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Proposed Rule

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart C and Subpart D-2003-2004 Subsistence Taking of Wildlife Regulations

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 50619


Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.


Proposed rule.


This proposed rule would establish regulations for hunting and trapping seasons, harvest limits, methods, and means related to taking of wildlife for subsistence uses during the 2003-2004 regulatory year. The rulemaking is necessary because Subpart D is subject to an annual public review cycle. When final, this rulemaking would replace the wildlife taking regulations included in the “Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart D—2002-2003 Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife Regulations,” which expire on June 30, 2003. This rule would also amend the Customary and Traditional Use Determinations of the Federal Subsistence Board and the General Regulations related to the taking of wildlife.


The Federal Subsistence Board must receive your written public comments and proposals to change this proposed rule no later than October 18, 2002. Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils (Regional Councils) will hold public meetings to receive proposals to change this proposed rule from September 4, 2002-October 11, 2002. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional information on the public meetings.


You may submit proposals electronically to See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for file formats and other information about electronic filing. You may also submit written comments and proposals to the Office of Subsistence Management, 3601 C Street, Suite 1030, Anchorage, Alaska 99503. The public meetings will be held at various locations in Alaska. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional information on locations of the public meetings.

Start Further Info


Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Thomas H. Boyd, Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Ken Thompson, Regional Subsistence Program Manager, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region, (907) 786-3592.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


Public Review Process—Regulation Comments, Proposals, and Public Meetings

The Federal Subsistence Board (Board) will hold meetings on this proposed rule at the following locations in Alaska:

Region 1—Southeast Regional Council, Hoonah, September 30, 2002

Region 2—Southcentral Regional Council, Cordova, October 2, 2002

Region 3—Kodiak/Aleutians Regional Council, Nelson Lagoon, September 18, 2002

Region 4—Bristol Bay Regional Council, Naknek, September 30, 2002

Region 5—Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Council, Chevak, October 10, 2002

Region 6—Western Interior Regional Council, Holy Cross, October 3, 2002

Region 7—Seward Peninsula Regional Council, Nome, October 10, 2002

Region 8—Northwest Arctic Regional Council, Kotzebue, September 18, 2002

Region 9—Eastern Interior Regional Council, Beaver, October 8, 2002

Region 10—North Slope Regional Council, Barrow, September 4, 2002

We will publish notice of specific dates, times, and meeting locations in local and statewide newspapers prior to the meetings. We may need to change locations and dates based on weather or local circumstances. The amount of work on each Regional Council's agenda will determine the length of the Regional Council meetings.

Electronic filing of comments (preferred method): You may submit electronic comments (proposals) and other data to Please submit as either WordPerfect or MS Word files, avoiding the use of any special characters and any form of encryption.

We will compile and distribute for additional public review during November 2002 the written proposals to change Subpart D hunting and trapping regulations and customary and traditional use determinations in Subpart C. A 30-day public comment period will follow distribution of the compiled proposal packet. We will accept written public comments on distributed proposals during the public comment period, which is presently scheduled to end on January 6, 2003.

We will hold a second series of Regional Council meetings in February and March 2003, to assist the Regional Councils in developing recommendations to the Board. You may also present comments on published proposals to change hunting and trapping and customary and traditional use determination regulations to the Regional Councils at those winter meetings.

The Board will discuss and evaluate proposed changes to this rule during a public meeting scheduled to be held in Anchorage, May 2003. You may provide additional oral testimony on specific proposals before the Board at that time. The Board will then deliberate and take final action on proposals received that request changes to this proposed rule at that public meeting.

Please Note:

The Board will not consider proposals for changes relating to fish or shellfish regulations at this time. The Board will be calling for proposed changes to those regulations in January 2003.

The Board's review of your comments and wildlife proposals will be facilitated by you providing the following information: (a) Your name, address, and telephone number; (b) The section and/or paragraph of the proposed rule for which your change is being suggested; (c) A statement explaining why the change is necessary; (d) The proposed wording change; (e) Any additional information you believe will help the Board in evaluating your proposal. Proposals that fail to include the above information, or proposals that are beyond the scope of authorities in § __.24, Subpart C and §§ __.25 or __.26, Subpart D, may be rejected. The Board may defer review and action on some proposals if workload exceeds work capacity of staff, Regional Councils, or Board. These deferrals will be based on recommendations of the affected Regional Council, staff members, and on the basis of least harm to the subsistence user and the resource involved. Proposals should be specific to customary and traditional use determinations or to subsistence hunting and trapping seasons, harvest limits, and/or methods and means.


Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126) requires that the Secretary of the Interior Start Printed Page 50620and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a joint program to grant a preference for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife resources on public lands, unless the State of Alaska enacts and implements laws of general applicability that are consistent with ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, preference, and participation specified in Sections 803, 804, and 805 of ANILCA. The State implemented a program that the Department of the Interior previously found to be consistent with ANILCA.

However, in December 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in McDowell v. State of Alaska that the rural preference in the State subsistence statute violated the Alaska Constitution. The Court's ruling in McDowell required the State to delete the rural preference from the subsistence statute and, therefore, negated State compliance with ANILCA. The Court stayed the effect of the decision until July 1, 1990.

As a result of the McDowell decision, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. On June 29, 1990, the Temporary Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska were published in the Federal Register (55 FR 27114-27170). Consistent with Subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as revised June 12, 2001, (66 FR 31533), the Departments established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The Board's composition includes a Chair appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service; the Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; and the Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations for Subparts A, B, and C, and the annual Subpart D regulations.

All Board members have reviewed this rule and agree with its substance. Because this rule relates to public lands managed by an agency or agencies in both the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, identical text would be incorporated into 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100.

Applicability of Subparts A, B, and C

Subparts A, B, and C (unless otherwise amended) of the Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, 50 CFR 100.1 to 100.23 and 36 CFR 242.1 to 242.23, remain effective and apply to this rule. Therefore, all definitions located at 50 CFR 100.4 and 36 CFR 242.4 would apply to regulations found in this subpart.

Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils

Pursuant to the Record of Decision, Subsistence Management Regulations for Federal Public Lands in Alaska, April 6, 1992, and the Subsistence Management Regulations for Federal Public Lands in Alaska, 36 CFR 242.11 (2001) and 50 CFR 100.11 (2001), and for the purposes identified therein, we divide Alaska into ten subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a Regional Council. The Regional Councils provide a forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence management of fish and wildlife on Alaska public lands. The Regional Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user diversity within each region.

The Regional Councils have a substantial role in reviewing the proposed rule and making recommendations for the final rule. Moreover, the Council Chairs, or their designated representatives, will present their Council's recommendations at the Board meeting in May 2003.

Proposed Changes From 2002-2003 Seasons and Bag Limit Regulations

Subpart D regulations (§§ __.25 and__.26) are subject to an annual cycle and require development of an entire new rule each year. Customary and traditional use determinations (§ __.24 of Subpart C) are also subject to an annual review process providing for modification each year. The text of the 2002-2003 Subparts C and D final rule, without modification, served as the foundation for the 2003-2004 Subparts C and D proposed rule. Please see 67 FR 43709, June 28, 2002. The amendments made to subparts C and D in that rule are the same as the amendments we are proposing in this rule. The regulations contained in this proposed rule would take effect on July 1, 2003, unless elements are changed by subsequent Board action following the public review process outlined herein.

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance—A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that described four alternatives for developing a Federal Subsistence Management Program was distributed for public comment on October 7, 1991. That document described the major issues associated with Federal subsistence management as identified through public meetings, written comments, and staff analysis and examined the environmental consequences of the four alternatives. Proposed regulations (Subparts A, B, and C) that would implement the preferred alternative were included in the DEIS as an appendix. The DEIS and the proposed administrative regulations presented a framework for an annual regulatory cycle regarding subsistence hunting and fishing regulations (Subpart D). The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on February 28, 1992.

Based on the public comment received, the analysis contained in the FEIS, and the recommendations of the Federal Subsistence Board and the Department of the Interior's Subsistence Policy Group, it was the decision of the Secretary of the Interior, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Forest Service, to implement Alternative IV as identified in the DEIS and FEIS (Record of Decision on Subsistence Management for Federal Public Lands in Alaska (ROD), signed April 6, 1992). The DEIS and the selected alternative in the FEIS defined the administrative framework of an annual regulatory cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing regulations. The final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C (57 FR 22940-22964, published May 29, 1992) implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and included a framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing regulations.

An environmental assessment was prepared in 1997 on the expansion of Federal jurisdiction over fisheries and is available by contacting the office listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture determined that the expansion of Federal jurisdiction does not constitute a major Federal action, significantly affecting the human environment and has, therefore, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Compliance with Section 810 of ANILCA—A Section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS process on the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord Start Printed Page 50621subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife populations. The final Section 810 analysis determination appeared in the April 6, 1992, ROD, which concluded that the Federal Subsistence Management Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for setting hunting and fishing regulations, may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but it does not appear that the program may significantly restrict subsistence uses.

During the environmental assessment process, an evaluation of the effects of this rule was also conducted in accordance with Section 810. This evaluation supports the Secretaries' determination that the rule will not reach the “may significantly restrict” threshold for notice and hearings under ANILCA Section 810(a) for any subsistence resources or uses.

Paperwork Reduction Act—This rule contains information collection requirements subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. It applies to the use of public lands in Alaska. The information collection requirements are approved by OMB under 44 U.S.C. 3501 and have been assigned control number 1018-0075, which expires July 31, 2003. Federal agencies may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a current valid OMB control number.

Currently, information is being collected by the use of a Federal Subsistence Registration Permit and Designated Hunter Application. The information collected on these two permits establishes whether an applicant qualifies to participate in a Federal subsistence hunt on public land in Alaska and provides a report of harvest and the location of harvest. The collected information is necessary to determine harvest success, harvest location, and population health in order to make management decisions relative to the conservation of healthy wildlife populations. Additional harvest information is obtained from harvest reports submitted to the State of Alaska. The recordkeeping burden for this aspect of the program is negligible (1 hour or less). This information is accessed via computer data base.

FormEstimated number of respondentsCompletion time for each form (hour)Estimated annual responseEstimated annual burden (hours)Hourly cost for respondentFinancial burden on respondents
Federal Subsistence Registration Permit5,0001/45,0001,250$20.00$5.00 each or $25,000 total.
Designated Hunter Application2,0001/42,00050020.00$5.00 each or $10,000 total.

You may direct comments on the burden estimate or any other aspect of this form to: Information Collection Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street, NW, MS 224 ARLSQ, Washington, DC 20240; and the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (Subsistence), Washington, DC 20503. Additional information collection requirements may be imposed if local advisory committees subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act are established under subpart B. Such requirements will be submitted to OMB for approval prior to their implementation.

Economic Effects—This rule is not a significant rule subject to OMB review under Executive Order 12866.

This rulemaking will impose no significant costs on small entities; this rule does not restrict any existing sport or commercial fishery on the public lands, and subsistence fisheries will continue at essentially the same levels as they presently occur. The exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result from this Federal land-related activity is unknown. The aggregate effect is an insignificant positive economic effect on a number of small entities, such as ammunition, snowmachine, and gasoline dealers. The number of small entities affected is unknown; but, the fact that the positive effects will be seasonal in nature and will, in most cases, merely continue preexisting uses of public lands indicates that they will not be significant.

In general, the resources to be harvested under this rule are already being harvested and consumed by the local harvester and do not result in an additional dollar benefit to the economy. However, we estimate that 2 million pounds of meat are harvested by subsistence users annually and, if given an estimated dollar value of $3.00 per pound, would equate to about $6 million in food value state-wide.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which include small businesses, organizations or governmental jurisdictions. The Departments certify based on the above figures that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an effect on the economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, and does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a subsistence priority on public lands. The scope of this program is limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these regulations have no potential takings of private property implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.

The Secretaries have determined and certify pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State governments or private entities. The implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies and there is no cost imposed on any State or local entities or tribal governments.

The Secretaries have determined that these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, regarding civil justice reform.

In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State Start Printed Page 50622from exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife resources on Federal lands unless it meets certain requirements.

In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no effects. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.

On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As this rule is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 13211, affecting energy supply, distribution, or use, this action is not a significant action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Drafting Information—William Knauer drafted these regulations under the guidance of Thomas H. Boyd, of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. Taylor Brelsford, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Sandy Rabinowitch, Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service; Warren Eastland, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Greg Bos, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Ken Thompson, USDA-Forest Service provided additional guidance.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects

36 CFR Part 242

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Alaska
  • Fish
  • National forests
  • Public lands
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Wildlife

50 CFR Part 100

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Alaska
  • Fish
  • National forests
  • Public lands
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Wildlife
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: July 24, 2002.

Kenneth E. Thompson,

Subsistence Program Manager, USDA-Forest Service.

Peggy Fox,

Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-19621 Filed 8-2-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P; 4310-55-P