[Federal Register: January 20, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 12)]
[Page 3066-3067]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 3066]]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Fish and Wildlife Service
[I.D. 011199D]

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the City of 
Tacoma, Washington, for Water Storage and Withdrawal and Forest 
Management in the Green River Watershed, King County, Washington

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, USFWS and 
NMFS (the Services) intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) regarding the proposed issuance of an Incidental Take Permit 
(Permit) to the City of Tacoma for take of endangered and threatened 
species, in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). The Permit applicant is the City of Tacoma, Washington, 
Public Utilities, Water Division (Tacoma Water), and the application is 
related to water storage and withdrawal from the Green River and to 
forest management activities in the Green River Watershed, in south 
King County, Washington. Takoma Water is preparing a Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) as required by the Act, and intends to request 
a Permit for northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis), marbled 
murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), gray wolf (Canis lupus), peregrine 
falcon (Falco peregrinus), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and 
grizzly bear (Ursus arctos). Tacoma Water also plans to seek coverage 
for approximately 25 currently unlisted fish and wildlife species 
(including Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and the Puget 
Sound distinct population segment of the bull trout (Salvelinus 
confluentus), which are proposed for listing under the Act, and other 
anadromous and resident fishes) under specific provisions of the 
Permit, should these species be listed in the future. The HCP and 
Permit would be in effect for 50 years. Through development of a joint 
EIS, the applicant also proposes to comply with the requirements of the 
Washington State Environmental Policy Act.
    The Services are furnishing this notice in order to (1) advise 
other agencies and the public of our intentions and (2) announce that a 
joint draft EIS is expected to be available for public review and 
comment during the first quarter of 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments and requests for information should be sent to Tim 
Romanski, Fish and Wildlife Service, 510 Desmond Drive, SE, Suite 102, 
Lacey, Washington 98503, (360) 753-5823; or Mike Grady, National Marine 
Fisheries Service, 510 Desmond Drive, SE, Suite 103, Lacey, Washington 
98503, (360)753-6052.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the Act, Tacoma Water 
will prepare an HCP for, among other things, minimizing and mitigating 
to the maximum extent practicable any such take of listed species which 
could occur incidental to the proposed Plan activities (watershed 
management). Previous announcements relating to this project indicated 
that an environmental review (EIS or Environmental Assessment) would be 
conducted. The Services have now concluded that an EIS will be 
prepared. Public input into the environmental review of this proposal 
was obtained during a public scoping period conducted from August 21 to 
September 21, 1998, and was announced in a previous Federal Register 

notice (63 FR 44918, August 21, 1998). That public scoping period was 
used to fulfill scoping requirements under 40 CFR 1501.7, consistent 
with 46 FR 18026 (March 23, 1981), as amended at 51 FR 15618 (April 25, 
    Tacoma Water owns and manages a water diversion dam and associated 
facilities (Headworks) on the Green River, approximately 13,600 acres 
of land upstream of the diversion dam on both sides of the River, and a 
well field (North Fork Well Field) located approximately 5 miles 
upstream of the Headworks. Tacoma Water operates and manages the 
Headworks, watershed lands, and the North Fork Well Field as the 
principal source of municipal and industrial water for the City of 
Tacoma and for portions of Pierce and King Counties. Howard Hanson Dam 
and Howard Hanson Reservoir, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers (Corps), are also located on the Green River, upstream of 
the City's Headworks. City lands in the watershed are adjacent to the 
Dam and Reservoir on all sides.
    Current trends in population growth within the Puget Sound region 
create a need for Tacoma Water to explore possibilities for increasing 
its water supply capabilities. To meet this need, Tacoma has developed 
two separate, but related plans. The first of these, the Second Supply 
Project, involves improvements at Tacoma's Headworks and the 
construction of a 33.5-mile long pipeline from the Headworks to the 
City of Tacoma. This project is the subject of a State Environmental 
Policy Act review in the document entitled ``Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement for the Second Supply Project, October 
18, 1994,'' prepared by Tacoma Water. The second related plan was 
developed in conjunction with the Corps and in cooperation with the 
Services, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington 
Department of Ecology, and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe for increasing the 
size of Howard Hanson Dam and, consequently, Howard Hanson Reservoir. 
Known as the Additional Water Storage Project, this plan incorporates 
restoration and mitigation measures (including fish passage) to 
alleviate the historical barrier to migrating salmon and hence 
spawning, created by the City's Headworks and the Corps' Dam. This 
project is the subject of a National Environmental Policy Act review in 
the document entitled ``Final Feasibility Report and Final 
Environmental Impact Statement, Howard Hanson Dam, Green River, 
Washington, August 1998,'' prepared by the Seattle District of the 
    Tacoma Water's activities associated with the Second Supply 
Project, the Additional Water Storage Project, and other management 
activities on the City's watershed lands have the potential to impact 
species subject to protection under the Act. Section 10 of the Act 
contains provisions for the issuance of incidental take permits to non-
Federal landowners for the take of endangered and threatened species, 
provided the take is incidental to otherwise lawful activities and will 
not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of 
the species in the wild. In addition, the applicant must prepare and 
submit to the Services for approval an HCP containing a strategy for 
minimizing and mitigating all take associated with the proposed 
activities to the maximum extent practicable. The applicant must also 
demonstrate that adequate funding will be provided to ensure the HCP 
will be implemented and monitored throughout the proposed 50-year life 
of the HCP.
    Activities proposed for coverage under the Incidental Take Permit 
include the following:

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    (1) Water withdrawal at Tacoma Water's Headworks for Municipal and 
Industrial Water Supply, which will reduce flows and have concomitant 
habitat effects downstream, including the bypass of fish at the 
Headworks intake, and inundate the impoundment area;
    (2) Water withdrawal from the North Fork Well Field for Municipal 
and Industrial Water Supply, which will potentially reduce flows in the 
North Fork Green River above Howard Hanson Dam reservoir;
    (3) Construction of Headworks improvements (anticipated to occur 
during a 2-year period from the third quarter of 1999 through the third 
quarter of 2001). Such construction will cause:
    (a) Bypassing of fish at the Headworks intake during construction;
    (b) Raising the Headworks diversion dam by about 6.5 feet (2 
meters) which will extend the inundation pool to about 2,570 feet (811 
meters) upstream of the Headworks diversion;
    (c) Realigning and enlarging the existing intake and adding 
upgraded fish screens and bypass facilities for downstream passage;
    (d) Reshaping the Green River channel downstream of the existing 
diversion to accommodate the future installation of an efficient trap 
and haul facility for upstream fish passage; and
    (e) Installing, monitoring, and maintening the instream structures 
in the impoundment for fisheries mitigation for raising the Headworks 
    (4) Fish and water quality impacts related to the Headworks 
improvement construction;
    (5) Operation and maintenance of a wetland restoration project at 
Auburns Narrows associated with the Second Supply Project;
    (6) Operation of a downstream fish bypass facility at the 
    (7) Tacoma watershed forest management activities;
    (8) Monitoring of downstream fish passage through a proposed fish 
passage facility at Howard Hanson Dam associated with the Additional 
Water Supply Project;
    (9) Monitoring and maintenance of Additional Water Supply Project 
fish habitat restoration projects and Additional Water Supply Project 
fish and wildlife habitat mitigation projects; and
    (10) Restoration of anadromous fish above Howard Hanson Dam by 
trapping and hauling of adults returning to the Headworks and, if found 
beneficial to restoration efforts, possible planting of hatchery 
    Alternatives for the environmental review cover two distinct sets 
of activities: (1) The withdrawal of water at the Tacoma Water Supply 
Intake (Headworks) at River Mile 61.0 and associated water withdrawal 
activities and (2) the management of City-owned forestlands in the 
upper Green River watershed above the Headworks. For the purposes of 
clarity, the alternatives for water withdrawal are considered separate 
from the alternatives for forestland management.
    Water withdrawal alternatives include (1) No Action (continue 
current water withdrawal practices); (2) Proposed Action (with primary 
features including upstream and downstream fish passage, water flow 
management for anadromous fish, and riparian habitat restoration); (3) 
Reduced Withdrawal Alternative (supply Tacoma's service area only); (4) 
Reduced Withdrawal Alternative (supply Tacoma Water's current service 
area and the Lakehaven Utility District); and (5) supply Tacoma, 
Seattle, and South King County communities without the Howard Hanson 
Dam Additional Water Storage Project.
    Forestland management alternatives include (1) No Action (continue 
current forest management and timber harvest practices); (2) Proposed 
Action (with primary features including species-specific protection 
measures for wildlife species of interest); (3) Management of Tacoma 
City Lands in the Upper Green River Watershed with no timber harvest; 
and (4) Management of Tacoma City Lands in the Upper Green River 
Watershed with timber harvesting to create or enhance fish and/or 
wildlife habitat only.
    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), National 
Environmental Policy Act Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508), 
other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, and policies and 
procedures of the Services for compliance with those regulations.

    Dated: January 13, 1999.
Kevin Collins,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.

    Dated: January 11, 1999.
Thomas Dwyer,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 99-1227 Filed 1-19-99; 8:45 am]