[Federal Register: January 22, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 14)]
[Page 2900-2901]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Environmental Documents To Amend a Habitat Conservation Plan for 
Federally Protected Native Fish Species on Plum Creek Timber Company 
Lands in Washington, Idaho, and Montana

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact 


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act this 
notice advises the public that the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
intends to gather information necessary to prepare a Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement for a Proposed Amendment to the Plum 
Creek Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan and request for issuance of 
an incidental take permit to take endangered and threatened species in 
accordance with section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended. The Permit applicant is Plum Creek Timber Company. 
The proposed amendment would add the grizzly bear to the existing 
permit and extend coverage of the Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan 
(NFHCP) to

[[Page 2901]]

additional Plum Creek lands. This document would supplement the 
September 2000 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and NFHCP 
for federally protected native fish species on Plum Creek Timber 
Company lands.
    A public meeting will be held from 3-7 p.m. MST on February 6, 
2002, at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks 
Headquarters, 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell, Montana 59901. Comments 
and participation in the process are solicited.

DATES: The public meeting will be held from 3-7 p.m. MST on February 6, 
2002, at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks 
Headquarters, 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell, Montana. Written 
comments from all interested parties must be received on or before 
February 21, 2002 to be considered.

ADDRESSES: Comments, materials, and requests for information should be 
sent to Tim Bodurtha, Plum Creek Scoping Comments, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 780 Creston Hatchery Road, Kalispell, Montana 59901, 
telephone (406) 758-6882, facsimile (406) 758-6877.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Bodurtha, Kalispell Sub-office, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES above).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act 
(Act) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), prohibits the 
``taking'' of any threatened or endangered species. However, the Fish 
and Wildlife Service, under limited circumstances, may issue permits to 
take threatened and endangered wildlife species if such taking is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. 
Regulations governing permits for threatened and endangered species are 
outlined in 50 CFR 17.22.


    On October 24, 2000, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued an 
incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to Plum 
Creek Timber Company. The permit authorizes the incidental take of 17 
native fish species, as identified in the FEIS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service 2000), from certain Plum Creek activities on Plum Creek 
timberlands covering approximately 1.6 million acres in Washington, 
Idaho, and Montana. Plum Creek is proposing to amend this current NFHCP 
by adding the grizzly bear to the permit and by extending coverage of 
the NFHCP to additional Plum Creek lands in Montana. The NFHCP Project 
Area lands addressed in the proposed amendment encompass 70,826 acres 
of timberlands owned and managed by Plum Creek within the range of the 
grizzly bear. Approximately 38,148 acres are in the Cabinet-Yaak 
Ecosystem and 32,678 acres in the Northern Continental Divide 
Ecosystem. In addition, the amendment would extend coverage of the 
NFHCP to an additional 14,892 acres which was evaluated in the original 
FEIS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2000). However, coverage was 
postponed until an amendment to the NFHCP for the addition of grizzly 
bear was completed.
    Of the total acres of Plum Creek lands covered under the NFHCP in 
Montana (1.4 million acres), the proposed amendment applies to 70,826 
acres, or 5.0 percent and portions of the following counties in western 
Montana--Lincoln, Sanders, Flathead, Lake, Missoula, Powell, and Lewis 
and Clark. The proposed amendment requests incidental take 
authorization for take that occurs as a result of the following 
activities as described in the FEIS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
2000)--(1) Commercial forestry and associated activities--Silvicultural 
activities such as tree planting, site preparation, timber harvest in 
riparian and upland areas, stand maintenance, prescribed burning, and 
forest nurseries and seed orchards; Logging road construction and 
maintenance; Gravel quarrying primarily for logging road construction; 
(2) Forest fire suppression; (3) Open range cattle grazing; (4) 
Miscellaneous forest and land product sales; Gravel and landscaping 
stones; (5) Conservation activities--Habitat enhancement and 
restoration; Scientific surveys and studies; (6) Special forest use 
permits--Commercial outfitting; Special recreation permits, such as 
club activities; Electronic facility sites; (7) Manufacturing of forest 
products, such as milling activities, lumber mills, plywood mills, and 
remanufacturing plants.
    The proposed amendment to the Plum Creek NFHCP provides for 
conservation of the threatened grizzly on Plum Creek lands in Montana. 
It further would extend conservation commitments for the threatened 
bull trout and four unlisted native salmonids; the redband and 
westslope cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, and pygmy whitefish. The 
proposal to amend the NFHCP would not affect the 30-year term of the 

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.).

    Dated: January 4, 2002.
Elliott Sutta,
Regional Director, Region 6, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 02-1449 Filed 1-18-02; 8:45 am]