[Federal Register: November 29, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 230)]
[Page 71193-71194]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement 
and Final Roosevelt Habitat Conservation Plan for Incidental Take by 
the Salt River Project

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Salt River Project (SRP) has submitted an application for 
an incidental take permit (ITP) for the following federally listed and 
candidate species: southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii 
extimus, flycatcher), Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris 
yumanensis, clapper rail), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and 
the yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus, cuckoo). The proposed 
take would occur in Gila and Maricopa counties, Arizona, as a result of 
management actions allowing Roosevelt Lake to fill, causing inundation 
of occupied habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has 
issued a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that evaluates the 
impacts of and alternatives for the possible issuance of an incidental 
take permit (ITP). SRP completed the final Roosevelt Habitat 
Conservation Plan (RHCP) as part of the application package submitted 
to the Service as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act) for consideration of issuance of an ITP. The RHCP 
provides measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of the proposed 
taking of listed and candidate species and the habitats upon which they 
    The final EIS includes (in attached volume 3) all comments received 
on the draft EIS, and responses to those comments. No decision will be 
made on the proposed action until at least 30 days after publication of 
this notice of availability of the final EIS in the Federal Register. 
After the 30-day waiting period, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
will complete a Record of Decision (ROD) that states whether the action 
will be implemented and discusses all factors leading to the decision.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the final EIS and RHCP may obtain 
a copy by writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

Barrett, Assistant Field Supervisor, Tucson Suboffice, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 110 S. Church, Suite 3450, Tucson, AZ 85701 at 520/
670-4617, or Mr. Jim Rorabaugh, Arizona State Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 
85021 at 602/242-0210. For further information on the RHCP, Contact: 
Mr. John Keane, Executive Environmental Policy Analyst, Salt River 
Project, P.O. Box 52025, PAB355, Phoenix, AZ 85072-2025 at 602/236-
5087, or Mr. Craig Sommers, President, ERO Resources Corporation, 1842 
Clarkson Street, Denver, CO 80218 at 303/830-1188.
    Read-only downloadable copies of the final EIS and Application 
documents are available on the Internet at http://arizonaes.fws.gov. A 
printed or CD copy of the documents is available upon request to 
Virginia Kasper, Salt River Project, P.O. Box 52025, Phoenix, AZ 85072-
2025; (602) 236-3416; vckasper@srpnet.com. Copies of the final EIS and 
final RHCP are also available for public inspection and review at the 
locations listed below under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), this notice advises the public that the Service has 
gathered the information necessary to (1) determine impacts and 
formulate alternatives for the EIS, related to the potential issuance 
of an ITP to SRP; and (2) develop and implement the RHCP, which 
provides measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of the 
incidental take of federally listed species to the maximum extent 
practicable, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    Section 9 of the Act prohibits the ``taking'' of threatened and 
endangered species. However, the Service, under limited circumstances, 
may issue permits to take threatened or endangered wildlife species 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. 
Regulations governing

[[Page 71194]]

permits for endangered species are at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.
    Copies of the final EIS and RHCP are available for public 
inspection and review at the following locations (by appointment at 
government offices):
    [sbull] Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 1849 
C St. NW., Washington, DC 20240.
    [sbull] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 110 S. Church, Suite 3450, 
Tucson, AZ 85701
    [sbull] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, 
Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021
    [sbull] Salt River Project, 1521 Project Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281
    [sbull] Globe Public Library, 339 S. Broad St., Globe, AZ 85501
    [sbull] Government Document Service, Arizona State University, 
Tempe, AZ 85287
    [sbull] Payson Public Library, 510 W. Main, Payson, AZ 85541
    [sbull] Phoenix Public Library (Burton Barr Central), 1221 N. 
Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
    [sbull] Tonto Basin Library, 1 School St., Tonto Basin (Punkin 
Center), AZ 85553


    Roosevelt Dam and Reservoir (Roosevelt) is operated by SRP in 
conjunction with three other reservoirs on the Salt River and two 
reservoirs on the Verde River as integral features of the Salt River 
Reclamation Project, authorized by the Reclamation Act of 1902, and 
pursuant to a 1917 contract with the United States. Since completion in 
1911, Roosevelt has provided water for power generation, irrigation, 
municipal, and other uses. Currently, SRP reservoirs supply water to 
more than 1.6 million people in the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, 
Tempe, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tolleson, and Avondale. In 
addition, water is provided to irrigate agricultural lands within SRP 
and for other uses. Also, water is delivered to the Salt River Pima-
Maricopa Indian Community, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Gila River 
Indian Community, Buckeye Irrigation Company, Roosevelt Irrigation 
District, Roosevelt Water Conservation District, and others. Roosevelt 
and the other SRP reservoirs also provide a variety of recreational 
uses and environmental benefits in central Arizona. Due to dry 
conditions in central Arizona for the past six years, the water level 
at Roosevelt has been below normal. As a result, riparian vegetation 
has invaded and flourished in the portion of Roosevelt historically 
used by SRP to store water for use in the Phoenix metropolitan area. 
Animals that use riparian habitat have followed the vegetation growth 
and now occupy areas within the reservoir. In particular, a population 
of flycatchers now occupies habitat within the storage space at 
Roosevelt. Thus, periodic refilling of the reservoir may adversely 
affect habitat used by the flycatcher, clapper rail, bald eagle, and 

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is the issuance of an ITP for flycatchers, 
clapper rails, bald eagles, and cuckoos for SRP's operation of 
Roosevelt, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The activity 
that would be covered by the permit is the continued operation of 
Roosevelt by SRP. The area covered by the permit includes Roosevelt up 
to an elevation of 2,151 feet, the highest point in the reservoir at 
which water is stored. The requested term of the permit is for a period 
of 50 years. To meet the requirements of a Section 10(a)(1)(B) permit, 
SRP has developed and will implement the RHCP, which provides measures 
to minimize and mitigate incidental take of flycatchers, clapper rails, 
and bald eagles to the maximum extent practicable, and which ensures 
that the incidental take will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
the survival and recovery of these species in the wild. The RHCP also 
addresses potential impacts on a candidate species, the yellow-billed 


    Two other alternatives that were considered by the Service include 
the following:
    1. No Permit--No issuance of an ITP by the Service. This 
alternative would require SRP to do everything within its control to 
avoid any take of federally listed species associated with its 
continued operation of Roosevelt.
    2. Re-operation Alternative--Issuance of an ITP by the Service 
authorizing the modified operation of Roosevelt to reduce the short-
term impact of reservoir operations on listed and candidate species. 
This alternative includes measures to minimize and mitigate the 
potential take of federally listed species.

Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 02-30386 Filed 11-27-02; 8:45 am]