[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 140 (Monday, July 22, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43858-43860]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17530]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC768


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of final determination and discussion of underlying 
biological analysis.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has evaluated the Tribal Resource Management Plans 
(Plans) submitted by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian 
Reservation, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and the Nez Perce Tribe to 
NMFS pursuant to the limitation on take prohibitions for actions 
conducted under the Tribal Rule of section 4(d) for salmon and 
steelhead promulgated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Plans 
specify fishery management activities in the Oregon and Washington 
portions of the Snake River basin. This document serves to notify the 
public that NMFS, by delegated authority from the Secretary of 
Commerce, has determined pursuant to the ESA Tribal 4(d) Rule for 
salmon and steelhead that implementing and enforcing the Plans will not 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of ESA-
listed salmon and steelhead.

DATES: The final determination on the Plan was made on July 2, 2013.

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ADDRESSES: National Marine Fisheries Service, Salmon Management 
Division, 1201 NE. Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Enrique Pati[ntilde]o at (206) 526-
4655, or email: Enrique.Patino@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Species Covered in This Notice

    Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): threatened, naturally 
produced and artificially propagated Snake River spring/summer.
    Steelhead (O. mykiss): threatened, naturally produced and 
artificially propagated Snake River Basin.

Background

    The Nez Perce Tribe (NPT), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla 
Indian Reservation (CTUIR), and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (SBT) each 
submitted a Tribal Resource Management Plan for harvest of Snake River 
spring/summer Chinook salmon in the Imnaha and Grande Ronde subbasins 
for review under the Tribal 4(d) rule. Activities described in the 
Plans include tribal fisheries for hatchery-origin and natural-origin 
Chinook salmon using population-specific abundance-based harvest rate 
schedules, which incorporate conditions for the conservation and 
restoration of salmon stocks. The management objective is for the NPT, 
the CTUIR, and the SBT to conduct fisheries in a manner that does not 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of listed 
Chinook salmon. The proposed Plans provide the framework through which 
Tribal salmon fisheries can be implemented while meeting requirements 
specified under the ESA.
    Under section 4(d) of the ESA, the Secretary is required to adopt 
such regulations as he deems necessary and advisable for the 
conservation of species listed as threatened. NMFS has issued a final 
ESA 4(d) Rule for Tribal Plans adopting regulations necessary and 
advisable to harmonize statutory conservation requirements with tribal 
rights and the Federal trust responsibility to tribes (50 CFR 223.209).
    This 4(d) Rule for Tribal Plans applies the prohibitions enumerated 
in section 9(a)(1) of the ESA. NMFS did not find it necessary and 
advisable to apply the take prohibitions described in section 
9(a)(1)(B) and 9(a)(1)(C) to fishery harvest activities if the 
fisheries are managed in accordance with a Tribal Plan whose 
implementation has been determined by the Secretary to not appreciably 
reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the listed salmonids.
    As specified in the Tribal 4(d) Rule, before the Secretary makes a 
decision on a Tribal Plan, the public must have an opportunity to 
review and comment on the pending determination. NMFS made the proposed 
evaluation and pending determinations available for public review, and 
the final evaluation and determinations reflect consideration of 
comments received.

Discussion of the Biological Analysis Underlying the Determination

    The management objective is for the tribes to conduct fisheries in 
a manner that does not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival 
and recovery of listed Chinook salmon and steelhead. The Plans include 
provisions for monitoring and evaluation to assess fishing-related 
impacts on Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon. The Plans utilize 
a harvest rate with five tiers based on predicted adult abundance of 
each of the affected populations. The majority of the harvest is 
anticipated to come from hatchery-origin stocks. The Plans also 
describe a process to guide coordination of fishery design and 
implementation between the agencies implementing fisheries in the 
action area. The Plans include provisions for monitoring and evaluation 
to assess fishing-related impacts on Snake River spring/summer Chinook 
salmon. Performance indicators include dam, weir, and redd counts, 
harvest estimates, and escapement with respect to escapement goals.
    The tribes intend to engage in ceremonial and subsistence harvest 
of both hatchery and natural-origin spring/summer Chinook salmon. 
Annually, the tribes would issue season regulations detailing the 
timing and season regulations for tributary fisheries consistent with 
these long-term Plans. Under the Plans, the tribes would manage all 
Chinook salmon fisheries to achieve escapement objectives using 
population-specific, abundance-based harvest rate schedules to limit 
ESA take according to year-specific adult escapement abundances. As a 
result, weaker populations will sustain less harvest and, as the number 
of predicted adults increase, the number of fish escaping to the 
spawning grounds will also increase.
    To achieve their conservation objectives, the Plans employ a number 
of key strategies as part of their harvest conservation measures, 
including: (1) Fishery-related redistribution of the conservation 
burden historically borne by fisheries; (2) use of threshold points to 
restrict the take of ESA-listed fish; and (3) application of a sliding 
scale approach to determine appropriate ESA take limits on critically 
low runs as well as on healthier runs at levels that may not slow 
recovery.
    The Plans include provisions for annual reports that will assess 
compliance with performance standards established through the Plans. 
The monitoring and evaluation described in the Plans will focus on two 
primary performance indicators: adult and juvenile abundance, and the 
overall assessment of abundance and productivity measures for each 
population. Reporting and inclusion of new information derived from 
research, monitoring, and evaluation activities provides assurance that 
performance standards will be achieved in future seasons.

Summary of Comments Received in Response to the Proposed Evaluation and 
Pending Determination

    NMFS published notice of its proposed evaluation and pending 
determination on two of the Plans for public review and comment on 
August 11, 2011 (76 FR 49735). The proposed evaluation and pending 
determination and an associated draft environmental assessment were 
available for public review and comment for 30 days. NMFS received 
comments from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the CTUIR, 
and the NPT. Subsequently, NMFS received an updated TRMP from the NPT, 
addressing management of NPT fisheries in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha 
Rivers. NMFS published notice of its proposed evaluation and pending 
determination on the NPT Plan for public review and comment on January 
23, 2013 (78 FR 4835), also for 30 days. No comments were received.
    A detailed summary of the comments and NMFS' responses is also 
available on the Salmon Management Division Web site. Based on its 
evaluation and recommended determinations and taking into account the 
public comments, NMFS issued its final determination on the three 
tribal fishery Plans.

Authority

    Under section 4 of the ESA, the Secretary is required to adopt such 
regulations as he deems necessary and advisable for the conservation of 
the species listed as threatened. The ESA Tribal 4(d) Rule (50 CFR 
223.209) states that the ESA section 9 take prohibitions will not apply 
to Tribal Plans that will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of

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survival and recovery for the listed species.

    Dated: July 17, 2013.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-17530 Filed 7-19-13; 8:45 am]
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