[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 150 (Tuesday, August 5, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45426-45427]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18502]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD424


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Notice; availability of joint state/tribal hatchery plan and 
request for comment.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and 
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have submitted 
five Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans, to be considered jointly, 
to NMFS pursuant to the limitation on take prohibitions for actions 
conducted under Limit 6 of the 4(d) Rule for salmon and steelhead 
promulgated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The plans specify 
the propagation of five species of salmon and steelhead in the Elwha 
River of Washington state. This document serves to notify the public of 
the availability for comment of the proposed evaluation of the 
Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) as to whether implementation of the 
joint plans will appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and 
recovery of Puget Sound Chinook salmon and Puget Sound steelhead.

DATES: Comments must be received at the appropriate address or fax 
number (see ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. Pacific time on September 
4, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the proposed evaluation and pending 
determination should be addressed to the NMFS Sustainable Fisheries 
Division, 510 Desmond Dr., Suite 103, Lacey, WA 98503. Comments may be 
submitted by email. The mailbox address for providing email comments 
is: ElwhaHatcheries.nwr@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the 
email comment the following identifier: Comments on Elwha River 
hatchery programs.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Tynan at (360) 753-9579 or email: 
tim.tynan@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

ESA-Listed Species Covered in This Notice

     Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Threatened, 
naturally produced and artificially propagated Puget Sound.
     Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened, naturally produced and 
artificially propagated Puget Sound.
     Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus): Threatened Puget 
Sound/Washington Coast.
     Pacific eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus): Threatened 
southern DPS.
    The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the WDFW have submitted to NMFS 
five jointly operated hatchery programs in the Elwha River basin. The 
plans were submitted in August 2012, pursuant to limit 6 of the 4(d) 
Rule for the listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon evolutionarily 
significant unit (ESU) and listed Puget Sound steelhead distinct 
population segment (DPS). Two of the hatchery programs release ESA-
listed Chinook salmon and steelhead, and three hatchery programs 
release non-ESA listed coho, fall chum, and pink salmon into the Elwha 
River watershed. All of the programs are currently operating, and all 
five hatchery programs raise fish native to the Elwha River basin. The 
current proposed evaluation was prepared to reevaluate the existing 
HGMPs in light of NMFS' decision to revise its Environmental Assessment 
as part of ongoing litigation.
    As required by the ESA 4(d) rule (65 FR 42422, July 10, 2000, as 
updated in 70 FR 37160, June 28, 2005), the Secretary is seeking public 
comment on his pending determination as to whether the joint plans for 
hatchery programs in the Elwha River, reflecting the existing HGMPs, 
clarifications to a component of steelhead and coho salmon smolt 
release practices, and some updated information including the role of 
weirs, would appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery 
of the ESA-listed Puget Sound salmon and steelhead.
    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 salmon and steelhead, adopting in Limit 6 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 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 artificial propagation activities if those activities are 
managed in accordance with a joint 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 limit 6 
of the 4(d) Rule, before the Secretary makes a decision on the joint 
plan, the public must have an opportunity to review and comment on the 
pending determination.

Authority

    Under section 4 of the ESA, the Secretary of Commerce is required 
to adopt such regulations as he deems necessary and advisable for the 
conservation of species listed as threatened. The ESA salmon and 
steelhead 4(d) rule (65 FR 42422, July 10, 2000, as updated in 70 FR 
37160, June 28, 2005) specifies categories of activities that 
contribute to the conservation of listed salmonids and sets out the 
criteria for such activities. Limit 6 of the updated 4(d) rule (50 CFR 
223.203(b)(6)) further provides that the prohibitions of paragraph (a) 
of the updated 4(d) rule (50 CFR 223.203(a)) do not apply to activities 
associated with a joint state/tribal artificial propagation plan 
provided that the joint

[[Page 45427]]

plan has been determined by NMFS to be in accordance with the salmon 
and steelhead 4(d) rule (65 FR 42422, July 10, 2000, as updated in 70 
FR 37160, June 28, 2005).

    Dated: July 31, 2014.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-18502 Filed 8-4-14; 8:45 am]
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