[Federal Register: March 17, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 51)]
[Page 13043-13045]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Conduct Restoration Planning for Natural 
Resources Injured by the Release of Oil From the MV Kure Oil Spill, 
Humboldt County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the 
Interior), the California Department of Fish and Game, and the 
California State Lands Commission are joint trustees (Trustees) for 
natural resources and are authorized to assess injuries to Federal and 
State resources caused by the MV Kure Oil Spill and to plan and 
implement restoration actions to address those injuries. The Trustees 
announce their intent to conduct restoration planning for the MV Kure 
Oil Spill. The purpose of this restoration planning effort is to 
complete an assessment of the natural resource injuries and damages 
caused by the oil spill, and to prepare a plan for the restoration of 
the injured resources.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive written comments on or 
before April 18, 2005.


Review of Administrative Record

    The Administrative Record will be available for public inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at these locations:
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-2605, Sacramento, California 
     California Department of Fish and Game, 619 2nd Street, 
Eureka, California 95501.
    You may schedule a time to review the Administrative Record by 
contacting the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office or the California 
Department of Fish and Game's Eureka office (see FOR FURTHER 

Submission of Comments

    You may submit your written comments on this Notice, Administrative 
Record materials, and all upcoming restoration planning documents by 
any of the following methods:
    1. Send written comments and information by mail to Charlene 
Andrade, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, at the above address.
    2. Hand-deliver written comments to the Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, at the above address.
    3. Fax comments to (916) 414-6713 (Attn.: Charlene Andrade).
    4. Send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
Charlene_Andrade@fws.gov. For directions on how to submit electronic comments, 

see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charlene Andrade, Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, telephone (916) 414-6590; Kris Weise, California 
Department of Fish and Game, Eureka, (707) 441-5752. To receive public 
notices about future Restoration Planning activities, contact Charlene 
Andrade by telephone.



    On the morning of November 5, 1997, the vessel M/V Kure spilled oil 
into Humboldt Bay after colliding with a dock at the Louisiana Pacific 
wood chip facility during loading operations. Oil was spread by tide, 
currents and winds through much of the bay and into the Pacific Ocean. 
The oil affected a number of natural resources, including seabirds, 
shorebirds, marine and estuarine waters, marshes, mudflats, beaches and 
other shoreline habitats. This oil spill is hereafter referred to as 
the ``Incident.''
    Pursuant to section 1006 of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), 33 U.S.C. 
2701 et seq., Federal and State trustees (Trustees) for natural 
resources are

[[Page 13044]]

authorized to assess natural resource damages resulting from oil spills 
into navigable waters and to develop and implement a plan for 
restoration of such injured resources. The Trustees for this Incident 
are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior), 
the California Department of Fish and Game, and the California State 
Lands Commission. The Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations 
under OPA, 15 CFR part 990 (the ``NRDA regulations''), provide that the 
Trustees are to prepare a Notice of Intent to Conduct Restoration 
Planning (Notice) if they determine certain conditions have been met 
and if they decide to quantify the injuries to natural resources and to 
develop a restoration plan.
    This Notice is to announce, pursuant to Section 990.44 of the NRDA 
regulations, that the Trustees, having collected and analyzed data, 
intend to proceed with restoration planning actions to address injuries 
to natural resources resulting from the Incident. The purpose of this 
restoration planning effort is to further evaluate injuries to natural 
resources and services and to use that information to determine the 
need for, type of, and scale of restoration actions.

Determination of Jurisdiction

    The Trustees have made the following determinations pursuant to 15 
CFR 990.41 and 990.42:
    (1) On November 5, 1997, the vessel MV Kure spilled a quantity of 
intermediate fuel oil, estimated to be approximately 4,500 gallons, in 
Humboldt Bay, near Eureka, California. This occurrence constituted an 
``Incident'' within the meaning of 15 CFR 990.30. The Incident is also 
a ``spill'' or ``discharge'' as defined at California Government Code 
    (2) The Incident was not permitted under a permit issued under 
Federal, State, or local law; was not from a public vessel; and was not 
from an onshore facility subject to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authority 
Act, 43 U.S.C. 1651 et seq.
    (3) Oil discharged during the Incident affected marine and 
shoreline habitats, wildlife, and human uses of natural resources in 
the area. Consequently, natural resources under the trusteeship of the 
Trustees have been injured as a result of the Incident.
    (4) As a result of the foregoing determinations, the Trustees have 
jurisdiction to pursue restoration under the Federal Oil Pollution Act 
(OPA), 33 U.S.C. 2701-2761, and California's Lempert-Keene-Seastrand 
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, Government Code Sections 8670.1 
et seq.

Determination To Conduct Restoration Planning

    The Trustees have determined, pursuant to 15 CFR 990.42(a), that:
    (1) Data collected pursuant to 15 CFR 990.43 demonstrate that 
injuries to natural resources have resulted from the Incident, 
including but not limited to the following:
    (i) Injury to a wide variety and number of seabirds, shorebirds, 
and waterfowl, among them marbled murrelets and California brown 
pelicans (species listed as threatened or endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544);
    (ii) Impacts to marshes, mudflats, beaches, and other shoreline 
habitats such that the ecological services provided by these habitats 
were reduced for varying periods of time;
    (iii) Impacts to water quality in marine and estuarine waters 
affected by the spill such that the ecological services provided by 
these habitats were reduced for some period of time; and
    (iv) Lost public recreational uses, including lost or diminished 
opportunities for sea kayaking, surfing and camping.
    (2) The cleanup actions taken to respond to the Incident have not 
adequately addressed the injuries resulting from the Incident to the 
extent where restoration would not be necessary. Response efforts 
included collection and removal of oil and oiled debris along 
shorelines and rehabilitation of oiled birds. These efforts reduced the 
magnitude and duration of impacts to shoreline habitats and wildlife, 
but did not eliminate all injuries or make restoration unnecessary.
    (3) Potential assessment procedures to be used to evaluate injuries 
and to design and implement the appropriate type and scale of 
restoration for these injured natural resources and services consist 
of, but are not limited to:
    (i) Compilation of data on numbers, species, and collection 
locations of dead or debilitated birds found during the spill response;
    (ii) Compilation of demographic data for key bird species;
    (iii) Field studies and/or literature searches to estimate rates of 
removal of carcasses from beaches by scavengers and effectiveness of 
wildlife operations personnel and techniques at finding oiled birds 
stranded on beaches;
    (iv) Analysis of field studies and/or literature searches (iii 
above), collection information (i above), bird distribution and 
abundance data, and/or oil trajectory data to evaluate spill-related 
avian mortality;
    (v) Resource Equivalency Analysis or other techniques to scale bird 
restoration projects to bird injuries;
    (vi) Habitat Equivalency Analysis or other techniques to scale 
habitat restoration projects to habitat injuries;
    (vii) Field studies to ascertain restoration suitability of various 
tracts of land; and
    (viii) Analysis of habitat quality information to properly scale 
restoration projects.
    (4) Feasible primary and compensatory restoration actions exist to 
address injuries from the Incident. Restoration activities are expected 
to focus on marbled murrelets and other seabirds, shorebirds, 
waterfowl, aquatic and shoreline habitats, and lost recreation. 
Restoration actions for the injured resources may include, but are not 
necessarily limited to:
    (i) Acquisition of marbled murrelet nesting habitat from willing 
sellers, purchase of conservation easements on marbled murrelet nesting 
habitat, and enhancement of the quality of marbled murrelet nesting 
habitat through management actions;
    (ii) Enhancement and/or protection of nesting and roosting 
locations of seabirds along the California coast;
    (iii) Enhancement and/or protection of marshes, mudflats and other 
habitats that were affected by the Incident or are used by bird species 
that were affected by the Incident; and
    (iv) Enhancement of trails or other facilities used for public 
recreation at beaches or parks where public access was lost or 
diminished during the Incident.

Administrative Record

    The Trustees have opened an Administrative Record (Record) in 
compliance with 15 CFR 990.45. The Record includes documents relied 
upon by the Trustees during the assessment and restoration planning 
performed thus far in connection with the Incident, including data 
supporting the above determinations. The Record is on file and 
available to the public at the locations specified in the ADDRESSES 

Public Comments Solicited

    Pursuant to 15 CFR 990.14(d), the Trustees seek public involvement 
in restoration planning for this Incident, through public review of, 
and comment on, this Notice and the documents contained in the 
Administrative Record.
    Please submit electronic comments in an ASCII file format and avoid 
the use of special characters and encryption.

[[Page 13045]]

Please also include ``Attn: Kure NOI'' 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 us 
directly by calling Charlene Andrade at the Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section).
    Our practice is to make all 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 record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold from the 
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.


    The primary author of this notice is Daniel Welsh (Sacramento Fish 
and Wildlife Office; see ADDRESSES section).


    The authority for this action is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 
U.S.C. 2701 et seq.).

    Dated: February 2, 2005.
D. Kenneth McDermond,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 05-5290 Filed 3-16-05; 8:45 am]