[Federal Register: June 11, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 112)]
[Page 34999-35000]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision To Authorize 
Issuance of a Section 10 Permit to the Salt River Project for 
Incidental Take of Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Yuma Clapper Rail, 
Bald Eagle, and Yellow-Billed Cuckoo in Gila and Maricopa Counties, AZ

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

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this 
notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service) has issued an incidental take permit (ITP), pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act), to the Salt River Project (SRP). The permit authorizes the 
incidental take of the following federally listed and candidate 
species: Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii 
extimus)(flycatcher), Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris 
yumanensis) (clapper rail), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and 
the yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)(cuckoo). The authorized 
take will occur in Gila and Maricopa counties, Arizona, as a result of 
management actions allowing Roosevelt Lake to fill, causing inundation 
of occupied habitat. The Service issued an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) that evaluated the impacts of alternatives considered 
prior to issuance of the ITP. SRP submitted the Roosevelt Habitat 
Conservation Plan (RHCP) and Implementing Agreement with their permit 
application. These documents describe measures to minimize and mitigate 
the effects of the taking of listed and candidate species and the 
habitats upon which they depend.
    The Record of Decision became effective on February 27, 2003. It 
states that the preferred alternative, as described in the Final EIS, 
will be implemented, and discusses all factors leading to the decision.

ADDRESSES: The Record of Decision for the SRP can be accessed on the 
Internet at http://southwest.fws.gov/htopic.html or viewed at the 
following locations (by appointment at government offices):
    [sbull] Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 1849 
C. St. NW., Washington, DC 20240.
    [sbull] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 110 S. Church, Suite 3450, 
Tucson, AZ 85701.
    [sbull] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, 
Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021.
    [sbull] Salt River Project, 1521 Project Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.
    [sbull] Globe Public Library, 339 S. Broad St., Globe, AZ 85501.
    [sbull] Government Document Service, Arizona State University, 
Tempe, AZ 85287.
    [sbull] Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Road, Payson, AZ 
    [sbull] Phoenix Public Library (Burton Barr Central), 1221 N. 
Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004.
    [sbull] Tonto Basin Library, 1 School St., Tonto Basin (Punkin 
Center), AZ 85553.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sherry Barrett, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Tucson Suboffice, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 110 S. 
Church, Suite 3450, Tucson, AZ 85701 at 520/670-4617.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice advises the public that the 
Service gathered the information necessary to (1) determine impacts and 
formulate alternatives for the EIS, related to the issuance of an ITP 
to SRP; and (2) develop and implement the RHCP, which describes 
measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of the incidental take of 
federally listed species to the maximum extent practicable.
    The Notice of Availability for the draft EIS, Application for the 
ITP, draft RHCP, and draft Implementing Agreement was published in the 
Federal Register on July 19, 2002 (67 FR 47564).
    The Notice of Availability for the Final EIS, Final RHCP, and 
Implementing Agreement was published in the Federal Register on 
November 29, 2002 (67 FR 71193).
    Background: 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

[[Page 35000]]

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 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.

Bryan Arroyo,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 03-14677 Filed 6-10-03; 8:45 am]