[Federal Register: January 31, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 20)]
[Page 4602-4603]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 4602]]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Fish and Wildlife Service

[I.D. 011300C]

Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and 
Receipt of an Application for Incidental Take Permits for the Tacoma 
Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, 
King County, Washington

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

ACTION:  Notice of application and availability for public comment.


SUMMARY:  This notice advises the public that the City of Tacoma, 
Public Utilities, Water Division (Tacoma Water), has submitted an 
application to NMFS and FWS (the Services) for incidental take permits 
(Permits) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (Act). As required by section 10(a)(2)(B) of the 
Act, Tacoma Water has also prepared a habitat conservation plan (Plan) 
designed to minimize and mitigate any such take of endangered or 
threatened species. The Permit application is related to water storage 
and withdrawal from the Green River, and forest management activities 
in the Green River Watershed, located in south King County, Washington. 
The proposed Permits would authorize the take of the following 
endangered or threatened species incidental to otherwise lawful 
management activities: gray wolf (Canis lupus); bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus); marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus); 
northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis); grizzly bear (Ursus arctos); 
bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus); and, Puget Sound chinook salmon 
(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Tacoma Water is also seeking coverage for 
25 currently unlisted species (including anadromous and resident fish) 
under specific provisions of the Permits, should these species be 
listed in the future. The duration of the proposed Permits and Plan is 
50 years.
    The Permit application includes the proposed Plan; and a proposed 
Implementing Agreement. The Services also announce the availability of 
a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Permit 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act, and 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The Services are 
furnishing this notice in order to allow other agencies and the public 
an opportunity to review and comment on these documents. All comments 
received will become part of the public record and will be available 
for review pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act.

DATES:  Written comments on the Permit application, Draft EIS, Plan, 
and Implementing Agreement must be received from interested parties no 
later than March 14, 2000.

ADDRESSES:  Requests for documents on CD ROM should be made by calling 
the Fish and Wildlife Service at 360/534-9330. Hardbound copies are 
also available for viewing, and partial or complete duplication, at the 
following libraries: Olympia Timberland Library, Reference Desk, 313 
8<SUP>th</SUP> Avenue SE, Olympia, WA, 360/352-0595; Tacoma Main Public 
Library, 1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma, WA, 253/591-5666; Enumclaw 
City Library, 1700 1<SUP>st</SUP> Street, Enumclaw, WA, 360/825-2938; 
Auburn Public Library, 808 9<SUP>th</SUP> Street SE, Auburn, WA, 
(253)931-3918; and Seattle Public Library, Government Publications 
Desk, 1000 4<SUP>th</SUP> Avenue, Seattle, WA, 206/386-4636. The 
documents are also available electronically on the World Wide Web at 
    Comments and requests for information should be directed to Tim 
Romanski, Project Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service, 510 Desmond 
Drive, SE., Suite 102, Lacey, WA, 98503-1273, (telephone: 360/753-5823; 
facsimile: 360/534-9331), or Mike Grady, Project Biologist, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, 510 Desmond Drive, SE., Suite 103, Lacey, WA, 
98503-1273 (telephone: 360/753-6052; facsimile: 360/753-9517). Comments 
and materials received will also be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours by calling 360/534-9330.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Section 9 of the Act and Federal 
regulations prohibit the ``taking'' of a species listed as endangered 
or threatened. The term ``take'' is defined under the Act to mean 
harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. FWS defines harm 
to include significant habitat modification or degradation where it 
actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential 
behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 
CFR 17.3). NMFS defines harm to include significant habitat 
modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures fish or 
wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, spawning, rearing, feeding, and sheltering (64 FR 
60727, November 8, 1999).
    The Services may issue permits, under limited circumstances, to 
take listed species incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise 
lawful activities. FWS 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. NMFS 
regulations governing permits for threatened and endangered species are 
promulgated at 50 CFR 222.307.


    Tacoma Water owns and conducts management activities in the Green 
River Watershed, in King County, Washington. These activities are as 
follows: (1) a water diversion dam and associated facilities 
(Headworks) on the Green River; (2) approximately 14,888 acres of land 
upstream of the diversion dam on both sides of the River; and, (3) a 
well field (North Fork Well Field) located approximately 8 kilometers 
(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 portions of Pierce and King Counties. Howard Hanson Dam 
(Dam) and Howard Hanson Reservoir (Reservoir), owned and operated by 
the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), are also located on the Green 
River, upstream of the 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 forecasted demands, Tacoma Water 
has developed two separate but related proposals. The first of these, 
the Second Supply Project, involves improvements at the Headworks and 
the construction of a 33.5-mile long pipeline from the Headworks to the 
City of Tacoma. Upstream fish passage around the Headworks and the Dam 
will be provided by the City of Tacoma as partial mitigation for the 
Second Supply Project. This project is the subject of a State 
Environmental Policy Act review in the document entitled ``Final

[[Page 4603]]

Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Second Supply 
Project, October 18, 1994,'' prepared by Tacoma Water. The second 
related proposal 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 the Muckleshoot Indian 
Tribe, to increase the volume of water stored behind the Dam during 
non-flood control periods (i.e. late spring, summer and early fall). 
Known as the Additional Water Storage Project (AWSP), this plan 
incorporates restoration and mitigation measures (including downstream 
fish passage) to alleviate the historical barrier to migrating salmon 
created by the Corps' Dam. The size of the Dam will not change as a 
result of the AWSP. This AWSP is the subject of a NEPA review in the 
document entitled ``Additional Water Storage Project, Final Feasibility 
Study Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Howard Hanson 
Dam, Green River, Washington, August, 1998,'' prepared by the Seattle 
District of the Corps.
    Tacoma Water's activities associated with water withdrawl and water 
supply, and forest management and timber harvest 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 a 
habitat conservation plan containing a strategy for minimizing and 
mitigating all take associated with the proposed activities to the 
maximum extent practicable. The applicant must also ensure that 
adequate funding for the habitat conservation plan will be provided.
    Tacoma Water has developed a Plan with technical assistance from 
the Services, to obtain Permits for their activities in the Green River 
Watershed. Activities proposed for coverage under the Permits include 
the following.
    (1) Water withdrawal at the Headworks for Municipal and Industrial 
Water Supply, which will reduce flows and have concomitant habitat 
effects downstream and include the bypass of fish at the Headworks 
intake, and inundate the small 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 the Howard Hanson Reservoir.
    (3) Construction of Headworks improvements (anticipated to occur 
during a 2 year period). Such construction will cause: (a) bypassing of 
fish at the Headworks intake during construction; (b) raising the 
existing diversion dam by approximately 6.5, feet which will extend the 
inundation pool to about 2,570 feet 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 installation of an efficient trap-and-haul facility 
for upstream fish passage; (e) installation of a new trap-and-haul 
facility for upstream fish passage; and, (f) installation, monitoring 
and maintenance of the instream structures in the impoundment for the 
Headworks dam raise fisheries mitigation.
    (4) Operation of a downstream fish bypass facility at the 
    (5) Watershed forest management activities, consisting of: (a) 
watershed patrol and inspection; (b) forest road construction, 
maintenance, and use; (c) forest road culvert removal, replacement, and 
maintenance; (d) timber harvest and hauling; and, (e) silvicultural 
activities (e.g., planting, thinning, and inventorying trees).
    (6) Monitoring of downstream fish passage through a proposed fish 
passage facility at the Howard Hanson Dam, associated with the AWSP.
    (7) Monitoring and maintenance of AWSP fish habitat restoration 
projects and AWSP fish and wildlife habitat mitigation projects.
    (8) Potential restoration of anadromous fish above the Howard 
Hanson Dam by trapping and hauling of adults returning to the 
Headworks, and possible planting of hatchery juveniles if found to be 
beneficial to restoration.
    The Services formally initiated an environmental review of the 
project through a Federal Register notice on August 21, 1998 (63 FR 
44918), which announced a 30-day public scoping period. A second 
Federal Register notice was published following the scoping period on 
January 20, 1999 (64 FR 3066), announcing the decision to prepare an 
EIS. Following this announcement a draft EIS was prepared.
    The analyses in the draft EIS are done in two parts; one covering 
the alternatives for water withdrawal activities, and the other 
covering alternatives for land management activities in the upper 
watershed. Three water withdrawal alternatives are analyzed in detail, 
including: (1) the no action alternative; (2) the proposed Plan 
alternative; and, (3) an alternative involving the construction of a 
new water withdrawal facility approximately 30 miles downstream of the 
existing Tacoma Water's Headworks. Four additional water withdrawal 
options were identified during scoping, but they are not analyzed in 
detail as alternatives to the proposed action because they would not 
accomplish Tacoma Water's objective of meeting current and future water 
demands, and/or because highly speculative information would be 
required to adequately analyze impacts.
    Three alternatives are analyzed for Tacoma Water's watershed land 
management, including: (1) the no action alternative; (2) the proposed 
Habitat Conservation Plan alternative; and, (3) a no commercial timber 
harvest alternative. One additional watershed management option was 
identified during public scoping, but it was not analyzed in detail as 
an alternative to the proposed action because it would not accomplish 
Tacoma Water's objective of managing its watershed lands to protect 
water quality.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act, and 
NEPA regulations. The Services will evaluate the application, 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of the Act and NEPA. If 
it is determined that the requirements are met, Permits will be issued 
for the incidental take of all covered species. The final Permit 
decisions will be made no sooner than 60 days from the date of this 

    Dated: January 3, 2000.
Thomas Dwyer,
Acting Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon.

    Dated: January 24, 2000.
Wanda L. Cain,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 00-2011 Filed 1-28-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODES 3510-22-F, 4310-55-F