[Federal Register: July 30, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 146)]
[Page 44808-44809]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Environmental Assessment for the Management Plan for 
Endangered Fishes in the Yampa River Basin

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The public is invited to comment on a draft Environmental 
Assessment for the Management Plan for Endangered Fishes in the Yampa 
River Basin. The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has prepared a 
draft Environmental Assessment under regulations implementing the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Council on 
Environmental Quality adopted regulations in 40 CFR 1501.3(b) state 
that an agency ``may prepare an environmental assessment on any action 
at any time in order to assist agency planning and decision making.'' 
The proposed action of the Service is to enter into a cooperative 
agreement with the States of Colorado and Wyoming to implement 
provisions of the Management Plan for Endangered Fishes in the Yampa 
River Basin. Future actions that may be undertaken pursuant to this 
management plan may be subject to additional NEPA documentation 
requirements on a case-by-case basis.

DATES: Written comments on this draft Environmental Assessment and 
Management Plan must be received by August 31, 2003. In lieu of or in 
addition to written comments, comments may be submitted at any of

[[Page 44809]]

the three public meetings to be held in August 2003. Public meetings 
are scheduled Monday, August 11, 2003, in Baggs, Wyoming; Tuesday, 
August 12, 2003, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and Wednesday, August 
13, 2003, in Craig, Colorado. All meetings are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 
9 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Public meetings will be held at the Little Snake River 
Valley Library, 105 2nd Street, Baggs, Wyoming; Centennial Hall, 124 
10th Street, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and Shadow Mountain 
Clubhouse, 1055 County Road 7, Craig, Colorado.
    Copies of the draft Environmental Assessment and Management Plan 
are available online at http://www.r6.fws.gov/crrip/yampa.htm or at the 
following Yampa Valley locations--Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 
Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. 
Jefferson Avenue, Hayden, Colorado; Moffat County Public Library, 570 
Green Street, Craig, Colorado; Little Snake River Valley Library, 105 
2nd Street, Baggs, Wyoming.
    Copies of the draft Environmental Assessment and Management Plan, 
either printed and bound or on CD-ROM, also are available by request. 
Requests for copies and written comments may be sent to Dr. Robert 
Muth, Director, by postal mail at Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish 
Recovery Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, DFC, 
Denver, Colorado, 80225-0486; by fax at (303) 969-7327; or by e-mail at 
telephone (303) 969-7322 (extension 268); Mr. Gerry Roehm, Instream 
Flow Coordinator (extension 272); Ms. Debra Felker, Information and 
Education Coordinator (extension 227); or at the postal and e-mail 
addresses above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish 
Recovery Program (Program) was established in 1988 by a cooperative 
agreement among the governors of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, Secretary 
of the Department of the Interior, and Administrator of the Western 
Area Power Administration for the purpose of recovering four endangered 
fish species endemic to the Colorado River Basin--the humpback chub 
(Gila cypha), bonytail (Gila elegans), Colorado pikeminnow 
(Ptychocheilus lucius), and razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus). In 
August 2002, the Service completed recovery goals for these species, 
which identify five threat factors that led to their decline. These 
factors, which include--(1) Destruction, modification, or curtailment 
of the species' habitat or range; (2) overutilization; (3) disease and 
predation; (4) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and (5) 
other natural or manmade factors, must be removed or abated to ensure 
the species' recovery. The recovery goals specify that certain recovery 
actions be taken to achieve the demographic criteria necessary for the 
species' downlisting and eventual delisting. Flow modification, 
obstructions to fish passage, and the presence of competitive and 
predatory nonnative fishes are considered to present the most 
significant threats to recovery. Consistent with the recovery goals, 
Program participants developed a Management Plan for Endangered Fishes 
in the Yampa River Basin to facilitate recovery of listed fishes as 
water continues to be depleted from the river to serve the needs of the 
people of the Yampa Basin now and into the foreseeable future. This 
management plan identifies a package of recovery actions to be 
implemented in the Yampa River Basin, including instream flow 
augmentation, fish passage, and management of nonnative fish 
populations. The Service proposes to enter into a cooperative agreement 
to implement the plan. This Federal action requires that the Service 
fulfill the requirements of the NEPA, for which an Environmental 
Assessment has been prepared.

    Dated: March 27, 2003.
Elliott N. Sutta,
Acting Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 03-17696 Filed 7-29-03; 8:45 am]