[Federal Register: June 15, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 114)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 33307-33309]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service

36 CFR Part 242


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 100

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, 
Subpart D; Seasonal Adjustments--Copper River

AGENCIES: Forest Service, USDA; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Seasonal adjustments.


SUMMARY: This provides notice of the Federal Subsistence Board's in-
season management actions to protect sockeye salmon escapement in the 
Copper River, while still providing for a subsistence harvest 
opportunity. The fishing schedules and closures will provide an 
exception to the Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in 
Alaska, published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2004. Those 
regulations established seasons, harvest limits, methods, and means 
relating to the taking of fish and shellfish for subsistence uses 
during the 2004 regulatory year.

DATES: The fishing schedule for the Chitina Subdistrict of the Upper 
Copper River District is effective May 15, 2004, through July 12, 2004. 
The fishing schedule for the Glennallen Subdistrict of the Upper Copper 
River District is effective May 15, 2004, through June 1, 2004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas H. Boyd, Office of Subsistence 
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, telephone (907) 786-3888. 
For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve 
Kessler, Subsistence Program Manager, USDA--Forest Service, Alaska 
Region, telephone (907) 786-3592.



    Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act 
(ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126) requires that the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a 
joint program to grant a preference for subsistence uses of fish and 
wildlife resources on public lands in Alaska, unless the State of 
Alaska enacts and implements laws of general applicability that are 
consistent with ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, 
preference, and participation specified in Sections 803, 804, and 805 
of ANILCA. In December 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the 
rural preference in the State subsistence statute violated the Alaska 
Constitution and, therefore, negated State compliance with ANILCA.
    The Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture 
(Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for 
implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. The Departments 
administer Title VIII through regulations at Title 50, Part 100 and 
Title 36, Part 242 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Consistent 
with Subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as revised January 8, 
1999, (64 FR 1276), the Departments established a Federal Subsistence 
Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The 
Board's composition includes a Chair appointed by the Secretary of the 
Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska 
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Alaska Regional 
Director, National Park Service; the Alaska State Director, Bureau of 
Land Management; the Alaska Regional Director, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs; and the Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through 
the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations 
for Subparts A, B, and C, which establish the program structure and 
determine which Alaska residents are eligible to take specific species 
for subsistence uses, and the annual Subpart D regulations, which 
establish seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means for 
subsistence take of species in specific areas. Subpart D regulations 
for the 2004 fishing seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means 
were published on February 3, 2004 (69 FR 5018).
    Because this action relates to public lands managed by an agency or 
agencies in both the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, 
identical closures and adjustments would apply to 36 CFR part 242 and 
50 CFR part 100.
    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), under the direction 
of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), manages sport, commercial, 
personal use, and State subsistence harvest on all lands and waters 
throughout Alaska. However, on Federal lands and waters, the Federal 
Subsistence Board implements a subsistence priority for rural residents 
as provided by Title VIII of ANILCA. In providing this priority, the 
Board may, when necessary, preempt State harvest regulations for fish 
or wildlife on Federal lands and waters.

[[Page 33308]]

    These adjustments are necessary because of the need to maintain the 
viability of salmon stocks in the Copper River based on in-season run 
assessments. These actions are authorized and in accordance with 50 CFR 
100.19(d-e) and 36 CFR 242.19(d-e).

Copper River--Chitina Subdistrict

    In December 2001, the Board adopted regulatory proposals 
establishing a new Federal subsistence fishery in the Chitina 
Subdistrict of the Copper River. This fishery is open to Federally 
qualified users having customary and traditional use of salmon in this 
Subdistrict. The State conducts a personal use fishery in this 
Subdistrict that is open to all Alaska residents.
    Management of the fishery is based on the numbers of salmon 
returning to the Copper River. A larger than predicted salmon run will 
allow additional fishing time. A smaller than predicted run will 
require restrictions to achieve upriver passage and spawning escapement 
goals. A run that approximates the pre-season forecast will allow 
fishing to proceed similar to the pre-season schedule with some 
adjustments made to fishing time based on in-season data. Adjustments 
to the preseason schedule are expected as a normal function of an 
abundance-based management strategy. State and Federal managers, 
reviewing and discussing all available in-season information, will make 
these adjustments.
    While Federal and State regulations currently differ for this 
Subdistrict, the Board indicated that Federal in-season management 
actions regarding fishing periods were expected to mirror State 
actions. The State established a preseason schedule of allowable 
fishing periods based on daily projected sonar estimates. This 
preseason schedule is intended to distribute the harvest throughout the 
salmon run and provide salmon for upriver subsistence fisheries and the 
spawning escapement. The salmon season is closed until the first open 
period scheduled for June 3, 2004, at 6 a.m. Shown below are the 
fishing schedule openings for the Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper 

Thursday, June 3, 6 a.m.--Sunday, June 6, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 7, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday June 13, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 14, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday June 20, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 21, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday June 27, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, June 28, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday July 4, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, July 5, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday July 11, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, July 12, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday July 18, 11:59 p.m.
Monday, July 19, 12:01 a.m.--Sunday September 30, 11:59 p.m.
    State personal use and Federal subsistence fisheries in this 
Subdistrict close simultaneously by regulation on September 30, 2004. 
No deviation from this date is anticipated.

Copper River--Glennallen Subdistrict

    In December 2000, the Board adopted a regulatory proposal opening 
the Glennallen Subdistrict of the Copper River to Federally qualified 
users May 15. This allowed Federally qualified users to harvest salmon 
prior to the State subsistence fishing season that opens June 1. This 
fishery is open to Federally qualified users having customary and 
traditional use of salmon in this Subdistrict. The State conducts a 
personal use fishery in this Subdistrict that is open to all Alaska 
residents. Salmon migrating through the Glennallen Subdistrict during 
this period are likely to spawn in upper river tributaries based on 
prior studies conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In 
2003, Federally qualified users harvested approximately 750 salmon in 
the Glennallen Subdistrict during May. None of this harvest appears to 
have occurred upstream of the Gakona River.
    The State has briefly delayed the opening of the commercial fishery 
near the mouth of the Copper River predicated on the pre-season 
forecast. Production from the early portion of the natural run may be 
weak because of low inriver escapements prior to mid June in brood 
years 1999 and 2000. If Miles Lake sonar estimates are substantially 
below the forecasted levels both the State and the Board will reduce 
the open periods in the Chitina Subdistrict as described in the Copper 
River Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 24.360). Management of the fishery 
is based on the numbers of salmon returning to the Copper River. A 
larger than predicted salmon run will allow additional fishing time. A 
smaller than predicted run will require restrictions to achieve upriver 
passage and spawning escapement goals.
    In May of 2004, Federally qualified users that harvest salmon 
upstream of the Gakona River strongly expressed concerns that their 
harvest is declining and that one of the causes of this decline is 
harvest of salmon downstream. Harvest data from 1996 through 2003 
suggest that this may be a valid concern. No data regarding early run 
escapement is available until the Miles Lake sonar is operational and 
salmon passing the sonar site have arrived within the Glennallen 
Subdistrict (approximately 3 weeks' travel time). Therefore, this 
action utilizes a conservative approach and restricts the fishery until 
data from the Miles Lake sonar are available.
    The Glennallen Subdistrict of the Copper River will be closed to 
the harvest of salmon until June 1, 2004.
    Federally qualified users downstream of the Gakona River are not 
expected to be significantly impacted by this action because they have 
ample opportunity to harvest additional salmon stocks that enter the 
Subdistrict later to spawn in tributaries downstream of the Gakona 
    State and Federal subsistence fisheries in this Subdistrict close 
simultaneously by regulation on September 30, 2004. No deviation from 
this date is anticipated.
    The Board finds that additional public notice and comment 
requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for these 
adjustments are impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public 
interest. Lack of appropriate and immediate conservation measures could 
seriously affect the continued viability of fish populations, adversely 
impact future subsistence opportunities for rural Alaskans, and would 
generally fail to serve the overall public interest. Therefore, the 
Board finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) to waive 
additional public notice and comment procedures prior to implementation 
of these actions and pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule 
effective as indicated in the DATES section.

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    A Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on 
February 28, 1992, and a Record of Decision on Subsistence Management 
for Federal Public Lands in Alaska (ROD) was signed April 6, 1992. The 
final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in 
Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C (57 FR 22940-22964, published May 29, 
1992) implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and 
included a framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and 
fishing regulations. A final rule that redefined the jurisdiction of 
the Federal Subsistence Management Program to include waters subject to 
the subsistence priority was published on January 8, 1999 (64 FR 1276.)

[[Page 33309]]

Compliance With Section 810 of ANILCA

    The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord 
subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over 
the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, 
unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife 
populations. A Section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS 
process. The final Section 810 analysis determination appeared in the 
April 6, 1992, ROD, which concluded that the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for 
setting hunting and fishing regulations, may have some local impacts on 
subsistence uses, but the program is not likely to significantly 
restrict subsistence uses.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The adjustment and emergency closures do not contain information 
collection requirements subject to Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

Other Requirements

    The adjustments have been exempted from OMB review under Executive 
Order 12866.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which 
include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. 
The exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result 
from this Federal land-related activity is unknown. The aggregate 
effect is an insignificant economic effect (both positive and negative) 
on a small number of small entities supporting subsistence activities, 
such as boat, fishing gear, and gasoline dealers. The number of small 
entities affected is unknown; however, the effects will be seasonally 
and geographically-limited in nature and will likely not be 
significant. The Departments certify that the adjustments will not have 
a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities 
within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), 
this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase in 
costs or prices for consumers, and does not have significant adverse 
effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with 
foreign-based enterprises.
    Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a 
subsistence preference on public lands. The scope of this program is 
limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, the 
adjustments have no potential takings of private property implications 
as defined by Executive Order 12630.
    The Service has determined and certifies pursuant to the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that the adjustments will 
not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or 
State governments or private entities. The implementation is by Federal 
agencies, and no cost is involved to any State or local entities or 
Tribal governments.
    The Service has determined that the adjustments meet the applicable 
standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 
12988, regarding civil justice reform. In accordance with Executive 
Order 13132, the adjustments do not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. 
Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from exercising subsistence 
management authority over fish and wildlife resources on Federal lands. 
Cooperative salmon run assessment efforts with ADF&G will continue.
    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we 
have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes 
and have determined that there are no effects. The Bureau of Indian 
Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.
    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use. This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As these actions are 
not expected to significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use, they are not significant energy actions and no Statement of Energy 
Effects is required.

Drafting Information

    Theodore Matuskowitz drafted this document under the guidance of 
Thomas H. Boyd, of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska 
Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. 
Taylor Brelsford, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Rod 
Simmons, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Bob 
Gerhard, Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service; Dr. Glenn Chen, 
Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and Steve Kessler, 
USDA-Forest Service, provided additional guidance.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 
3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

    Dated: May 25, 2004.
Thomas H. Boyd,
Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.
    Dated: May 25, 2004.
Steve Kessler,
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA-Forest Service.
[FR Doc. 04-13396 Filed 6-14-04; 8:45 am]