[Federal Register: October 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 204)]
[Page 62525-62526]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2008-N0063; 20124-1112-0000-F2]

Notice of Availability of Record of Decision for the Horseshoe-
Bartlett Habitat Conservation Plan for Incidental Take by the Salt 
River Project, Maricopa and Yavapai Counties, AZ

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

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Record of Decision.


SUMMARY: The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has 
issued an incidental take permit (ITP) to the Salt River Project (SRP) 
for 16 federally listed and candidate species in Maricopa and Yavapai 
counties, Arizona. Authorized take will occur as the result of modified 
operation of Horseshoe Dam and Reservoir (Horseshoe) and Bartlett Dam 
and Reservoir (Bartlett).
    The Record of Decision (ROD) became effective on June 13, 2008. It 
states that the preferred alternative will be implemented and discusses 
all factors leading to the decision.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the ROD 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Debra Bills, Arizona State Office, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, 
Phoenix, AZ 85021; 602-242-0210, Mr. Charles Paradzick, Senior 
Ecologist, Salt River Project, P.O. Box 52025, PAB352, Phoenix, AZ 
85072-2025; 602-236-2724, or Mr. Craig Sommers, President, ERO 
Resources Corporation, 1842 Clarkson Street, Denver, CO 80218; 303-830-
    A read-only downloadable copy of the ROD is available on the 
Internet at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona. A copy is 
available for public inspection and review at the locations listed 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), this notice advises the public that the Service has 
issued an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to SRP for the following 
federally listed and candidate species: southwestern willow flycatcher 
(Empidonax traillii extimus), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), 
yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), razorback sucker (Xyrauchen 
texanus), Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), Gila topminnow 
(Peociliopsis occidentalis occidentalis), Spikedace (Meda fulgida), 
loach minnow (Tiaroga cobitis), roundtail chub (Gila robusta), longfin 
dace (Agosia chrysogaster), Sonora sucker (Catostomus insignis), desert 
sucker (Catostomus clarki), speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus), 
lowland leopard frog (Rana yavapaiensis), Northern Mexican gartersnake 
(Thamnophis eques megalops), and narrow-headed gartersnake (Thamnophis 
    SRP completed the Horseshoe and Bartlett Habitat Conservation Plan 
(HCP) as part of the application package for an ITP submitted to the 
Service as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act), which provides measures to minimize and mitigate for the effects 
of the taking of listed and candidate species and the habitats upon 
which they depend.
    The Notice of Intent and Notice of Public Scoping Meeting was 
published in the Federal Register on June 19, 2003 (68 FR 36829).
    The Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement, application for the ITP, Draft HCP, and Draft Implementing 
Agreement was published in the Federal Register on July, 25 2007 (72 FR 
    The Notice of Availability for the Final EIS (FEIS), Final HCP, and 
Implementing Agreement published in the Federal Register on April 30, 
2008 (73 FR 23488).
    A copy of the ROD is 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, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, 
Phoenix, AZ 85021.
Salt River Project, 1521 Project Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.


    Horseshoe and Bartlett are operated by SRP in conjunction with four 
reservoirs on the Salt River and one reservoir on East Clear Creek as 
integral features of the Salt River Federal Reclamation Project, 
authorized by the Reclamation Act of 1902, and under a 1917 contract 
with the United States (43 U.S.C. 499). Since completion in the 1930s 
and 1940s, Horseshoe and Bartlett have provided water for irrigation, 
municipal, and other uses. Currently, SRP reservoirs supply much of the 
water for the population of more than 2.6 million people in the cities 
of Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, 
Tolleson, and Avondale. Water deliveries are also made under specific 
water rights in Horseshoe and Bartlett held by the City of Phoenix, the 
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and the Fort McDowell 
Yavapai Nation. In addition, water is provided to irrigate agricultural 
lands within SRP and for satisfaction of the independent water rights 
of Buckeye Irrigation Company, Gila River Indian Community, Roosevelt 
Irrigation District, Roosevelt Water Conservation District, and others. 
Horseshoe, Bartlett, and the other SRP reservoirs also provide a 
variety of recreational uses and environmental benefits in central 
    Due to dry conditions in central Arizona for the past 12 years, 
water levels in Horseshoe and Bartlett have been below normal. As a 
result, riparian

[[Page 62526]]

trees and shrubs have grown in the Horseshoe storage space and have 
been colonized by a population of flycatchers, which are listed as 
endangered under the Act. Thus, periodic refilling of the reservoir may 
adversely impact the habitat and nesting of the flycatcher as well as 
the cuckoo, which uses similar habitat. Also, nonnative fish produced 
in Horseshoe and Bartlett can adversely impact covered fish, frog, and 
gartersnake species through predation, competition, and alteration of 
habitat in the Verde River and portions of its tributaries.
    Based upon our review of the alternatives and their environmental 
consequences described in the FEIS, our decision is to implement 
Alternative 2--Optimum Operation of Horseshoe and Bartlett (the 
preferred alternative). The HCP will minimize and mitigate for take of 
the covered species named above by operating Horseshoe to maintain 
riparian forest in the upper end of the reservoir, acquiring and 
managing 200 acres of replacement habitats in perpetuity, managing 
Horseshoe to benefit aquatic species, funding improvements to a State 
native fish hatchery, stocking covered fish species, and supporting 
other watershed improvement projects as described in the HCP.

Thomas L. Bauer,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. E8-24978 Filed 10-20-08; 8:45 am]