minnow 

(Cyprinidae) species (Rieman and McIntyre 1993; R2 Resource 

Consultants, Inc. 1993). Bull trout habitat within the coterminous 

United States overlaps with the range of several fishes listed as 

threatened or endangered, and proposed or petitioned for listing under 

the Act, including endangered Snake River sockeye salmon (November 20, 

1991; 56 FR 58619); threatened Snake River spring and fall chinook 

salmon (April 22, 1992; 57 FR 14653); endangered Kootenai River white 

sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) (September 6, 1994; 59 FR 45989); 

threatened and endangered steelhead (August 18, 1997; 62 FR 43937); 

threatened Puget Sound chinook salmon (March 9, 1998; 63 FR 11481); 

threatened Hood Canal summer-run chum salmon and Columbia River chum 

salmon (March 25, 1999; 64 FR 14507); proposed threatened status for 

southwestern Washington/Columbia River coastal cutthroat trout (April 

5, 1999; 64 FR 16397); and westslope cutthroat trout in northern Idaho, 

eastern Washington, and northwest Montana (O. c. lewisi) for which a 

status review is currently underway (June 10, 1998; 63 FR 31691).

    Widespread introductions of non-native fishes, including brook 

trout (Salmo fontinalis), lake trout (S. namaycush) (west of the 

Continental Divide), and brown trout (Salmo trutta) and hatchery 

rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), have also occurred across the 

range of bull trout. These non-native fishes are often associated with 

local bull trout declines and extirpations (Bond 1992; Ziller

[[Page 58912]]

1992; Donald and Alger 1993; Leary et al. 1993; Montana Bull Trout 

Scientific Group (MBTSG) 1996a,h). East of the Continental Divide, in 

the St. Mary-Belly River drainage, bull trout co-evolved with lake 

trout and westslope cutthroat trout (Fredenberg 1996). In this portion 

of their range, bull trout and lake trout have apparently partitioned 

habitat with lake trout dominating lentic (i.e., lake) systems, 

relegating bull trout to riverine systems and the fluvial life-history 

form (Donald and Alger 1993).

    Bull trout habitat in the coterminous United States is found in a 

mosaic of land ownership, including Federal, State, Tribal, and private 

lands. For the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment, over half of the 

bull trout habitat occurs on non-Federal lands. For the St. Mary-Belly 

River population segment, about two-thirds of the habitat occurs on 

Federal land (Glacier National Park) and about a third on Tribal lands 

of the Blackfeet Indian Nation.

    Migratory corridors link seasonal habitats for all bull trout life-

history forms. The ability to migrate is important to the persistence 

of local bull trout subpopulations (Rieman and McIntyre 1993; Mike 

Gilpin, University of California, in litt. 1997; Rieman and Clayton 

1997; Rieman et al. 1997). Migrations facilitate gene flow among local 

subpopulations if individuals from different subpopulations interbreed 

when some return to non-natal streams. Migratory fish may also 

reestablish extirpated local subpopulations.

    Metapopulation concepts of conservation biology theory may be 

applicable to the distribution and characteristics of bull trout 

(Rieman and McIntyre 1993; Kanda 1998). A metapopulation is an 

interacting network of local subpopulations with varying frequencies of 

migration and gene flow among them (Meffe and Carroll 1994). 

Metapopulations provide a mechanism for reducing risk because the 

simultaneous loss of all subpopulations is unlikely. Although local 

subpopulations may become extinct, they can be reestablished by 

individuals from other local subpopulations. However, because bull 

trout exhibit strong homing fidelity when spawning and their rate of 

straying appears to be low, natural re-establishment of extinct local 

subpopulations may take a very long time. Habitat alteration, primarily 

through construction of impoundments, dams, and water diversions, has 

fragmented habitats, eliminated migratory corridors, and isolated bull 

trout, often in the headwaters of tributaries (Rieman et al. 1997).

Distinct Population Segments

    Using the best available scientific and commercial information, we 

identified five distinct population segments (DPSs) of bull trout in 

the coterminous United States--(1) Klamath River, (2) Columbia River, 

(3) Coastal-Puget Sound, (4) Jarbidge River, and (5) St. Mary-Belly 

River. The final listing determination for the Klamath River and 

Columbia River bull trout DPSs on June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31647), includes 

a detailed description of the rationale behind the DPS delineation for 

those two population segments. The Jarbidge River DPS final listing 

determination was made on April 8, 1999 (64 FR 17110). However, the DPS 

policy, published on February 7, 1996 (61 FR 4722), is intended for 

cases where only a segment of a species' range needs the protections of 

the Act, rather than the entire range of a species. Although the bull 

trout DPSs are disjunct and geographically isolated from one another 

with no genetic interchange between them due to natural and man-made 

barriers, collectively, they include the entire distribution of the 

bull trout in the coterminous United States. In accordance with the DPS 

policy, our authority to list DPSs is to be exercised sparingly. Thus a 

coterminous listing is appropriate in this case. In recognition of the 

scientific basis for the identification of these bull trout population 

segments as DPSs, and for the purposes of consultation and recovery 

planning, we will continue to refer to these populations as DPSs. These 

DPSs will serve as interim recovery units in the absence of an approved 

recovery plan.

Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    The Coastal-Puget Sound bull trout DPS encompasses all Pacific 

Coast drainages within the coterminous United States north of the 

Columbia River in Washington, including those flowing into Puget Sound. 

This population segment is discrete because it is geographically 

segregated from other subpopulations by the Pacific Ocean and the crest 

of the Cascade Mountain Range. The population segment is significant to 

the species as a whole because it is thought to contain the only 

anadromous forms of bull trout in the coterminous United States, thus, 

occurring in a unique ecological setting. In addition, the loss of this 

population segment would significantly reduce the overall range of the 


St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    The St. Mary-Belly River DPS is located in northwest Montana east 

of the Continental Divide. Both the St. Mary and Belly rivers are 

tributaries of the Saskatchewan River Basin in Alberta, Canada. The 

population segment is discrete because it is segregated from other bull 

trout by the Continental Divide and is the only bull trout population 

found east of the Continental Divide in the coterminous United States. 

The population segment is significant because its loss would result in 

a significant reduction in the range of the taxon within the 

coterminous United States. Bull trout in this population segment 

migrate across the international border with Canada (Clayton 1998).

Status and Distribution

    To facilitate evaluation of current bull trout distribution and 

abundance for the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River 

population segments, we analyzed data on a subpopulation basis within 

each population segment because fragmentation and barriers have 

isolated bull trout. A subpopulation is considered a reproductively 

isolated bull trout group that spawns within a particular area(s) of a 

river system. In areas where two groups of bull trout are separated by 

a barrier (e.g., an impassable dam or waterfall, or reaches of 

unsuitable habitat) that may allow only downstream access (i.e., one-

way passage), both groups were considered subpopulations. In addition, 

subpopulations were considered at risk of extirpation from natural 

events if they were: (1) Unlikely to be reestablished by individuals 

from another subpopulation (i.e., functionally or geographically 

isolated from other subpopulations); (2) limited to a single spawning 

area (i.e., spatially restricted); and (3) characterized by low 

individual or spawner numbers; or (4) consisted primarily of a single 

life-history form. For example, a subpopulation of resident fish 

isolated upstream of an impassable waterfall would be considered at 

risk of extirpation from natural events if it had low numbers of fish 

that spawn in a relatively restricted area. In such cases, a natural 

event such as a fire or flood could eliminate the subpopulation, and, 

subsequently, reestablishment of the subpopulation from fish downstream 

would be prevented by the impassable waterfall. However, a 

subpopulation residing downstream of the waterfall would not be 

considered at risk of extirpation because of potential reestablishment 


[[Page 58913]]

fish from upstream. Because resident bull trout may exhibit limited 

downstream movement (Nelson 1996), our estimate of subpopulations at 

risk of natural extirpation may be underestimated. The status of 

subpopulations was based on modified criteria of Rieman et al. (1997), 

including the abundance, trends in abundance, and the presence of life-

history forms of bull trout.

    We considered a bull trout subpopulation ``strong'' if 5,000 

individuals or 500 spawners likely occur in the subpopulation, 

abundance appears stable or increasing, and life-history forms 

historically present were likely to persist. A subpopulation was 

considered ``depressed'' if less than 5,000 individuals or 500 spawners 

likely occur in the subpopulation, abundance appears to be declining, 

or a life-history form historically present has been lost (Rieman et 

al.1997). If there was insufficient abundance, trend, and life-history 

information to classify the status of a subpopulation as either 

``strong'' or ``depressed,'' the status was considered ``unknown.'' It 

should be noted that the assignment of ``unknown'' status implies only 

a deficiency of available data to assign a subpopulation as ``strong'' 

or ``depressed,'' not a lack of information regarding the threats. 

Section 4 of the Act requires us to make a determination solely on the 

best scientific and commercial data available.

Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    The Coastal-Puget Sound bull trout population segment encompasses 

all Pacific coast drainages within Washington, including Puget Sound. 

No bull trout exist in coastal drainages south of the Columbia River. 

Within this area, bull trout often occur with (i.e., are sympatric) 

Dolly Varden. Because the two species are virtually impossible to 

visually differentiate, the WDFW currently manages bull trout and Dolly 

Varden together as ``native char.'' Previously, we delineated a total 

of 35 subpopulations of ``native char'' (bull trout, Dolly Varden, or 

both species) within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment 

published on June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31693). Upon further review, we 

revised the total number of subpopulations to 34. In order to be fully 

consistent with the defined subpopulation criteria, we concluded that 

the Puyallup River Basin only has two subpopulations as opposed to 

three, which are the upper Puyallup River and the lower Puyallup 

(includes Carbon River and White River).

    Bull trout and Dolly Varden can be differentiated by both genetic 

and morphological-meristic (measurements and counts) analyses, of which 

biologists have conducted one or both analyses on 15 of the 34 

subpopulations. To date, we have documented bull trout in 12 of 15 

subpopulations investigated (five with only bull trout, three with only 

Dolly Varden, and seven with both species), and it is likely that bull 

trout occur in the majority of the remaining 19 subpopulations (Service 

1998a). Although we only documented three of the tested ``native char'' 

subpopulations as containing Dolly Varden at this time, we are not yet 

confident in excluding these subpopulations from the listing. We 

believe it would be premature to conclude that bull trout do not exist 

in these subpopulations given the limited sample sizes used in the 

analyses, the location of the subpopulations, and the evidence that 

bull trout and Dolly Varden can frequently co-exist together. In order 

to identify trends that may be specific to certain geographic areas, 

the 34 ``native char'' subpopulations were grouped into five analysis 

areas--Coastal, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal, Puget Sound, and 


Coastal Analysis Area

    Ten ``native char'' subpopulations occur in five river basins in 

the Coastal analysis area (number of subpopulations)--Chehalis River-

Grays Harbor (1), Coastal Plains-Quinault River (5), Queets River (1), 

Hoh River-Goodman Creek (2), and Quillayute River (1). Recent efforts 

to determine species composition in three subpopulations documented 

bull trout in at least two, the upper Quinault River and Queets River 

(Leary and Allendorf 1997; WDFW 1997a). Biologists identified only 

Dolly Varden in the upper Sol Duc River to date (Cavender 1978, 1984; 

WDFW 1997a).

    Subpopulations of ``native char'' in the southwestern portion of 

the coastal area appear to be in low abundance based on anecdotal 

information (Mongillo 1993). Because this is the southern extent of 

coastal bull trout and Dolly Varden, abundance may be naturally low in 

systems like the Chehalis, Moclips, and Copalis rivers (WDFW 1997a). In 

recent years, there have been even fewer reports of incidental catches 

of ``native char'' in the Chehalis River Basin. In 1997, a single 

juvenile was captured in a downstream migrant trap on the mainstem of 

the Chehalis River (WDFW 1998a). Although little historical and current 

information is known concerning bull trout in these river basins, 

habitat degradation in the past has adversely affected other salmonids 

(Phinney and Bucknell 1975; Hiss and Knudsen 1993; WDFW 1997a). Habitat 

degradation in these basins is assumed to have similarly affected bull 

trout. Although ``native char'' are believed to be relatively more 

abundant in the Quinault River, extensive portions of the Basin have 

been degraded by past forest management (Phinney and Bucknell 1975; 

WDFW 1997a).

    Most ``native char'' subpopulations in the northwestern coastal 

area occur partially within Olympic National Park, which contains 

relatively undisturbed habitats. However, outside Olympic National 

Park, ``native char'' habitat has been severely degraded by past forest 

practices in the Queets River and Hoh River basins (Phinney and 

Bucknell 1975; WDFW 1997a). Non-native brook trout have been stocked in 

many of the high lakes and streams in the Olympic National Park. Brook 

trout are present in the upper Sol Duc subpopulation and threaten this 

subpopulation from competition and hybridization (Service 1998a). Data 

collected while seining for outmigrating salmon smolts on the Queets 

River indicate a decline in ``native char'' catch rate from 3.3 fish/

day in 1977 to 1 fish/day by 1984 (WDFW 1997a). From 1985 to the time 

seining was discontinued in 1991, catch rate remained relatively stable 

at approximately 1.5 fish/day. The WDFW believes that the Hoh River may 

have the largest subpopulation of ``native char'' on the Washington 

coast, although their numbers have greatly declined since 1982 (WDFW in 

litt. 1992; WDFW 1997a). Reasons for the decline are unknown, but 

overfishing is believed to be a contributing factor (WDFW 1997a; WDFW, 

in litt. 1997). Forty-one and 31 adult ``native char'' were observed 

during snorkel surveys of a 17.6-km (11-mi) section of the South Fork 

Hoh River in 1994 and 1995, respectively (WDFW 1997a). We consider the 

Hoh River subpopulation ``depressed.'' The status of the remaining nine 

``native char'' subpopulations in the coastal analysis area is 

``unknown'' because insufficient abundance, trend, and life-history 

information is available (Service 1998a). Although the status of these 

subpopulations is unknown, we believe that anecdotal information, such 

as described for the Chehalis River-Grays Harbor and Queets River 

subpopulations, indicate declines in abundance in other subpopulations 

within the coastal analysis area.

[[Page 58914]]

Strait of Juan de Fuca Analysis Area

    Five ``native char'' subpopulations occur in three river basins in 

the Strait of Juan de Fuca analysis area (number of subpopulations)--

Elwha River (2), Angeles Basin (1), and Dungeness River (2). Recent 

efforts to determine species composition in three subpopulations have 

documented bull trout in at least two, the upper Elwha River and lower 

Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River (Leary and Allendorf 1997; WDFW 1997a). 

Only Dolly Varden have been identified in the upper Dungeness River 

subpopulation to date (WDFW 1997a).

    The two subpopulations in the Dungeness River Basin occur partially 

within Olympic National Park and Buckhorn Wilderness Area, and likely 

benefit from the relatively undisturbed habitats located there. 

However, non-native brook trout occur in some streams in the park. 

Large portions of the Dungeness River Basin lie outside of Olympic 

National Park, and have been severely degraded by past forest and 

agricultural practices (Williams et al. 1975; WDFW 1997a). Within 

Olympic National Park, the lower and upper Elwha River subpopulations 

are isolated by dams. Biologists have observed few ``native char'' in 

the lower Elwha subpopulation in recent years. Since 1983, one or two 

individuals have been seen each year in a chinook salmon rearing 

channel located in the lower Elwha River (WDFW 1997a). A creel census, 

conducted in 1981 and 1982 on the Elwha River reservoirs of the upper 

Elwha River subpopulation, reported that ``native char'' were found in 

low numbers (WDFW 1997a). Although ``native char'' are believed to be 

widespread in some basins within the analysis area, such as the 

Dungeness and Gray Wolf rivers, fish abundance is thought to be 

``greatly reduced in numbers'' (WDW, in litt. 1992; WDFW 1997a). 

Electrofishing surveys conducted in four sections of the upper 

Dungeness River subpopulation during 1996 recorded an overall ``native 

char'' density of 0.78 fish/meter (2.56 fish/foot) for the four 

sections (WDFW 1997a). These preliminary surveys indicate that the 

upper Dungeness River subpopulation may be ``strong.'' We consider the 

lower Elwha River subpopulation ``depressed'' because less than 500 

spawners likely occur in the subpopulation, and the lower Dungeness 

River-Gray Wolf River ``depressed'' because abundance has declined. The 

remaining three ``native char'' subpopulations in the Strait of Juan de 

Fuca coastal analysis area have ``unknown'' status because insufficient 

abundance, trend, and life-history information is available (Service 


Hood Canal Analysis Area

    Three ``native char'' subpopulations occur in the Skokomish River 

Basin in the Hood Canal analysis area. Surveys by Brown (1992) and 

Brenkman (1996 in WDFW 1997) documented bull trout in Cushman 

Reservoir, and Leary and Allendorf (1997) and WDFW (1997a) documented 

bull trout in the South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River. Due to 

the construction of Cushman Dam on the North Fork Skokomish River, bull 

trout in Cushman Reservoir are isolated and restricted to an adfluvial 

life-history form. Spawner surveys, which began in 1973, indicate a 

decline in adult bull trout through the 1970s, subsequent increases 

from 4 adults in 1985 to 412 adults in 1993, and relatively stable 

numbers of 250 to 300 spawning adults in recent years (WDFW 1997a). The 

increase in adult bull trout from 1985 to 1993 is likely related to 

harvest closure on Cushman Reservoir and upper North Fork Skokomish 

River in 1986 (Brown 1992). Recent surveys indicate low numbers of bull 

trout in tributaries of the South Fork Skokomish River such as Church, 

Pine, Cedar, LeBar, Brown, Rock, Flat, and Vance creeks, as well as in 

the mainstem (Larry Ogg, Olympia National Forest (ONF), in litt. 1997). 

Past forest and agricultural practices and hydropower development have 

severely degraded habitat in the South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish 

River (Williams et al. 1975; Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC) 

1995; WDFW 1997a). The upper North Fork Skokomish River subpopulation 

occurs within Olympic National Park and habitat is relatively 

undisturbed. We consider the South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish 

River subpopulation ``depressed,'' because fewer than 500 spawners and 

fewer than 5,000 individuals likely occur in the subpopulation. 

Although the number of spawning adult bull trout appears to have been 

relatively stable in the Cushman Reservoir subpopulation since 1990, 

under our analysis, this population is consider ``depressed'' based on 

the criteria used to determine subpopulation status (i.e., less than 

500 spawning adults). The status of the upper North Fork Skokomish 

subpopulation is considered ``unknown'' because insufficient abundance, 

trend, and life-history information is available (Service 1998a).

Puget Sound Analysis Area

    Fifteen ``native char'' subpopulations occur in eight river basins 

in the Puget Sound analysis area (number of subpopulations)--Nisqually 

River (1), Puyallup River (2), Green River (1), Lake Washington Basin 

(2), Snohomish River-Skykomish River (1), Stillaguamish River (1), 

Skagit River (4), and Nooksack River (3). Recent surveys of seven 

``native char'' subpopulations have documented bull trout in at least 

six--lower Puyallup (Carbon River), Green River, Chester Morse 

Reservoir, Snohomish River-Skykomish River, lower Skagit River, and 

upper Middle Fork Nooksack River (R2 Resource Consultants, Inc. 1993; 

Samora and Girdner 1993; Kraemer 1994; Michael Barclay, Cascades 

Environmental Services, Inc., pers. comm. 1997; Leary and Allendorf 

1997; Eric Warner, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, pers. comm. 1997). Leary 

and Allendorf (1997) identified only Dolly Varden in the Canyon Creek 

(tributary to the Nooksack River) subpopulation.

    The current abundance of ``native char'' in southern Puget Sound is 

likely lower than occurred historically and declining (Tom Cropp, WDW, 

in litt. 1993; Fred Goetz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), pers. 

comm. 1994a,b). Historical accounts from southern Puget Sound indicate 

that anadromous ``native char'' entered rivers there in ``vast 

numbers'' during the fall and were harvested until Christmas (Suckley 

and Cooper 1860). ``Native char'' are now rarely collected in the 

southern drainages of the area (T. Cropp, in litt. 1993; F. Goetz, 

pers. comm. 1994a,b). There is only one recent record of a ``native 

char'' being collected in the Nisqually River. A juvenile char was 

collected during a stream survey for salmon in the mid-1980s (George 

Walter, Nisqually Indian Tribe, pers. comm. 1997; WDFW 1997a). In the 

Puyallup River (lower Puyallup subpopulation), ``native char'' are 

occasionally caught by steelhead anglers (WDW, in litt. 1992; WDFW 

1997a). In the White River (lower Puyallup subpopulation), counts of 

upstream migrating ``native char'' at the Buckley diversion dam have 

averaged 23 adults since 1987. Although trapping effort has varied 

during the past 11 years, annual counts have generally been poor to 

moderate, ranging from a low of 8 to a high of 46 adult ``native char'' 

(WDFW 1998a). In the Green River, ``native char'' are rarely observed 

(T. Cropp, in litt. 1993; F. Goetz, pers. comm. 1994a,b; E. Warner, 

pers. comm. 1997). Aquatic habitat in the Nisqually, Puyallup, and 

Green rivers has been variously degraded by logging, agriculture, road 

construction, and urban development. In the Chester Morse Reservoir

[[Page 58915]]

subpopulation, biologists observed fewer than 10 redds as recently as 

1995 and 1996; and fry abundance was low in spring 1996 and 1997 

(Dwayne Paige, Seattle Water Department, in litt. 1997). Logging and 

extensive road construction have occurred within the Basin (Foster 

Wheeler Environmental 1995; WDFW 1997a), and likely affected bull trout 

in Chester Morse Reservoir. Only two ``native char'' have been observed 

during the past 10 years in the Issaquah Creek drainage and none have 

been observed in the Sammamish River system, which are occupied by the 

Sammamish River-Issaquah Creek subpopulation. It is questionable 

whether a viable subpopulation remains. Habitat in the Sammamish River 

and Issaquah Creek drainages has been negatively affected by 

urbanization, road building and associated poor water quality (Williams 

et al. 1975; Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) 1997). We consider 

the Nisqually River, Green River, Chester Morse Reservoir, Sammamish 

River-Issaquah Creek, and lower Puyallup subpopulations ``depressed'' 

based on fewer than 500 spawning adults and a decline in general 


    Drainages in the northern Puget Sound area appear to support larger 

subpopulations of ``native char'' than the southern portion (F. Goetz, 

pers. comm. 1994a, b; Steve Fransen, Service, pers. comm. 1997). The 

WDFW conducts redd counts in two index reaches of the northern Puget 

Sound; a reach in the upper South Fork Sauk River that is included in 

the lower Skagit River subpopulation, and a reach in the upper North 

Fork Skykomish River that is included in the Snohomish River-Skykomish 

River subpopulation. These areas are said to have healthy habitats 

supporting stable numbers of ``native char'' (Kraemer 1994). Biologists 

have conducted redd surveys since 1988 in both index reaches. In the 

upper South Fork Sauk River, WDFW (1997a) observed a substantial 

increase in redds in 1991, a year after a minimum 

508-mm (20-in) harvest restriction was implemented; and redd numbers 

have remained relatively stable at or above 34. The State implemented 

harvest restrictions in the Skagit River and its tributaries in 1990. 

``Native char'' in the lower Skagit River subpopulation have access to 

at least 38 documented or suspected spawning tributaries (WDFW et al. 

1997) with the number of adults estimated to be 8,000 to 10,000 fish 

(Curt Kraemer, WDFW, pers. comm. 1998). The number of redds in the 

upper North Fork Skykomish River index reach have averaged 78 redds 

(range 21 to 159) during 1988 through 1996, with 75 or fewer redds 

observed between 1993 and 1996 (WDFW 1997a). A total of 170 redds were 

counted in 1997 (WDFW 1998a). Redd counts in the North Fork Skykomish 

River index reach have been more variable between years than the South 

Fork Sauk River index reach. The upper Skagit River is fragmented into 

three reservoirs from the construction of Gorge, Diablo, and Ross dams 

(WDFW 1997a). The primary spawning area for the Gorge Reservoir 

subpopulation is said to be the lower Steattle Creek and a portion of 

the Skagit River below Diablo Dam (WDFW 1997a). The primary spawning 

areas for the Diablo Reservoir subpopulation is thought be in the 

Thunder Arm area, including Fisher Creek (WDFW 1997a), although WDFW et 

al. (1997) did not locate any ``native char'' adults or juveniles 

upstream of the mouth of Thunder Creek during snorkel and 

electrofishing surveys. Within Ross Reservoir, it is reported that 

spawning occurs in lower reach areas of at least six tributaries, in 

addition to a portion of the upper Skagit River in Canada (WDFW 1997a). 

Biologists have documented ``native char'' spawning in at least seven 

creeks in the Stillaguamish River subpopulation and in five creeks and 

several mainstem areas of the Lower Nooksack River subpopulation. 

Biologists have also observed ``native char'' in at least four creeks 

in the upper Middle Fork Nooksack River subpopulation. Neither adult 

count data nor redd count data is available for these six 

subpopulations (WDFW 1997a). Within the Puget Sound analysis area, we 

consider the lower Skagit River subpopulation ``strong,'' based on a 

large number of spawning adults and high overall abundance. We consider 

five subpopulations within the Puget Sound analysis area ``depressed'' 

and the status of the remaining nine ``native char'' subpopulations in 

the Puget Sound analysis area ``unknown'' because insufficient 

abundance, trend, and life-history information is available (Service 


Transboundary Analysis Area

    One ``native char'' subpopulation occurs in the Chilliwack River 

Basin in the Transboundary analysis area. The Chilliwack River is a 

transboundary system flowing into British Columbia, Canada. We have not 

determined the species composition of this subpopulation. In 

Washington, portions of the Chilliwack River are within the North 

Cascades National Park and a tributary, Selesia Creek, are within the 

Mount Baker Wilderness where the habitat is relatively undisturbed 

(WDFW 1997a). Little information is available for ``native char'' in 

the Chilliwack River-Selesia Creek subpopulation (Service 1998a). The 

current status of the ``native char'' subpopulations in the 

Transboundary analysis area is ``unknown'' because insufficient 

abundance, trend, and life-history information is available (Service 


St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    Much of the historical information regarding bull trout in the St. 

Mary-Belly River DPS is anecdotal and abundance information is limited. 

Bull trout probably entered the system via postglacial dispersal routes 

from the Columbia River through either the Kootenai River or Flathead 

River systems (Fredenberg 1996). The St. Mary River system historically 

contained native bull trout, lake trout, and westslope cutthroat trout. 

Although abundance of these fishes is unknown, the presence of lake 

trout suggests that migratory bull trout were restricted primarily to 

streams and rivers and not common in lakes (Donald and Alger 1993). 

Within the St. Mary River system, historic accounts of bull trout date 

to the 1930s (Fredenberg 1996). In the Belly River, historic 

distribution of bull trout in the Basin is limited but migratory bull 

trout from Canada likely spawned in the North Fork and mainstem Belly 


    Both migratory (fluvial) and resident life-history forms are 

present (Fredenberg 1996), although bull trout within the St. Mary-

Belly River DPS are isolated and fragmented by irrigation dams and 

diversions (Fredenberg 1996; Clayton 1998; Robin Wagner, Service, pers. 

comm. 1998). Bull trout that migrate across the international border 

are dependent upon the relatively undisturbed water quality and 

spawning habitat located in the upper St. Mary and Belly rivers and 

their tributaries within the coterminous United States (Fredenberg 


    Based on natural and artificial barriers to fish passage within the 

St. Mary-Belly River DPS, we identified four bull trout 

subpopulations--(1) Upper St. Mary River (from the U.S. Bureau of 

Reclamation (USBR) diversion structure on lower St. Mary Lake upstream 

to St. Mary Falls, including Swiftcurrent and Boulder creeks below Lake 

Sherburne, and Red Eagle and Divide creeks); (2) Swiftcurrent Creek 

(including tributaries and Lake Sherburne and Cracker Lake); (3) lower 

St. Mary River (St. Mary River downstream of the USBR diversion 

structure including Kennedy, Otatso, and Lee creeks); and (4) Belly 

River (mainstem and North

[[Page 58916]]

Fork Belly River) (Service 1998b). Based on 1997 and 1998 trapping of 

post-spawning adults, fewer than 100 fish existed in the Boulder Creek 

and Kennedy Creek spawning populations (Lynn Kaeding, Service, in litt. 

1998). These two streams include the strongest known spawning runs in 

the upper St. Mary River and lower St. Mary River subpopulations, 

respectively, and evaluation of these streams is continuing. Based on 

studies conducted in 1996 and 1997, the Belly River drainage is thought 

to contain fewer than 100 adult bull trout (Clayton 1998). The status 

of the upper St. Mary River, lower St. Mary River, and North Fork Belly 

River bull trout subpopulations is ``depressed'' because fewer than 500 

spawning adults or 5,000 total bull trout occur in the subpopulations. 

The status of the Swiftcurrent Creek subpopulation is ``unknown'' 

because insufficient abundance, trend, and life-history information is 

available (Service 1998b).

    In summary, we considered the information received during the 

public comment period on the abundance, trends in abundance, and 

distribution of bull trout in the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-

Belly River population segments. The Coastal-Puget Sound population 

segment includes the only anadromous bull trout found in the 

coterminous United States. The population segment is composed of 34 

``native char'' subpopulations of which bull trout have been documented 

in 12 of 15 subpopulations examined. The remaining 19 subpopulations 

consist of ``native char'' that may include bull trout, Dolly Varden, 

or both species. At this time, the only ``native char'' documented in 

three of the subpopulations is Dolly Varden. Of the 34 subpopulations, 

we believe one is ``strong,'' 10 are ``depressed,'' and insufficient 

abundance, trends in abundance, and life-history information exists to 

assign either category to the remaining 23 subpopulations.

    The St. Mary-Belly River population segment of bull trout is 

composed of four subpopulations and represents the only area of bull 

trout range east of the Continental Divide within the coterminous 

United States. Migratory fish occur in three of the subpopulations and 

the life-history form in the fourth subpopulation is unknown. Bull 

trout subpopulations in the St. Mary River Basin are isolated by 

impassable diversion structures. Three of the four subpopulations are 

``depressed'' due to low abundance of fish, and the status of one 

subpopulation is ``unknown'' because insufficient abundance, trends in 

abundance, and life-history information exists to categorize the 

subpopulations as ``strong'' or ``depressed.''

Previous Federal Action

    On October 30, 1992, we received a petition to list the bull trout 

as an endangered species throughout its range from the following 

conservation organizations in Montana: Alliance for the Wild Rockies, 

Inc., Friends of the Wild Swan, and Swan View Coalition (petitioners). 

The petitioners also requested an emergency listing and concurrent 

critical habitat designation for bull trout populations in select 

aquatic ecosystems where the biological information indicated that the 

species was in imminent danger of extinction. In our 90-day finding, 

published on May 17, 1993 (58 FR 28849), we determined that the 

petitioners had provided substantial information indicating that 

listing of the species may be warranted. We initiated a rangewide 

status review of the species concurrent with publication of the 90-day 


    In our June 10, 1994, 12-month finding (59 FR 30254), we concluded 

that listing the bull trout throughout its range was not warranted due 

to unavailable or insufficient data regarding threats to, and status 

and population trends of, the species within Canada and Alaska. 

However, we determined that sufficient information on the biological 

vulnerability and threats to the species was available to support a 

warranted 12-month finding to list bull trout within the coterminous 

United States, but this action was precluded due to higher priority 


    On November 1, 1994, Friends of the Wild Swan, Inc. and Alliance 

for the Wild Rockies, Inc. (plaintiffs) filed suit in the U.S. District 

Court of Oregon (Court) arguing that the warranted but precluded 

finding was arbitrary and capricious. After we recycled the petition 

and issued a new warranted but precluded 12-month finding for the 

coterminous population of bull trout on June 12, 1995 (60 FR 30825), 

the Court issued an order declaring the plaintiffs' challenge to the 

original finding moot. The plaintiffs declined to amend their complaint 

and appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that 

the plaintiffs' challenge fell ``within the exception to the mootness 

doctrine for claims that are capable of repetition yet evading 

review.'' On April 2, 1996, the Circuit Court remanded the case back to 

the District Court. On November 13, 1996, the Court issued an order and 

opinion remanding the original finding to us for further consideration. 

Included in the instructions from the Court were requirements that we 

limit our review to the 1994 administrative record, and incorporate any 

emergency listings or high magnitude threat determinations into current 

listing priorities. We delivered the reconsidered 12-month finding 

based on the 1994 Administrative Record to the Court on March 13, 1997. 

We concluded in the finding that two populations of bull trout 

warranted listing (Klamath River and Columbia River population 


    On March 24, 1997, the plaintiffs filed a motion for mandatory 

injunction to compel us to issue a proposed rule to list the Klamath 

River and Columbia River bull trout populations within 30 days based 

solely on the 1994 Administrative Record. On April 4, 1997, we 

requested 60 days to prepare and review the proposed rule. In a 

stipulation between us and plaintiffs filed with the Court on April 11, 

1997, we agreed to issue a proposed rule within 60 days to list the 

Klamath River population of bull trout as endangered and the Columbia 

River population of bull trout as threatened based solely on the 1994 


    We proposed the Klamath River population of bull trout as 

endangered and Columbia River population of bull trout as threatened on 

June 13, 1997 (62 FR 32268). The proposal included a 60-day comment 

period and gave notice of five public hearings in Portland, Oregon; 

Spokane, Washington; Missoula, Montana; Klamath Falls, Oregon; and 

Boise, Idaho. The comment period on the proposal, which originally 

closed on August 12, 1997, was extended to October 17, 1997 (62 FR 

42092), to provide the public with more time to compile information and 

submit comments.

    On December 4, 1997, the Court ordered us to reconsider several 

aspects of the 1997 reconsidered finding. On February 2, 1998, the 

Court gave us until June 12, 1998, to respond. The final listing 

determination for the Klamath River and Columbia River population 

segments of bull trout and the concurrent proposed listing rule for the 

Coastal-Puget Sound, St. Mary-Belly River, and Jarbidge River DPSs 

constituted our response.

    We published a final rule listing the Klamath River and Columbia 

River population segments of bull trout as threatened on June 10, 1998 

(63 FR 31647). On the same date, we also published a proposed rule to 

list the Coastal-Puget Sound, Jarbidge River, and St. Mary-Belly River 

population segments of bull trout as threatened (63 FR 31693). On 

August 11, 1998 (63 FR 42757), we issued an emergency rule listing the 

Jarbidge River population

[[Page 58917]]

segment of bull trout as endangered due to river channel alteration 

associated with unauthorized road construction on the West Fork of the 

Jarbidge River, which we found to imminently threaten the survival of 

the distinct population segment. On April 8, 1999 (64 FR 17110), we 

published the final rule to list the Jarbidge River population segment 

as threatened in the Federal Register.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31693), proposed rule, we requested 

interested parties to submit comments or information that might 

contribute to the final listing determination for bull trout. The 

proposed rule included the Coastal-Puget Sound, St. Mary-Belly River, 

and Jarbidge River bull trout DPSs. We sent announcements of the 

proposed rule and notice of public hearings to at least 800 

individuals, including Federal, State, county and city elected 

officials, State and Federal agencies, interested private citizens, and 

local area newspapers and radio stations. We also published 

announcements of the proposed rule in 10 newspapers, which included the 

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho; the Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho; the 

Glacier Reporter, Browning, Montana; the Daily Inter Lake; Kalispell, 

Montana; the Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, Montana; the Elko Daily 

Free Press, Elko, Nevada; the Bellingham Herald, Bellingham, 

Washington; the Olympian, Olympia, Washington; the Spokesman-Review, 

Spokane, Washington, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, 

Washington. We held public hearings on July 7, 1998, in Lacey, 

Washington; July 9, 1998, in Mount Vernon, Washington; July 14, 1998, 

in East Glacier, Montana; and July 21, 1998, in Jackpot, Nevada. The 

comment period on the proposed rule closed on October 8, 1998.

    We received 12 oral and 40 written comments on the proposed rule. 

These included comments from two Federal agencies, one Native American 

Tribe, three State agencies, one county in Nevada, three cities in 

Washington, and two private companies. In addition, we solicited formal 

scientific peer review of the proposal in accordance with our July 1, 

1994 (59 FR 34270), Interagency Cooperative Policy on Peer Review. We 

requested six individuals, who possess expertise in bull trout biology 

and salmonid ecology, and whose affiliations include academia and 

Federal, State, and provincial agencies, to review the proposed rule by 

the close of the comment period. One individual responded to our 

request and we have addressed their comments in this section of the 


    We considered all comments for the proposed rule for the Coastal-

Puget Sound, St. Mary-Belly River, and Jarbidge River population 

segments, including oral testimony presented at the public hearings and 

the comments from the peer reviewer who responded to our request to 

review the proposed rule. The majority of comments supported the 

listing proposal and nine comments were in opposition. Opposition was 

based on several concerns, including possible negative economic effects 

from listing bull trout; potential restrictions on activities; lack of 

solutions to the bull trout decline that would result from listing; and 

interpretation of data concerning the status of bull trout and their 

threats in the three population segments. The U.S. Forest Service 

(USFS) (B. Siminoe, USFS, in litt. 1998); National Park Service (NPS) 

(David Morris, NPS, in litt. 1998), Idaho Department of Fish and Game 

(IDFG) (F. Partridge, IDFG, in litt. 1998; Partridge and Warren 1998), 

Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW) (T. Crawforth, NDOW, in litt. 1998; 

R. Haskins, NDOW, in litt. 1998), (Bruce Crawford, WDFW, in litt. 1998; 

WDFW 1998a), and Alberta Environmental Protection (AEP) (Duane Radford, 

AEP, in litt. 1998) provided us with information on respective agency 

efforts to assess, evaluate, monitor, and conserve bull trout in 

habitats affected by each agency's management for the three DPSs. 

Comments specific to the Jarbidge River population segment were 

addressed in the final rule determination for that DPS (April 8, 1999; 

64 FR 17110). Comments specific to the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. 

Mary-Belly River population segments are addressed in this rule. 

Because multiple respondents offered similar comments, we grouped 

comments of a similar nature or point. These comments and our responses 

are presented below.

    Issue 1: Several respondents opposed the Federal listing, while 

others supported it. Some respondents requested that we delay or 

preclude Federal listing until additional data on the Coastal-Puget 

Sound population segment are collected and considered, and one 

respondent based this on the belief that some subpopulations within the 

north Puget Sound region and the Olympic Peninsula appear to be stable 

or increasing, and other subpopulations occur in excellent or pristine 

habitat. A respondent asked if complete status and trend information is 

not available, whether changes in habitat or threats are sufficient to 

list a species, even if there is no indication that a population is in 

trouble. Another respondent noted we did not evaluate listing criteria 

with objective and quantitative methods, making it difficult to 

interpret new information in a consistent manner. The respondent also 

said that, although quantitative data are lacking for many local 

populations of bull trout, sufficient information exists to design an 

inventory program to describe their current distribution, relative 

abundance, and population structure.

    Our Response: A species may be determined to be an endangered or 

threatened species due to the five factors identified in section 

4(a)(1) of the Act and addressed in the ``Summary of Factors Affecting 

the Species'' section. The Act requires us to base listing 

determinations on the best available commercial and scientific 

information. Data are often not available to make statistically 

rigorous inferences about a species' status (e.g., abundance, trends in 

abundance, and distribution). Overall, we found that sufficient 

evidence exists in each of the population segments that demonstrate 

they are threatened by a variety of past and ongoing threats, and are 

likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

    In making this final determination, we took into account the 

overall status of bull trout in the coterminous United States. We 

acknowledge that three north Puget Sound subpopulations of bull trout 

(lower Skagit River, Stillaguamish River, and Snohomish River-Skykomish 

River supopulations) appear to be in better condition than 

subpopulations in other areas of the Coastal-Puget sound population 

segment. We determined that the lower Skagit subpopulation was 

``strong.'' The WDFW has identified ``native char'' spawning areas in a 

number of tributaries in the Stillaguamish River subpopulation, and 

reported them as stable or expanding based on limited spawner surveys 

of Boulder Creek and the upper Stillaguamish River (WDFW 1997a). 

However, Mongillo (1993) and WDFW (1997a) identified other areas of the 

Stillaguamish subpopulation, specifically Deer Creek and Canyon Creek, 

as declining. Although the 1997 redd count for the Snohomish-Skykomish 

River subpopulation was the highest since an index reach was 

established in 1988 (WDFW 1998a), redd counts have been highly variable 

over this time period, possibly indicating an unstable population. 

There is scant evidence that subpopulations within the Nooksack River 

are increasing or stable, although much of the habitat within the 

Nooksack River drainage has been

[[Page 58918]]

severely degraded (WDFW 1998a). The Cushman Reservoir subpopulation, on 

the Olympic Peninsula, appears to have an adult spawner return that has 

stabilized around 300 fish for the past 7 years (WDFW 1998a). The 

available spawning habitat for this subpopulation lies primarily within 

Olympic National Park and WDFW considers it to be in excellent 

condition (WDFW 1998a). In contrast, bull trout in the South Fork-lower 

North Fork Skokomish River occur in low numbers with no known spawning 

sites. Habitat in the south Fork and lower North fork Skokomish River 

is severely degraded (WDFW 1998a).

    Conversely, we have ample information regarding threats to the 

Coastal-Puget Sound population segments. Many of the threats are 

similar to those described for the threatened Klamath River and 

Columbia River bull trout population segments (June 10, 1998; 63 FR 

31647). We acknowledge that available information is insufficient to 

designate many of the subpopulations within the Coastal-Puget Sound 

population segment as ``strong'' or ``depressed.'' However, because 

bull trout display a high degree of sensitivity to environmental 

disturbance and are referred to as an indicator species, we believe 

that bull trout are significantly impacted by past and current habitat 

degradation within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment, similar 

to other listed and sensitive species (i.e., salmon). Habitat loss and 

degradation is acknowledged as a significant factor limiting salmon and 

trout populations within Washington (Washington Department of Fisheries 

(WDF) et al. 1993; Weitkamp et al. 1995; Busby et al. 1996; Spence et 

al. 1996; WDFW 1997a, b). Although a number of subpopulations have 

documented spawning and rearing habitat in protected areas of 

watersheds, the spawning and rearing habitats of many other 

subpopulations are not identified. In addition, habitats used by other 

life-history stages for migration, overwintering, sub-adult rearing, 

are degraded, and all life-history stages are required for a species to 

persist. See the ``Summary of Factors Affecting the Species'' section 

for a more complete discussion of threats affecting bull trout.

    Because the location of spawning areas for many bull trout 

subpopulations are not well known for the Coastal-Puget Sound 

population segment, we have been funding efforts to determine the 

distribution of spawning areas in various Coastal-Puget Sound 

subpopulations. Although estimates of bull trout abundance based on 

redd counts will provide information on which to evaluate the status of 

``native char'' subpopulations, the method should be used with caution. 

For example, in analyzing counts of bull trout redds in Idaho and 

Montana, Rieman and Myers (1997) found that variability of counts in 

individual streams reduces the ability to detect trends, especially 

with data sets for relatively short periods. They caution that 

detection of trends will often require more than 10 years of sampling, 

even where declines could be large, and for many bull trout spawning 

reaches, declining trends may not be statistically evident until 

numbers drop to critically low levels. Given the lack or limitations of 

statistically rigorous data for bull trout in the Coastal-Puget Sound 

population segment, our review of the status of ``native char'' 

subpopulations is based on the generally low number of individuals 

observed in several subpopulations throughout the population segment, 

and the apparent declines reported in others.

    Issue 2: A respondent noted that the proposed rule considered that 

loss of the St. Mary-Belly River population segment would constitute a 

significant reduction in the range of the taxon. They asked what 

portion of the range is significant, and would the statement be true 

for the St. Mary-Belly River population segment if fish in Canada were 

considered. They also inquired whether bull trout in the population 

segment are distinct from fish east of the Continental Divide in 

Canada. Because a large portion of the St. Mary-Belly River population 

segment occurs on the Blackfeet Reservation, another respondent 

requested that we establish government-to-government relations with the 

Blackfeet Tribe, expressing concern that Tribal comments and 

interactions with us were considered similarly to those from the 

general public and not on a government-to-government basis.

    Our Response: We considered both biological (available data) and 

administrative (international boundary) issues in determining distinct 

population segments. Policy used to guide determination of distinct 

population segments is described in the joint National Marine Fisheries 

Service (NMFS) and Service policy for recognizing distinct vertebrate 

population segments under the Act (February 7, 1996; 61 FR 4722). 

Although we are not including bull trout in Canada in the St. Mary-

Belly River population segment, fish are believed to migrate across the 

international boundary. Determination of a significant reduction in 

range was based only on bull trout occurring within the coterminous 

United States, of which loss of the population segment would result in 

elimination of all bull trout east of the Continental Divide. Mogen 

(1998) noted genetic work that indicated bull trout from the upper St. 

Mary River drainage in Glacier National Park and the Belly River in 

Alberta form a genetically similar group, and bull trout collected from 

other areas in southern Alberta form another (Thomas et al. 1997, cited 

in Mogen 1998). Genetic analysis of tissue samples collected in the St. 

Mary River drainage during 1997 is not complete (Mogen 1998).

    Regarding governmental relations, a June 1997 Secretarial Order on 

Federal-Tribal trust responsibilities and the Act, clarifies 

responsibilities of agencies relative to Tribal lands, rights, and 

trust resources in implementing the Act. A cooperative agreement among 

us, the Blackfeet Tribe, and Bureau of Reclamation establishes a 

partnership focused on the conservation and restoration of native 

salmonids and habitat in the St. Mary River drainage. Mogen (1998) 

presents results of a study to investigate bull trout spawning areas 

and fish abundance conducted pursuant to the cooperative agreement. We 

have met with representatives of the Blackfeet Tribe to address 

concerns about bull trout and government-to-government relations.

    Issue 3: One respondent noted that criteria we used to determine 

the status of subpopulations were adopted from Rieman et al. (1997), 

who originally developed them to apply to 6th field watersheds in the 

Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP). Because 

fish in 6th field watersheds are roughly equivalent to local 

populations (see Rieman and McIntyre 1995), using the criteria may be 

inconsistent with subpopulations as defined in the proposed rule. Also, 

several respondents were concerned about applying the criteria to the 

Coastal-Puget Sound population segment for evaluating whether a 

subpopulation is ``strong'' or ``depressed.'' One respondent asked 

whether our definition of subpopulation designation required absolute 

reproductive isolation or only some level of structuring that means 

reduced gene flow and some local adaptation, and whether subpopulations 

can compose a larger metapopulation or if a metapopulation is 

equivalent to a subpopulation. Another respondent contended that some 

dams were not isolating mechanisms for subpopulations (Middle Fork 

Nooksack, Skagit, and Nisqually rivers) because

[[Page 58919]]

they believe the dams were constructed at natural barriers.

    Our Response: In adopting the criteria, we considered a bull trout 

subpopulation ``strong'' if 5,000 individuals or 500 spawners likely 

occur in the subpopulation, abundance appears stable or increasing, and 

life-history forms historically present were likely to persist; and 

``depressed'' if less than 5,000 individuals or 500 spawners likely 

occur in the subpopulation, abundance appears to be declining, or a 

life-history form historically present has been lost (see Rieman et al. 

1997). If there was insufficient abundance, trend, and life-history 

information to classify the status of a subpopulation as either 

``strong'' or ``depressed,'' we considered status as ``unknown.''

    We used these criteria because they represent the best available 

information and were used in evaluating bull trout in the Klamath River 

and Columbia River population segments. We acknowledge the criteria 

were originally developed for application to salmonids in the Columbia 

River Basin, but their underlying premises are based on concepts of 

conservation biology. Whether a subpopulation is ``strong'' or 

``depressed'' relative to its potential may vary among population 

segments. However, we were unable to refine these criteria, either 

higher or lower, based on the available data. Designating a 

subpopulation as ``strong'' or ``depressed'' is only one of several 

factors that we considered in evaluating the overall status of a bull 

trout subpopulation in a given population segment.

    Regarding the use of 6th field watersheds, we acknowledge the 

different spatial scales used in applying criteria developed by Rieman 

et al. (1997) for ICBEMP in our evaluation of bull trout 

subpopulations. Subpopulations identified in the population segments 

for bull trout in the coterminous United States (see June 10, 1998; 63 

FR 31647) ranged in size from a portion of a single watershed unit used 

by ICBEMP to several watersheds. For example, the best available 

information concerning bull trout and ``native char'' in the Coastal-

Puget Sound population segment was based on a spatial scale consisting 

of up to several ICBEMP watershed units. Although the spatial scale of 

most subpopulations identified in the proposed rule occupy multiple 

ICBEMP watershed units, we believe that the criteria offered useful 

information in evaluating the status of bull trout.

    We selected subpopulations as a convenient unit on which to analyze 

bull trout within population segments, and defined subpopulation as ``a 

reproductively isolated group of bull trout that spawns within a 

particular area of a river system.'' We identified subpopulations based 

on documented or likely barriers to fish movement (e.g., impassable 

barriers to movement and unsuitable habitat). To be considered a single 

subpopulation, two-way passage at a barrier is required, otherwise bull 

trout upstream and downstream of a barrier are each considered a 

subpopulation. Because it is likely that fish above a barrier could 

pass downstream and mate with fish downstream, absolute reproductive 

isolation was not required to be considered a subpopulation.

    We viewed metapopulation concepts (see Rieman and McIntyre 1993) as 

useful tools in evaluating bull trout, but, in querying biologists both 

within the Service and elsewhere, we found considerable variability in 

the definition of a metapopulation and the types of data suggestive of 

a metapopulation. Some biologists may consider a subpopulation, as 

defined by us, as a metapopulation if it has multiple spawning areas. 

Likewise, subpopulations without reciprocal interactions (i.e., 

individuals from upstream of a barrier may mingle with individuals 

downstream, but not vice versa) may be considered components of a 

metapopulation consisting of more than one subpopulation. Because 

little genetic and detailed movement information exists throughout bull 

trout range in the population segments addressed in the proposed rule, 

we believe that barriers to movement is an appropriate consideration 

for identifying subpopulations.

    Relative to dams, the WDFW (1998a) believes that bull trout were 

able to commingle on both the Middle Fork Nooksack River and the Skagit 

River prior to construction of the dams. There may have been a natural 

barrier between La Grande and Alder dams on the Nisqually River. 

Because the existence of ``native char'' above Alder Dam is not 

established, we chose not to identify this area as a separate 

subpopulation. Regardless, the DPS discreteness criterion can be 

satisfied by natural or man-made barriers.

    Issue 4: Several respondents believed the Federal listing was not 

necessary due to current and recently improved regulations related to 

forest land management.

    Our Response: We believe that implementation of the Northwest 

Forest Plan (NFP) and Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) 

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) should limit further degradation to 

aquatic habitats from future forest management practices for the 

Coastal-Puget Sound population segment. Only about 32 percent of the 

Coastal-Puget Sound population segment is covered by either one of 

these two plans. An additional 15 percent of the population segment 

resides on National Park lands. Bull trout in this population segment 

will continue to be negatively affected by severely degraded habitats 

in many subbasins where ``native char'' occur (e.g., increased stream 

temperatures and sedimentation, altered stream flows, and lack of 

instream cover). These effects are expected to continue because many 

river basins affected by past, poor forest practices that contain 

``native char'' will take decades to fully recover.

    Approximately 45 percent of the Coastal-Puget Sound population 

segment occurs on lands under private ownership. Timber harvest 

activities on lands in forest production are subject to Washington 

State Forest Practice Rules (WFPR). Although State rules and 

regulations governing forested land management activities on private 

lands are improving, we believe they are not adequate to conserve and 

recover bull trout or remedy the effects of past damage to bull trout 

habitats (U.S. Department of Interior (USDI) et al. 1996a). The WFPR 

are currently being renegotiated, and it is anticipated that there will 

be some improvements over past rules. Because the State has not issued 

new rules, we are unable to evaluate their adequacy to conserve and 

recover bull trout on private lands within the Coastal-Puget Sound 

area. If improved sufficiently, these rules could form the basis for a 

delisting, 4(d) rule, or HCP.

    Issue 5: The U.S. Forest Service proposed that we issue a special 

rule pursuant to section 4(d) of the Act that would relax the 

prohibition against incidental take associated with Federal actions 

consistent with the NFP. Another respondent requested that we develop a 

special rule that was sufficiently protective to address any threat to 

bull trout from a specific development project.

    Our Response: Under section 4(d) of the Act, we have the authority 

to issue regulations as deemed necessary and advisable to provide for 

the conservation of a species listed as threatened. We recognize that 

on-going and future land-use activities will occur on non-Federal lands 

and that these activities may result in take of bull trout. Elsewhere 

in today's Federal Register we have published a Notice of Intent to 

prepare another special rule pursuant to section 4(d) of the Act for 

bull trout within the coterminous

[[Page 58920]]

United States (see ``Special Rule'' section). The special rule would 

address two categories of non-Federal activities affecting bull trout: 

(1) Habitat restoration; and (2) regulations that govern land and water 

management activities. Special regulations addressing both categories 

would provide for the conservation of bull trout. We have already 

issued two special rules, one for Jarbidge River population segment on 

April 8, 1999, and the other for the Klamath and Columbia River 

population segments on June 10, 1998. In general, these special rules 

exempt from the take prohibition fishing and activities that are 

conducted in accordance with State, Tribal, and NPS laws and 

regulations governing fish and wildlife conservation. The special rule 

for the Coastal Puget-Sound and St. Mary-Belly population segments, 

described in the ``Special Rule'' section, will also exempt from the 

take prohibition fishing and activities conducted in accordance with 

State, Tribal, and NPS laws and regulations.

    A proposal to relax the prohibition against incidental taking of 

bull trout associated with Federal actions consistent with the NFP 

Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS) is an option we may address in the 

future. There are a number of issues regarding the interpretation of 

ACS objectives and ACS components that are being discussed at an 

interagency level, but currently remain unresolved. It would not be 

prudent for us to consider a 4(d) rule until these discussions are 

concluded and the issues are satisfactorily resolved. The NFP applies 

to Federal lands in the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment. 

Although we have not finalized a programmatic biological opinion, we 

have re-initiated programmatic consultations with three National 

Forests, including conferencing on bull trout with the USFS regional 

office for those three National Forests. Thus, we will address Federal 

actions consistent with the NFP either through section 7 of the Act or 

through a 4(d) rule.

    Issue 6: One respondent felt it was inappropriate to include in the 

final rule those streams or stream segments where only ``native char'' 

or both bull trout and Dolly Varden are documented to date. One 

respondent suggested the listing of bull trout will be a (de facto) 

listing of Dolly Varden, due to their similarities in appearance and 

life-history characteristics.

    Our Response: It is true that species composition is not yet known 

in many streams in Washington containing ``native char.'' However, bull 

trout are documented in most streams that biologists have investigated 

(12 of 15 subpopulations). We are funding WDFW to collect and analyze 

bull trout tissue samples in an effort to determine the genetic 

identity of ``native char'' in the 19 subpopulations that biologists 

have not evaluated. Information from these studies may eventually be 

used to exclude stream systems with only Dolly Varden from the listing, 

if we are satisfied that bull trout are not present in the system. 

Based on the available evidence, we believe there is a high likelihood 

that bull trout occur in the majority of the remaining 19 

subpopulations. For subpopulations that contain both bull trout and 

Dolly Varden it is completely appropriate to include those 

subpopulations in the listing.

    Bull trout and Dolly Varden are virtually indistinguishable based 

upon physical appearance (Service 1998a) and share similar life-history 

strategies and habitat requirements. Because of these similarities, the 

WDFW manage the two species as one (WDFW 1998a), and we can evaluate 

the threats to subpopulations currently known only as ``native char.'' 

Although the listing currently does not include Dolly Varden under the 

similarity of appearance rule, the coexistence of Dolly Varden and bull 

trout within a certain subpopulation would not be justification to 

preclude listing of bull trout in that particular subpopulation. 

Finally, there is no evidence demonstrating strong Dolly Varden 

subpopulations coexisting with depressed bull trout subpopulations.

    Issue 7: One respondent said we failed to identify and properly 

address other threats to bull trout, primarily the reduction in the 

bull trout forage base as a result of the commercial and recreational 

harvest of returning salmon and steelhead.

    Our Response: Ratliff and Howell (1992) suggest that due to its 

highly piscivorous nature, bull trout may have been adversely affected 

by declines in prey species. They present the example of declining bull 

trout populations occurring above Hells Canyon Dam, where there is no 

longer anadromous salmon and steelhead production. We acknowledge that 

the depressed status or declining abundance of anadromous fish stocks 

in some river basins may have negatively affected bull trout through a 

decreased prey base. However, we are unable to determine from the 

available information whether this is a threat or just a suppressing 

factor to bull trout since they are opportunistic feeders and forage on 

a wide variety of prey. In addition, we are unable to determine whether 

current escapement goals set for anadromous salmon and steelhead are at 

levels that may limit bull trout. A threat would clearly exist where 

anadromous fish stocks are no longer accessible to a bull trout 

subpopulation, and it is determined that an alternative forage base 

does not exist.

    Issue 8: One respondent questioned the rationale of our exclusion 

of bull trout in Canada in delineating distinct population segments. 

The respondent stated that bull trout in Canada were excluded because 

fish there are outside the jurisdiction of the Act or that listing 

would not have much effect on the Canadian government, as opposed to 

the explanation in the proposed rule that data for bull trout in Canada 

are limited and suggested we should clarify the issue.

    Our Response: We acknowledge that additional information concerning 

the status and threats to bull trout in Canada has been compiled in 

recent years. Some of the available data indicate a decline of bull 

trout in several areas in Canada. Although we recognize that more data 

on bull trout in Canada currently exist than we originally considered, 

this new information did not lead us to conclude that listing the bull 

trout in Canada is necessary at this time. We believe that addressing 

bull trout only in the coterminous United States relative to the Act is 

appropriate. We acknowledge that for threatened or endangered species 

that cross international boundaries, recovery is more complex. For 

areas where bull trout subpopulations cross international boundaries, 

we intend to work with all appropriate jurisdictional entities, Tribal, 

provincial and Federal Canadian agencies and all entities in the United 

States, in developing and implementing a recovery plan for bull trout.

    Issue 9: One respondent noted that critical habitat is presently 

not determinable. They noted that consistent patterns in juvenile fish 

distribution, primarily with respect to stream elevation and water 

temperature, is useful in predicting patches of spawning and rearing 

habitats, which are probably sensitive to land use and important for 

the overall productivity of local populations. Another respondent asked 

us to consider including as critical habitat, streams that contribute 

to the water quality of Puget Sound, but are not part of the current 

known distribution of bull trout. Several respondents encouraged us to 

consider several issues, such as designating all historic and existing 

bull trout habitat as critical, protecting roadless and riparian areas, 

establishing standards for water temperature, sediment delivery, and

[[Page 58921]]

other habitat parameters and other management activities.

    Our Response: The definition of critical habitat as stated in 

section 3 of the Act holds that critical habitat may include specific 

areas outside of the geographical area occupied by the species at the 

time it is listed, upon determination that such areas are essential for 

the conservation of the species. At this time, we find that critical 

habitat is not determinable for the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-

Belly River population segments. We appreciate the comments and believe 

that patterns in fish distribution will likely be useful in determining 

future critical habitat designations. This and other habitat 

considerations will be important issues to be considered during 

development of the recovery plan.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    After a thorough review and consideration of all information 

available, we determine the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly 

River population segments of bull trout to be threatened species. We 

followed procedures found at section 4(a)(1) of the Act and regulations 

(50 CFR part 424) implementing the listing provisions of the Act. A 

species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species due 

to one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1). These 

factors and their application to the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-

Belly River population segments of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) 

are as follows:

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 

of Its Habitat or Range

    Land and water management activities that degrade bull trout 

habitat and continue to threaten all of the bull trout population 

segments in the coterminous United States include dams, forest 

management practices, livestock grazing, agriculture and agricultural 

diversions, roads, and mining (Beschta et al. 1987; Chamberlin et al. 

1991; Furniss et al. 1991; Meehan 1991; Nehlsen et al. 1991; Sedell and 

Everest 1991; Craig and Wissmar 1993; Frissell 1993; Henjum et al. 

1994; McIntosh et al. 1994; Wissmar et al. 1994; USDA and USDI 1995, 

1996, 1997; Light et al. 1996; MBTSG 1995a-e, 1996a-h).

Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    Barriers, timber harvesting, agricultural practices, and urban 

development are thought to be major factors affecting ``native char'' 

in the Coastal-Puget Sound DPS (Service 1998a). Bull trout are often 

migratory (Fraley and Shepard 1989; Pratt 1992; Rieman and McIntyre 

1993; Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) 1995; McPhail and 

Baxter 1996), and migratory ``native char'' exhibit anadromous, 

adfluvial, and fluvial strategies in the Coastal-Puget Sound DPS. 

Factors affecting ``native char'' may preclude or inhibit migratory 

behavior or contribute to degradation of aquatic habitats used by 

``native char'' (Rieman and McIntyre 1993; Spence et al. 1996; WDFW 


    Past forest management activities have contributed to degraded 

watershed conditions, including increased sedimentation of bull trout 

habitat (Salo and Cundy 1987; Meehan 1991; Bisson et al. 1992; USDA et 

al. 1993; Henjum et al. 1994; Spence et al. 1996). Past activities 

continue to negatively affect ``native char'' in the Coastal-Puget 

Sound population segment. Timber harvest and road building in riparian 

areas reduce stream shading and cover, channel stability, large woody 

debris recruitment, and increase sedimentation and peak stream flows 

(Chamberlin et al. 1991). These can alternatively lead to increased 

stream temperatures and bank erosion, and decreased long-term stream 

productivity. Over 35 percent of natural forested areas in Puget Sound 

have been eliminated (WDFW 1997b).

    Strict cold water temperature requirements make bull trout 

particularly vulnerable to activities that warm spawning and rearing 

waters (Goetz 1989; Pratt 1992; Rieman and McIntyre 1993). Increased 

temperature reduces habitat suitability, which can exacerbate 

fragmentation within and between subpopulations (Rieman and McIntyre 

1993). Of the 34 ``native char'' subpopulations in the Coastal-Puget 

Sound population segment, 11 are likely affected by elevated stream 

temperatures resulting from past forest practices (lower Nooksack 

River, Stillaguamish River, Snohomish River-Skykomish River, Green 

River, lower Puyallup, Nisqually River, South Fork-lower North Fork 

Skokomish, River, Goodman Creek, Copalis River, Moclips River, and 

Chehalis River-Grays Harbor) (Phinney and Bucknell 1975; Williams et 

al. 1975; Hiss and Knudsen 1993; WDFW 1997a; WDOE 1997). Bull trout are 

documented in three of these ``native char'' subpopulations (Green 

River, South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, and Snohomish 

River-Skykomish River).

    The effects of road construction and associated maintenance account 

for a majority of sediment loads to streams in forested areas (Shepard 

et al. 1984; Cederholm and Reid 1987; Furniss et al. 1991). 

Sedimentation affects streams by reducing pool depth, altering 

substrate composition, reducing interstitial space, and causing 

braiding of channels (Rieman and McIntyre 1993), which reduce carrying 

capacity. Sedimentation negatively affects bull trout embryo survival 

and juvenile bull trout rearing densities (Shepard et al. 1984; Pratt 

1992). In National Forests in Washington, large deep pools have been 

reduced 58 percent due to sedimentation and loss of pool-forming 

structures such as boulders and large wood (USDA et al. 1993). The 

effects of sedimentation from roads and logging are prevalent in 10 

basins containing ``native char'' subpopulations (Nooksack, Skykomish, 

Stillaguamish, Puyallup, upper Cedar, Skokomish, Dungeness, Hoh, 

Queets, and Coastal Plain-Quinault basins) (HCCC 1995; Olympic National 

Forest 1995a,b; Sandra Noble and Shelley Spalding, Service, in litt. 

1995; WDFW 1997a, WDOE 1997). Bull trout are documented in six of these 

basins (upper Cedar, Skokomish, Dungeness, Queets, Quinault, and 

Skykomish basins). We consider five subpopulations within these basins 

to be ``depressed''. These are the Chester Morse Reservoir, lower 

Puyallup River, South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, lower 

Dungeness-Gray Wolf, and Hoh River subpopulations. The remaining six 

affected subpopulations found in Canyon Creek, upper Middle Fork 

Nooksack River, Snohomish River-Skykomish River, Stillaguamish River, 

Queets River, and lower Quinault River are considered ``unknown.''

    A recent assessment of the interior Columbia Basin ecosystem 

revealed that increasing road densities were associated with declines 

in four non-anadromous salmonid species (bull trout, Yellowstone 

cutthroat trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and redband trout) within 

the Columbia River Basin, likely through a variety of factors 

associated with roads (Quigley and Arbelbide 1997). Bull trout were 

less likely to use highly roaded basins for spawning and rearing, and 

if present, were likely to be at lower population levels (Quigley and 

Arbelbide 1997). Quigley et al. (1996) demonstrated that when average 

road densities were between 0.4 to 1.1 km/km\2\ (0.7 and 1.7 mi/mi\2\) 

on USFS lands, the proportion of subwatersheds supporting ``strong'' 

populations of key salmonids dropped substantially. Higher road 

densities were associated with further declines.

[[Page 58922]]

When USFS lands were compared to lands administered by all other 

entities at a given road density, the proportion of lands supporting 

``strong'' bull trout populations was lower on lands administered by 

other entities. Although this assessment was conducted east of the 

Cascade Mountain Range, some effects from high road densities may be 

more severe in western Washington. Higher precipitation west of the 

Cascade Mountains increases the frequency of surface erosion and mass 

wasting (USDI et al. 1996b). Limited data concerning road densities are 

available for the Coastal-Puget Sound DPS. It is known, however, that 

two bull trout subpopulations (lower Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River 

and Chester Morse Reservoir) occur in basins with road densities 

greater than 1.1 km/km\2\ (1.7 mi/mi\2\), and the effects of 

sedimentation from high road density on aquatic habitat is likely a 

contributing factor to the ``depressed'' status of these two ``native 

char'' subpopulations. Because basins in portions of the Queets River 

drainage contain high road densities, ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 km/km\2\ 

(2.4 to 4.8 mi/mi\2\) (ONF 1995a; Cederholm and Reid 1987), we believe 

that the Queets River ``native char'' subpopulation is affected by high 

road density.

    At least 22 ``native char'' subpopulations within the Coastal-Puget 

Sound DPS are affected by past or present forest management activities. 

Remaining subpopulations not affected by such activities occur 

primarily within National Parks or Wilderness Areas. For example, five 

``native char'' subpopulations lie completely within National Parks and 

Wilderness Areas withdrawn from timber harvest. These include the upper 

Quinault River, upper Sol Duc River, Gorge Reservoir, Diablo Reservoir, 

and Ross Reservoir subpopulations. Although the status of these 

``native char'' subpopulations is considered ``unknown'' at this time, 

all except the upper Quinault River subpopulation are threatened by 

non-native brook trout (see Factor E).

    Agricultural practices and associated activities also affect 

``native char'' and their aquatic habitats. Irrigation withdrawals 

including diversions can dewater spawning and rearing streams, impede 

fish passage and migration, and cause entrainment. Discharging 

pollutants such as nutrients, agricultural chemicals, animal waste and 

sediment into spawning and rearing waters is also detrimental (Spence 

et al. 1996). Agricultural practices regularly include stream 

channelization and diking, large woody debris and riparian vegetation 

removal, and bank armoring (Spence et al. 1996). Improper livestock 

grazing can promote streambank erosion and sedimentation, and limit the 

growth of riparian vegetation important for temperature control, 

streambank stability, fish cover, and detrital input. In addition, 

grazing often results in increased organic nutrient input in streams 

(Platts 1991). Eight ``native char'' subpopulations in the Coastal-

Puget Sound DPS (lower Puyallup, Stillaguamish River, lower Skagit 

River, lower Nooksack River, Green River, South Fork-lower North Fork 

Skokomish River, Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River, and Chehalis River-

Grays Harbor) are subject to the effects of past or ongoing 

agricultural or livestock grazing practices (Williams et al. 1975; Hiss 

and Knudsen 1993; WDF et al. 1993; HCCC 1995; ONF 1995b; WDFW 1997a). 

Species composition has been examined in five of these subpopulations, 

and bull trout are documented in four (Green River, lower Puyallup, 

South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, and Dungeness River-Gray 

Wolf River).

    Dams constructed with poorly designed fish passage or without fish 

passage create barriers to migratory ``native char,'' precluding access 

to suitable spawning, rearing, and migration habitats. Dams disrupt the 

connectivity within and between watersheds essential for maintaining 

aquatic ecosystem function (Naiman et al.1992; Spence et al. 1996) and 

bull trout subpopulation interaction (Rieman and McIntyre 1993). 

Natural recolonization of historically occupied sites can be precluded 

by migration barriers (e.g., McCloud Dam in California (Rode 1990)). 

Within the Coastal-Puget Sound DPS, there are at least 41 existing or 

proposed hydroelectric projects regulated by the Federal Energy 

Regulatory Commission (FERC) within watersheds supporting ``native 

char'' (Gene Stagner, Service, in litt. 1997). Of the 41 existing or 

proposed projects, 17 are currently operating and most are run-of-the-

river small hydroelectric projects. Negotiated instream flows for these 

projects are based primarily on resident cutthroat trout or rainbow 

trout flow requirements, and may not meet seasonal migratory flow 

requirements of bull trout (Tim Bodurtha, Service, in litt. 1995). Fish 

passage has not been addressed for 28 of the existing or proposed 

projects (G. Stagner, in litt. 1997). We are aware of at least seven 

water diversions or other dams currently operating in watersheds with 

``native char,'' and none currently providing for upstream fish 

passage. These diversions and dams are located on the Middle Fork 

Nooksack, Skagit, Green, Puyallup, and Nisqually rivers. These seven 

facilities currently affect the lower Nooksack River, upper Middle Fork 

Nooksack River, lower Skagit River, Gorge Reservoir, Diablo Reservoir, 

Ross Reservoir, lower Puyallup, upper Puyallup River subpopulations. 

Projects in the Green and Nisqually rivers block fish passage in the 

upper stream reaches of these basins, although ``native char'' use of 

the river areas above the facilities remains unconfirmed. Various fish 

surveys conducted in the upper Green River watershed above the 

facility, did not detect ``native char'' (Ed Connor and Phil Hilgert, 

R2 Resource Consultants, Inc., in litt. 1998). Surveys of the upper 

Nisqually River watershed are underway (WDFW 1998a). Dams on the 

Skokomish and Elwha rivers are also barriers to upstream fish migration 

and have fragmented populations of ``native char'' within the Coastal-

Puget Sound DPS. FERC published an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 

for three proposed hydroelectric projects on Skagit River tributaries. 

The final EIS recommends two proposed hydroelectric projects on the 

lower Nooksack River, affecting two subpopulations, the lower Skagit 

River and the lower Nooksack River. We consider the status of these 

subpopulations ``strong'' and ``unknown,'' respectively.

    Urbanization has led to decreased habitat complexity (uniform 

stream channels and simple nonfunctional riparian areas), impediments 

and blockages to fish passage, increased surface runoff (more frequent 

and severe flooding), and decreased water quality and quantity (Spence 

et al. 1996). In the Puget Sound area, human population growth is 

predicted to increase by 20 percent between 1987 and 2000, requiring a 

62 percent increase in land area developed (Puget Sound Water Quality 

Authority (PSWQA) 1988 in Spence et al.1996). The effects of 

urbanization, concentrated at the lower most reaches of rivers within 

Puget Sound, primarily affect ``native char'' migratory corridors and 

rearing habitats. Five ``native char'' subpopulations in the Coastal-

Puget Sound DPS (lower Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River, lower Puyallup 

River, Green River, Sammamish River-Issaquah Creek, and Stillaguamish 

River) are negatively affected by urbanization (Williams et al. 1975; 

WDFW 1997a).

    Mining can degrade aquatic systems by generating sediment and heavy 

metals pollution, altering water pH levels, and changing stream 


[[Page 58923]]

and flow (Martin and Platts 1981). Although not currently active, 

mining in the Nooksack River Basin, where ``native char'' occur, has 

adversely affected streams. For example, the Excelsior Mine on the 

upper North Fork Nooksack River was active at the turn of the century 

and mining spoils were placed directly into Wells Creek (Mt. Baker-

Snoqualmie National Forest (MBSNF) 1995), a known spawning stream for 

``native char.'' Spoils in and adjacent to the stream may continue to 

be sources of sediment and heavy metals.

St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    Forest management practices, livestock grazing, and mining are not 

thought to be major factors affecting bull trout in the St. Mary-Belly 

River DPS. However, bull trout subpopulations are fragmented and 

isolated by dams and diversions (Fredenberg 1996; Clayton 1998; Mogen 

1998). Specifically, the USBR diversion at the outlet of lower St. Mary 

Lake is an unscreened trans-Basin diversion (i.e., transferring water 

to the Missouri River drainage via the Milk River) that threatens the 

species in the St. Mary River Basin (upper St. Mary River, lower St. 

Mary River, and Swiftcurrent Creek subpopulations). This diversion 

restricts upstream bull trout passage into the upper St. Mary River. 

Consequently, migratory (fluvial) bull trout are prevented from 

reaching suitable spawning habitat in Divide and Red Eagle creeks 

(Fredenberg 1996; R. Wagner, pers. comm. 1998). Similarly, the 

irrigation dam on Swiftcurrent Creek (Lake Sherburne) physically blocks 

bull trout passage into the upper watershed (Fredenberg 1996; R. 

Wagner, pers. comm. 1998), affecting the three St. Mary River 

subpopulations. In the Belly River drainage, two adult bull trout 

implanted with radio transmitters that spawned in the North Fork Belly 

River near the international border in 1997 were subsequently passed 

down the Mountain View Irrigation District Canal and captured (Terry 

Clayton, Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), in litt. 1998).

    In addition to the dams physically isolating subpopulations, the 

associated diversions seasonally dewater the streams, effectively 

decreasing available habitat for migratory and resident bull trout 

(Fredenberg 1996). The diversion at the outlet of lower St. Mary Lake 

may result in a reduction (up to 50 percent) of instream flow of the 

St. Mary River, possibly affecting juvenile and adult bull trout (R. 

Wagner, pers. comm. 1998). The diversion is unscreened and recent 

information suggests downstream loss through entrainment of bull trout 

(R. Wagner, pers. comm. 1998). Similarly, the irrigation dam on 

Swiftcurrent Creek (Lake Sherburne) seasonally dewaters the creek 

downstream, effectively eliminating habitat (Fredenberg 1996; R. 

Wagner, pers. comm. 1998).

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 

Educational Purposes

    Declines in bull trout abundance have prompted States to institute 

restrictive fishing regulations and eliminate the harvest of bull trout 

in most waters in Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, and Washington. These 

more restrictive regulations resulted in an increase in recent 

observations of adult bull trout in some areas of their range. However, 

illegal harvest and incidental hook and release of ``native char'' in 

fisheries targeting other species still threaten bull trout in some 


Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    Fishing for ``native char'' is currently closed in most of the 

waters within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment. The State of 

Washington implemented most of these closures in 1994. Harvest of 

``native char'' is still allowed in the area of the lower Skagit River 

subpopulation in the mainstem Skagit River and several of its 

tributaries (Cascade, Suiattle, Whitechuck and Sauk rivers) (508 mm (20 

in.) minimum size limit and two fish daily bag limit); the Snohomish 

River-Skykomish River subpopulation in the Snohomish River mainstem and 

the Skykomish River below the forks (508 mm (20 in.) minimum size limit 

and two fish daily bag limit) (WDFW 1997a); and portions of the 

Quinault and Queets rivers that are within the Quinault Indian 

Reservation (QIN) boundary (4 fish daily bag limit with no minimum size 

restriction) (Scott Chitwood, Quinault Indian Nation, pers. comm. 1997; 

WDFW 1997a). Olympic National Park has recently closed fishing for 

``native char'' in all park waters (D. Morris, in litt. 1998). Fishing 

for bull trout in Mount Rainier National Park is prohibited. There is 

likely some mortality from incidental hook and release of ``native 

char'' in fisheries targeting other species, especially in streams 

where restrictive angling regulations (i.e., artificial flies or lures 

with barbless single hook, bait prohibited) are not established.

    The objective of the 508 mm (20 in.) minimum size limit in the 

Skagit River and Snohomish-Skykomish River systems is to allow most 

females to spawn at least once before harvest (WDFW 1997a), and 

evidence suggests that more females are allowed to spawn in these two 

systems where the regulation is in place (WDFW 1998b). However, the 

minimum size limit allows the selective harvest of larger, mature fish 

that are more fecund (Jim Johnston, WDFW, pers. comm. 1995).

    Regulations on the Quinault Indian Reservation in the lower 

Quinault River and Queets River systems offer less bull trout 

conservation opportunity because there is no minimum size limit to 

allow most females to reach maturity before being subject to harvest. 

Consistent with the June 1997 Secretarial Order on Tribal-Federal Trust 

responsibilities and the Act, we will continue to assess the effects of 

these regulations and work with the Tribes to assure that the 

conservation needs of bull trout are met. The State of Washington has 

closed areas of the lower Quinault River and Queets River watersheds 

outside of the Quinault Indian Reservation to harvest of ``native 

char'' (WDFW 1997a).

    In 1993, WDFW increased the catch limit for brook trout in order to 

reduce interactions with bull trout (WDFW 1995). The increased brook 

trout catch has the potential to increase the incidental harvest of 

bull trout due to misidentification by anglers. For example, only 40 

percent of Montana anglers surveyed correctly identified bull trout out 

of six species of salmonids found locally (Mack Long and Sean Whalen, 

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, in litt. 1997).

    Poaching is still a factor that threatens ``native char'' in nine 

drainages within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment. These are 

the South Fork Nooksack River, North Fork Nooksack River (above and 

below the falls), Sauk River and tributaries, North Fork Skykomish 

River, Chester Morse Reservoir, lower Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River, 

Hoh River, Goodman Creek, and Morse Creek (WDW, in litt. 1992; Mongillo 

1993; WDFW 1997a; Service 1998a).

St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    Historically, the harvest of bull trout in the St. Mary-Belly River 

DPS was considered ``extensive'' (Fredenberg 1996). Currently, legal 

angler harvest in the St. Mary-Belly River DPS occurs only on the 

Blackfeet Indian Reservation, which has a five fish per day limit with 

only one fish over 508 mm (20 in.) (Fredenberg 1996).

    In 1994, the Blackfeet Tribe reported harvest of at least 19 adult 

and subadult bull trout in gill nets set for a commercial fishery for 

lake whitefish

[[Page 58924]]

(Coregonus clupeaformis) in lower St. Mary Lake (Blackfeet Tribe, in 

litt. 1998). Given the apparent low abundance of adult bull trout in 

the upper St. Mary Lake subpopulation and restricted migration 

opportunities over the USBR diversion on lower St. Mary Lake, any 

harvest of bull trout from this subpopulation represents a threat. 

Record-keeping by the two commercial fishers is a requirement of the 

Blackfeet Tribal Fish and Game Commission, but is not strictly 

enforced. As discussed in Issue 2 in the ``Summary of Comments and 

Recommendations section'', a cooperative agreement exists among us, the 

Blackfeet Tribe, and the Bureau of Reclamation which establishes a 

partnership focused on the conservation and restoration of native 

salmonids and habitat in the St. Mary River drainage. We have recently 

met with the Blackfeet Tribe to address our concerns about bull trout. 

We will continue to assess the effects of their harvest regulations 

and, in accordance with the June 1997 Secretarial Order on Tribal-

Federal Trust responsibilities and the Act, we will continue work with 

the Tribe to assure that the conservation needs of bull trout are met. 

Specifically, the ongoing research carried out under the cooperative 

agreement is evaluating movement patterns, population status, and 

genetic structure of the bull trout in the St. Mary River drainage. We 

will utilize the results as a basis to develop future management 


C. Disease or Predation

    Diseases affecting salmonids are present or likely present in both 

population segments, but are not thought to be a factor threatening 

bull trout. Instead, interspecific interactions, including predation, 

likely negatively affect bull trout where non-native salmonids are 

introduced (Bond 1992; Ziller 1992; Donald and Alger 1993; Leary et al. 

1993; MBTSG 1996a; J. Palmisano and V. Kaczynski, Northwest Forestry 

Resources Council, in litt. 1997).

Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    Disease is not believed to be a factor in the decline of bull trout 

in the Coastal-Puget Sound DPS. Outbreaks of the parasite 

Dermocystidium salmonis in the lower Elwha River may negatively affect 

``native char'' in years of high chinook salmon returns (Kevin Amos, 

WDFW, pers. comm. 1997). The susceptibility of bull trout to the 

parasite is unknown. There is concern about whirling disease (Myxobolus 

cerebralis), which occurs in wild trout waters of western states, and 

though this may be a potential threat to bull trout, we do not have 

specific information on it at this time.

    Predation is not considered a primary factor in the decline of 

Coastal-Puget Sound ``native char.'' The only exception may be 

largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in Cushman Reservoir on the 

Skokomish River that may potentially affect the bull trout 

subpopulation (Sam Brenkman, Oregon State University, pers. comm. 1997; 

WDFW 1997a).

St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    Disease and predation are not known to be factors affecting the 

survival of bull trout in the St. Mary-Belly River Basin. Whirling 

disease has been documented in numerous Missouri River watersheds in 

central Montana, though not in the Saskatchewan River drainage where 

the St. Mary-Belly River bull trout subpopulations occur.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Although varying efforts are underway to assist in conserving bull 

trout throughout the coterminous United States (e.g., Batt 1996; Light 

et al. 1996; Robert Joslin, USFS, in litt. 1997; Allan Thomas, BLM, in 

litt. 1997; Montana Bull Trout Restoration Team 1997), the 

implementation and enforcement of existing Federal and State laws 

designed to conserve fishery resources, maintain water quality, and 

protect aquatic habitat have not been sufficient to prevent past and 

ongoing habitat degradation leading to bull trout declines and 

isolation. Statutory mechanisms, including the National Forest 

Management Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Public 

Rangelands Improvement Act, the Clean Water Act, the National 

Environmental Policy Act, Federal Power Act, State Endangered Species 

Acts and numerous State laws and regulations oversee an array of land 

and water management activities that affect bull trout and their 


Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    In April 1994, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior adopted 

the Northwest Forest Plan for management of late-successional forests 

within the range of the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis 

caurina) (USDA and USDI 1994a). This plan set forth objectives, 

standards, and guidelines to provide for a functional late-successional 

and old-growth forest ecosystem. Included in the plan is an aquatic 

conservation strategy involving riparian reserves, key watersheds, 

watershed analysis, and habitat restoration. Approximately 35 percent 

of the total acreage within the Coastal-Puget Sound bull trout 

population segment are Federal lands subject to Northwest Forest Plan 

standards and guidelines (U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in litt. 

1996). In 1994, an assessment panel determined that the proposed 

standards and guidelines in the Northwest Forest Plan would result in 

an 85 percent future likelihood of attaining sufficient aquatic habitat 

to support well-distributed populations of bull trout on Federal lands 

(USDA and USDI 1994b). Prior to 1997, most projects developed under the 

Northwest Forest Plan in this DPS were determined to have ``no impact'' 

on bull trout and its habitat. However, these determinations were made 

prior to the development of specific criteria (Service 1998c) to 

evaluate the effects of Forest Service activities on bull trout and 

their habitat. Because existing aquatic habitat conditions are severely 

degraded in many subbasins, the effects from past land management 

activities can be expected to continue into the foreseeable future in 

the form of increased stream temperatures, altered stream flows, 

sedimentation, and lack of instream cover. These effects are often 

exacerbated by landslides, road failures, and debris torrents. Many of 

these aquatic systems will require decades to fully recover (USDA et 

al. 1993). Until then, future habitat losses can be expected due to 

past activities, potentially resulting in local extirpations, migratory 

barriers, and reduced reproductive success (Spence et al. 1996).

    Washington State Forest Practice Rules (WFPR) apply to all State, 

city, county, and private lands not currently covered under a Habitat 

Conservation Plan (HCP) or other conservation agreement in Washington. 

Approximately 45 percent of the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment 

is held under private ownership and 1.5 percent under city or county 

ownership. Bull trout and their habitats continue to face threats from 

ongoing and future timber harvest activities on many of these lands. 

The WFPR set forth timber harvest regulations for non-Federal and non-

Tribal forested lands in the State of Washington. These rules set 

standards for timber harvest activities in and around riparian areas, 

in an effort to protect aquatic resources. These riparian management 

zone widths, as specified by the WFPR, do not ensure protection of the 

riparian components, because the

[[Page 58925]]

minimum buffer widths are likely insufficient to fully protect riparian 

ecosystems (USDI et al. 1996a).

    In January 1997, the Washington State Department of Natural 

Resources (WDNR) developed a multispecies HCP under section 10 of the 

Act, covering all WDNR-owned lands within the range of the northern 

spotted owl. The WDNR HCP primarily addresses the conservation needs 

for old-growth forest-dependent species, such as the northern spotted 

owl and marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus), while 

allowing WDNR to meet its trust responsibilities to the State. The HCP 

also addresses the conservation needs of other terrestrial and aquatic 

species on WDNR lands. Approximately 10 percent of the Coastal-Puget 

Sound population segment is in State ownership and is covered by the 

HCP. The HCP specifically provides Riparian Conservation Strategies 

designed to maintain the integrity and function of freshwater stream 

habitat necessary for the health and persistence of aquatic species, 

especially salmonids. Road maintenance and network planning strategies 

included in the HCP also play important roles in protecting aquatic 

habitats, but are often reliant on the Riparian Conservation Strategy 

stream buffers for complete protection. If fully and properly 

implemented, the HCP should aid in the restoration and protection of 

freshwater salmonid habitat on the Olympic Peninsula and the areas on 

the west slope of the Cascades. There are still ``legacy'' threats to 

bull trout subpopulations on State lands even with the HCP in place. 

For example, the HCP states, ``Adverse impacts to salmonid habitat will 

continue to occur because past forest practices have left a legacy of 

degraded riparian ecosystems, deforested unstable hillslopes, and a 

poorly planned and maintained road network'' (WDNR 1997). Areas logged 

in the past will take decades to fully recover. In addition, ``Some 

components of the riparian conservation strategy require on-site 

management decisions, and adverse impacts to salmonid habitat may occur 

inadvertently.'' For example, timber harvesting in the riparian buffer 

must ``maintain or restore salmonid habitat,'' but, at present, the 

amount of timber harvesting in riparian ecosystems compatible with high 

quality salmonid habitat is unknown (WDNR 1997).

    In 1992, the WDFW (formerly the WDW) developed a draft bull trout-

Dolly Varden management and recovery plan. In 1995, WDFW released a 

draft EIS for the management plan. The plan establishes a goal of 

restoring and maintaining the health and diversity of ``native char'' 

stocks and their habitats in the State of Washington (WDFW 1995). In 

1998, WDFW distributed a revised draft of the bull trout and Dolly 

Varden management plan to us for review (WDFW 1998b). Although 

commendable goals and strategies are presented in the new draft plan, 

specific guidance on how these goals and strategies would be 

accomplished is not provided. Our review of the plan determined that it 

does not fully address all elements necessary to conserve and restore 

bull trout populations (Nancy Gloman, Service, in litt. 1998). Because 

all elements necessary for conservation and restoration of bull trout 

are not fully addressed and there are uncertainties concerning 

implementation of the plan, the effect of the plan on future bull trout 

conservation in Washington is unknown.

    Since 1994, WDFW has been developing a Wild Salmonid Policy (WSP) 

to address management of all native salmonids in the State. In 

September 1997, WDFW released the final EIS for the WSP. The policy 

establishes a goal to protect, restore, and enhance the productivity, 

production, and diversity of wild salmonids and their ecosystems to 

sustain ceremonial, subsistence, commercial, and recreational 

fisheries; non-consumptive fish benefits; and related cultural and 

ecological values well into the future (WDFW 1997b). The WSP, in its 

current form, may not adequately protect bull trout because the primary 

focus is restoring wild salmon and steelhead. Although other wild 

salmonids, including bull trout, are referred to in the document, the 

proposed policy does not address the unique requirements of bull trout. 

As a result, proposed habitat and water quality standards (current 

State surface water quality standards), originally developed with a 

focus on salmon, may fall short in protection for bull trout. The final 

EIS is not considered a policy document to direct WDFW. The EIS 

describes a set of alternatives presented to the Washington State Fish 

and Wildlife Commission (Commission). The Commission has the final 

responsibility for taking action on the preferred alternative and 

recommending policy direction. When implemented, the policy would 

present guidelines for actions that WDFW must follow, but would not be 

binding on other State, Tribal, or private entities. The publication of 

a WSP will likely occur in the near future, but the format and exact 

content of the document is unknown. Given the uncertainties surrounding 

implementation of the plan and lack of specificity concerning bull 

trout, including funding, possible benefits to bull trout can not be 


    Section 305(b) of the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act requires States 

to identify water bodies biennially that are not expected to meet State 

surface water quality standards (WDOE 1996). These waters are reported 

in the section 303(d) list of water quality limited streams. The 

Washington State 303(d) list (WDOE 1997) reflects the poor condition of 

lower stream reaches of some systems containing bull trout and Dolly 

Varden. At least 30 stream reaches within habitat occupied by 13 

subpopulations of ``native char'' are listed on the Washington State 

proposed 1998 303(d) list of water quality impaired streams (WDOE 

1997). Eight of these subpopulations are ``depressed,'' one is 

``strong,'' and four are ``unknown.'' Waters included on the 303(d) 

list due to temperature exceedances are found in areas where the 

Chehalis River-Grays Harbor, lower Quinault River, Hoh River, lower 

Elwha River, Nisqually River, lower Puyallup, Green River, Sammamish 

River-Issaquah Creek, Stillaguamish River, and lower Nooksack River 

subpopulations occur. We have identified bull trout in two of these 

subpopulations (Green River and lower Puyallup). The State temperature 

standards are likely inadequate for bull trout because temperatures in 

excess of 15 deg. C (59 deg. F) are thought to limit bull trout 

distribution (Rieman and McIntyre 1993) and the State temperature 

standard for the highest class of waters is 16 deg. C (61 deg. F).

    Subpopulations that occur in waters on the 303(d) list not meeting 

instream flow standards include the Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River, 

South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, lower Puyallup River, 

lower Skagit River, and lower Nooksack River ``native char'' 

subpopulations. Bull trout are known to occur in four of these 

subpopulations (Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River; South Fork-lower North 

Fork Skokomish River; lower Puyallup; and lower Skagit River). Although 

no minimum instream flow requirements exist for bull trout, variable 

stream flows and low winter flows are thought to negatively influence 

the embryos and alevins (a young fish which has not yet absorbed its 

yolk sac) of bull trout (Rieman and McIntyre 1993).

    The Chehalis River-Grays Harbor and Sammamish River-Issaquah Creek 

``native char'' subpopulations occur in waters on the 303(d) list for 

not meeting the standards for dissolved oxygen. Although no dissolved 


[[Page 58926]]

standards exist for bull trout, poor water quality and highly degraded 

migratory corridors may hinder or interrupt migration (Spence et al. 

1996), leading to the further fragmentation of habitat and isolation of 

bull trout.

    Surface waters are assigned to one of five classes under the Water 

Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington (WAC 

173-201A-130). These classes are AA (extraordinary), A (excellent), B 

(good), C (fair) and Lake class. These classes of criteria are 

established for the following water quality parameters: temperature, 

fecal coliform, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and toxic deleterious 

material concentrations. With the exception of dissolved oxygen, 

parameters are not to exceed specified maximum levels for each class. 

Maximum water temperature criteria range from 16 deg. C (60.8 deg. F) 

(Class AA), 18 deg. C (64.4 deg. F) (Class A), 21 deg. C (69.8 deg. F) 

(Class B), to 22 deg. C (71.6 deg. F) (Class C). Bull trout streams 

within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment have stream segments 

that fall in classes AA, A, and B. Given the apparent low temperature 

requirements of bull trout (Rieman and McIntyre 1993), these 

temperature standards are likely inadequate to protect bull trout 

spawning, rearing or migration. Segments of the Quinault, Queets, 

Elwha, Skokomish, Nisqually, White, Green, and Snohomish rivers do not 

meet existing State standards for their respective classes. It is 

unknown whether the current standards established for other water 

quality parameters (fecal coliform, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, toxic 

deleterious material concentrations) within the various classes, are 

adequate to protect bull trout. See Factor A for additional discussion 

of water quality.

St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    Two USBR structures likely affect bull trout by dewatering stream 

reaches, acting as passage barriers or exposing fish to entrainment 

(Service 1998b). We are not aware that the effects of the structures 

were considered in their construction (1902 and 1921) or operation. 

Currently, operators attempt to minimize passage and entrainment 

problems by staging the fall dewatering of the canal and removing 

boards in the dam during winter. USBR has not evaluated the 

effectiveness of the operations and has not established formal 

guidelines to minimize the effects of the structures' operations on 

bull trout. The draft Montana Bull Trout Restoration Plan (1998) does 

not address or incorporate recommendations for bull trout conservation 

found in the St. Mary-Belly River population segment.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    Natural and manmade factors affecting the continued existence of 

bull trout include: previous introductions of non-native species that 

compete and hybridize with ``native char;'' subpopulation habitat 

fragmentation and isolation caused by human activities; and the risk of 

local extirpations due to natural events such as droughts and floods.

    Introductions of non-native species by the Federal government, 

State fish and game departments and unauthorized private parties across 

the range of bull trout have resulted in declines in abundance, local 

extirpations, and hybridization of bull trout (Bond 1992; Howell and 

Buchanan 1992; Leary et al. 1993; Donald and Alger 1993; Pratt and 

Huston 1993; MBTSG 1995b,d: 1996g; Platts et al.1995; John Palmisano 

and V. Kaczynski, in litt. 1997). Non-native species may exacerbate 

stresses on bull trout from habitat degradation, fragmentation, 

isolation, and species interactions (Rieman and McIntyre 1993). In some 

lakes and rivers, introduced species including rainbow trout and 

kokanee may benefit large adult bull trout by providing supplemental 

forage (Faler and Bair 1991; Pratt 1992; ODFW, in litt. 1993; MBTSG 

1996a). However, the same introductions of game fish can negatively 

affect bull trout due to increased angling and subsequent incidental 

catch, illegal harvest of bull trout, and competition for space (Rode 

1990; Bond 1992; WDW 1992; MBTSG 1995d).

Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    Competition and hybridization with introduced brook trout threatens 

the persistence of some ``native char'' subpopulations in the Coastal-

Puget Sound DPS. The State of Washington has introduced brook trout 

into several headwater areas occupied by ``native char;'' however, the 

distribution of brook trout within many of these areas appears to be 

limited. Brook trout can affect bull trout even in areas with 

undisturbed habitats (e.g., National Parks). Brook trout normally have 

a reproductive advantage (earlier maturation) over resident bull trout, 

which can lead to species replacement (Leary et al. 1993; Thomas 1992). 

At present, the distribution of 14 ``native char'' subpopulations 

partially overlap with brook trout in the upper Sol Duc River, upper 

Elwha River, lower Dungeness River-Gray Wolf River, upper North Fork 

Skokomish River, South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, Green 

River, lower Puyallup (Carbon River), Snohomish River, Skykomish River, 

Gorge Reservoir, Diablo Reservoir, Ross Reservoir, Lower Skagit River, 

upper Middle Fork Nooksack River, and Canyon Creek (Reed Glesne, North 

Cascades National Park, in litt. 1993; Mongillo and Hallock 1993; John 

Meyer, Olympic National Park, pers. comm. 1995; Morrill and McHenry 

1995; S. Brenkman, pers. comm. 1997; Brady Green, MBSNF, pers. comm. 


    ``Native char'' subpopulations that have become geographically 

isolated may no longer have access to migratory corridors. First- and 

second-order streams in steep headwaters tend to be hydrologically and 

geomorphically more unstable than large, low-gradient streams. Thus, 

salmonids are being restricted to habitats where the likelihood of 

extirpation because of random environmental events is greatest'' 

(Spence et al. 1996). ``Native char'' subpopulations that are likely to 

be negatively affected by natural events as a result of isolation are 

Cushman Reservoir, South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, Gorge 

Reservoir, Diablo Reservoir, Ross Reservoir, upper Middle Fork Nooksack 

River, upper Quinault River, upper Sol Duc River, upper Dungeness 

River, and Chester Morse Reservoir (Service 1998a). Of these 10 

``native char'' subpopulations, we have examined species composition in 

seven and bull trout have been confirmed in five (Cushman Reservoir, 

South Fork-lower North Fork Skokomish River, upper Quinault River, 

Chester Morse Reservoir, and upper Middle Fork Nooksack River), of 

which three are ``depressed'' (Service 1998a).

St. Mary-Belly Population Segment

    Non-native species are pervasive throughout the St. Mary and Belly 

rivers (Fitch 1994; Fredenberg 1996; Clayton 1997). Brook, brown, and 

rainbow trout have been widely introduced in the area. We are not aware 

of any studies conducted in the DPS evaluating the effects of 

introduced non-native fishes on bull trout. However, because brook 

trout occur in the four bull trout subpopulations, competition and 

hybridization are threats in the St. Mary and Belly rivers (Service 

1998b), especially on resident bull trout (R. Wagner, pers. comm. 


    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 

information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 

faced by the Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River

[[Page 58927]]

population segments of bull trout in determining this rule. Based on 

this evaluation, we have determined to list the bull trout as 

threatened in both population segments as summarized below.

Coastal-Puget Sound Population Segment

    Bull trout and ``native char'' in the Coastal-Puget Sound 

population segment have declined in abundance and distribution within 

many individual river basins. Bull trout and ``native char'' currently 

occur as 34 separate subpopulations, which indicates the level of 

habitat fragmentation and geographic isolation. Seven subpopulations 

are isolated above dams or other diversion structures, with at least 17 

dams proposed in streams inhabited by other bull trout or ``native 

char'' subpopulations. Bull trout and ``native char'' are threatened by 

the combined effects of habitat degradation and fragmentation, blockage 

of migratory corridors, poor water quality, harvest, and introduced 

non-native species. Although several subpopulations lie completely or 

partially within National Parks or Wilderness Areas, these 

subpopulations are threatened by the presence of brook trout, or from 

habitat degradation that is occurring outside of these restricted land 

use areas. Based on the best available information, we have concluded 

that at least 10 subpopulations are currently ``depressed,'' one 

subpopulation is ``strong,'' and the status of the remaining 23 

subpopulations is ``unknown.'' Some subpopulations in the north Puget 

Sound have relatively greater abundance compared to other areas of the 

Coastal-Puget Sound population segment. However, we remain concerned 

over the reported declines in abundance in other north Puget Sound 

subpopulations, and the documented threats present in these 

subpopulation basins. Available anecdotal information indicates 

additional subpopulations within the population segment have declined 

in abundance.

St. Mary-Belly River Population Segment

    The St. Mary-Belly population segment contains the only bull trout 

found east of the Continental Divide in the coterminous United States. 

We identified four subpopulations isolated primarily by irrigation dams 

and diversions. Recent surveys indicate that bull trout occur in 

relatively low abundance, with three subpopulations ``depressed'' and 

the status of one subpopulation ``unknown.'' Migratory bull trout are 

known to occur in three subpopulations, but these subpopulations are 

isolated by irrigation dams and unscreened diversions. We consider the 

dams and unscreened diversions a major factor affecting bull trout in 

the population segment by inhibiting fish movement and possibly 

entrainment into diversion channels and habitat alterations associated 

with dewatering. There are no formal guidelines to minimize the effects 

of the operation of the structures on bull trout. Bull trout are also 

threatened by negative interactions with non-native brook trout that 

occur with the four subpopulations.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as--(i) the 

specific area within the geographical area occupied by a species, at 

the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 

those biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the 

species and (II) that may require special management considerations or 

protection and; (ii) specific areas outside the geographical area 

occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon a determination 

that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. 

``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and procedures needed to 

bring the species to the point at which listing under the Act is no 

longer necessary.

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 

regulations (50 CFR 424.12) require that, to the maximum extent prudent 

and determinable, the Secretary designate critical habitat at the time 

the species is determined to be endangered or threatened. Our 

regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)) state that critical habitat is not 

determinable if information sufficient to perform required analysis of 

impacts of the designation is lacking or if the biological needs of the 

species are not sufficiently well known to permit identification of an 

area as critical habitat. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires us to 

consider economic and other relevant impacts of designating a 

particular area as critical habitat on the basis of the best scientific 

data available. The Secretary may exclude any area from critical 

habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh 

the conservation benefits, unless to do so would result in the 

extinction of the species.

    We find that the designation of critical habitat is not 

determinable for bull trout in the coterminous United States, based on 

the best available information. When a ``not determinable'' finding is 

made, we must, within 2 years of the publication date of the original 

proposed rule, designate critical habitat, unless the designation is 

found to be not prudent. We reached a ``not determinable'' critical 

habitat finding in the proposed rule, and we specifically requested 

comments on this issue. While we received a number of comments 

advocating critical habitat designation, none of these comments 

provided information that added to our ability to determine critical 

habitat. Additionally, we did not obtain any new information regarding 

specific physical and biological features essential for bull trout 

during the open comment period, including the five public hearings. The 

biological needs of bull trout is not sufficiently well known to permit 

identification of areas as critical habitat. Insufficient information 

is available on the number of individuals or spawning reaches required 

to support viable subpopulations throughout each of the distinct 

population segments. In addition, we have not identified the extent of 

habitat required and all specific management measures needed for 

recovery of this fish. This information is considered essential for 

determining critical habitat for these population segments. In 

addition, within the Coastal-Puget Sound bull trout are sympatric with 

Dolly Varden. These two species are virtually impossible to visually 

differentiate and genetic and morphological-meristic analyses to 

determine the presence or absence of bull trout and Dolly Varden have 

only been conducted on 15 of the 35 ``native char'' subpopulations. The 

presence of bull trout in the remaining 20 subpopulations in the 

Coastal-Puget Sound along with the information noted above is 

considered essential for determining critical habitat for these 

population segments. Therefore, we find that designation of critical 

habitat for bull trout in the coterminous United States is not 

determinable at this time. We will protect bull trout habitat through 

the recovery process and through section 7 consultations to determine 

whether Federal actions are likely to jeopardize the continued 

existence of the species.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 

threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 

requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 

activities. Recognition through listing encourages and results in 

conservation actions by

[[Page 58928]]

Federal, State, and private agencies, groups, and individuals. The Act 

provides for possible land acquisition and cooperation with the States 

and requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed 

species. The protection required of Federal agencies and the 

prohibitions against taking and harm are discussed, in part, below.

    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 

evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or 

listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical 

habitat, if any is being designated. Regulations implementing this 

interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 

Part 402. Section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to ensure that 

activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to 

jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or to destroy or 

adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a 

listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency 

must enter into formal consultation with us.

    The Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River population 

segments occur on lands administered by the USFS, NPS, and BLM; various 

State- and privately-owned properties in Washington (Coastal-Puget 

Sound population segment) and Montana (St. Mary-Belly River population 

segment); Blackfeet Tribal lands in Montana, and various Tribal lands 

in Washington. Federal agency actions that may require consultation as 

described in the preceding paragraph include COE involvement in 

projects such as the construction of roads and bridges, and the 

permitting of wetland filling and dredging projects subject to section 

404 of the Clean Water Act; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 

licensed hydropower projects authorized under the Federal Power Act; 

USFS and BLM timber, recreation, mining, and grazing management 

activities; Environmental Protection Agency authorized discharges under 

the National Pollutant Discharge System of the Clean Water Act; and 

U.S. Housing and Urban Development projects.

    On January 27, 1998, an interagency memorandum between the USFS, 

BLM and us outlined a process for bull trout section 7 conference and 

consultation in recognition of the possibility of an impending listing 

of bull trout in the Klamath River and Columbia River basins. The 

process considers both programmatic actions (e.g., land management 

plans) and site-specific actions (e.g., timber sales and livestock 

grazing allotments) and incorporates conference and consultation at the 

watershed level. The process uses a matrix (Service 1998c) to determine 

the environmental baseline and the effects of actions on the 

environmental baseline of bull trout. The USFS and BLM provided a 

Biological Assessment (BA) to us on June 15, 1998, which evaluated the 

effects of implementing the land management plans, as amended by 

PACFISH and INFISH strategy, in the Klamath River and Columbia River 

basins. PACFISH is the Interim Strategies for Managing Anadromous Fish-

producing Watersheds in Eastern Oregon and Washington, Idaho, and 

Portions of California, developed by the USFS and BLM. PACFISH is 

intended to be an ecosystem-based, aquatic habitat and riparian-area 

management strategy for Pacific salmon, steelhead, and sea-run 

cutthroat trout habitat on lands administered by the two agencies that 

are outside the area subject to implementation of the NFP. INFISH is 

the Inland Native Fish Strategy, which was developed by the USFS to 

provide an interim strategy for inland native fish in eastern Oregon 

and Washington, Idaho, western Montana, and portions of Nevada. The BA 

concluded the plans, as amended, would not jeopardize the Klamath River 

and Columbia River DPSs of bull trout. In addition, in a June 19, 1998, 

letter, the land management agencies provided commitments in 

implementing the PACFISH and INFISH aquatic conservation strategies to 

ensure the USFS and BLM management plans and associated actions would 

conserve federally listed bull trout. The commitments addressed: 

restoration and improvement; standards and guidelines of PACFISH and 

INFISH; key and priority watershed networks; watershed analysis; 

monitoring; long-term conservation and recovery; and section 7 

consultation at the watershed level. The BA and additional commitments 

were part of the materials we evaluated in developing a biological 

opinion on the management plans. The non-jeopardy biological opinion, 

issued August 14, 1998, endorsed implementation of those commitments in 

the Klamath River and Columbia River basins, in addition to identifying 

further actions to help ensure conservation of bull trout in those 

DPSs. The NFP applies to Federal lands in the Coastal-Puget Sound 

population segment. Although we have not finalized a programmatic 

biological opinion, programmatic consultations with three National 

Forests have been re-initiated, including conferencing on bull trout 

with the USFS regional office for the Olympic, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, 

and Gifford Pinchot National Forests.

    The Act and implementing regulations found at 50 CFR 17.31 set 

forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all 

threatened wildlife. These prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for 

any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take 

(which includes to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, 

trap, or collect; or attempt any of these), import or export, ship in 

interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or 

offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. It 

is also illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship 

any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions 

apply to our agents and State conservation agencies. In this case, a 

special rule tailored to this particular species takes the place of the 

regulations in 50 CFR 17.31; the special rule, though, incorporates 

most requirements of the general regulations, although with additional 


    We may issue permits under section 10(a)(1) of the Act to carry out 

otherwise prohibited activities involving endangered and threatened 

wildlife under certain circumstances. Regulations governing permits are 

at 50 CFR 17.32 for threatened species. Such permits are available for 

scientific purposes, to e>

Transfer interrupted!

the  species, and/or for incidental take in connection with otherwise lawful  activities. Permits are also available for zoological exhibition,  educational purposes, or special purposes consistent with the purpose  of the Act. For copies of the regulations concerning listed plants and  animals, and general inquiries regarding prohibitions and permits,  contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services,  Endangered Species Permits, 911 N.E. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon,  97232-4181 (telephone 503/231-2063; facsimile 503/231-6243).     It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1,  1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at  the time a species list, listing those activities that would or would  not constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this  policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of this listing on  proposed and ongoing activities within the species' range. We believe  the following actions would not be likely to result in a violation of  section 9, provided the activities are carried out in accordance with  all existing regulations and permit requirements: [[Page 58929]]     (1) Actions that may affect bull trout and are authorized, funded  or carried out by a Federal agency when the action is conducted in  accordance with an incidental take statement issued by us pursuant to  section 7 of the Act;     (2) Possession of bull trout caught legally in accordance with  authorized State, NPS, and Tribal fishing regulations (see ``Special  Rule'' section);     (3) State, local and other activities approved by us under section  4(d), section 6(c)(1), or section 10(a)(1) of the Act;     (4) The planting of native vegetation within riparian areas, using  hand tools or mechanical auger. This does not include any site  preparation that involves the removal of native vegetation (such as  deciduous trees and shrubs) or goes beyond that necessary to plant  individual trees, shrubs, etc.;     (5) The installation of fences to exclude livestock impacts to the  riparian area and stream channel. The installation of new off-channel  livestock watering facilities where livestock use streams for watering,  and the operation and maintenance of existing off-channel livestock  watering facilities. These watering facilities must consist of low  volume pumping, gravity feed or well systems, and in-water intakes must  be screened consistent with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)  Juvenile Fish Screen Criteria For Pump Intakes. This does not include  the potential impacts associated with the grazing activity itself or  negative effects attributable to depleting stream flow due to water  withdrawal;     (6) The placement of human access barriers, such as gates, fences,  boulders, logs, vegetative buffers, and signs to limit use- and  disturbance-associated impacts. These impacts include timber theft,  disturbance to wildlife, poaching, illegal dumping of waste, erosion of  soils, and sedimentation of aquatic habitats, particularly in sensitive  areas such as riparian habitats or geologically unstable zones. This  does not include road maintenance or the potential impacts associated  with the road itself;     (7) The current operation and maintenance of fish screens on  various water facilities that meet the current NMFS Juvenile Fish  Screen Criteria and Juvenile Fish Screen Criteria For Pump Intakes.  This does not include the use of traps or other collection devices at  screen installations, operation of the diversion structure, or negative  effects attributable to depleting stream flow due to water diversion;     (8) The installation, operation, and maintenance of screens where  the existing canal or ditch is located off the main stream channel. The  canal or ditch must be dewatered prior to screen and bypass  installation and prior to fish entering the canal or ditch. Installed  screens and bypass structures must meet the current NMFS Juvenile Fish  Screen Criteria. Bypass must be accomplished through free (volitional)  access, with adequate velocities, construction materials and stream re- entry conditions that will not result in harm or death to fish. This  does not include the use of traps or other collection devices at screen  installations, placement or operation of the diversion structure, or  negative effects attributable to depleting stream flow due to water  diversion;     (9) The general maintenance of existing structures (such as homes,  apartments, commercial buildings) which may be located in close  proximity to a stream corridor, but outside of the stream channel. This  does not include potential impacts associated with sediment or chemical  releases that may adversely affect bull trout or their habitat, nor  does this include those activities that may degrade existing riparian  areas or alter streambanks (such as removal of streamside vegetation  and streambank stabilization); and     (10) The lawful use of existing State, county, city, and private  roads. This does not include road maintenance and the potential impacts  associated with the road itself that may destroy or alter bull trout  habitat (such as grading of unimproved roads, stormwater and  contaminant runoff from roads, failing road culverts, and road culverts  that block fish migration), unless authorized by us through section 7  or 10 of the Act.     The following actions likely would be considered a violation of  section 9:     (1) Take of bull trout without a permit or other incidental take  authorization from us. Take includes harassing, harming, pursuing,  hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or  collecting, or attempting any of these actions, except in accordance  with applicable State, NPS, and Tribal fish and wildlife conservation  laws and regulations;     (2) To possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship illegally  taken bull trout;     (3) Unauthorized interstate and foreign commerce (commerce across  State and international boundaries) and import/export of bull trout (as  discussed in the prohibition discussion earlier in this section);     (4) Intentional introduction of non-native fish species that  compete or hybridize with, or prey on bull trout;     (5) Destruction or alteration of bull trout habitat by dredging,  channelization, diversion, in-stream vehicle operation or rock removal,  grading of unimproved roads, stormwater and contaminant runoff from  roads, failing road culverts, and road culverts that block fish  migration or other activities that result in the destruction or  significant degradation of cover, channel stability, substrate  composition, turbidity, temperature, and migratory corridors used by  the species for foraging, cover, migration, and spawning;     (6) Discharges or dumping of toxic chemicals, silt, or other  pollutants into waters supporting bull trout that result in death or  injury of the species; and     (7) Destruction or alteration of riparian or lakeshore habitat and  adjoining uplands of waters supporting bull trout by timber harvest,  grazing, mining, hydropower development, road construction or other  developmental activities that result in destruction or significant  degradation of cover, channel stability, substrate composition,  temperature, and migratory corridors used by the species for foraging,  cover, migration, and spawning.     We will review other activities not identified above on a case-by- case basis to determine if a violation of section 9 of the Act may be  likely to result from such activity. We do not consider these lists to  be exhaustive and provide them as information to the public.     Direct your questions regarding whether specific activities may  constitute a violation of section 9 to the Supervisor, Western  Washington Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102, Lacey, Washington  98503 (telephone 360/753-9440; facsimile 360/753-9518) for the Coastal- Puget Sound population segment; the Montana Field Office, 100 N. Park,  Suite 320 Helena, Montana 59601 (telephone 406/449-5225; facsimile 406/ 449-5339) for the St. Mary-Belly River population segment. Special Rule     Section 4(d) of the Act provides that when a species is listed as  threatened, we are to issue such regulations as are necessary and  advisable to provide for the conservation of the species. We have  generally done so by adopting regulations (50 CFR 17.31) applying with  respect to threatened species the same prohibitions that under the Act  apply with respect to endangered species. Those prohibitions generally  make it illegal to import, export, take, possess, ship in interstate  commerce, or sell a member of the species. The ``take'' that is  prohibited includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting,  wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting the wildlife, or  attempting to do any of those things. However, we may also issue a  special rule tailored to [[Page 58930]] a certain threatened species, establishing with respect to it only  those particular prohibitions that are necessary and advisable for its  conservation. In that case, the general prohibitions in 50 CFR 17.31 do  not apply to that species, and the special rule contains all the  prohibitions and exceptions that do apply. Typically, such special  rules incorporate all the prohibitions contained in 50 CFR 17.31, with  additional exceptions for certain forms of take that we have determined  are not necessary and advisable to prohibit in order to provide for the  conservation of that particular species.     The special rule in this final determination for bull trout will  apply to bull trout wherever found in the coterminous lower 48 States,  except in the Jarbidge River basin in Nevada and Idaho. The principal  effect of the special rule is to allow take in accordance with State,  NPS, and Native American Tribal permitted fishing activities. Since we  are finalizing the listing of bull trout as a coterminous listing, we  are essentially adding the special rule we had proposed for the  Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River population segments to the  existing special rule for the Klamath and Columbia River population  segments published on June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31647). The resultant  special rule is effectively identical to the proposed rule for the  Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly population segments and does not  change the existing special rule for the Klamath and Columbia River  population segments. The special rule for the Jarbidge River population  segment is effectively identical to the special rule for the other four  population segments except that it is only valid until April 9, 2001,  and thus, will remain separate.     We believe that statewide angling regulations have become more  restrictive in an attempt to protect bull trout in Washington, Idaho,  Oregon, California, and Montana, and are adequate to provide continued  conservation benefits for bull trout in the Klamath River, Columbia  River, Coastal-Puget Sound and the St. Mary-Belly River population  segments. The State of Washington closed fishing in 1994 for ``native  char'' in most waters within the Coastal-Puget Sound population. Legal  angler harvest in the St. Mary-Belly River DPS in Montana occurs only  on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Legal harvest of bull trout in the  Klamath River basin was eliminated in 1992 when the Oregon Department  of Fish and Wildlife imposed a fishing closure. State management  agencies in Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington have suspended  harvest of bull trout in the Columbia River basin, except in Lake Billy  Chinook (Oregon) and Swan Lake (Montana). Since the States and many  Tribal governments have demonstrated a willingness to adjust their  regulations to reduce fishing pressures where needed, we do not believe  it is necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species to  prohibit take through regulated fishing of subpopulations of bull trout  that are exhibiting stable or increasing numbers of individuals and  where habitat conditions are not negatively depressing local fish  stocks. Using discretion when applying 4(d) exemptions can foster  incentives for States and Tribes to expedite conservation efforts by  providing rewards for restoring stocks and allowing regulated harvest  prior to delisting. For example, Washington has only two systems in the  Coastal-Puget Sound population segment that are open for bull trout  fishing. These systems have a two fish limit with a minimum 508 mm (20  in.) size limit to allow females to spawn at least once. Also, as long  as these systems are closely monitored, we are gaining valuable  information about the life history, relative abundance, and  distribution of bull trout, which will be important for working towards  the recovery of the species. We intend to continue to work with the  States and Tribes in assessing whether current fishing regulations are  adequate to protect bull trout, and in developing management plans and  agreements with the objective of recovery and eventual delisting of the  species.     In accordance with the June 1997 Secretarial Order on Federal- Tribal trust responsibilities and the Act, we will work with Tribal  governments that manage bull trout streams to restore ecosystems and  enhance Tribal management plans affecting the species. We believe that  the special rule is consistent with the Secretarial Order designed to  enhance Native American participation under the Act and will allow more  efficient management of the species on Tribal lands.     Elsewhere in today's Federal Register we have published a Notice of  Intent which outlines our intent to develop, through section 4(d) of  the Act, another special rule for bull trout that would provide  conservation benefits to the species, while ensuring the future  continuation of land management actions. The special rule would address  two categories of activities affecting bull trout: (1) Habitat  restoration; and (2) regulations that govern land and water management  activities. Please refer to the notice for further information and if  you wish to provide comments to us. Similarity of Appearance     Section 4(e) of the Act authorizes the listing of a non-threatened  or endangered species based on similarity of appearance to a threatened  or endangered species if--(A) the species so closely resembles in  appearance an endangered or threatened species that enforcement  personnel would have substantial difficulty in differentiating between  the listed and unlisted species; (B) the effect of this substantial  difficulty is an additional threat to an endangered or threatened  species; and (C) such treatment will substantially facilitate the  enforcement and further the policy of the Act.     Within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment, bull trout occur  sympatrically within the range of the Dolly Varden. These two species  so closely resemble one another in external appearance that it is  virtually impossible for the general public to visually differentiate  the two. Currently, WDFW manages bull trout and Dolly Varden together  as ``native char.'' Fishing for bull trout and Dolly Varden is open in  four subpopulations within the Coastal-Puget Sound population segment,  two under WDFW regulations, and two under Native American Tribal  regulations. These ``native char'' fisheries may adversely affect these  subpopulations of bull trout. However, under current harvest  management, there is no evidence that the specific harvest for Dolly  Varden creates an additional threat to bull trout within this  population segment. Therefore, a similarity of appearance rule is not  being issued for Dolly Varden at this time. However, if bull trout and  Dolly Varden are managed in Washington State as separate species in the  future, we may consider, at that time, the merits of proposing Dolly  Varden under the similarity of appearance provisions of the Act. Section 7 Consultation     Although this rule consolidates the five bull trout DPSs into one  listed taxon, based on conformance with the DPS policy for purposes of  consultation under section 7 of the Act, we intend to retain  recognition of each DPS in light of available scientific information  relating to their uniqueness and significance. Under this approach,  these DPSs will be treated as interim recovery units with respect to  application of the jeopardy standard until an approved recovery plan is  developed. Formal establishment of bull trout recovery [[Page 58931]] units will occur during the recovery planning process. Paperwork Reduction Act for the Listing     This rule does not contain any new collections of information other  than those already approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44  U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and assigned Office of Management and Budget  clearance number 1018-0094. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a  person is not required to respond to a collection of information,  unless it displays a currently valid control number. For additional  information concerning permit and associated requirements for  threatened species, see 50 CFR 17.32. Required Determinations for the Special Rule Regulatory Planning and Review, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Small  Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act     The special rule was not subject to Office of Management and Budget  (OMB) review under Executive Order 12866.     This special rule will not have an annual economic effect of $100  million or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the  environment, or other units of the government. Therefore, a cost- benefit and full economic analysis is not required.     Section 4(d) of the Act provides authority for us to issue  regulations necessary to provide for the conservation of species listed  as threatened. We find that State, NPS, and Native American Tribal  angling regulations have become more restrictive in an attempt to  protect bull trout in the coterminous United States. We believe that  existing angling regulations developed independently by the States,  National Park Service, and Native American Tribes are adequate to  provide continued conservation benefits for the bull trout in the  coterminous United States. As a result, the special rule will allow  angling to take place in the river systems within the Klamath River,  Columbia River, Coastal-Puget Sound, and St. Mary-Belly River DPSs  under existing State regulations. The Jarbidge River DPS has a separate  special rule that was made final on April 8, 1999 (64 FR 17110), and  continues to remain in effect for that DPS. The economic effects  discussion addresses only the economic benefits that will accrue to the  anglers who can continue to fish in river systems within the Klamath  River, Columbia River, Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River  population segments. Although the special rule for the Klamath River  and Columbia River DPSs was finalized on June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31647),  and continues to remain in effect, they are included in this ``Required  Determinations for the Special Rule'' section since the special rule  applies to all four DPSs (see ``Special Rule'' section for further  discussion of this issue).     This special rule will allow continued angling opportunities in  Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, and Montana under existing  State, NPS, and Native American Tribal regulations. Data on the number  of days of trout fishing under new State regulations are available by  State from the 1996 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife  Associated Recreation. These data pertain to total trout fishing in  each State. In order to develop an estimate of angling days preserved  by this rule, we used the proportion of the river miles in this rule to  total river miles of coldwater running rivers and streams in each State  to estimate the portion of total trout angling days affected by this  rule. Because of the lack of definitive data, we decided to do a worst  case analysis. We analyzed the economic loss in angling satisfaction,  measured as consumer surplus, if all trout fishing were prohibited in  the Klamath, Columbia, St. Mary-Belly rivers and the Coastal-Puget  Sound. Since there are substitute sites in each State where fishing is  available, this measure of consumer surplus is a conservative estimate  and would be a maximum estimate. The total estimated angling days  affected is 266,490 annually. We used a consumer surplus of $19.35  (1999$) per day for trout fishing to get an estimated benefit of  slightly over $5 million annually. If the assumption that the affected  rivers receive an average amount of angling pressure does not hold  true, and the angling pressure is twice the average for the affected  rivers, then the annual consumer surplus will be in the range of $10  million annually. Consequently, this rule will have a small measurable  economic benefit on the United States economy, and even in the event  that fishing pressure is twice the State average in the affected  rivers, this rule will not have an annual effect of $100 million or  more for a significant rule-making action.     This special rule will not create inconsistencies with other  agencies' actions.     The special rule allows for continued angling opportunities in  accordance with existing State, NPS, and Native American Tribal  regulations.     This special rule will not materially affect entitlements, grants,  user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their  recipients. This special rule does not affect entitlement programs.     This special rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues.  There is no indication that allowing for continued angling  opportunities in accordance with existing State, NPS, and Native  American Tribal regulations would raise legal, policy, or any other  issues.     The Department of the Interior certifies that the final rule will  not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small  entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601  et seq.). A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required.  Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. We  recognize that some affected entities are considered ``small'' in  accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, however, no individual  small industry within the United States will be significantly affected  by allowing for continued angling opportunities in accordance with  existing State, NPS, and Tribal regulations.     The special rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.,  the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.     This special rule does not have an annual effect on the economy of  $100 million or more. Trout fishing in the Klamath River, Columbia  River, the Coastal-Puget Sound, and the St. Mary-Belly River generates  expenditures by local anglers of an estimated $8.7 million per year.  Consequently, the maximum benefit of this rule for local sales of  equipment and supplies is no more than $8.7 million per year and most  likely smaller because all fishing would not cease in the area even if  the Klamath River, Columbia River, the Coastal-Puget Sound, and the St.  Mary-Belly River were closed to trout fishing. The availability of  numerous substitute sites would keep anglers spending at a level  probably close to past levels.     This special rule will not cause a major increase in costs or  prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local  government agencies, or geographic regions. This special rule allows  the continuation of fishing in the Klamath River, Columbia River,  Coastal-Puget Sound and St. Mary-Belly River population segments and,  therefore, allows for the usual sale of equipment and supplies by local  businesses. This special rule will not affect the supply or demand for  angling opportunities in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, and  Montana, and [[Page 58932]] therefore, should not affect prices for fishing equipment and supplies,  or the retailers that sell equipment. Trout fishing in the affected  rivers accounts for less than 2 percent of the available trout fishing  in the States.     This special rule does not have significant adverse effects on  competition, employment, investment productivity, innovation, or the  ability of United States based enterprises to compete with foreign- based enterprises. Because this rule allows for the continuation of  spending of a small number of affected anglers, approximately $8.6  million for trout fishing, there will be no measurable economic effect  on the freshwater sportfish industry which has annual sales of  equipment and travel expenditures of $24.5 billion nationwide. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act     In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501,  et seq.):     This special rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect  small governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required; and     This special rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100  million or greater in any year; that is, it is not a ``significant  regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Takings Implication     We have determined that this special rule has no potential takings  of private property implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.  The special rule would not restrict, limit, or affect property rights  protected by the Constitution. Federalism     This special rule will not have substantial direct effects on the  States, in their relationship between the Federal Government and the  States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among  various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with Executive  Order 12612, we have determined that this special rule does not have  sufficient federalism implications to warrant a Federalism Assessment. Civil Justice Reform     The Department of the Interior has determined that this special  rule meets the applicable standards provided in sections 3(a) and  3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988. National Environmental Policy Act     We have determined that an Environmental Assessment and  Environmental Impact Statement, as defined under the authority of the  National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in  connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the  Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination  in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). References Cited     A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon  request from the Snake River Basin Office (see ADDRESSES section). Author(s)     The primary authors of this final rule are Jeffrey Chan, Western  Washington Fishery Resource Office, Olympia, Washington; Wade  Fredenberg, Creston Fish and Wildlife Center, Kalispell, Montana;  Samuel Lohr, Snake River Basin Office, Boise, Idaho; and Shelley  Spalding, Western Washington State Office, Olympia, Washington. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17     Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and  recordkeeping requirements, Transportation. Regulation Promulgation     Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50  of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: PART 17--[AMENDED]     1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:     Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C.  4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500, unless otherwise noted.     2. Amend Sec. 17.11(h) by revising the entries for ``trout, bull''  under FISHES, in the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife to read  as follows: Sec. 17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife. * * * * *     (h) * * * --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                         SPECIES                                                      Vertebrate --------------------------------------------------------                          population where                     When     Critical                                                              Historic range         endangered or        Status       listed    habitat    Special rules            Common name                Scientific name                                threatened --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *               Fishes                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  * Trout, bull......................  Salvelinus            U.S.A. (AK, Pacific    U.S.A, coterminous    T             637, 659,         NA  17.44(w)                                     confluentus.          NW into CA, ID, NV,    (lower 48 states).                       670             17.44(x)                                                           MT), Canada (NW                                                           Territories).                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  * --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------     3. Amend Sec. 17.44 by revising paragraph (w) to read as follows: Sec. 17.44  Special rules--fishes. * * * * *     (w) What species are covered by this special rule? Bull trout  (Salvelinus confluentus), wherever found in the coterminous lower 48  States, except in the Jarbidge River Basin in Nevada and Idaho (see 50  CFR 17.44(x)).     (1) What activities do we prohibit? Except as noted in paragraph  (w)(2) of this section, all prohibitions of 50 CFR 17.31 and exemptions  of 50 CFR 17.32 shall apply to the bull trout in the coterminous United  States as defined in paragraph (w) of this section.     (i) No person may possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, ship,  import, or export, by any means whatsoever, any such species taken in  violation of this section or in violation of applicable State, National  Park Service, and Native American Tribal fish and conservation laws and  regulations.     (ii) It is unlawful for any person to attempt to commit, solicit  another to [[Page 58933]] commit, or cause to be committed, any offense listed in this special  rule.     (2) What activities do we allow? In the following instances you may  take this species in accordance with applicable State, National Park  Service, and Native American Tribal fish and wildlife conservation laws  and regulations, as constituted in all respects relevant to protection  of bull trout in effect on November 1, 1999:     (i) Educational purposes, scientific purposes, the enhancement of  propagation or survival of the species, zoological exhibition, and  other conservation purposes consistent with the Act; or     (ii) Fishing activities authorized under State, National Park  Service, or Native American Tribal laws and regulations;     (3) How does this rule relate to State protective regulations? Any  violation of applicable State, National Park Service, or Native  American Tribal fish and wildlife conservation laws or regulations with  respect to the taking of this species is also a violation of the  Endangered Species Act. * * * * *     Dated: October 14, 1999. Donald Barry, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 99-28295 Filed 10-29-99; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P