[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 10, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74116-74117]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29400]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD019


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Notice of receipt and request for comment.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received three 
applications for direct take permits for spring Chinook salmon, in the 
form of Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs), pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). One application is 
from the Public Utility District No. 1 of Douglas County (Douglas PUD), 
the Public Utility District of Grant County (Grant PUD), and the 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for the operation of 
the Methow spring Chinook salmon program. Another application is from 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Bureau of 
Reclamation (Reclamation) for the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery 
(WNFH) spring Chinook salmon program. The third application is from the 
Confederated Colville Tribes (CCT); this program is funded by the 
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and operates in close 
coordination with the USFWS and Reclamation WNFH spring Chinook 
program. All applicants

[[Page 74117]]

are seeking ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) permits. This document serves to 
notify the public of the availability of the permit applications and 
addenda for public review, comment, and submission of written data, 
views, arguments, or other relevant information. All comments and other 
information received will become part of the public record and will be 
available for review pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA.

DATES: Comments and other submissions must be received at the 
appropriate address or fax number (see ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. 
Pacific time on January 9, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Written responses to the application should be sent to Craig 
Busack, National Marine Fisheries Services, Sustainable Fisheries 
Division, 1201 NE. Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. 
Comments may also be submitted by email to: 
MethowOkanoganPlans.wcr@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the 
email comment the following identifier: Comments on Methow, Winthrop, 
and Okanogan spring Chinook salmon HGMPs. Comments may also be sent via 
facsimile (fax) to (503) 872-2737. Requests for copies of the permit 
applications should be directed to the National Marine Fisheries 
Services, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 1201 NE. Lloyd Boulevard, 
Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. The documents are also available on the 
Internet at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. Comments received will 
also be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal 
business hours by calling (503) 230-5418.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Busack at (503) 230-5412 or via 
email at craig.busack@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Species Covered in This Notice

    Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): endangered, naturally-
produced and artificially-propagated Upper Columbia River spring-run.
    Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss): threatened, naturally-produced and 
artificially-propagated Upper Columbia River summer-run.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and Federal regulations prohibit the 
``taking'' of a species listed as endangered or threatened. The term 
``take'' is defined under the ESA to mean harass, harm, pursue, hunt, 
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage 
in any such conduct. NMFS may issue permits to take listed species for 
any act otherwise prohibited by section 9 for scientific purposes or to 
enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species, under 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. NMFS regulations governing permits for 
threatened and endangered species are promulgated at 50 CFR 222.307.
    On November 13, 2012, NMFS received an application from the Douglas 
PUD, the Grant PUD, and the WDFW for an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) permit 
for the direct take of ESA-listed Upper Columbia River spring Chinook 
salmon in order to carry out an artificial propagation (hatchery) 
program at the Methow Fish Hatchery (MFH) and associated facilities to 
enhance the species. The application included a HGMP (dated February 
12, 2010; previously submitted on March 3, 2010) and a supplemental 
document titled Supporting Information Submitted to National Marine 
Fisheries Service Regarding the Methow Fish Hatchery Spring Chinook 
HGMP. The Douglas and Grant PUD-funded and WDFW Methow spring Chinook 
salmon program serves two purposes: (1) Mitigation for passage losses 
caused by operation of the Wells, Priest Rapids, and Wanapum Dams, and 
(2) act as a conservation program for Methow spring Chinook salmon. The 
current release goal is 163,000 yearling smolts annually.The proposed 
hatchery program complies with the terms and conditions of the Wells 
Anadromous Fish Agreement and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and the 
Priest Rapids anadromous fish settlement agreement, and is consistent 
with the 2008-2017 U.S. v. Oregon Management Agreement.
    On November 21, 2012, NMFS received an application from the USFWS 
and Reclamation for the WNFH spring Chinook salmon program. The 
application included an HGMP and a supplemental document entitled 
Supporting Information Submitted to National Marine Fisheries Service 
Regarding the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery Spring Chinook HGMP. The 
purpose of this program is to mitigate for the losses caused by the 
construction of Grand Coulee Dam. The WNFH spring Chinook salmon 
program serves two purposes: (1) Provides a ``safety-net'' program for 
the MFH conservation program operated by the WDFW, and (2) provides a 
biologically appropriate source of juvenile fish for a proposed spring 
Chinook salmon reintroduction program in the Okanogan subbasin. The 
current release goal is 600,000 juveniles annually. The proposed 
hatchery program complies with the 2008-2017 U.S. v .Oregon Management 
Agreement.
    On May 13, 2013, NMFS received an application from the CCT for an 
ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) permit for the direct take of ESA-listed Upper 
Columbia River spring Chinook salmon in order to carry out an 
artificial propagation (hatchery) program at the Chief Joseph Hatchery 
and associated facilities for development of a non-essential 
experimental Okanogan spring Chinook salmon population. The purpose of 
this program is to restore natural spawning spring Chinook salmon in 
historical habitats of the Okanogan subbasin. The long-term vision is 
to restore ceremonial and subsistence fishing for the CCT throughout 
their usual and accustomed fishing grounds. However, the short-term 
focus is on conservation--the program is expected to expand the spatial 
structure of the UCR Spring Chinook Salmon ESU, and no harvest 
activities will occur within the 5- to 10-year time frame of this HGMP. 
The CCT's Chief Joseph Hatchery spring Chinook salmon program releases 
would establish a nonessential experimental spring Chinook salmon 
population in the Okanogan River under section 10(j) of the ESA, using 
Methow composite spring Chinook salmon from the WNFH in place of 
Carson-stock spring Chinook salmon.
    All HGMPs and supporting documents are available for public review 
and comment as part of the permit application packages.

Authority

    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA. NMFS 
will evaluate each application, associated documents, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the applications meet the 
requirements of section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. If it is determined 
that the requirements are met, permits will be issued to the USFWS 
along with the WDFW and the Douglas and Grant PUDs as co-permittees for 
the purpose of carrying out the Methow spring Chinook salmon program. 
Permits will also be issued to the USFWS and the CCT for the purpose of 
carrying out the Okanogan spring Chinook salmon hatchery program. NMFS 
will publish a record of its final action in the Federal Register.

    Dated: December 4, 2013.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-29400 Filed 12-9-13; 8:45 am]
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