[Federal Register: November 13, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 219)]
[Page 56840-56841]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment for Federal 
Agency Participation in the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program

AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Utah 
Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a draft environmental assessment for 
Federal agency participation in the June Sucker recovery implementation 


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Draft Environmental 
Assessment (DEA) for Federal agency participation in the June Sucker 
Recovery Implementation Program (Program) is available for public 
review and comment. The purpose of the proposed Federal action 
described in the DEA is to formally declare the intention of the Fish 
and Wildlife Service (Service), Bureau of Reclamation, Utah Reclamation 
Mitigation and Conservation Commission, and Interior to participate in 
the multi-agency program designed to implement recovery actions for the 
endangered June sucker. In addition to implementing recovery actions, 
the Program will facilitate resolution of conflicts associated with 
June sucker recovery in the Utah Lake and Provo River basins in Utah. 
Other participants include the State of Utah Department of Natural 
Resources, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, Provo River 
Water Users Association, Provo Reservoir Water Users Company, and 
representation from an outdoor interest group. We are seeking comments 
from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, the environmental community, industry, and any other 
interested parties on this DEA.

DATES: We must receive comments on the DEA on or before December 13, 
2001 to be considered.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to the Field 
Supervisor, Utah Ecological Services Field Office, Lincoln Plaza, 145 
East 1300 South, Suite 404, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115. Copies of the 
draft document are available via request to the Field Office. All 
comments and material received will be available upon request for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
above address.


[[Page 56841]]

(see ADDRESSES above), or at 801-524-5001 extension 124.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Copies of the DEA will be mailed to affected 
government offices and interested parties who specifically request it. 
Those interested persons not on the DEA mailing list may request a copy 
from the project leader at the address below. Public comment on the DEA 
is solicited. All interested agencies and individuals are urged to 
provide comments and suggestions regarding the DEA for our review prior 
to completion of a final finding. All comments received within 30 days 
after publication in the Federal Register will be considered in our 
final determination whether to prepare an environmental impact 
statement or a finding of no significant impact on Federal agency 
participation in the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program. All 
comments received will become part of the official public record. 
Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with the 
Freedom of Information Act and the Council on Environmental Quality's 
National Environmental Policy Act Regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). When 
requested, comment letters with the names and addresses of the 
individuals who wrote the comments will generally be provided in 
response to such requests to the extent permissible by law. Individual 
respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the 
record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. If you wish 
to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently 
at the beginning of your comments.


    The June Sucker was federally listed as an endangered species with 
critical habitat on April 30, 1986 (51 FR 10857). The lower 7.8 
kilometers (4.9 miles) of the Provo River was identified as critical 
habitat because this was the only known spawning location for the 
species. Factors contributing to Federal listing included the localized 
distribution, failure to recruit individuals to the adult life stage, 
and multiple threats to the continued survival of the June Sucker. The 
Service designated the June Sucker as a species with a high risk of 
extinction, a low recovery potential, and the presence of conflict. 
Water development and operations, sportfish management, and habitat 
development are the primary conflicts with the June Sucker recovery. 
The species had a documented wild population of fewer than 1,000 
individuals at the time of listing (51 FR 10857). More recently, in 
1997, the spawning population was estimated to be between 311 and 515 
    Despite Federal listing of the June Sucker, implementation of 
recovery actions in the Utah Lake drainage basin has been minimal due 
to limited funding for recovery. Furthermore, conflicts have arisen 
between water development interests and those managing for protection 
of the June Sucker. To resolve this situation, the interested entities 
agreed to develop the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program that 
would provide a mechanism to prioritize, fund, and implement recovery 
actions while allowing water development necessary to meet human needs 
in the Utah Lake drainage basin including Utah Lake and the Provo 
River. It is anticipated that the Program will not only provide 
recovery actions that are necessary to offset impacts from proposed 
development actions to the native protected species, but further lead 
to full recovery of the June Sucker.
    The Program will encompass the June Sucker Recovery Plan so that 
actions identified in these documents can be funded, implemented, and 
evaluated for effectiveness. In addition, the Program will provide 
measures to offset proposed Federal project impacts during section 7 
consultations in order to prevent future conflict over water 
development and minimize impacts of Federal projects on protected 
aquatic species. Goals and objectives of the Program are based on 
recovery of the endangered fish in an environment of continuing water 
development. Although some impacts to the aquatic environment are 
expected through future water development projects, recovery actions 
have been and will continue to be implemented in advance of project 
impacts such that the status of the June Sucker and/or its habitat is 
expected to improve and remain greater than that necessary to offset 
anticipated impacts.
    It is important to note that participation in this Program does not 
represent or guarantee legal authority for any water development 
project. Such projects must be evaluated individually as they are 
proposed and continue to be subject to all applicable Federal and State 
laws including National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species 
Act. This DEA is not intended to provide analysis for specific project 
impacts, but rather analyze only effects of Federal participation in 
the Program.


    The primary author of this notice is Yvette K. Converse, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 145 East 1300 South, Suite 404, Salt Lake City, 
Utah 84115, or at 801-524-5001 extension 135.


    The authorities for this action are the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1532 et seq.)

    Dated: November 2, 2001.
Ralph O. Morgenweck,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 01-28336 Filed 11-9-01; 8:45 am]