[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 139 (Monday, July 21, 2014)]
[Pages 42298-42300]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-17023]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD367

Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce that the Proposed Endangered Species Act 
(ESA) Recovery Plan for Snake River Sockeye Salmon (Proposed Plan) is 
available for public review and comment. The Proposed Plan addresses 
the Snake River Sockeye Salmon (Onchorhynchus nerka) evolutionarily 
significant unit (ESU) listed as endangered under the ESA. The 
geographic area covered by the Proposed Plan is the Sawtooth Valley in 
Idaho including the Upper Salmon River and its tributaries, Stanley 
Lake, Redfish Lake, Yellowbelly Lake, Pettit Lake, and Alturas Lake. As 
required under the ESA, the Proposed Plan contains objective, 
measurable delisting criteria, site-specific management actions 
necessary to achieve the Proposed Plan's goals, and estimates of the 
time and costs required to implement recovery actions. We are 
soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested 
parties on the Proposed Plan.

DATES: We will consider and address, as appropriate, all substantive 
comments received during the comment period. Comments on the Proposed 
Plan must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific daylight time on 
September 19, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Please send written comments and materials to Rosemary 
Furfey, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1201 NE Lloyd Boulevard, 
Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. Comments may also be submitted by email 
to: nmfs.wcr.snakeriversockeyeplan@noaa.gov. Please include ``Comments 
on Snake River Sockeye Salmon Recovery Plan'' in the subject line of 
the email. Comments may be submitted via facsimile (fax) to (503) 230-
5441. Electronic copies of the Proposed Plan are available on the NMFS 
Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/salmon_steelhead/recovery_planning_and_implementation/snake_river/snake_river_salmon_recovery_subdomain.html. Persons wishing to 
obtain an electronic copy on CD-ROM of the Proposed Plan may do so by 
calling Marcella LaFayette at (503) 231-2202 or by emailing a request 
to marcella.lafayette@noaa.gov with the subject line ``CD-ROM Request 
for Snake River Sockeye Salmon Recovery Plan.''

Sockeye Salmon Recovery Coordinator, at (503) 231-2149, or 



    We are responsible for developing and implementing recovery plans 
for Pacific salmon and steelhead listed under the ESA of 1973, as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Recovery means that the listed 
species and their ecosystems are sufficiently restored, and their 
future secured, to the point that the protections of the ESA are no 
longer necessary. Section 4(f)(1) of the ESA requires that recovery 
plans include, to the extent practicable: (1) Objective, measurable 
criteria which, when met, would result in a determination that the 
species is no longer threatened or endangered; (2) site-specific 
management actions necessary to achieve the plan's goals; and (3) 
estimates of the time required and costs to implement recovery actions. 
The ESA requires the development of recovery plans for each listed 
species unless such a plan would not promote its recovery.
    We believe it is essential to have local support of recovery plans 
by those whose activities directly affect the listed species and whose 
continued commitment and leadership will be needed to implement the 
necessary recovery actions. We therefore support and participate in 
locally led, collaborative efforts to develop recovery plans that 
involve state, tribal, and federal entities, local communities, and 
other stakeholders. For this Proposed Plan for endangered Snake River 
Sockeye Salmon, we worked collaboratively with local state, tribal, and 
Federal partners to produce a recovery plan that satisfies the ESA 
requirements. We have determined that this Proposed ESA Recovery Plan 
for Snake River Sockeye Salmon meets the statutory requirements for a 
recovery plan and are proposing to adopt it as the ESA recovery plan 
for this endangered species. Section 4(f) of the ESA, as amended in 
1988, requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review 
and comment be provided prior to final approval of a recovery plan. 
This notice solicits comments on this Proposed Plan.

Development of the Proposed Plan

    For the purpose of recovery planning for the ESA-listed species of 
Pacific salmon and steelhead in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, NMFS 
designated five geographically based ``recovery domains.'' The Snake 
River Sockeye Salmon ESU spawning range is in the Interior Columbia 
domain. For each domain, NMFS appointed a team of scientists, nominated 
for their geographic and species expertise, to provide a solid 
scientific foundation for recovery plans. The Interior Columbia 
Technical Recovery Team included biologists from NMFS, other federal 
agencies, states, tribes, and academic institutions.
    A primary task for the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Team 
was to recommend criteria for determining when each component 
population with an ESU or distinct population segment (DPS) should be 
considered viable (i.e., when they are have a low risk of extinction 
over a 100-year period) and when ESUs or DPSs have a risk of extinction 
consistent with no longer needing the protections of the ESA. All 
Technical Recovery Teams used the

[[Page 42299]]

same biological principles for developing their recommendations; these 
principles are described in the NOAA technical memorandum Viable 
Salmonid Populations and the Recovery of Evolutionarily Significant 
Units (McElhany et al., 2000). Viable salmonid populations (VSP) are 
defined in terms of four parameters: Abundance, productivity or growth 
rate, spatial structure, and diversity.
    For this Proposed Plan, we collaborated with state, tribal and 
federal biologists and resource managers to provide technical 
information that NMFS used to write the Proposed Plan which is built 
upon locally-led recovery efforts. In addition, NMFS established a 
multi-state (Idaho, Oregon and Washington), tribal and federal 
partners' regional forum called the Snake River Coordination Group that 
addresses the four ESA-listed Snake River salmon and steelhead species. 
They met twice a year to be briefed and provide technical and policy 
information to NMFS. We presented regular updates on the status of this 
Proposed Plan to the Snake River Coordination Group and posted draft 
chapters on NMFS' West Coast Region Snake River recovery planning Web 
    In addition to the Proposed Plan, we developed and incorporated the 
Module for the Ocean Environment (Fresh et al. 2014) as Appendix B to 
address Snake River Sockeye Salmon recovery needs in the Columbia River 
estuary, plume, and Pacific Ocean. To address recovery needs related to 
the Lower Columbia River mainstem and estuary, we incorporated the 
Columbia Estuary ESA Recovery Plan Module (NMFS 2011) as Appendix C. To 
address recovery needs for fishery harvest management in the Salmon, 
Snake and Columbia Rivers mainstem, Columbia River estuary and ocean, 
we developed and incorporated the Harvest Module (NMFS 2014a) as 
Appendix D. To address recovery needs related to the Columbia River 
Hydropower System, we developed and incorporated the Supplemental 
Recovery Plan Module for Snake River Salmon and Steelhead Mainstem 
Columbia River Hydropower Projects (NMFS 2014b) as Appendix E of this 
Proposed Plan.
    The Proposed Plan, including the recovery plan modules, is now 
available for public review and comment.

Contents of Proposed Plan

    The Proposed Plan contains biological background and contextual 
information that includes description of the ESU, the planning area, 
and the context of the plan's development. It presents relevant 
information on ESU structure, guidelines for assessing salmonid 
population and ESU-level status, and a brief summary of Interior 
Columbia Technical Recovery Team products on population structure and 
species status. It also presents NMFS' proposed biological viability 
criteria and threats criteria for delisting.
    The Proposed Plan also describes specific information on the 
following: Current status of Snake River Sockeye Salmon; limiting 
factors and threats for the full life cycle that contributed to the 
species decline; recovery strategies and actions addressing these 
limiting factors and threats; key information needs, and a proposed 
research, monitoring, and evaluation program for adaptive management. 
For recovery actions, the Proposed Plan includes a table summarizing 
each proposed action, together with the associated location, life stage 
affected, estimated costs, timing and potential implementing entity. It 
also describes how implementation, prioritization of actions, and 
adaptive management will proceed at the population and ESU scales. The 
Proposed Plan also summarizes time and costs (Section 9 and Appendix A) 
required to implement recovery actions. In addition to the information 
in the Proposed Plan, readers are referred to the recovery plan modules 
(Appendices B-E) for more information on all these topics.

How NMFS and Others Expect To Use the Plan

    With approval of the final Plan, we will commit to implement the 
actions in the Plan for which we have authority and funding; encourage 
other federal and state agencies and tribal governments to implement 
recovery actions for which they have responsibility, authority and 
funding; and work cooperatively with the public and local stakeholders 
on implementation of other actions. We expect the Plan to guide us and 
other federal agencies in evaluating federal actions under ESA section 
7, as well as in implementing other provisions of the ESA and other 
statutes. For example, the Plan will provide greater biological context 
for evaluating the effects that a proposed action may have on a species 
by providing delisting criteria, information on priority areas for 
addressing specific limiting factors, and information on how future 
populations within the ESU can tolerate varying levels of risk.
    When we are considering a species for delisting, the agency will 
examine whether the section 4(a)(1) listing factors have been 
addressed. To assist in this examination, we will use the delisting 
criteria described in Section 3.3 of the Proposed Plan, which include 
both biological criteria and criteria addressing each of the ESA 
section 4(a)(1) listing factors, as well as any other relevant data and 
policy considerations.
    We will also work with the proposed Snake River Sockeye Salmon 
Implementation and Science Team described in Section 10 of the Proposed 
Plan to develop implementation schedules that provide greater 
specificity for recovery actions to be implemented over three-to five-
year periods. This Team will also help promote implementation of 
recovery actions and subsequent implementation schedules, and will 
track and report on implementation progress. The Implementation and 
Science Team, working together with NMFS staff, will coordinate the 
implementation of recovery actions among federal, state, tribal 
entities and local stakeholders.


    Section 4(f)(1)(B) of the ESA requires that recovery plans 
incorporate, to the extent practicable, (1) objective, measurable 
criteria which, when met, would result in a determination that the 
species is no longer threatened or endangered; (2) site-specific 
management actions necessary to achieve the plan's goals; and (3) 
estimates of the time required and costs to implement recovery actions. 
We conclude that the Proposed Plan meets the requirements of ESA 
section 4(f) and are proposing to adopt it as the ESA Recovery Plan for 
Snake River Sockeye Salmon.

Public Comments Solicited

    We are soliciting written comments on the Proposed Plan. All 
substantive comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered and incorporated, as appropriate, prior to our decision 
whether to approve the plan. We will issue a news release announcing 
the adoption and availability of the final plan. We will post on the 
NMFS West Coast Region Web site (www.wcr.noaa.gov) a summary of, and 
responses to, the comments received, along with electronic copies of 
the final plan and its appendices.

Literature Cited

McElhany, P., M.H. Ruckelshaus, M.J. Ford, T.C. Wainwright, and E.P. 
Bjorkstedt. 2000. Viable salmon populations and the recovery of 
evolutionarily significant units. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Tech. 
Memo., NMFS NWFSC 42, 156 p.
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). 2011. Columbia River 
Estuary ESA

[[Page 42300]]

Recovery Plan Module for Salmon and Steelhead. Northwest Region. 
January 2011. Available at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/salmon_steelhead/recovery_planning_and_implementation/lower_columbia_river/lower_columbia_river_recovery_plan_for_salmon_steelhead.html.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: July 14, 2014.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-17023 Filed 7-18-14; 8:45 am]