[Federal Register: June 29, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 126)]
[Page 40078-40080]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

[I.D. 091799D]

Notice of Additional Public Involvement Opportunities/Re-opening 
of Comment Period for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact 
Statement to Allow Incidental Take of Multiple Species by Nonindustrial 
Private Landowners in Lewis County, WA

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

ACTION: Notice to re-open public comment period.


SUMMARY: This notice advises other agencies and the public that the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service 
(NMFS) (collectively, the Services) are re-opening the initial 30-day 
public comment period and will hold three additional scoping workshops 
to assist in gathering information for the preparation of an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This EIS pertains to the proposed 
issuance of Incidental Take Permits by NMFS and USFWS, and Enhancement 
of Survival Permits by USFWS (collectively, Permits) to nonindustrial 
forest landowners for forest-management activities conducted in Lewis 
County, WA. The proposed Permits would authorize take of federally 
listed species in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act), and certain other unlisted species should they be 
listed in the future. As required by the Act, a Conservation Plan is 
being prepared in voluntary cooperation with interested Lewis County 
parties. Since the Permits are likely to involve multiple landowners, 
the Conservation Plan will be developed as a programmatic Plan, titled 
the Family Forest Conservation Project (Plan). The USFWS will also use 
additional landowner agreements available under Section 10 of the Act, 
such as Enhancement of Survival Permits for Safe Harbor Agreements and 
Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances, as appropriate. This 
notice supplements the notice of intent published in the September 23, 
1999, Federal Register.

[[Page 40079]]

DATES: Written comments regarding the scope of issues and potential 
alternatives to be included in the EIS should be received on or before 
September 1, 2000. Public meetings will be held at the following 
locations and times: Lacey, WA on July 26, 2000, at the USFWS/NMFS 
office on the St. Martins College Campus at 510 Desmond Drive, SE 
(Sawyer Hall) from 3:00-5:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm; and in Chehalis, WA 
on August 15, 2000, at the Lewis and Clark State Park from 6:00-8:00 
pm. The Lewis and Clark State Park is located 12 miles south of 
Chehalis on Jackson Highway (4583 Jackson Highway).

ADDRESSES: Written comments, questions, or requests for additional 
information, including maps for the workshop locations, should be 
addressed to Mark Ostwald, USFWS, 510 Desmond Drive, SE, Suite 102, 
Lacey, WA 98503-1273, telephone (360) 753-9564, facsimile (360) 753-
9518; or Mike Parton, NMFS, 510 Desmond Drive, SE, Suite 103, Lacey, WA 
98503-1273, telephone (360) 753-4650, facsimile (360) 453-9517. 
Comments received will be available for public inspection by 
appointment during normal business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday 
through Friday).


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the Act prohibits the ``take'' 
of species listed as threatened or endangered. The term take is defined 
under the Act to mean harm, harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, 
trap, capture or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. 
Harm is defined to include significant habitat modification or 
degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, spawning, rearing, feeding, and sheltering.
    The Services may issue Permits, under limited circumstances, to 
take listed species incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise 
lawful activities. The USFWS regulations governing Permits for 
endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 17.22 and regulations 
governing Permits for threatened species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
17.32. The NMFS regulations governing Permits for threatened and 
endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 222.22.
    Interested parties have held meetings and field visits with the 
Services. Scoping workshops on this Plan and EIS were held by the 
Services on September 22 and September 23, 1999, in Olympia and 
Chehalis, WA, respectively. As a further opportunity for interested 
persons to comment on this planning effort, the comment period is being 
re-opened and additional scoping workshops are scheduled as announced 
    Pursuant to the Act, a collaborative planning effort has been 
initiated in cooperation with the Services involving landowners, 
landowner associations, state and federal agencies, universities, and 
environmental groups. As a result, an EIS will be prepared to address 
this programmatic Plan and the effects of issuing Permits to landowners 
engaged in forest-management activities. We expect the proposed Plan to 
include several options available for landowners toward achieving a 
specified desired future condition in Lewis County and to be utilized 
to address State Forest Practices, Clean Water Act, and Endangered 
Species Act concerns. We expect that the proposed Plan and EIS will 
evaluate the potential take of several listed species that occur in 
Lewis County. These may include, but are not limited to, the northern 
spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus), steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and chinook salmon 
(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The proposed Plan and EIS will address 
forestry operations within the constraints of: (1) A specified portion 
of Lewis County; (2) a restricted number of Permits; (3) a specified 
time frame; and potentially (4) a limited amount of total acreage 
included under such Permits. Increases to the number of Permits or 
covered acreage would likely require supplemental analyses. The 
proposed Plan and EIS will also address the impacts of incidental take 
of several species, listed and unlisted, which could occur as a result 
of timber harvest and related activities on subject lands. Some of 
these species may not occur on the lands currently, but might occur on 
the subject lands in the future and may at some point be subject to 
disturbance or other take. This effort is proposed to result in one 
Plan and EIS addressing the potential issuance of multiple Permits. The 
Permits issued subsequent to this Plan would not be subject to 
additional public comment at the time of issuance.
    The Services are exploring two options for the ultimate structure 
of the permitting regime for this project. These are: (1) One single 
entity (e.g., state or local agency, or organization, etc.) receives 
the Incidental Take Permit and upon completion and approval by this 
entity of detailed, site-specific plans that implement the terms of the 
programmatic Plan, participating landowners will receive permit 
coverage under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act through individual 
Certificates of Inclusion; or (2) an individual Incidental Take Permit 
or Enhancement of Survival Permit is issued to each landowner that 
provides and receives approval by the Services of a detailed, site-
specific plan that implements the terms detailed in the programmatic 
    The USFWS is considering the use of Incidental Take Permits and 
Certificates of Inclusion under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered 
Species Act, as well as Enhancement of Survival Permits for Safe Harbor 
and Candidate Conservation under Section 10(a)(1)(A). The NMFS is 
considering the use of Incidental Take Permits and Certificates of 
Inclusion under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, but is not proposing to 
utilize Enhancement of Survival Permits for Safe Harbor and/or 
Candidate Conservation for any of the species under its jurisdiction.
    The Services invite comments and suggestions from all interested 
parties to ensure that the full range of issues related to these 
proposed actions are addressed and that all significant issues are 
identified. We request that comments be as specific as possible. In 
particular, we request comments regarding: the direct, indirect, and 
cumulative impacts that implementation of the proposal could have on 
endangered and threatened species and their habitats; other possible 
alternatives; permitting regime; portions of Lewis County to be 
included; total acreage covered by each individual, landowner Permit; 
total number of Permits to be issued; duration of Permits; potential 
adaptive management and/or monitoring provisions; funding issues; 
baseline environmental conditions in Lewis County; other plans or 
projects that might be relevant to this project; and minimization and 
mitigation efforts. In addition to considering impacts on species and 
their habitat, the EIS must include information on impacts resulting 
from the alternatives on other components of the human environment. 
These other components include, but are not limited to, air quality, 
water quality and quantity, geology and soils, cultural resources, 
other fish and wildlife species, social resources, and economic 
    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.), the Council on 
Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508) and other 
appropriate Federal laws and

[[Page 40080]]

regulations and policies and procedures of the Services for compliance 
with those regulations. We predict that the draft EIS will be available 
for public review during the first quarter of 2001.

    Dated: June 22, 2000.
Rowan W. Gould,
Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, 
    Dated: June 23, 2000.
Craig Johnson,
Acting Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-16509 Filed 6-28-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODES: 3510-22-F, 4310-55-F