[Federal Register: May 9, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 88)]
[Page 24450-24452]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine 
Fisheries Service

[I.D. 041205C]

Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping Meetings and to 
Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Related to the Elliott State 
Forest Habitat Conservation Plan

AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Interior; National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of intent, to conduct scoping meetings.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine 
Fisheries Service (Services) advise interested parties of their intent 
to conduct public scoping under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) necessary to gather information to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) on an anticipated permit application from the 
Oregon Division of Forestry (ODF) submitted under of the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA) for the incidental take of listed species, associated 
with the Elliott State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in 

DATES: Public scoping meetings are scheduled as follows:
    1. May 24, 2005, 6-10 p.m., Roseburg, OR.
    2. May 25, 2005, 6-10 p.m., North Bend, OR.
    3. May 26, 2005, 6-10 p.m., Salem, OR.
    Written comments should be received on or before June 8, 2005.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning the preparation of the EIS and the 
NEPA process should be addressed to: Lee Folliard, FWS, 2600 SE 98th 
Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266, facsimile: (503) 231-6195; or 
Chuck Wheeler, NMFS, 2900 NW Stewart Parkway, Roseberg, OR 97470-1274, 
facsimile: (541) 957-3386.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lee Folliard, (503) 231-6179 or Chuck 
Wheeler (541) 957-3379. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to the 
following address: ElliottStateForest.nwr@noaa.gov. In the subject line 
of the e-mail, include the document identifier: Elliott State Forest

[[Page 24451]]

HCP. Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 



    The public scoping meetings will be held at the following 
    1. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Office, 4192 North Umpqua 
Highway, Roseburg, OR
    2. North Bend Public Library, 1800 Sherman Avenue, North Bend, OR
    3. Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street, Salem, OR

Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in public meetings should contact Lee Folliard as soon as 
possible (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). In order to allow 
sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than one week 
before the public meeting. Information regarding this proposed action 
is available in alternative formats upon request.

Statutory Authority

    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532 et seq.) and implementing 
regulations prohibit the ``taking'' of animal species listed as 
endangered or threatened. The term take is defined under the ESA as to 
mean harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 
1532(19)). Harm is defined by the FWS to include significant habitat 
modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife 
by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). NMFS' definition of 
harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation where it 
actually kills or injures fish or wildlife by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, spawning, 
migrating, rearing, and sheltering (64 FR 60727, November 8, 1999).
    Section 10 of the ESA specifies requirements for the issuance of 
incidental take permits (ITPs) to non-Federal landowners for the take 
of endangered and threatened species. Any proposed take must be 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities, not appreciably reduce the 
likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild and 
minimize and mitigate the impacts of such take to the maximum extent 
practicable. In addition, an applicant must prepare a HCP describing 
the impact that will likely result from such taking, the strategy for 
minimizing and mitigating the incidental take, the funding available to 
implement such steps, alternatives to such taking and the reason such 
alternatives are not being implemented.
    NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies 
conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to 
determine if the actions may affect the human environment. Under NEPA, 
a reasonable range of alternatives to proposed projects are developed 
and considered in the Services' environmental review. Alternatives 
considered for analysis in an EIS may include: variations in the scope 
of covered activities; variations in the location, amount and type of 
conservation; variations in permit duration; or, a combination of these 
elements. In addition, the EIS will identify potentially significant 
direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on biological resources, land 
use, air quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, and 
other environmental issues that could occur with the implementation of 
the proposed actions and alternatives. For all potentially significant 
impacts, the EIS will identify avoidance, minimization, and mitigation 
measures to reduce these impacts, where feasible, to a level below 


    The EIS will analyze the potential issuance of two ITPs, one by 
NMFS and one by the FWS. To obtain an ITP, the applicant must prepare a 
HCP that meets the issuance criteria established by the Services (50 
CFR section 17.22 (b)(2) and section 222.307). Should a permit be 
issued, the permit would include assurances under the Service's ``No 
Surprises'' regulations.
    The Elliott State Forest encompasses approximately 97,000 acres of 
state-owned forestlands in Coos, Curry, and Douglas Counties in 
Oregon's Coast Range. ODF manages the Elliott State Forest out of its 
Coos District Office, located in Coos Bay. Most of the forest (93,000 
acres) lies on a contiguous block of land approximately 18 miles (28.97 
km) long from north to south, and about 16 miles (25.75 km) wide from 
west to east. The remaining 4,000 acres of land associated with the 
Elliott State Forest are distributed across a wide geographic area 
ranging from the California border to just north of the Umpqua River, 
and from the Pacific Ocean to Sutherlin in the interior Umpqua River 
    Ninety-one percent of the Elliott State Forest lands are Common 
School Forest Lands, which are owned by the State Land Board and must 
be managed for the greatest benefit to the people of the State of 
Oregon. This benefit has been interpreted to mean maximizing revenue to 
the Common School Fund over the long-term, consistent with sound 
techniques of land management. Consideration is given to the protection 
of soils, streams, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and 
other forest values. The remaining lands are Board of Forestry Lands, 
which must be managed to secure the greatest permanent value to the 
citizens of Oregon by providing healthy, productive, and sustainable 
forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape, provide a 
full range of social, economic and environmental benefits.
    The Elliott State Forest is managed in accordance with the 1994 
Elliott State Forest Management Plan (FMP). ODF also holds an ITP for 
potential take of northern spotted owl on the Elliott State Forest; the 
ITP and associated HCP went into effect in 1995. ODF is currently 
revising the 1994 FMP, and a draft was released in May 2004 for public 
review. Some of the proposed forest management activities have the 
potential to affect federally-listed species subject to protection 
under the ESA, including the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis 
caurina), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), marbled murrelet 
(Brachyramphus marmoratus), and coho salmon (Oncorhyncus kisutch). As a 
result, ODF is preparing a new, 50-year HCP, in response to the revised 
FMP, that would address incidental take of these listed species, as 
well as several unlisted species.
    It is expected that ODF will submit a draft HCP to the Services as 
part of the ITP applications in mid-2005. Separate applications will be 
submitted to the FWS and NMFS, and the HCP will support both 
applications. The application to FWS will address the potential take of 
northern spotted owl, bald eagle, and marbled murrelet, which are 
listed as threatened under the ESA. Unlisted species under FWS 
jurisdiction that ODF is expected to include in their application 
include peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), northern goshawk 
(Accipiter gentiles), pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), olive-
sided flycatcher (Contopus borealis), western bluebird (Sialia 
mexicana), coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki), Umpqua 
chub (Oregonichthys kalawatseti), Pacific lamprey (Lampetra 
tridentatus), river lamprey (Lampetra ayresi), Millicoma longnose dace 
(Rhinichthys cataractae spp.), fisher (Martes pennanti), Townsend's 
big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendii), fringed myotis bat (Myotis 
thysanodes), long-legged myotis bat

[[Page 24452]]

(Myotis volans), red-legged frog (Rana aurora), western pond turtle 
(Clemmys marmorata), sharptail snake (Contia tenuis), southern seep 
salamander (Rhyacotriton variegates), and tailed frog (Ascaphus truei). 
The NMFS application will address the potential take of Southern Oregon 
Northern California coho salmon, which is listed as threatened under 
the ESA and Oregon Coast coho salmon, which is proposed to be listed as 
threatened. Unlisted species under NMFS jurisdiction that ODF is 
expected to include in their application include Chinook salmon 
(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), and 
steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
    Activities that ODF is currently considering for ITP coverage, and 
for which minimization and mitigation measure are being developed, 
include the following:
    1.Mechanized timber harvest;
    2.Forest product transportation;
    3.Road and landing construction, use, maintenance, and abandonment;
    4.Harvest-site preparation (excluding use of herbicides);
    5.Tree planting;
    6.Certain types of vegetation management (excluding use of 
    7.Fertilizer application;
    8.Silvicultural thinning and other silvicultural activities;
    9.Fire suppression;
    10.Aquatic habit restoration and other forest management 
    11.Energy and minerals activities; and
    12.Monitoring activities and scientific work
    The draft HCP to be prepared by ODF in support of the ITP 
applications will describe the impacts of take on proposed covered 
species, and will propose a conservation strategy to minimize and 
mitigate those impacts on each covered species to the maximum extent 
practicable. This conservation strategy is expected to include 
maintenance of a diverse range of forest stand structures; designation 
of conservation areas to protect special resources, including sites 
used by owls and murrelets; a landscape design that provides functional 
habitat for native species; maintenance of structural habitat 
components throughout the forest; stream protection buffers; a forest 
road program; a monitoring and adaptive management program; and aquatic 
habitat restoration measures. The draft HCP will identify HCP 
alternatives considered by ODF and will explain why those alternatives 
were not selected. The Services are responsible for determining whether 
the HCP satisfies the ESA section 10 permit issuance criteria.

Request for Comments

    The primary purpose of the scoping process is to identify important 
issues and alternatives raised by the public, related to the proposed 
action. Each scoping workshop will allocate time for informal 
discussion and questions with presentations by the Services and ODF.
    Written comments from interested parties are welcome to ensure that 
the full range of issues related to the permit requests are identified. 
All comments and materials received, including names and addresses, 
will become part of the administrative record and may be released to 
the public.
    Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the offices 
listed in the ADDRESSES section.
    The Services request that comments be specific. In particular, we 
request information regarding: the direct, indirect, and cumulative 
impacts that implementation of the proposed HCP could have on 
endangered and threatened and other covered species, and their 
communities and habitats; other possible alternatives that meet the 
purpose and need; potential adaptive management and/or monitoring 
provisions; funding issues; existing environmental conditions in the 
plan area; other plans or projects that might be relevant to this 
proposed project; and minimization and mitigation efforts. NMFS and FWS 
estimate that the draft EIS will be available for public review in the 
fall of 2005.
    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the NEPA of 1969 as amended (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), Council on the Environmental Quality Regulations 
(40 CFR 1500 1508), other applicable Federal laws and regulations, and 
policies and procedures of the Services for compliance with those 
regulations. This notice is being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR 
1501.7 of NEPA to obtain suggestions and information from other 
agencies and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives to be 
addressed in the EIS.

    Dated: April 28, 2005.
Phil Williams,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.

    April 28, 2005.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon
[FR Doc. 05-9223 Filed 5-6-05; 8:45 am]