[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 18 (Monday, January 28, 2013)]
[Pages 5830-5832]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01664]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2012-N185; FF08E00000-FXES11120800000F2-123-F2]

Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Habitat Conservation 
Plan for the Interim Operations of PacifiCorp's Klamath Hydroelectric 
Project on the Klamath River, Klamath County, OR, and Siskiyou County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; draft environmental assessment and 
proposed habitat conservation plan; request for comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have prepared a draft 
environmental assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) for the interim operations of the Klamath Hydroelectric 
Project in

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response to an application from PacifiCorp (applicant) for a 10-year 
incidental take permit for two species under the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (16 UDC 1531, et seq; Act). We request data, 
comments, new information or suggestions from the public, other 
concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, 
industry, or any other interested party on the applicant's permit 
application and associated habitat conservation plan (plan), and also 
on the associated draft EA.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
March 29, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Laurie R. Sada, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Falls Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 1936 California Avenue, Klamath Falls, OR 97601. 
Alternatively, you may send comments by facsimile to 541-885-7837.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Larson, Biologist, or Trisha 
Roninger, Assistant Field Supervisor, at the address shown above or at 
541-885-8481 (telephone). If you use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The application for an incidental take 
permit (ITP) addresses the potential for ``take'' of the Lost River 
sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and the shortnose sucker (Chasmistes 
brevirostris), two fishes federally listed as endangered. The applicant 
would implement a conservation program to minimize and mitigate the 
project activities, as described in the applicant's plan.
    The applicant has developed a plan as part of their application for 
an ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The proposed plan includes 
measures necessary to minimize and mitigate the impacts, to the maximum 
extent practicable, of potential proposed taking of two federally 
listed species to be covered by the plan, and the habitats upon which 
they depend, resulting from the interim operations of the Klamath 
Hydroelectric Project (Project), in Klamath County, Oregon, and 
Siskiyou County, California. This ITP would be in effect for a 
prospective 10-year interim period that the Project would be operating 
on an annual license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    We have prepared an EA to evaluate the impacts of several 
alternatives related to the potential issuance of an incidental take 
permit (ITP) to the applicant, as well as impacts of the implementation 
of the supporting proposed plan.

Background Information

    Section 9 of the Act and its regulations prohibit taking of fish 
and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened under section 4 
of the Act. Under the Act, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to 
attempt to engage in any such conduct. The term ``harm'' is defined in 
the regulations as significant habitat modification or degradation that 
results in death or injury of listed species by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term ``harass'' is defined in the 
regulations as to carry out actions that create the likelihood of 
injury to listed species to such an extent as to significantly disrupt 
normal behavioral patterns, which include, but are not limited to, 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).
    However, under specified circumstances, the Service may issue 
permits that allow the take of federally listed species, provided that 
the take that occurs is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an 
otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for endangered 
and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively.
    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act contains provisions for issuing such 
incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the take of 
endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are 
    1. The taking will be incidental;
    2. The applicants will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize 
and mitigate the impact of such taking;
    3. The applicants will develop a proposed plan and ensure that 
adequate funding for the plan will be provided;
    4. The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
    5. The applicants will carry out any other measures that the 
Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes 
of the plan.
    The applicant seeks incidental take authorization for the following 
federally listed endangered fish species--Lost River sucker (Deltistes 
luxatus) and the shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris)--which we 
will refer to as the ``covered species'' in this notice.
    The activities proposed to be covered under this plan include 
activities that are otherwise necessary to operate and maintain project 
facilities during the permit term. In general, the covered activities 
include the following: (1) Operate and maintain the spill gates at Link 
River dam for regulation and releases of flows from Link River dam to 
maintain water in the East Side and West Side water conveyance 
features, and operate and maintain the East Side and West Side canals 
and flowlines following shutdown of the East Side and West Side 
powerhouse facilities; (2) operate and maintain Keno Dam, spill gates, 
and fish ladder, and regulate the water level upstream of Keno Dam in 
accordance with the existing agreements and licenses; (3) operate and 
maintain J.C. Boyle Dam, fish bypass system, water conveyance system, 
turbines, and powerhouse facilities, and regulate water levels and 
flows necessary to maintain minimum reservoir elevations, river flows 
and ramping rates; (4) operate and maintain Copco No. 1 and Copco No. 2 
Dams, water conveyance systems, turbines, and powerhouse facilities, 
and regulate water levels and flows necessary to maintain minimum 
reservoir elevations, river flows and ramping rates; and (5) operate 
and maintain Iron Gate Dam (and associated appurtenances), penstocks, 
turbines, and powerhouse facilities, and regulate releases from Iron 
Gate Dam in accordance with instream flow and ramping rate 

Alternatives in the Draft Environmental Assessment

    The proposed action presented in the draft EA will be compared to 
the no-action alternative. The no-action alternative represents 
estimated future conditions to which the proposed action's estimated 
future conditions can be compared. Other alternatives considered, 
including their potential impacts, are also addressed in the draft EA.

No-Action Alternative

    Under the no-action alternative, we would not issue a permit. The 
no-action alternative would not achieve the applicant's objectives and 
would not allow for reduced incidental take of federally-listed species 
or mitigation of impacts to listed species.

Proposed Alternative

    Under the proposed alternative, the applicant would continue to 
operate the Klamath Hydroelectric Project. The project consists of 
eight developments. The seven developments covered by the ITP are 
located on the Klamath River between river mile (RM) 190.1 and 254.3, 
including (in order moving upstream): Iron Gate Dam and Reservoir (RM 
190.1 to 196.9), Copco No. 2 Dam and Reservoir (RM 198.3 to 198.6),

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Copco No. 1 Dam and Reservoir (RM 198.6 to 203.1), J.C. Boyle Dam and 
Reservoir (RM 220.4 to 228.3), Keno Dam and Reservoir (RM 233 to 
253.1), and East Side and West Side facilities (both in Link River at 
RM 253.1 to 254.3).
    The ``covered activities'' included in the plan consist of a 
variety of activities at the seven facilities listed above that are 
necessary to generate hydroelectric power and to maintain these 
facilities. These include: Operate and maintain spill gates for 
regulation and releases of flows; operate and maintain canals, 
flowlines, and other water conveyance systems; operate and maintain 
penstocks, turbines, and powerhouse facilities; operate and maintain 
fish bypass systems; and regulate water levels and flows necessary to 
maintain minimum reservoir elevations, river flows, and ramping rates.
    The applicant proposes to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the effects 
to the covered species associated with the covered activities by fully 
implementing the plan. The following minimization and mitigation 
measures will be implemented as part of the plan: Take of listed 
species will be substantially reduced by shutting down the East Side 
and West Side developments within 30 days of issuance of the ITP. These 
facilities will remain substantially shut down until eventual 
decommissioning of the facilities as determined by the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission. Mitigation of take will result from funding of 
restoration projects and other activities that will benefit the 
recovery of the species.
    Under the proposed action alternative, we would issue an incidental 
take permit for the applicant's proposed project, which includes the 
activities described above and in more detail in the plan.

Environmental Review

    As described in our EA, we have made the preliminary determination 
that approval of the proposed plan and issuance of the permit would 
qualify as Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) under NEPA (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided by Federal regulations (40 CFR 1500, 
5(k), 1507.3(b)(2), and 1508.4) and the Department of the Interior 
Manual (516 DM 2 and 516 DM 8). Our EA describes the project effects on 
all potential resources that could be adversely affected, including 
water resources (hydrology and water quality); biological resources 
(Lost River and shortnose suckers, anadromous fishes, and other 
fishes); socioeconomics (local employment, recreation, renewable 
energy, land use, and development); environmental justice; and cultural 
resources. It also includes an analysis of alternatives, and other 
required analyses such as unavoidable adverse effects, irreversible and 
irretrievable commitments of resources, short-term uses versus long-
term productivity and cumulative effects, and the environmentally 
preferable alternative (the proposed project).

Public Comments

    We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this 
notice. We particularly seek comments on the following:
    1. Biological information concerning the species;
    2. Relevant data concerning the species;
    3. Additional information concerning the range, distribution, 
population size, and population trends of the species;
    4. Current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on the species;
    5. The presence of archeological sites, buildings and structures, 
historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic 
preservation concerns, which are required to be considered in project 
planning by the National Historic Preservation Act; and
    6. Identification of any other environmental issues that should be 
considered with regard to the proposed development and permit action.
    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in the ADDRESSES section.
    We will identify in the FONSI if we need to prepare further NEPA 
documentation. We will also consider public comments on the draft EA 
when making the final determination on whether to prepare additional 
NEPA documents on the proposed action.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the permit application, plan, and EA from 
the individuals in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Copies of these 
documents are available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
regular business hours, at the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES), and on our Web site at www.fws.gov/klamathfallsfwo/.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application; including the plan and 
comments we receive, to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, 
we will issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of the 
Lost River sucker and the shortnose sucker resulting from the 
implementation of the covered activities described in the plan. We will 
make the final permit decision no sooner than 30 days after the date of 
this notice.


    We publish this notice under the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; NEPA), and its 
implementing public involvement regulations in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1500.2(d), and 1506.6), as well as in 
compliance with section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.; Act).

    Dated: January 22, 2013.
Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-01664 Filed 1-25-13; 8:45 am]