[Federal Register: April 5, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 65)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 17634-17636]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI52

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Designation of Critical Habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia 
River Populations of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and notice of 
availability of draft economic analysis.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the reopening 
of the public comment period on the proposal to designate critical 
habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River populations of bull 
trout (Salvelinus confluentus), and the availability of the draft 
economic analysis of the proposed designation of critical habitat. We 
are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties to 
comment simultaneously on the proposed rule and the associated draft 
economic analysis. Comments previously submitted need not be 
resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public record as part 
of this comment period, and will be fully considered in preparation of 
the final rule.

DATES: We will accept public comments until May 5, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and materials may be submitted to us by any 
one of the following methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information to John Young, 
Bull Trout Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological 
Services, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232;
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our 
office, at the above address, or fax your comments to 503/231-6243; or
    3. You may also send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to:
    R1BullTroutCH@r1.fws.gov. For directions on how to submit 
electronic filing of comments, see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' 
section. In the event that our internet connection is not functional, 
please submit you comments by the alternate methods mentioned above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Young, at the address above 
(telephone 503/231-6194; facsimile 503/231-6243).


Public Comments Solicited

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period. We solicit comments on the original proposed 
critical habitat designation (November 29, 2002, 67 FR 71235) and on 
our draft economic analysis of the proposed designation. We are 
particularly interested in comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined 
to be critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act, including 
whether the benefits of excluding any particular area as critical 
habitat outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the 
critical habitat;
    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of bull 
trout and its habitat, and which habitat is essential to the 
conservation of this species and why;
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat;
    (4) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of critical habitat, in particular, any impacts on 
small entities or families beyond those identified in section 4.3 
(Potential Impacts on Small Entities);
    (5) How our approach to critical habitat designation could be 
improved or modified to provide for greater public participation and 
understanding, or to assist us in accommodating public concern and 
    (6) Whether the economic analysis identifies all State and local 
costs. If not, what other costs are overlooked;
    (7) Whether the economic analysis makes appropriate assumptions 
regarding current practices and likely regulatory changes imposed as a 
result of the designation of critical habitat;
    (8) Whether the economic analysis appropriately identifies all 
costs that could result from the designation;
    (9) Whether the economic analysis correctly assesses the effect on 

[[Page 17635]]

costs associated with land use controls that derive from the 
    (10) Whether the designation will result in disproportionate 
economic impacts to specific areas that should be evaluated for 
possible exclusion from the final designation;
    (11) Are data available on costs to the Bonneville Power 
Administration associated with the listing of the bull trout and the 
designation of critical habitat for the species in the Columbia River 
basin beyond foregone power revenues of $2-$4 million per year, 
possible future facility modifications totaling $1.1-$1.3 million per 
year, and the costs of $266-$366 thousand per year attributable to fish 
    (12) Are data available related to costs associated with timber 
harvesting activities beyond the consultation costs and the estimated 
$1.64-$4.14 million per year relative to project modifications to U.S. 
Forest Service timber harvest activities;
    (13) Is it an appropriate assumption that the analysis assumes that 
even though there are many consultations that address the bull trout, 
very few project modifications will result from these consultations 
beyond those identified for U.S. Forest Service timber harvest 
activities, Federal Columbia River Power System operations, grazing 
activity on BLM and Forest Service lands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
construction and maintenance activities, Bureau of Reclamation 
activities, Federal Highway Administration bridge construction and 
maintenance activities, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
    (14) Is it appropriate that the analysis does not include the cost 
of project modifications to projects that are the result of informal 
    (15) Whether the analysis adequately captures and values various 
costs to water and power producing facilities and capabilities;
    (16) Is it appropriate that the analysis used the life of the 
project to amortize the costs of fishery modification requirements 
rather than the revenue period;
    (17) Are the determinations in Section 3.4 (Projected Future 
Section 7 Consultations Involving Bull Trout) appropriate to address 
the economic impacts associated with residential and commercial 
    (18) Is it appropriate that the analysis does not identify or 
discuss potential effects of the designation on employment beyond those 
implied by information contained in section 3.1.4 (Distributional and 
Regional Economic Effects) and section 4.3 (Potential Impacts on Small 
    (19) In our analysis we indicate that several factors potentially 
introduce uncertainty into the results of the analysis, and that we 
solicit from the public further information on any of these issues, 
    (a) are the data available to develop more accurate estimates of 
the number of future consultations, project modifications, and costs 
for the activities related to private lands;
    (b) are the data available on additional land use practices, or 
current or planned activities in proposed critical habitat areas, that 
are not specifically or adequately addressed in this analysis;
    (c) are the data available on additional indirect impacts (such as 
additional regulatory burdens from State or local laws triggered by the 
designation of critical habitat) that are not specifically or 
adequately addressed in this analysis;
    (20) In our original listing document, we stated that protections 
afforded bull trout from existing Federal, State, or local laws 
provided inadequate levels of protection to prevent past and ongoing 
habitat degradation from negatively affecting bull trout. This 
analysis, however, states that some of the protections flowing from the 
designation of critical habitat already exist in the form of other 
Federal and State laws that generally protect various aspects of the 
environment. Should these costs identified as ``baseline'' and not 
calculated into the costs of critical habitat designation be included 
in the cost of the critical habitat designation and if so what data are 
available to identify those costs; and
    (21) The economic analysis should identify all costs related to the 
designation of critical habitat for the bull trout which was intended 
to take place at the time the species was listed. As a result, the 
assumption is the economic analysis should be consistent with the 
Service's listing regulations. Does this analysis achieve that 
    All previous comments and information submitted during the initial 
comment period need not be resubmitted. Refer to the ADDRESSES section 
for information on how to submit written comments and information. Our 
final determination on the proposed critical habitat will take into 
consideration all comments and any additional information received.
    Please submit electronic comments in an ASCII file format and avoid 
the use of special characters and encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: RIN 1018-AI52'' and your name and return address in your e-mail 
message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we 
have received your e-mail message, please contact the Bull Trout 
Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES section and For Further Information 
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home addresses from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by 
law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/or address, you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we 
will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours, in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office at 
the above address.
    Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the Internet 
at http://www.r1.fws.gov or from the Bull Trout Coordinator at the 

address and contact numbers above. You may obtain copies of the 
proposed rule from the above address, by calling 503/231-6194, or from 
our Web site at: http://pacific.fws.gov/bulltrout.


    We published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the 
Klamath River and Columbia River populations of bull trout (Salvelinus 
confluentus) on November 29, 2002 (67 FR 71235). The proposed critical 
habitat designation includes approximately 29,720 kilometers (18,471 
miles) of streams and 215,585 hectares (532,721 acres) of lakes, 
reservoirs, and marshes in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. 
Under the terms of a court-approved settlement agreement, we are 
required to submit the final rule designating critical habitat to the 
Federal Register no later than September 21, 2004.
    Critical habitat receives protection from destruction or adverse 
modification through required consultation under section 7 of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), with regard to actions carried out,

[[Page 17636]]

funded, or authorized by a Federal agency.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific and commercial data 
available, after taking into consideration the economic or any other 
relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. 
Based upon the previously published proposal to designate critical 
habitat for the Klamath River and Columbia River populations of bull 
trout, we have prepared a draft economic analysis of the proposed 
critical habitat designation. The economic analysis of this proposed 
designation of critical habitat suggests that the estimated total 
potential economic costs of the designation may range from $20.4 
million to 31.3 million over a 10-year period, with administrative 
costs for consultations under section 7 of the Act expected to be 
approximately $9.6 million annually, and the estimated total project 
modification costs attributable to section 7 estimated to range from 
$10.8 to $21.7 million per year. The draft analysis is available on the 
Internet and from the mailing address in the ADDRESSES section above.


    The primary author of this notice is Barbara Behan, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES section).

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: March 26, 2004.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 04-7548 Filed 4-2-04; 8:45 am]