[Federal Register: May 19, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 95)]
[Page 23431-23432]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2009-N0072; 10120-1112-0000-F2]

Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for Oregon Chub, 
Willamette Valley, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has applied 
to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of 
survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit application includes a 
proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) between ODFW 
and the Service. The proposed term of the permit and Agreement is 30 
years. The requested permit would authorize ODFW to extend incidental 
take coverage with assurances to eligible landowners who are willing to 
carry out habitat management measures that would benefit the federally-
listed as endangered Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) by enrolling 
them under the Agreement as Cooperators through issuance of 
Certificates of Inclusion. The covered area or geographic scope of this 
Agreement includes all non-Federal properties in the Willamette Valley 
between the cities of Oregon City and Oakridge, Oregon, the estimated 
historical distribution of the species. We request comments from the 
public on the permit application, proposed Agreement, and related 
documents, which are available for review (see ADDRESSES below).

DATES: Comments must be received from interested parties on or before 
June 18, 2009. The final permit decision will be made no sooner than 
June 18, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the documents for review by 
contacting State Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2600 SE. 
98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266; facsimile (503) 231-6195; or 
by making an appointment to view the documents at the above address 
during normal business hours. You may also view the documents on the 
Internet through http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/species/. You may submit 
your written comments to State Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 
2600 SE. 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, Oregon 97266, or facsimile 
(503) 231-6195. Include your name and address in your comments and 
refer to the `Oregon chub Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement'.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Henson, State Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE. 
98th Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, Oregon, 97266; (telephone 503/231-
6179). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800/877-8339, 
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating 
landowners voluntarily undertake management activities on their 
property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species 
listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Safe Harbor Agreements, and the subsequent 
enhancement of survival permits that are issued pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Act, encourage private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species by 
assuring the landowners that they will not be subjected to increased 
property use restrictions as a result of their efforts to either 
attract listed species to their property, or to increase the numbers or 
distribution of listed species already on their property. Application 
requirements and issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits 
through Safe Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c). These 
permits allow any necessary future incidental take of any covered 
species above the mutually agreed upon baseline conditions for those 
species in accordance with the terms of the permit and accompanying 
    We jointly developed the proposed Agreement with ODFW for the 
conservation of the Oregon chub. The area covered by this Agreement 
includes the portion of the Willamette Valley estimated to be within 
the historical distribution of the species. Sites not currently 
occupied by Oregon chub will have a baseline condition of zero unless a 
landowner is willing to accept a baseline greater than zero to support 
an enhanced level of conservation after the Agreement expires. Sites 
currently occupied by Oregon chub will have their baseline conditions 
determined on a case-by-case basis, with landowner consent, by ODFW and 
the Service until a Service-approved protocol for determining non-zero 
baselines is developed.
    The purpose of this Agreement is to establish new populations of 
Oregon chub as refugia for natural populations through translocations 
and to increase the abundance, distribution and survival of existing 
natural populations through voluntary habitat improvements or 
protections. The Oregon chub was listed as an endangered species by the 
Service in 1993 (58 FR 53800). At the time of listing, Oregon chub was 
known to occur at only nine locations within a 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) 
reach of the Willamette River, representing approximately two percent 
of the species' historic range. In 2007, there were 19 populations 
totaling 500 or more individuals. The primary threats affecting Oregon 
chub include: Competition and predation by nonnative fish; the 
potential for initial or further introduction of nonnative fish; 
vegetative succession of shallow aquatic habitats; possible 
agricultural chemical runoff; possible excessive siltation from logging 
in the watershed; other threats to water quality (including threat of 
toxic spills, low dissolved oxygen); fluctuations in water levels due 
to regulated flow management at flood control dams, as well as low 
summer water levels; and the loss of genetic diversity as a result of 
managing Oregon chub populations in isolated habitats.
    The status of Oregon chub has improved in recent years, resulting 
primarily from successful introductions and the discovery of previously 
undocumented populations. A recent 5-year status review of Oregon chub 
determined the species no longer warrants listing as endangered. A 
proposed rule to downlist the species to threatened status is in 
development, as is a proposal to designate critical habitat.
    Under this Agreement, private lands may be enrolled through 
individual Cooperative Agreements between the ODFW and cooperating 
landowners (Cooperators). The duration of the Cooperative Agreements 
will be a minimum of 10 years. Cooperators will be issued a Certificate 
of Inclusion which will allow activities on the Enrolled Properties to 
be included within ODFW's section 10(a)(1)(A) Enhancement of Survival 
permit. Cooperators may renew their Cooperative Agreements to remain in 
effect for the 30-year duration of the permit. Cooperators will avoid 
conducting activities that could

[[Page 23432]]

adversely affect the Oregon chub's habitat within a specified distance 
during the term of their Cooperative Agreement.
    Without the regulatory assurances provided through the Agreement 
and permit, landowners may otherwise be unwilling or reluctant to 
engage in activities that would place federally listed species such as 
the Oregon chub onto their properties. The proposed Agreement is 
expected to provide a net conservation benefit to the Oregon chub by 
creating new refugia populations through translocations or by enhancing 
the quality, quantity or connectivity of floodplain habitat for 
naturally occurring populations, thereby increasing the distribution, 
abundance and genetic diversity of the species.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement and permit application are eligible for a categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). 
We explain the basis for this determination in an Environmental Action 
Statement that is also available for public review (see ADDRESSES).

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    The Service will evaluate the permit application, associated 
documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the 
permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
Act and NEPA regulations. If we determine that all requirements are 
met, we will sign the Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival 
permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to ODFW for the take of 
Oregon chub, incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance 
with the terms of the Agreement. This notice is provided pursuant to 
section 10(c) of the Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: April 14, 2009.
Paul Henson,
State Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife 
Office, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E9-11562 Filed 5-18-09; 8:45 am]