[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 79 (Friday, April 24, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22973-22974]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-09499]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD852


Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Notice; extension of public comment period; request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: On March 26, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service 
(NMFS) announced the availability for public review of a proposed 
evaluation

[[Page 22974]]

of three Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) submitted by the 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), with the Jamestown 
S'Klallam Tribe, the Lummi Nation, the Nooksack Tribe, the 
Stillaguamish Tribes, and the Tulalip Tribes pursuant to the protective 
regulations promulgated for Pacific salmon and steelhead under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA). The HGMPs specify the propagation of 
early-returning (``early'') winter steelhead in the Dungeness, 
Nooksack, and Stillaguamish River watersheds of Washington State. The 
availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA), evaluating the 
anticipated effects of NMFS' proposed determination on those HGMPs 
pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), was included 
in the announcement. The announcement opened a 30-day public comment 
period. Due to an issue with one of the email addresses provided for 
receipt of comments, comments submitted to 
EWSteelheadHatcheries.wcr@noaa.gov prior to April 14, 2015, may not 
have been received. Therefore, NMFS requests that any such comments be 
re-submitted. NMFS is extending the comment period to May 4, 2015, to 
facilitate this re-submittal.

DATES: Comment period of the notice published at 80 FR 15984, March 26, 
2015, is extended. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. 
Pacific time on May 4, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the proposed evaluation and draft EA 
should be addressed to the NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 510 
Desmond Dr., Suite 103, Lacey, WA 98503, or faxed to (360) 753-9517. 
Comments may be submitted by email. The mailbox address for providing 
email comments is: EWSteelheadHatcheries.wcr@noaa.gov. Include in the 
subject line of the email comment the following identifier: Comments on 
Early Winter Steelhead Hatchery Programs. When commenting on the draft 
environmental assessment, please refer to the specific page number and 
line number of the subject of your comment. The Secretary's proposed 
evaluation of effects on listed steelhead and salmon and the draft EA 
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: Tim Tynan at (360) 753-9579 or email: 
tim.tynan@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Species Covered in This Notice

ESA-Listed Species Covered in This Notice

    Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss): threatened, naturally produced and 
artificially propagated Puget Sound.
    Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha): threatened, naturally produced and 
artificially propagated Puget Sound.
    Chum salmon (O. keta): threatened, naturally produced and 
artificially propagated Hood Canal summer-run.
    Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus): threatened Puget Sound/
Washington Coast.
    The WDFW, with the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, the Lummi Nation, the 
Nooksack Tribe, the Stillaguamish Tribes, and the Tulalip Tribes as the 
U.S. v. Washington salmon resource co-managers, has submitted to NMFS 
plans for three jointly operated hatchery programs in the Dungeness, 
Nooksack, and Stillaguamish River basins. The plans were submitted in 
July 2014, pursuant to limit 6 of the 4(d) Rule for the listed Puget 
Sound Steelhead distinct population segment (DPS), and the listed Puget 
Sound Chinook Salmon and listed Hood Canal Summer Chum Salmon 
evolutionarily significant units (ESU). The hatchery programs would 
release early winter steelhead that are not included as part of the 
ESA-listed Puget Sound Steelhead Distinct Population Segment into the 
Dungeness River, Nooksack River, and Stillaguamish River watersheds. 
All three programs would release fish that are not native to the 
watersheds.
    Consideration of these three HGMPs, particularly pursuant to NEPA, 
is not being conducted as a substitute for the withdrawn Puget Sound 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (80 FR 15986, March 26, 2015).
    As specified in the July 10, 2000, ESA 4(d) rule for salmon and 
steelhead (65 FR 42422) and updated June 28, 2005 (70 FR 37160), NMFS 
may approve an HGMP if it meets criteria set forth in 50 CFR 
223.203(b)(5)(i)(A) through (K). Prior to final approval of an HGMP, 
NMFS must publish notification announcing its availability for public 
review and comment.

Authority

    Under section 4 of the ESA, the Secretary of Commerce is required 
to adopt such regulations as she 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 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).
    We also issue this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
NEPA as amended (42 U.S.C 4371 et seq.) and its implementing 
regulations (40 CFR part 1500 and 1506.6), and other appropriate 
Federal laws and regulations, and policies and procedures of NMFS for 
compliance with those regulations.

    Dated: April 20, 2015.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-09499 Filed 4-23-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P