[Federal Register: November 22, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 226)]
[Page 70408-70409]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 70408]]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Fish and Wildlife Service

[I.D. 101602C]

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
for an Incidental Take Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan

AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine 
Fisheries Service, NOAA, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of application and availability for public comment.


SUMMARY: This document advises the public that J.L. Storedahl & Sons, 
Inc. (Storedahl), has submitted an application to the Fish and Wildlife 
Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (together, the 
Services) for incidental take permits (permits) pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The permit 
application includes: (1) the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP); 
and, (2) the proposed Implementing Agreement. The Services also 
announce the availability of a draft Environmental Impact Statement 
(DEIS) for the permit application.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act, and 
National Environmental Policy Act 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 section 10(c) of the Act.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application, DEIS, HCP, and 
Implementing Agreement must be received from interested parties no 
later than January 21, 2003.

ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for addresses where 
hard-copies of the Plan and associated documents may be obtained or 
reviewed. Requests for documents on CD ROM should be made by calling 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (360) 534-9330. The documents are 
also available electronically on the World Wide Web at http://
    Comments and requests for information should be sent to Tim 
Romanski, Storedahl DEIS/HCP Comments, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
510 Desmond Drive, S.E., Suite 102, Lacey, Washington 98503-1263, 
telephone (360) 753-5823, facsimile (360) 753-9518. Comments and 
materials received will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Romanski, Project Manager, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, (360) 753-5823; or Laura Hamilton, Project 
Manager, National Marine Fisheries Service, (360) 753-5820.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Hard bound copies are available for viewing, 
or partial or complete duplication, at the following libraries: 
Woodland Community Library, 770 Park St, Woodland, WA (360) 225-2115; 
Battle Ground Community Library, 12 W Main St. Battle Ground, WA (360) 
687-2322; Ridgefield Community Library, 210 N Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 
(350)887-8281; Vancouver Community Library, 1007 E Mill Plain Blvd, 
Vancouver, WA (360) 695-1566; and, Olympia Timberland Library, 
Reference Desk, 313 8th Avenue SE, Olympia, WA (360)352-0595.


    As required by section 10(a)(2)(B) of the Act, Storedahl has also 
prepared an HCP designed to minimize and mitigate any such take of 
endangered or threatened species. The permit application is related to 
gravel mining and reclamation activities on approximately 300 acres of 
Storedahl-owned lands located in Clark County, Washington. The proposed 
permits would authorize the take of the following threatened species 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities: steelhead (Oncorhynchus 
mykiss), bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), chum salmon (Oncorhynchus 
keta), and chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Storedahl is also 
seeking coverage for 5 currently unlisted species (including anadromous 
and resident fish) under specific provisions of the permits, should 
these species be listed in the future. Section 9 of the Endangered 
Species 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, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3, 50 CFR 222.102).
    The Services may issue permits, under limited circumstances, to 
take listed species incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise 
lawful activities. U.S. 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 at 50 CFR 
    Storedahl owns and operates a gravel processing plant in rural 
Clark County, Washington, near the East Fork Lewis River. This site is 
known as the Daybreak Mine. It is located approximately 4 miles (6.4 
km) southeast of the town of LaCenter, and approximately 1 mile (1.6 
km) downstream of Clark County's Daybreak Park. The 300-acre site is 
composed of two parcels. One parcel is approximately 80 acres and 
consists of 5 pits, which were mined intermittently, under different 
owners, from 1968 to 1995. No active extraction of gravel from this 
site is now occurring. Current operations are limited to processing and 
distributing sand and gravel that is mined off-site. Processing 
involves separating the sand from the gravel, and separating the gravel 
into different size classes. The second parcel is located immediately 
to the north and east of this previously mined area, on a low terrace 
above the 100-year floodplain. This 178-acre parcel contains high 
quality sand and gravel deposits that have not been mined. Current 
operations on this parcel include cattle grazing and hay and crop 
    Storedahl proposes to mine the sand and gravel deposits from 101 
acres of this 178-acre parcel, and continue processing operations at 
the other parcel. These operations would continue until sand and gravel 
extraction at the 178-acre parcel is complete, projected to be 15 years 
or less. Concurrent with, and following sand and gravel extraction, 
Storedahl would implement a site reclamation plan.
    The proposed mining, processing, and reclamation activities have 
the potential to affect fish and wildlife associated with the East Fork 
Lewis River ecosystem. The majority of the gravel to be mined is 
located just below the water table in a shallow aquifer, and the 
proposed gravel mining and reclamation plan would create a series of 
open water ponds and emergent wetlands. The created ponds and wetlands 
will drain

[[Page 70409]]

via a controlled outlet to a small creek (Dean Creek) and then to the 
East Fork Lewis River. The shallow aquifer is connected to the East 
Fork Lewis River. The proposed mining and reclamation plan has the 
potential to affect a suite of habitat conditions, including, but not 
limited to, water quality, channel morphology, riparian function, off-
channel connections, and the conversion of pastureland to forest, 
wetland, and open water habitats. Some of these effects could involve 
species subject to protection under the Endangered Species Act.
    Section 10 of the Act, as previously stated, contains provisions 
for the issuance of permits to non-Federal land owners for the take of 
endangered and threatened species. Any such take must be incidental to 
otherwise lawful activities, and must not appreciably reduce the 
likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild. As 
required under the permit application process, Storedahl prepared and 
submitted to the Services for approval an HCP containing a strategy for 
minimizing and mitigating take associated with the proposed activities 
to the maximum extent practicable. Storedahl's HCP contains a funding 
strategy, which is also required under the permit application process.
    Activities proposed for permit coverage include the following.
    (1) Gravel mining and related activities in the terrace above the 
100-year floodplain, with potential impacts on groundwater quality and 
quantity, potential impacts on surface water quality and quantity, 
potential influence on channel migration, and potential access to 
gravel ponds by anadromous salmonids.
    (2) Gravel processing.
    (3) Site reclamation activities including, but not limited to the 
creation of emergent and open water wetland habitat, riparian and 
valley-bottom forest restoration, habitat rehabilitation, riparian 
irrigation, low flow augmentation to Dean Creek, and construction of 
facilities (such as trails and parking lots) to support future 
incorporation of the site into the open space and greenbelt reserve.
    (4) Monitoring and maintenance of conservation measures. The 
duration of the proposed permits and HCP is 25 years, though some 
aspects of the conservation measures associated with the proposed HCP 
would continue in-perpetuity.
    The Services formally initiated an environmental review of the 
project through publication of a notice of intent to prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) in the Federal Register on 
December 27, 1999 (64 FR 72318). That document also announced a 30-day 
public scoping period during which interested parties were invited to 
provide written comments expressing their issues or concerns relating 
to the proposal. Following this announcement and public scoping, the 
DEIS was prepared.
    The DEIS compares Storedahl's proposal against two no-action 
scenarios. Differences between the no-action scenarios and the proposed 
action are considered to be the effects that would occur if the 
proposed action were implemented. One additional alternative to 
Storedahl's proposal and the two no-action scenarios is also analyzed. 
These analyses, consisting of the comparisons and the expected effects, 
are contained in the DEIS.
    Alternatives considered in the analysis include the following.
    (1) Alternative A-1: Partition the property into 20-acre parcels 
and sell as rural residential/agricultural tracts - No Action.
    (2) Alternative A-2: Mine the property without permits and avoid 
take - No Action.
    (3) Alternative B: Mine and undertake habitat enhancement and 
reclamation activity at the Daybreak property implementing the May 2001 
public review draft HCP - Preferred Alternative.
    (4) Alternative C: Mine and undertake habitat enhancement and 
reclamation activity at the Daybreak property following a design and 
conservation measures presented to the Services in July, 2000.
    One alternative was considered during scoping but not analyzed in 
detail. That alternative is essentially a combination of the two no-
action scenarios listed above, Alternatives A-1 and A-2. That 
alternative would have involved mining on the portion of the property 
currently zoned for mining, with subsequent partitioning and sale of 
the mined and unmined property for low-density rural residential 
development. This was dismissed from detailed analysis because the vast 
majority of marketable sand and gravel on the portion of the property 
currently zoned for mining has already been extracted, rendering the 
alternative not feasible.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act, and 
National Environmental Policy Act regulations. The Services will 
evaluate the application, associated documents, and comments submitted 
thereon to determine whether the application meets the requirements of 
the Act and National Environmental Policy Act. If it is determined that 
the requirements are met, permits will be issued for the incidental 
take of listed species. The final permit decisions will be made no 
sooner than 30 days after the publication of the Final EIS.

    Dated: October 28, 2002.
Rowan W. Gould,
Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon

    Dated: November 19, 2002.
Margaret Lorenz,
Acting Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service
[FR Doc. 02-29778 Filed 11-21-02; 8:45 am]