[Federal Register: October 1, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 190)]
[Page 60735-60736]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Fish and Wildlife Service

RIN 0648-XY95

Proposed Issuance of Incidental Take Permits to the Washington 
Department of Fish and Wildlife for State of Washington Wildlife Areas

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct a 30-day public scoping period and 
prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National 
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), collectively the Services, advise 
interested parties of our intent to conduct public scoping under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to gather information to 
prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) related to incidental 
take permit (ITP) applications from the Washington Department of Fish 
and Wildlife (WDFW) for incidental take of species listed under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as unlisted species should they 
become listed during the term of the proposed permit. The WDFW has 
identified specific land management and recreation activities that 
currently occur on state Wildlife Areas that may cause incidental take. 
In support of the ITP applications, the WDFW is proposing to implement 
a habitat conservation plan (HCP) on approximately 900,000 acres of 
their state Wildlife Areas. The term of the proposed HCP and ITP's will 
occur after the public scoping process.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before November 1, 2010. 
Four public scoping meetings will be held to introduce the proposed 
action, explain the NEPA public participation process, and solicit 
public comment. The public scoping meetings will be held on October 19, 
20, 26, and 27, 2010, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the following 
    1. October 19: Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, 
Whitehorse Hall, Room 105, Everett, WA 98201.
    2. October 20: FWS and NMFS Office, 510 Desmond Drive, Suite 102, 
Lacey, WA 98503.
    3. October 26: Hal Homes Center, 209 N. Ruby Street, Teanaway Room, 
Ellensburg, WA 98926.
    4. October 27: Spokane Valley Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery 
Place, Room 109, Spokane, WA 99206.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    1. Verbally or in writing at the public scoping meetings;
    2. U.S. mail or hand delivery to : Mr. David Molenaar, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, 510 Desmond Drive, SE, Suite 103, Lacey, WA 
98503; or Mr. Mark Ostwald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington 
Fish and Wildlife Office, 510 Desmond Drive, SE, Suite 102, Lacey, WA 
    3. Email to Wdfwwlareahcp@fws.gov.

(360) 753-9564, or at Mark_Ostwald@fws.gov or Mr. David Molenaar with 
the NMFS at (360) 753-9456 or at David.Molenaar@noaa.gov, or on the 
Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/wafwo.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with section 10(a)(2)(A) of 
the ESA of 1973, as amended (U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the WDFW is 
preparing a HCP for their Wildlife Areas in support of their ITP 
applications to the Services to incidentally take the following ESA 
listed species under FWS jurisdiction: marbled murrelet, northern 
spotted owl, western snowy plover, Oregon silverspot butterfly, golden 
paintbrush, howellia, Spalding's silene, Ute ladies' tresses, Columbian 
white-tailed deer, gray wolf, grizzly bear, lynx, pygmy rabbit, and the 
bull trout.
    The applications also request incidental take authorization for the 
following species under NMFS jurisdiction: chinook salmon 
Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) in Puget Sound, the Lower 
Columbia River, Upper Columbia River spring-run, Upper Willamette 
River, Snake River fall-run and the Snake River spring/summer-run; chum 
salmon ESUs in the Columbia River and Hood Canal (summer run); coho 
salmon ESUs in the Lower Columbia River; steelhead Distinct Population 
Segments (DPSs) in Puget Sound, Snake River Basin, the Lower Columbia 
River, Middle Columbia River, Upper Columbia River, and the Upper 
Willamette River; sockeye salmon ESUs in Ozette Lake and the Snake 
River; the Southern DPS of the pacific eulachon; and the Southern DPS 
of the green sturgeon.
    The WDFW also requests incidental take for the following unlisted 
species under FWS jurisdiction should they become listed during the 
term of the HCP: burrowing owl, greater sage-grouse, sharp-tailed 
grouse, slender-billed white breasted nuthatch, streak horned lark, 
northern leopard frog, Oregon spotted frog, Rocky Mountain tailed frog, 
sagebrush lizard, striped whipsnake, Van Dyke's salamander, western 
pond turtle, mardon skipper, Taylors checkerspot , valley silverspot, 
westslope cutthroat trout, fisher, Townsends western big-eared bat, 
Washington ground squirrel and the western pocket gopher.
    The HCP proposes to cover approximately 900,000 acres within 32 
state Wildlife Areas managed by WDFW for specific covered activities 
that the WDFW conducts or allows on the Wildlife Areas including: 
horseback riding and dog field trial events; construction, maintenance, 
removal, and operation of upland infrastructures, water control 
structures, and water crossing structures; non-chemical weed control; 
forest management; livestock grazing and associated activities; 
agriculture and associated activities; irrigation; upland bird 
stocking; wildlife feeding; routine habitat management; and habitat 
    The WDFW manages 32 designated Wildlife Areas across a broad and 
diverse spectrum of habitats throughout

[[Page 60736]]

Washington State. These Wildlife Areas are managed by the WDFW for the 
purposes of fish and wildlife conservation and for recreational 
opportunities. The different Wildlife Areas include forest and 
woodlands, wetlands, prairie, savanna and shrub steppe, upland 
grasslands, agricultural, and riparian habitats. The WDFW has 
identified specific goals and objectives for each Wildlife Areas 
depending upon the wildlife species present, the purpose for which the 
land was acquired, and the available outdoor recreational 
    The draft HCP in support of the ITP applications will describe the 
impacts of land management and recreational activities on proposed 
covered species and detail a conservation strategy to minimize and 
mitigate those impacts to the maximum extent practicable. With 
technical assistance from the Services, WDFW will develop habitat 
conservation measures for fish and wildlife and their associated 
habitats. The Services are responsible for determining whether the HCP 
satisfies the ESA section 10 permit issuance criteria.
     Section 9 of the ESA and implementing regulations prohibit the 
taking of endangered species. The term ``take'' is defined under the 
ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)) as 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, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). ``Harm'' is 
defined by NMFS regulation to include 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, or sheltering (64 FR 
60727, November 8, 1999).
    Section 10 of the ESA and its implementing regulations specify the 
requirements for the issuance of ITPs to non-Federal applicants for the 
take of endangered and threatened species. Any proposed take must be 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities and must not appreciably 
reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in 
the wild. In addition, the applicant must prepare a HCP describing the 
impact that will likely result from such taking, what steps will be 
taken to minimize and mitigate the impacts of the take, the funding 
available to implement such steps, alternatives to such taking, and the 
reason such alternatives are not being implemented.

Environmental Impact Statement

    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. The Services have determined that an EIS should be 
prepared under NEPA for these two ITP requests. The Services will 
prepare the EIS as joint lead agencies (40 CFR 1506.2). It is 
anticipated that the WDFW will also adopt the EIS for purposes of 
compliance with the State of Washington Environmental Policy Act.
    We will conduct an environmental review of the permit applications, 
including the HCP. We will prepare an EIS in accordance with NEPA 
requirements, as amended (40 U.S. C. 4321 et seq.) and NEPA 
implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), and in accordance with 
other Federal laws and regulations.
    The primary purpose of the scoping process is for the public to 
assist the Services in developing the EIS by identifying issues and 
alternatives related to the applicant's proposed action. The scoping 
meetings will allocate time for presentations by the Services and WDFW, 
and also for receiving comments from the public. The public is 
encouraged to attend a public scoping meeting at 1 of the 4 locations.
    The Services request data, comments, pertinent information, or 
suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the 
scientific community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party 
regarding the proposed permit actions discussed in this notice. We will 
consider all comments we receive in complying with the requirements of 
NEPA and in development of the HCP and ITPs. We particularly seek 
specific comments concerning:
    (1) The direct, indirect, and cumulative effects that 
implementation of any reasonable alternative could have on endangered 
and threatened species, and other unlisted species and their habitats;
    (2) Other reasonable alternatives (in addition to the HCP), and 
their associated effects;
    (2) Measures that would minimize and mitigate potentially adverse 
effects of the proposed project;
    (3) Baseline environmental conditions and/or important species 
observations within the WDFW wildlife areas;
    (4) The term of the ITPs;
    (5) Covered activities that should or should not be part of the 
    (6) Wildlife areas that should or should not be part of the HCP;
    (7) Species that should or should not be on the ITPs;
    (8) Biological information regarding requested covered species;
    (9) Monitoring and adaptive management that might be relevant to 
the project; and
    (10) Other plans or projects that might be relevant to this 
    The EIS will analyze the effects that the various alternatives 
would have on the proposed covered species as well as the other aspects 
of the human environment, including but not limited to geology and 
soils, land use, air quality, water quality, wetlands, socioeconomics, 
recreation, cultural resources, noise, visual resources, climate 
change, and the cumulative impacts of the alternatives. A notice of 
availability for the draft EIS is expected to be published in the 
Federal Register in fall 2011, when it will be available for public 
review and comment.

Special Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate 
in the public meeting should contact Mark Ostwald, FWS, at 360-753- 
9564 or David Molenaar, NMFS, at 360-753-9456. To allow sufficient time 
to process requests, please call no later than 1 week before the public 
meeting. Information regarding the applicant's proposed action is 
available in alternative formats upon request.

    Dated: September 28, 2010.
Susan Pultz,
Acting Chief, Endangered Species Division, National Marine Fisheries 
    Dated: September 28, 2010.
Theresa E. Rabot,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-24692 Filed 9-30-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODES 3510-22-S, 4310-55-S