[Federal Register: June 19, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 117)]
[Page 35286-35288]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 051906E]

Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping and to Prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement Related to the City of Kent, Washington 
(WA), Clark Springs Water Supply System Habitat Conservation Plan

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

ACTION: Notice; scoping meetings.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine 
Fisheries Service (Services) advise interested parties of their intent 
to conduct public scoping under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) to gather information to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) related to a permit application from the City of Kent, 
WA, for the incidental take of listed species. The permit application 
would be associated with the Clark Springs Water Supply System Habitat 
Conservation Plan, in Rock Creek, near Kent, WA.

DATES: The public scoping meeting will be held on June 29, 2006, from 
6--8 p.m.. in Kent, WA.
    Written comments should be received on or before August 3, 2006.

ADDRESSES: The public scoping meeting will be held in the Kent City 
Hall Council Chambers, 220 Fourth Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032.
    All comments concerning the preparation of the EIS and the NEPA 
process should be addressed to: Tim Romanski, FWS, 510 Desmond Drive 
SE, Suite 102, Lacey, WA 98503-1263, facsimile (360)753-9518, or John 
Stadler, NMFS, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 103, Lacey, WA 98503-1273, 
facsimile (360)753-9517. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to the 
following address: KentHCP.nwr@noaa.gov. In the subject line of the e-
mail, include the document identifier: The City of Kent HCP - EIS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Romanski, FWS (360)753-5823; or 
John Stadler, NMFS (360)753-9576.


Statutory Authority

    Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1538) and 
implementing regulations prohibit the taking of animal species listed 
as endangered or threatened. The term ``take'' is defined under the ESA 
(16 U.S.C. 1532(19)) as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, 
kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such 
conduct. ``Harm'' is defined by FWS regulation 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,

[[Page 35287]]

migrating, rearing, and sheltering (64 FR 60727, November 8, 1999).
    Section 10 of the ESA and implementing regulations specify 
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, the applicant must 
prepare a habitat conservation plan (HCP) describing the impact that 
will likely result from such taking, the strategy for minimizing and 
mitigating the 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 significantly affect the human 
environment. Under NEPA, a reasonable range of alternatives to proposed 
projects is 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 applicant's proposed actions 
and alternatives. For potentially significant impacts, an EIS may 
identify avoidance, minimization, or mitigation measures to reduce 
these impacts, where feasible, to a level below significance.


    An EIS for the City of Kent Clark Springs HCP would analyze the 
potential issuance of two ITPs, one by NMFS and one by the FWS. To 
obtain an ITP, the applicant must prepare an HCP that meets the 
issuance criteria established by the ESA and Service regulations (50 
CFR 17.22(b)(2), 17.32(b)(2), and 222.307). Should a permit or permits 
be issued, the permit(s) may include assurances under the Services' 
``No Surprises'' regulations.
    The City of Kent is located in South King County and is a 
municipality of approximately 85,000 residents with approximately 
60,000 people within the City's water service area. The City's Clark 
Springs Water Supply System is located along Rock Creek, located east 
of Maple Valley. The Clark Springs Water Supply System serves as the 
City's primary source of water, and provides up to 65 percent of the 
City's total water supply. This water supply allows the City to meet 
the demands of the City's industrial, commercial, residential and 
domestic water users, and for meeting the economic and human health, 
fire, and life safety requirements of the citizens and businesses in 
the area.
    The City is seeking ITPs from the Services that would provide ESA 
regulatory certainty for the Clark Springs water supply operations and 
maintenance activities, which consists of an infiltration gallery 
system and several wells located adjacent to Rock Creek, that are sited 
1.9 miles upstream of the creek's confluence with the Cedar River. The 
facility is within a 320-acre City-owned watershed geographically 
separated from the City proper.
    The proposed HCP and ITPs would cover incidental take associated 
with the operation and maintenance of its Clark Springs Water Supply 
System, including: (1) water withdrawals consistent with water rights 
for the Clark Springs System; (2) maintenance of 320 acres of City-
owned property and water facilities related to the use and protection 
of water supplies, including but not limited to, replacement or 
upgrading of facilities and infrastructure as needed, vegetation 
management, and additional treatment facilities as required; and (3) 
operation and maintenance of a water augmentation system for the 
enhancement of instream flows.
    Species for which the City seeks ITP coverage include nine species 
of fish. Two of these species, Puget Sound Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus 
tshawytscha) and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), are currently 
listed as threatened under the ESA, and one species, Puget Sound 
steelhead (O. mykiss), has been proposed for listing as threatened 
under the ESA. The remaining six species are not listed, or proposed 
for listing, under the ESA, and include coho salmon (O. kisutch), chum 
salmon (O. keta), sockeye salmon (O. nerka), coastal cutthroat trout 
(O. clarki clarki), Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentate) and river 
lamprey (L. ayresi). Each of these species may be affected by the 
City's water withdrawal activities at the Clark Springs facility in the 
Rock Creek Watershed.
    The draft HCP, to be prepared by the City 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 to the maximum extent practicable. The City will 
develop habitat conservation measures for fish and their associated 
habitat, with assistance from the Services.
    The City is currently considering the following conservation 
measures as part of the HCP: (1) Flow mitigation during the critical 
low flow period of October, November, and December; (2) improving fish 
passage in Rock Creek downstream of the Clark Springs Facility; (3) 
improving juvenile salmonid habitat by enhancing wetland areas and 
placement of large woody debris; and (4) creating a fund for riparian 
area protection and enhancement opportunities in the Rock Creek Basin, 
which may include, but not be limited to, property acquisitions and 
easements. The City is proposing to implement these conservation 
measures for the duration of the HCP and term of the ITPs. 
Implementation of the HCP would include monitoring compliance and 
regular reporting to the Services.
    Under NEPA, a reasonable range of alternatives to a proposed 
project must be developed and considered in the Services' environmental 
review. At a minimum, the alternatives developed must include: (1) a No 
Action alternative; and (2) the Proposed Action, with thorough 
descriptions of its management features and anticipated resource 
conservation benefits and potential impacts. The Services are currently 
developing alternatives for analysis, which will consider public input 
received during scoping and development of the EIS. The alternatives 
considered for analysis in this EIS may include: (1) variations in the 
scope of covered activities; (2) variations in the location, amount, 
and type of conservation; (3) variations in permit duration; or (4) a 
combination of these elements.

Request for Comments

    The primary purpose of the scoping process is for the public to 
assist the Services in developing the EIS by identifying important 
issues and alternatives related to the applicant's proposed action. The 
scoping workshop will allocate time for presentations by the Services 
and the City, followed by informal questions and discussions.
    Written comments from interested parties are welcome to ensure that 
the full range of issues related to the proposed permit request are 
identified. All comments and materials received,

[[Page 35288]]

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 of this notice.
    The Services request that comments be specific. In particular, we 
request information regarding: direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts 
that implementation of the proposed HCP or other alternatives could 
have on endangered and threatened and other covered species, and their 
communities and habitats; other possible alternatives that meet the 
purpose and need of the proposed HCP; 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; permit duration; maximum acreage 
that should be covered; specific species that should or should not be 
covered; specific landforms that should or should not be covered; and 
minimization and mitigation efforts. NMFS and FWS estimate that the 
draft EIS will be available for public review in the summer of 2006.
    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 Environmental Quality Regulations (40 
CFR parts 1500 1508), other applicable Federal laws and regulations, 
and applicable policies and procedures of the Services. This notice is 
being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the NEPA 
regulations to obtain suggestions and information from other agencies 
and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed 
in the EIS.

Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate 
in the public meeting should contact Tim Romanski or John Stadler (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). To allow sufficient time to process 
requests, please call no later than June 22, 2006. Information 
regarding the applicant's proposed action is available in alternative 
formats upon request.

    Dated: June 12, 2006.
Theresa E, Rabot,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon.
    Dated: June 12, 2006.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-5487 Filed 6-16-06; 8:45 am]