[Federal Register: September 23, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 184)]
[Page 51516-51517]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Fish and Wildlife Service
[I.D. 091799D]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement To 
Allow Incidental Take of Multiple Species by Non-industrial Private 
Forest Landowners in Lewis County, Washington

AGENCIES: National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Commerce; U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct public scoping and prepare an 
environmental document.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries 
Service (NMFS) (collectively, the Services) are providing notice that 
they intend to gather information necessary

[[Page 51517]]

for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS 
will analyze options for issuing permits to numerous landowners to 
potentially take federally listed species, under the provisions of 
section 10(a)(1)(B) and/or 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA). The EIS will address the impacts associated with the proposed 
action, and other alternatives for forest management by nonindustrial 
private landowners.
    The Services are furnishing this notice to advise other agencies 
and the public of our intentions and to announce the scheduling of 
public meetings for scoping. The public is encouraged to attend a 
public meeting or provide written comments on the scope of the issues 
and potential alternatives to be included in the EIS.

DATES: Written comments regarding the scope of the EIS should be 
received on or before October 25, 1999. Public meetings will be held on 
September 22, and 23, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to Mark Ostwald, FWS 
Habitat Conservation Planning Program, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 101, 
Lacey, Washington 98503. Comments received will be available for public 
inspection by appointment during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday) at the address above. Public meetings are 
scheduled to be held at the following locations and times: Lacey, 
Washington, on September 22, 1999, at the FWS/NMFS office on the St. 
Martins Campus at 510 Desmond Dr. SE (Sawyer Hall) from 3:00-5:00 pm 
and 6:30-8:30 pm; and in Chehalis, Washington on September 23, 1999, at 
Meeting Room #2, Lewis County Courthouse Annex, 345 West Main Street 
from 3:00-5:00 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Ostwald, FWS Habitat Conservation 
Planning Program, (360) 534-9330.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This multi-party planning effort would 
result in one Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and an EIS that 
addresses effects of issuing numerous permits to landowners engaged in 
forest management activities. The Plan is expected to include several 
options available for landowners toward achieving a specified desired 
future condition in Lewis County. It is expected that the Plan and the 
EIS would address these actions within the constraints of: (1) A 
specified portion of Lewis County; (2) a restricted number of 
individual permits; (3) a limited amount of total acreage included 
under each permit; (4) a limited time frame; and (5) addressing a 
biologically based number of listed and unlisted species.
    The Plan will evaluate the potential incidental take of several 
listed species, such as the northern spotted owl (occidentalis caurina) 
and bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), which could occur as a 
result of timber harvest and related activities. The Plan will also 
likely address other unlisted fish and wildlife species. This effort is 
considered to be a pilot project to test the feasibility of addressing 
long term forest management practices and alternatives for many small 
landowners in Lewis County, relative to ESA regulations.
    The Services are considering the use of incidental take permits 
under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, as well as potential use of Safe 
Harbor and/or Candidate Conservation Agreements under section 
10(a)(1)(A). Options to link the Federal permit to State forest 
practices permitting processes will be explored. It is also intended 
that this Plan could be used in association with other incentives to 
encourage and retain sound stewardship of forest land for the long 
    This notice is provided pursuant to ESA and NEPA regulations. 
Through development of a joint EIS, this process would comply with the 
requirements of the Washington State Environmental Policy Act. The 
Services are soliciting public comments on this proposal and a full 
range of alternatives. As a further opportunity for interested persons 
to comment on these and other issues associated with this planning 
effort, scoping workshops have been scheduled (see DATES and 
ADDRESSES). Interested parties may contact FWS at the address listed to 
receive additional information, including maps for the workshop 
    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 1500-1508), other 
appropriate Federal laws and regulations, and policies and procedures 
of the Services for compliance with those regulations.

    Dated: August 27, 1999.
Thomas Dwyer,
Acting Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Dated: September 17, 1999.
Wanda L. Cain,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 99-24737 Filed 9-17-99; 5:07 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P, 4310-55-P