[Federal Register: July 19, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 139)]
[Page 47564-47566]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 
Section 10 Permit Application, Draft Roosevelt Habitat Conservation 
Plan and Draft Implementing Agreement for Incidental Take by the Salt 
River Project and Notice of a Public Hearing on August 27, 2002

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Salt River Project (SRP) has submitted an application for 
an incidental take permit (ITP) for the following federally listed and 
candidate species: southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii 
extimus)(flycatcher), Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris

[[Page 47565]]

yumanensis) (clapper rail), (bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and 
the yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)(cuckoo). The proposed 
take would occur in Gila and Maricopa counties, Arizona, as a result of 
management actions allowing Roosevelt Lake to fill, causing inundation 
of occupied habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has 
issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the 
impacts of and alternatives for the possible issuance of an incidental 
take permit. SRP has completed the draft Roosevelt Habitat Conservation 
Plan (RHCP), along with a draft Implementing Agreement as part of the 
application package submitted to the Service (collectively, the 
``Application'') as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act) for consideration of issuance of an ITP. The Application 
provides measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of the proposed 
taking of listed and candidate species and the habitats upon which they 

DATES: Written comments on the draft EIS and Application documents will 
be accepted within 60 days of the date of this publication.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the draft EIS and Application may 
obtain a copy by writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 
85021. Oral and written comments also will be accepted at a public 
hearing to be held on August 27, 2002, 6-9 p.m. at the offices of the 
Salt River Project, 1521 Project Drive, Tempe, Arizona.
    Arizona has experienced a prolonged drought. Due to low runoff from 
the watershed, Roosevelt Lake, the largest reservoir on the watershed 
serving Phoenix, is drawn down to less than 20% of capacity. After many 
years of drought, it is imperative that SRP know whether it can fill 
the reservoir this coming winter without risk that unpermitted 
incidental ``take'' will occur. For this reason, the Service does not 
intend to extend the public comment period beyond 60 days unless 
warranted by extraordinary circumstances. If additional information is 
needed from the Service or SRP in order to evaluate the draft EIS or 
Application, that information should be requested within 30 days of the 
date of this notice.

Barrett, Assistant Field Supervisor, Tucson Suboffice, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 110 S. Church, Suite 3450, Tucson, AZ 85701 at 520/
670-4617, or Mr. Jim Rorabaugh, Arizona State Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 
85021 at 602/242-0210. For further information on the Application, 
Contact: Mr. John Keane, Executive Environmental Policy Analyst, Salt 
River Project, P.O. Box 52025, PAB355, Phoenix, AZ 85072-2025 at 602/
236-5087, or Mr. Craig Sommers, President, ERO Resources Corporation, 
1842 Clarkson Street, Denver, CO 80218 at 303/830-1188.
    Read-only downloadable copies of the draft EIS and Application 
documents are available on the Internet at http://
www.arizonaes.fws.gov. A printed or CD copy of the documents is 
available upon request to Virginia Kasper, Salt River Project, P.O. Box 
52025, Phoenix, AZ 85072-2025; (602) 236-3416; vckasper@srpnet.com. 
Copies of the draft EIS and Application are also available for public 
inspection and review at the locations listed below under Supplementary 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), this notice advises the public that the Service has 
gathered the information necessary to (1) determine impacts and 
formulate alternatives for the EIS, related to the potential issuance 
of an ITP to SRP; and (2) develop and implement the RHCP, which 
provides measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of the 
incidental take of federally listed species to the maximum extent 
practicable, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    Section 9 of the Act prohibits the ``taking'' of threatened and 
endangered species. However, the Service, under limited circumstances, 
may issue permits to take threatened or endangered wildlife species 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. 
Regulations governing permits for endangered species are at 50 CFR 
parts 13 and 17.
    Copies of the draft EIS and Application are available for public 
inspection and review at the following locations (by appointment at 
government offices):
     Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 
1849 C. St. NW, Washington, DC 20240.
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 110 S. Church, Suite 3450, 
Tucson, AZ 85701
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, 
Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021
     Salt River Project, 1521 Project Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281
     Globe Public Library, 339 S. Broad St., Globe, AZ 85501
     Government Document Service, Arizona State University, 
Tempe, AZ 85287
     Payson Public Library, 510 W. Main, Payson, AZ 85541
     Phoenix Public Library (Burton Barr Central), 1221 N. 
Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
     Tonto Basin Library, 1 School St., Tonto Basin (Punkin 
Center), AZ 85553
    Written comments received by the Service become part of the public 
record associated with this action. Accordingly, the Service makes 
these comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, 
available for public review. Individual respondents may request that 
their home addresses be withheld from public disclosure, which will be 
honored to the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances 
in which a respondent's identity would be withheld from public 
disclosure, as allowable by law. If you wish to have your name and/or 
address withheld, you must state this prominently at the beginning of 
your comments. However, anonymous comments will not be considered. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 


    Roosevelt is operated by SRP in conjunction with three other 
reservoirs on the Salt River and two reservoirs on the Verde River as 
integral features of the Salt River Reclamation Project, authorized by 
the Reclamation Act of 1902, and pursuant to a 1917 contract with the 
United States. Since completion in 1911, Roosevelt has provided water 
for power generation, irrigation, municipal, and other uses. Currently, 
SRP reservoirs supply water to more than 1.6 million people in the 
cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Glendale, Gilbert, 
Scottsdale, Tolleson, and Avondale. In addition, water is provided to 
irrigate agricultural lands within SRP and for other uses. Also, water 
is delivered to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Fort 
McDowell Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Buckeye 
Irrigation Company, Roosevelt Irrigation District, Roosevelt Water 
Conservation District, and others. Roosevelt and the other SRP 
reservoirs also provide a variety of recreational uses and 
environmental benefits in central Arizona. Due to dry conditions in 
central Arizona for the past six years, the water level at Roosevelt 
has been

[[Page 47566]]

below normal. As a result, riparian vegetation has invaded and 
flourished in the portion of Roosevelt historically used by SRP to 
store water for use in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Animals that use 
riparian habitat have followed the vegetation growth and now occupy 
areas within the reservoir. In particular, a population of flycatchers 
now occupies habitat within the storage space at Roosevelt. Thus, 
periodic refilling of the reservoir may adversely affect habitat used 
by the flycatcher, clapper rail, bald eagle, and cuckoo.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is the issuance of an ITP for flycatchers, 
clapper rails, bald eagles, and cuckoos for SRP's operation of 
Roosevelt, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The activity 
that would be covered by the permit is the continued operation of 
Roosevelt by SRP. The area covered by the permit includes Roosevelt up 
to an elevation of 2,151 feet, the highest point in the reservoir at 
which water is stored. The requested term of the permit is for a period 
of 50 years. To meet the requirements of a Section 10(a)(1)(B) permit, 
SRP has developed and will implement the RHCP, which provides measures 
to minimize and mitigate incidental take of flycatchers, clapper rails, 
and bald eagles to the maximum extent practicable, and which ensures 
that the incidental take will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
the survival and recovery of these species in the wild. The RHCP also 
addresses potential impacts on a candidate species, the yellow-billed 


    Two other alternatives being considered by the Service include the 
    1. No Permit--No issuance of an ITP by the Service. This 
alternative would require SRP to do everything within its control to 
avoid any take of federally listed species associated with its 
continued operation of Roosevelt.
    2. Re-operation Alternative--Issuance of an ITP by the Service 
authorizing the modified operation of Roosevelt to reduce the short-
term impact of reservoir operations on listed and candidate species. 
This alternative includes measures to minimize and mitigate the 
potential take of federally listed species.

H. Dale Hall,
Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 02-17790 Filed 7-18-02; 8:45 am]