[Federal Register: June 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 125)]
[Page 39856-39858]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service


Fish and Wildlife Service

Subsistence Management Regulations for Federal Public Lands in 
Alaska; Delegations of Authority

AGENCIES: Forest Service, USDA; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of interim delegations of authority.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the regulatory authority found at 36 CFR 
242.10(d)(6) and 50 CFR 100.10(d)(6), the Federal Subsistence Board 
(Board) announces interim delegations of authority for the 2000 fishing 
season under the Federal Subsistence Management Program (64 FR 1276). 
The purpose of these delegations is to be responsive to changing local 
conditions which require immediate opening or closing of fisheries to 
provide subsistence opportunities for rural subsistence users or to 
assure conservation of the subsistence resources.

[[Page 39857]]

DATES: These delegations are effective June 28, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Any comments concerning this notice may be sent to the 
Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o Thomas H. Boyd, 3601 C Street, 
Suite 1030, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Thomas H. Boyd, Office of 
Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888. For questions specific to 
National Forest System lands, contact Ken Thompson, Regional 
Subsistence Program Manager, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region, (907) 



    The Federal Subsistence Board assumed subsistence management 
responsibility for public lands in Alaska in 1990, after the Alaska 
Supreme Court ruled in McDowell v. State of Alaska, 785 P.2d 1 (Alaska. 
1989), reh'g denied (Alaska 1990), that the rural preference contained 
in the State's subsistence statute violated the Alaska Constitution. 
This ruling put the State's subsistence program out of compliance with 
Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act 
(ANILCA) and resulted in the Secretaries assuming subsistence 
management on the public lands in Alaska. The ``Temporary Subsistence 
Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Final Temporary 
Rule'' was published in the Federal Register (55 FR 27114-27170) on 
June 29, 1990. The ``Subsistence Management Regulations for Public 
Lands in Alaska; Final Rule'' was published in the Federal Register (57 
FR 22940-22964) on May 29, 1992. The Secretaries published an amended 
Final Rule (64 FR 1276) on January 8, 1999, that redefined the area of 
Federal jurisdiction to include waters subject to a subsistence 
priority. The regulatory amendments in that document conformed the 
Federal subsistence management regulations to the court decree issued 
in State of Alaska v. Babbitt, 72 F.3d 698 (9th Cir. 1995) cert denied 
517 U.S. 1187 (1996).

In-Season Management

    Most salmon fisheries in Alaska are subject to in-season management 
by State emergency order by local State managers who have been given 
delegated authority by the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of 
Fish and Game to enact regulatory changes within a prescribed scope and 
for prescribed purposes. Because the annual run strengths of migratory 
fish species, such as salmon, are relatively unpredictable making it 
difficult to forecast numbers of fish available for harvest while 
meeting conservation objectives, harvest openings or closings are often 
made at or near the time and place where the fish are taken. These are 
local decisions, best made by the local State managers. In-season 
management by delegated authority is used to avoid violating 
conservation mandates where delayed closures would lead to over-
fishing, optimize fishing opportunities where fish runs are 
unpredictable, and to encourage local involvement in management 
    Local Federal managers will face situations where the subsistence 
fisheries in Federal waters will need to be opened or closed quickly in 
order to meet local subsistence needs or to achieve a conservation 
objective. Local Federal managers may also need to act quickly to close 
Federal waters to non-subsistence fishing, in order to protect a 
subsistence opportunity. Local Federal managers will need to have 
regulatory authority similar to that available to State managers during 
the 2000 season to ensure that conservation and subsistence use 
mandates on Federal lands are met. The need for local delegated 
authority will occur when Federal managers identify the need to take 
immediate action affecting fisheries in Federal waters.
    Delegation of authority to a field manager avoids violations of 
conservation mandates through timely response to resource shortages. 
Conservation and subsistence use objectives may not be met if decisions 
on fishing restrictions exceed 24 hours to process. Field officials 
with delegated authority provide focused points of contact for local 
subsistence users and facilitate local liaison with State managers and 
other user groups. Decisions are viewed as local and in the best 
interests of the resource and local subsistence users. Timely in-season 
management decisions optimize the opportunity to harvest fish when and 
where they are available, without jeopardizing spawning escapement 
goals for specific stocks. Delayed in-season decisions by the Board, if 
authority is not delegated, may often miss opportunities to provide for 
a local subsistence priority, because a targeted fish run will have 
passed or stock segregation will have created a conservation risk. 
Emphasis on local liaison creates an environment that encourages 
consultation with local State managers and subsistence users to help 
identify restrictions necessary to conserve the resource and to provide 
for the subsistence priority, and does so with consideration to 
providing for non-subsistence fisheries when harvestable surpluses are 
sufficient. Delegation of authority to field managers could 
significantly reduce the time-consuming involvement of the Board 
otherwise required for in-season management decisions. The Board can 
establish and amend limitations on delegations, management objectives, 
and procedural guidelines to ensure that Board intent is implemented by 
field managers.


    Pursuant to the regulatory authority found at 36 CFR 242.10(d)(6) 
and 50 CFR 100.10(d)(6), the Federal Subsistence Board establishes the 
following guidelines for Federal officials delegated to act for the 
Board. Affected field managers must remain involved in the decision 
making process with the delegated Federal official responsible for 
making a final decision.
    a. All delegated Federal officials will become familiar with the 
management history of the fisheries in their area, with the current 
State and Federal regulations and management plans, and be up-to-date 
on in-season stock and harvest status information.
    b. All delegated Federal officials will review Special Action 
requests or situations that may require a Special Action and supporting 
information and determine (1) if the request/situation falls within the 
scope of delegated authority, (2) if significant conservation problems 
or subsistence harvest concerns are indicated, and (3) what the 
consequences of taking an action may be on potentially-affected 
subsistence users and non-subsistence users. Requests not within the 
delegated authority of the delegated Federal official must be forwarded 
to the Federal Subsistence Board for consideration.
    c. All delegated Federal officials will notify the Federal 
Subsistence Board and notify/consult with local ADF&G managers, 
Regional Advisory Council representatives, and other affected Federal 
conservation unit managers concerning admissible Special Actions being 
    d. Delegated Federal officials will issue timely decisions to 
effectuate the outcomes sought. Users will be notified before the 
effective date/time of decisions. If an action is to supersede a State 
action not yet in effect, the decision will be communicated to affected 
users at least 6 hours before the State action would be effective. If a 
decision is to take no action, the requestor will be notified 
immediately. Regional Advisory Councils will be kept informed and 
consulted as appropriate.

[[Page 39858]]

Delegation of Authority

    1. Only the Federal officials identified below are delegated 
authority to issue Special Actions to address fish stock conservation 
concerns or unmet subsistence harvest needs. Such action must be 
substantiated by clear evidence in resource monitoring information and/
or corroboration from affected users/communities, and evaluated in 
relation to historical information.
    2. Delegated authority to issue Special Actions is limited to 
opening or closing Federal subsistence fishing periods or areas 
provided for under regulations found at 36 CFR 242.26-242.27 and 50 CFR 
100.26-100.27, or closing non-subsistence fishing in Federal waters. 
All requests to modify Federal subsistence management regulations, such 
as those relating to harvest limits, permit requirements, gear 
restrictions, or customary and traditional use determinations, must be 
directed to the Federal Subsistence Board.
    3. The following Federal officials are delegated to act for the 
Federal Subsistence Board as delineated in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, 
for the fishery regulatory year 2000:

                   Geographic region                                    Delegated Federal official
Arctic/Kotzebue/Norton Sound, excluding Arctic National  Western Arctic Parklands Superintendent.
 Wildlife Refuge.
Yukon River Drainage and the Arctic National Wildlife    Fairbanks Fisheries Resource Office Project Leader.
Kuskokwim, Goodnews and Kanektok River Drainages.......  Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge Manager.
Bristol Bay/Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands/Chignik..  King Salmon Fisheries Resource Office Project Leader.
Kodiak Region..........................................  Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Manager.
Copper River...........................................  Wrangell/St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Remainder Prince William Sound Area and Cook Inlet.....  Cordova District Ranger.
Southeast Alaska/Yakutat:
    Yakutat Area.......................................  Yakutat District Ranger.
    Baranof and Chichagof Islands......................  Sitka District Ranger.
    Admiralty Island and northern southeast Alaska       Juneau District Ranger.
     inside waters.
    Prince of Wales and associated islands.............  Craig District Ranger.
    Kuiu, Kupreanof, and Zarembo Islands and Stikine     Petersburg District Ranger.
    Southern southeast Alaska inside waters............  Ketchikan District Ranger.

    Drafting Information: William Knauer drafted this policy document 
under the guidance of Thomas H. Boyd, of the Office of Subsistence 
Management, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Anchorage, Alaska. Curt Wilson, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land 
Management; Bob Gerhard, Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service; 
Greg Bos, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Ida 
Hildebrand, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and Ken 
Thompson, USDA-Forest Service provided additional guidance.

    Dated: June 15, 2000.
Kenneth E. Thompson,
Acting Regional Forester, USDA--Forest Service.

    Dated: June 16, 2000.
Thomas H. Boyd,
Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.
[FR Doc. 00-16038 Filed 6-27-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P; 4310-55-P