[Federal Register: August 1, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 147)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 43368-43370]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service

36 CFR Part 242


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 100

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, 
Subpart D; Seasonal Adjustments--Copper, Unalakleet, and Yukon Rivers

AGENCIES: Forest Service, USDA; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Seasonal adjustments.


SUMMARY: This provides notice of the Federal Subsistence Board's in-
season management actions to protect Chinook salmon escapement in the 
Unalakleet River, and to provide additional subsistence harvest 
opportunities for Chinook salmon in the Yukon River and for sockeye 
salmon in the Copper River. The revised fishing schedule for the 
Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper River, the additional fishing time on 
the Yukon River, and the closure of the Unalakleet River provide 
exceptions to the Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands 
in Alaska, published in the Federal Register on March 29, 2006. Those 
regulations established seasons, harvest limits, methods, and means 
relating to the taking of fish and shellfish for subsistence uses 
during the 2006 regulatory year.

DATES: The latest fishing schedule for the Chitina Subdistrict of the 
Upper Copper River District is effective July 11, 2006, through 
September 1, 2006. The closure of the Unalakleet River is effective 
July 10, 2006, through August 1, 2006. Drift gillnet fishing in 
Subdistricts 4B and 4C of the Yukon River is effective from noon, July 
13, 2006, to midnight, July 14, 2006.

Subsistence Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, telephone (907) 
786-3888. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, 
contact Steve Kessler, Subsistence Program Manager, USDA--Forest 
Service, Alaska Region, telephone (907) 786-3592.



    Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act 
(ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126) requires that the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a 
joint program to grant a preference for subsistence uses of fish and 
wildlife resources on public lands in Alaska, unless the State of 
Alaska enacts and implements laws of general applicability that are 
consistent with ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, 
preference, and participation specified in Sections 803, 804, and 805 
of ANILCA. In December 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the 
rural preference in the State subsistence statute violated the Alaska 
Constitution and, therefore, negated State compliance with ANILCA.
    The Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture 
(Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for 
implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. The Departments 
administer Title VIII through regulations at Title 50, Part 100 and 
Title 36, Part 242 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Consistent 
with Subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as revised January 8, 
1999 (64 FR 1276), the Departments established a Federal Subsistence 
Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The 
Board's composition includes a Chair appointed by the Secretary of the 
Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska 
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Alaska Regional 
Director, National Park Service; the Alaska State Director, Bureau of 
Land Management; the Alaska Regional Director, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs; and the Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through 
the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations 
for Subparts A, B, and C, which establish the program structure and 
determine which Alaska residents are eligible to take specific species 
for subsistence uses, and the annual Subpart D regulations, which 
establish seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means for 
subsistence take of species in specific areas. Subpart D regulations 
for the 2006 fishing seasons, harvest limits, and methods and means 
were published on March 29, 2006 (71 FR 15569). Because this action 
relates to public lands managed by an agency or agencies in both the 
Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, identical closures and 
adjustments would apply to 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100.
    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), under the direction 
of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), manages sport, commercial, 
personal use, and State subsistence harvest on all lands and waters 
throughout Alaska.

[[Page 43369]]

However, on Federal lands and waters, the Federal Subsistence Board 
implements a subsistence priority for rural residents as provided by 
Title VIII of ANILCA. In providing this priority, the Board may, when 
necessary, preempt State harvest regulations for fish or wildlife on 
Federal lands and waters.

Current Management Actions

    These actions are authorized and in accordance with 50 CFR 
100.19(d-e) and 36 CFR 242.19(d-e).

Copper River--Chitina Subdistrict

    In December 2001, the Board adopted regulatory proposals 
establishing a new Federal subsistence fishery in the Chitina 
Subdistrict of the Copper River. This fishery is open to Federally 
qualified users having customary and traditional use of salmon in this 
Subdistrict. The State conducts a personal use fishery in this 
Subdistrict that is open to all Alaska residents.
    Management of the fishery is based on the numbers of salmon 
returning to the Copper River. A larger than predicted salmon run will 
allow additional fishing time. A smaller than predicted run will 
require restrictions to achieve upriver passage and spawning escapement 
goals. A run that approximates the pre-season forecast will allow 
fishing to proceed on a schedule similar to the pre-season schedule, 
with some adjustments made to fishing time based on in-season data. 
Adjustments to the preseason schedule are expected as a normal function 
of an abundance-based management strategy. State and Federal managers, 
reviewing and discussing all available in-season information, will make 
these adjustments.
    While Federal and State regulations currently differ for this 
Subdistrict, the Board indicated that Federal in-season management 
actions regarding fishing periods were expected to mirror State 
actions. The State established a preseason schedule of allowable 
fishing periods based on daily projected sonar estimates. The preseason 
schedule was intended to distribute the harvest throughout the salmon 
run and provide salmon for upriver subsistence fisheries and the 
spawning escapement.
    This action extends the open periods for the taking of salmon in 
the Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper River. During June 26-July 9, 
there were 131,592 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The 
preseason projection for this period was 104,277 salmon, which results 
in 27,315 more salmon than projected. Copper River sockeye salmon 
migratory timing and the previous 5-year average harvest and 
participation rates indicate sufficient numbers of salmon available to 
allow additional fishing time. Shown below are the fishing schedule 
openings for the Chitina Subdistrict of the Copper River:
    Monday, July 3, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, July 9, 11:59 p.m.
    Monday, July 10, 12:01 a.m.-Sunday, July 16, 11:59 p.m.
    Monday, July 17, 12:01 p.m.-Sunday, July 23, 11:59 p.m.
    Monday, July 24, 12:01 a.m.-Saturday, September 30, 11:59 p.m.
    Depending on actual numbers of salmon passing the Miles Lake sonar, 
future openings may be increased or decreased, accordingly. State 
personal use and Federal subsistence fisheries in this Subdistrict 
close simultaneously by regulation on September 30, 2006. No deviation 
from this date is currently anticipated.

Unalakleet River

    This seasonal adjustment closes the Federal waters of the 
Unalakleet River to the taking of Chinook salmon for a specified time 
period as identified below, and prohibits the use of all subsistence 
fishing methods except for beach seining. The total returns of Chinook 
salmon in eastern Norton Sound are very low, and returns have dropped 
off markedly rather than building. The escapement goal for Chinook 
salmon passing the North River tower project is 1,200-2,600 Chinook 
salmon with the midpoint of the run coming about July 10. As of July 
10, 2006, only 350 Chinook salmon have been counted at the North River 
tower. The escapement goal for Chinook salmon has not been met at North 
River for the last 2 years, and there were at least 200 more Chinook 
salmon past the tower by July 7 in those previous years.
    The Board, acting through the in-season manager, has therefore 
closed all waters of the Unalakleet River to the taking of Chinook 
salmon from 8 p.m., Monday, July 10, 2006 through 12:01 a.m., August 1, 
2006, and prohibited the use of all subsistence fishing methods except 
for beach seining. Concurrent action was being taken by ADF&G to 
prohibit harvest of Chinook salmon by all other all users. Very strong 
runs of pink and chum salmon will greatly help to offset the 
subsistence restriction that prohibits the retention of Chinook salmon. 
This action will still allow beach seining, which is a favored method 
of harvesting pink salmon, while closing subsistence harvest methods 
most likely to cause Chinook salmon mortality. The action will be 
lifted when coho salmon reach Federal waters and the Chinook salmon 
harvest is no longer a concern.

Yukon River

    The 2006 Yukon River Chinook salmon return appears to be less than 
average but somewhat better than the 2005 return. All indexes project 
that the Chinook salmon escapement into the Alaska portion of the Yukon 
River drainage should be met and that sufficient fish should be 
available for subsistence fishing opportunities. It is also projected 
that the passage across the border into Canada will provide for a 
normal Canadian aboriginal harvest as well as the interim escapement 
goal of 28,000 salmon.
    During the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association weekly 
teleconference on July 4, 2006, State and Federal management staff 
heard from users that poor weather (rain and wind), high water, and 
high gas prices were limiting fishing opportunities. These conditions 
combined with the late run timing (approximately 5 days), compressed 
entry pattern, and only three pulse groups of fish are heightening 
upriver fishers' concern for their ability to meet their harvest goals 
this year. In response to these concerns, both ADF&G and FWS managers 
agreed jointly to liberalize the District 4 subsistence fishing 
    The Federal Subsistence Board adopted the expansion of the 
subsistence drift gillnet Chinook salmon fishery in the middle Yukon 
River to help reduce overcrowding in the river and help rural residents 
meet their subsistence goals in a more efficient manner. Extending the 
normal weekly 18-hour period to 36 hours, preceding the normal calendar 
date closing of July 14, is warranted due to the fishing conditions 
this year and is consistent with the initial regulatory intent of the 
Board. This action was discussed with the State managers prior to 

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Board finds that additional public notice and comment 
requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for these 
adjustments are impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public 
interest. Lack of appropriate and immediate conservation measures could 
seriously affect the continued viability of fish populations, could 
adversely impact future subsistence opportunities for rural Alaskans, 
and would generally fail to serve the overall public interest. 
Therefore, the Board finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) 
to waive additional public notice and

[[Page 43370]]

comment procedures prior to implementation of these actions and 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule effective as indicated 
in the DATES section.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    A Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on 
February 28, 1992, and a Record of Decision on Subsistence Management 
for Federal Public Lands in Alaska (ROD) was signed April 6, 1992. The 
final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in 
Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C (57 FR 22940, published May 29, 1992), 
implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and included a 
framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing 
regulations. A final rule that redefined the jurisdiction of the 
Federal Subsistence Management Program to include waters subject to the 
subsistence priority was published on January 8, 1999 (64 FR 1276.)

Section 810 of ANILCA

    The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord 
subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over 
the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, 
unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife 
populations. A section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS 
process. The final section 810 analysis determination appeared in the 
April 6, 1992, ROD, which concluded that the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for 
setting hunting and fishing regulations, may have some local impacts on 
subsistence uses, but the program is not likely to significantly 
restrict subsistence uses.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The adjustment and emergency closures do not contain information 
collection requirements subject to Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.). Federal Agencies may not conduct or sponsor, and a 
person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Other Requirements

    The adjustments have been exempted from OMB review under Executive 
Order 12866.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which 
include small businesses, organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. 
The exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result 
from this Federal land-related activity is unknown. The aggregate 
effect is an insignificant economic effect (both positive and negative) 
on a small number of small entities supporting subsistence activities, 
such as boat, fishing gear, and gasoline dealers. The number of small 
entities affected is unknown; however, the effects will be seasonally 
and geographically limited in nature and will likely not be 
significant. The Departments certify that the adjustments will not have 
a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities 
within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), 
this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase in 
costs or prices for consumers, and does not have significant adverse 
effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with 
foreign-based enterprises. Title VIII of ANILCA requires the 
Secretaries to administer a subsistence preference on public lands. The 
scope of this program is limited by definition to certain public lands. 
Likewise, the adjustments have no potential takings of private property 
implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.
    The Service has determined and certifies under the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that the adjustments will 
not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or 
State governments or private entities. The implementation is by Federal 
agencies, and no cost is involved to any State or local entities or 
tribal governments.
    The Service has determined that the adjustments meet the applicable 
standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 
12988, regarding civil justice reform.
    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the adjustments do not 
have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from 
exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife 
resources on Federal lands. Cooperative salmon run assessment efforts 
with ADF&G will continue.
    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we 
have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes 
and have determined that there are no effects. The Bureau of Indian 
Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.
    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use. This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As these actions are 
not expected to significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use, they are not significant energy actions and no Statement of Energy 
Effects is required.

Drafting Information

    Bill Knauer drafted this document under the guidance of Peter J. 
Probasco, of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska Regional 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. Chuck 
Ardizzone, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Jerry Berg, 
Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Nancy Swanton, 
Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service; Dr. Glenn Chen, Alaska 
Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and Steve Kessler, USDA--
Forest Service, provided additional guidance.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 
3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

    Dated: July 17, 2006.
Peter J. Probasco,
Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.
    Dated: July 20, 2006.
Steve Kessler,
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA--Forest Service.
[FR Doc. E6-12300 Filed 7-31-06; 8:45 am]