[Federal Register: September 19, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 182)]
[Page 56535-56537]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]





Fish and Wildlife Service

[I.D. 091100E]

Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment and Receipt of 
Applications for Incidental Take Permits for I.P. Pacific Timberlands, 
Inc. (I.P. Pacific) Draft Habitat Conservation Plan, Yakima and 
Klickitat Counties, WA.

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

ACTION: Notice of application and availability for public comment.


SUMMARY: This notice advises other agencies and the public that I.P. 
Pacific has submitted applications to the Fish and Wildlife Service and 
the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the Services) for 
Incidental Take Permits (Permits) pursuant to the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). As required by the Act, I.P. Pacific has 
also prepared a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) intended to 
minimize and mitigate any such take of endangered or threatened 
species. The Permit applications are related to forest land management 
and timber harvest on 28,388 acres of I.P. Pacific's lands within the 
Yakama Indian Reservation, located in Yakima and Klickitat Counties, 
    The Permit applications include the draft HCP and the draft 
Implementing Agreement. The Services also announce the availability of 
a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Permit applications. The 
draft EA and HCP have been combined in a single document with the HCP 
as the Proposed Action Alternative, Alternative B, termed the Multi-
species HCP Alternative.
    This notice is provided pursuant to the Act and National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The Services are 
furnishing this notice in order to allow other agencies and the public 
an opportunity to review and comment on these documents. All comments 
received will become part of the public record and will be available 
for review pursuant to the Act.

DATES: Written comments on the permit applications, draft EA, HCP, and 
Implementing Agreement must be received no later than November 20, 

ADDRESSES: Requests for documents on CD ROM should be made by calling 
the Fish and Wildlife Service at (360) 534-9330. Hardbound copies are 
also available for viewing, and partial or complete duplication (see 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, under the heading Libraries).
    The documents may also be viewed electronically on the World Wide 
Web at the Fish and Wildlife Service Region 1 HCP Home Page: http://
    Comments and requests for information should be directed to Tim 
McCracken, Project Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service, 215 Melody 
Lane, Wenatchee, WA 98801, telephone: (509) 665-3505, facsimile: 
(509)665-3509, or Matt Longenbaugh, Project Biologist,

[[Page 56536]]

National Marine Fisheries Service, 510 Desmond Drive, S.E., Suite 103, 
Lacey, WA 98503-1263, telephone: (360)753-7761; facsimile: (360)753-
9517. Comments and materials received will also be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours by calling 
(360) 534-9330.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations 
prohibit the ``taking'' of a species listed as endangered or 
threatened. The term ``take'' is defined under the Act to mean harass, 
harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or 
to attempt to engage in any such conduct. Harm is defined to include 
significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills 
or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral 
patterns, including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or 
    The proposed Permits would authorize take of the following 
endangered or threatened species incidental to otherwise lawful 
activities: northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), bald 
eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), gray 
wolf (Canis lupus), Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), bull trout 
(Salvelinus confluentus), and the mid-Columbia River Evolutionarily 
Significant Unit of steelhead (Onchorhyncus mykiss). The proposed 
Permits would also authorize future incidental take for 30 currently 
unlisted species, should they become listed in the future, such as coho 
salmon (Onchorhyncus kisutch), Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa).
    The Services may issue permits, under limited circumstances, to 
take listed species incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise 
lawful activities. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations governing 
permits for endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 17.22 and, 
regulations governing permits for threatened species are promulgated in 
50 CFR 17.32. National Marine Fisheries Service regulations governing 
permits for threatened and endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
    I.P. Pacific owns and manages scattered parcels throughout the 
upper Klickitat River Basin. The portion of these lands located within 
the Yakama Indian Reservation are being considered by the Services for 
coverage under section 10(a) of the Act. I.P. Pacific's ownership 
proposed for coverage totals 28,388 acres, located near the southwest 
corner of Yakima County near the town of Glenwood, WA. Proposed 
management activities include timber harvest and general forest 
management. Some timber harvest and forest management activities have 
the potential to affect species subject to protection under the Act. 
Section 10 of the Act contains provisions for the issuance of permits 
to non-federal land owners for the take of endangered and threatened 
species, provided the take is incidental to otherwise lawful 
activities, and will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild. In addition, the 
applicant must prepare and submit to the Services for approval an HCP 
containing a strategy for minimizing and mitigating all take associated 
with the proposed activities to the maximum extent practicable. The 
applicant must also ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will be 
    I.P. Pacific has developed the draft HCP with technical assistance 
from the Services to obtain the Permits for their activities on land 
under their ownership within the boundaries of the Yakama Indian 
Reservation. Activities proposed for Permit coverage include the 
following: harvest of trees; silvicultural treatments; site 
preparation; tree planting; timberland inventory and monitoring; 
construction, maintenance, and use of logging roads and landings; 
quarrying stone and gravel; fire prevention and suppression; habitat 
restoration; use of low-flying aircraft; tribal access; and, aerial 
spraying of the biological pesticide Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) to 
control spruce budworm. Clear-cutting of timber will be minimized and 
used only where necessary to restore sustainable stands. The Permits 
also propose to cover certain monitoring activities and fish and 
wildlife surveys within the Plan area.
    Federal guidelines regarding tribal trust responsibilities and 
government-to-government relations with the Yakama Tribe are being 
closely followed by the Services. The Yakama Tribal Council, Timber 
Program, and Resources Offices have been consulted throughout the Plan 
development process to the greatest extent possible. The following 
three alternatives are currently analyzed in detail in the draft EA: 
(A) the No Action Alternative; (B) the Proposed Plan Alternative, 
titled the Multi-species HCP Alternative; and, (C) the Spotted Owl Only 
Alternative. Under Alternative A, the No Action Alternative, no permit 
would be issued, take would be avoided for all threatened and 
endangered species on the property, and Yakama Indian Nation guidelines 
for protection of riparian areas would be followed. Alternative B, the 
Multi-species HCP Alternative, involves issuing a Permit authorizing 
take of seven threatened and endangered species on the property, with 
provisions for authorizing take for 30 unlisted species in the future 
should they be listed during the term of the Permits. The Plan details 
minimization and mitigation measures for these threatened, endangered, 
and unlisted species. Alternative C, the Spotted Owl Only Alternative, 
involves the Fish and Wildlife Service issuing a permit for the 
northern spotted owl only, and I.P. Pacific would continue to follow 
the Yakama Indian Nation guidelines for protection of riparian areas, 
as in the No Action Alternative.
    Alternatives considered during scoping but which were not analyzed 
in detail include a Historical Forest Restoration Alternative, a 
Washington State Forest and Fish Agreement Alternative, an Expanded 
Covered Species Alternative, and a Northwest Forest Plan Alternative. 
These four alternatives were not analyzed in detail because they did 
not meet the stated purpose and needs of the proposed action, which are 
to provide protection and conservation to listed and proposed species 
and their habitats to the extent intended under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Act, while allowing I.P. Pacific to fulfill its forest management 
and timber harvest planning in a practical manner.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and 
NEPA regulations. The Services will evaluate the applications, 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of the Act and NEPA. If 
it is determined that the requirements are met, a permit will be issued 
for the incidental take of all covered species. The final permit 
decisions will be made no sooner than November 20, 2000.
    Libraries: Copies of the documents are available at the following 
libraries: Yakima Valley Regional Library, 102 North 3rd Street, 
Yakima, WA, 98901 (509) 452-8541; Wenatchee Public Library, 310 Douglas 
Street, Wenatchee WA, 98801, (509) 664-3910; Seattle Public Library, 
Government Publications Desk, 1000 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA, (260) 386-
4636; Olympia Timberland Library, Reference Desk, 313 8th Avenue SE, 
Olympia, WA, (360) 352-0595; and, White Salmon Valley Community 
Library, 5 Town and Country Square, White Salmon, WA 98672.

[[Page 56537]]

    Dated: June 27, 2000.
Don Weathers,
Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, Portland, 

    Dated: September 14, 2000.
Wanda Cain,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-24016 Filed 9-18-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODES 3510-22-S,4310-55-S