[Federal Register: November 28, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 229)]
[Page 66820-66821]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Fish and Wildlife Service


Final Environmental Impact Statement for an Incidental Take 
Permit Application and Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan), by J.L. 
Storedahl & Sons, Inc.(Storedahl), Clark County, WA

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce; U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS), Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of final environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: This document announces the availability of the Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (Statement) for public review. The 
Statement addresses the proposed issuance of Incidental Take Permits 
(Permits) to J.L. Storedahl & Sons, Inc., Clark County, WA. The 
proposed Permits relate to gravel mining, gravel processing, and mining 
reclamation activities on approximately 300 acres of Storedahl-owned 
lands adjacent to the East Fork Lewis River, Clark County, WA. 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 five currently unlisted species 
(including anadromous and resident fish) under specific provisions of 
the Permits, should these species be listed in the future. The duration 
of the proposed Permits is 25 years. This notice is provided pursuant 
to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA).

DATES: Written comments on the Statement must be received from all 
interested parties on or before December 29, 2003. A Record of Decision 
will occur no sooner than 30 days after the publication date of the 
Environmental Protection Agency's published notice in the Federal 

locations at which hard-copies of the Plan and associated documents may 
be obtained or reviewed. To request documents on CD-ROM, call the USFWS 
at (360) 534-9330.
    Comments and requests for information should be sent to Tim 
Romanski, Storedahl FEIS/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 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.


    J.L. Storedahl & Sons, Inc., owns and operates a gravel processing 
plant in rural Clark County, WA, adjacent 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 
(121.4 ha) site is composed of two parcels. One parcel is approximately 
82 acres (33.2 ha) and consists of five 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 (72.0 ha) 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 production.
    Storedahl proposes to mine the sand and gravel deposits from 101 
acres (40.9 ha) 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 
    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 
would drain 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 ESA.
    Section 10 of the ESA contains provisions for the issuance of 
Incidental Take 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 has developed, 
with assistance from the Services, a Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) 
containing a strategy for minimizing and mitigating take associated 
with the proposed activities to the maximum extent practicable for 
their proposed activities adjacent to the East Fork Lewis River.
    Activities proposed for coverage under the Permits include the 
    (1) Gravel mining and related activities in the terrace above the 
100-year floodplain, with potential impacts

[[Page 66821]]

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 and riparian and 
valley-bottom forest restoration; habitat rehabilitation, riparian 
irrigation, and 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 Plan is 25 years, though 
some aspects of the conservation measures associated with the proposed 
Plan 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 in the Federal Register on December 27, 
1999 (64 FR 72318). That notice 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. 
A second Federal Register notice was published on November 22, 2002 (67 
FR 70408), announcing a 60-day public comment period for a draft 
Statement, draft Plan with appendices, and a draft Implementing 
Agreement. The comment period was extended an additional 30 days in 
direct response to requests from the public. This resulted in a total 
comment period of 90 days. Comments received on the draft documents and 
responses to those comments are included in the final Statement.
    The final Statement compares Storedahl's proposal against two no-
action alternatives. Differences between the no-action alternatives and 
the proposed action are considered to be the effects that would occur 
if the proposed action were implemented. One alternative to Storedahl's 
proposal is also analyzed against the two no-action alternatives. The 
analysis comparing these alternatives is contained in the final 
    Alternatives considered in the analysis include the following:
    (1) Alternative A-1: Partition the property into 20-acre (8.1 ha) 
parcels and sell as rural residential/agricultural tracts - No Action.
    (2) Alternative A-2: Mine the property without an ITP 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 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 alternatives 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 ESA, and 
NEPA regulations. The Services will evaluate the application, 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of the ESA and NEPA. If 
it is determined that the requirements are met, Permits will be issued 
for the incidental take of listed species. The final permit decision 
will be made no sooner than 30 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: October 30, 2003.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, Portland 

    November 10, 2003.
Phil Williams,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 03-29730 Filed 11-26-03; 8:45 am]