[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 23 (Monday, February 4, 2013)]
[Pages 7755-7757]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02305]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC476

Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Receipt of two permit applications and one permit modification 
request for scientific research and enhancement.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received two scientific 
research and enhancement permit applications and one permit 
modification request relating to anadromous species listed under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed research activities are 
intended to increase knowledge of the species and to help guide 
management and conservation efforts. The applications and related 
documents may be viewed online at: https://apps.nmfs.

[[Page 7756]]

noaa.gov/preview/preview--open--for--comment.cfm. These documents are 
also available upon written request or by appointment by contacting 
NMFS by phone (916) 930-3706 or fax (916) 930 3629.

DATES: Written comments on the permit applications or modification 
request must be received at the appropriate address or fax number (see 
ADDRESSES) no later than 5 p.m. Pacific standard time on March 6, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the applications or modification request 
should be submitted to the Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 650 
Capitol Mall, Room 5-100, Sacramento, CA 95814. Comments may also be 
submitted via fax to (916) 930-3629 or by email to 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amanda Cranford, Sacramento, CA (ph.: 
916-930-3706, email.: Amanda.Cranford@noaa.gov).


Species Covered in This Notice

    This notice is relevant to federally threatened California Central 
Valley steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), threatened Central Valley 
spring-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha), endangered Sacramento River 
winter-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha), and the threatened southern 
distinct population segment of North American (SDPS) green sturgeon 
(Acipenser medirostris).


    Scientific research permits are issued in accordance with section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543) and regulations 
governing listed fish and wildlife permits (50 CFR parts 222-226). NMFS 
issues permits based on findings that such permits: (1) Are applied for 
in good faith; (2) if granted and exercised, would not operate to the 
disadvantage of the listed species which are the subject of the 
permits; and (3) are consistent with the purposes and policies set 
forth in section 2 of the ESA. The authority to take listed species is 
subject to conditions set forth in the permits.
    Anyone requesting a hearing on the applications or permit 
modification request listed in this notice should set out the specific 
reasons why a hearing on the application(s) would be appropriate (see 
ADDRESSES). Such hearings are held at the discretion of the Assistant 
Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS.

Applications Received

Permit 17299

    The NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Fisheries Ecology 
Division (SWFSC) is requesting a 5-year scientific research and 
enhancement permit to take adult, smolt and juvenile CCV steelhead, SR 
winter-run Chinook salmon, CV spring-run Chinook salmon, and adult and 
juvenile SDPS green sturgeon associated with research activities in the 
Central Valley, California. Incidental mortality of ESA-listed species 
is not expected to exceed two percent of the total take for Permit 
17299. The overall goal of this project is to provide critical 
information in support of conservation and management of California's 
salmon stocks. The SWFSC will conduct comparative studies on salmonid 
ecology across all Central Valley habitats (streams, rivers and Delta) 
to increase our knowledge of California's Chinook salmon and steelhead 
life histories.
    The studies proposed for Permit 17299 will follow three directions: 
(1) Telemetry studies to assess river habitat use, behavior, and 
survival, (2) predator impacts on salmon, and (3) physiological 
measurements of aerobic scope across stocks. The results of these 
studies will be integrated into life-cycle modeling efforts at the 
SWFSC and provide guidance to NMFS, Southwest Region and other Central 
Valley agencies for their resource management efforts.
    In situations where the SWFSC are unable to rely on collaborators 
to capture fish through rotary screw trapping, collection methods will 
include fyke nets, backpack electrofishing, beach seining, tangle 
netting, DIDSON observations, and hook and line. Handling will 
typically involve sedation of juveniles (MS-222), measurements, tissue 
sampling (fin clips and scales from most, stomach lavage [subset] and 
tagging [PIT tags, acoustic tags]) followed by release of live fish. 
Another group of hatchery produced salmonids will be tested in the 
laboratory to measure aerobic scope under a range of temperature and 
flow combinations. A small subset of those hatchery produced fish will 
be sacrificed to collect otoliths for age and growth measurements, 
organ tissue for isotope analysis, biochemical and genomic expression 
assays, and tag effects/retention studies.

Permit 17777

    David Vogel, Senior Scientist with Natural Resource Scientists, 
Inc. (NRSI) is requesting a 2-year scientific research and enhancement 
permit to take entrained juvenile CCV steelhead, SR winter-run Chinook 
salmon, CV spring-run Chinook salmon, and SDPS green sturgeon 
associated with research activities at the Sycamore diversion site on 
the middle Sacramento River, Colusa County, California.
    This research is part of an ongoing effort to develop criteria to 
prioritize fish screening projects on the Sacramento River and 
experiment with devices to reduce fish entrainment into unscreened 
diversions. The site was selected by state and federal agencies. 
Sampling will involve the use of fyke nets positioned at the diversion 
outfall in the irrigation canal. The diversion has been screened with 
two retractable screens. The UC-Davis Hydraulics Laboratory has 
designed an alternative device to reduce fish entrainment for placement 
over the two riverine intakes in lieu of the two fish screens. Fish 
sampling will occur every day with the behavioral devices in place and 
removed on alternating days throughout the irrigation season. The 
effectiveness of the behavioral device will be determined by comparing 
the numbers of fish entrained each day with the devices in place and 
    Fish captured on the outfall side of the pumped diversions are not 
expected to be alive or salvageable since fish will be mortally injured 
by the pumps, lethally stressed in pressurized pipes and warm water, or 
otherwise lost to the water distribution systems. Dead or moribund fish 
will be identified to species, enumerated, measured, and the carcasses 
put back into the canals at the sampling site. To the extent 
practicable, any captured live ESA-listed species will be immediately 
returned to the river. This study will also incorporate an ongoing 
process to correlate fish entrainment with physical, hydraulic, and 
habitat variables at diversion sites. Results from this research should 
assist in providing the technical basis to determine the effectiveness 
of the behavioral devices, as well as developing criteria for ranking 
and prioritizing diversions for future screening opportunities.

Modification Request Received

Permit 16543-M1

    Permit 16543 was issued to the California Department of Water 
Resources (CDWR) on October 2, 2012 for take of adult CCV steelhead, SR 
winter-run Chinook salmon, CV spring-run Chinook salmon, and adult, 
subadult, and juvenile SDPS green sturgeon associated with research

[[Page 7757]]

activities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California.
    This project examines predation by introduced fishes and native 
resident fishes on migrating native fishes across a variety of habitats 
and migration corridors in the northern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 
Results provide information on spatial and environmental patterns of 
predation; critical information for guiding future restoration projects 
on conditions likely to support or discourage higher predation rates on 
endangered and native fishes. Sampling is conducted April, June and 
December in the Sacramento River above Rio Vista, Georgiana, Steamboat, 
Miner, and Cache sloughs, and the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel. 
Predators are sampled using trammel nets, with the goal of genetically 
analyzing gut contents for the DNA of various prey items. While listed 
species are not the target of the sampling program, incidental take may 
occur and will provide valuable information on abundance, habitat use, 
and migration timing.
    CDWR is requesting a modification of Permit 16543. The proposed 
changes include; an additional monitoring site at Liberty Island in the 
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and an increase in juvenile, sub-adult, 
and adult SDPS green sturgeon take across all locations. Incidental 
mortality estimates will remain at zero.
    The monitoring carried out under Permit 16543 represents the 
initial field effort for a brand new project. The take estimates for 
SDPS green sturgeon for Permit 16543 was purely an estimate based on 
the expectation that SDPS green sturgeon densities are very low in the 
region. However, preliminary monitoring attempts by CDWR were met with 
higher than anticipated catches of SDPS green sturgeon. Given the 
paucity of information on the location and behavior of SDPS green 
sturgeon in the Delta, continued sampling will provide new data on the 
movements and locations of SDPS green sturgeon and further assist NMFS 
and other agencies in their management of this species.

    Dated: January 29, 2013.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02305 Filed 2-1-13; 8:45 am]