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Notice

Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice of availability and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

Notice is hereby given of the availability of a Routine Road Maintenance Program (RMP) that the City of Portland, Oregon, Office of Transportation, has submitted pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS promulgated a protective rule for 14 threatened salmon and steelhead Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs). The RMP would affect seven ESUs of threatened salmonids identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 4(d) rule provides for limits on ESA take prohibitions for the various activities set out in the rule. The RMP addresses the limit for routine road maintenance activities of any state, city, county or port. This Notice serves to notify the public of the availability of the City of Portland RMP for review and comment before a final approval or disapproval is made by NMFS.

DATES:

Written comments on the draft RMP must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (see ADDRESSES) on June 4, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments should be sent to Dr. Nancy Munn, Habitat Conservation Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 525 NE Oregon Street, Suite 500, Portland, Oregon 97232.

Comments may also be faxed to 503-231-6893. Copies of the entire RMP are available on the Internet at: http://www.portlandtransportation.org/​CurrentNews/​InterimRoadMaintenanceProgram.pdf, or from the address posted on that site. Comments will not be accepted if submitted via email or the Internet.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Nancy Munn at phone number: 503-231-6269, or e-mail: nancy.munn@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This notice is relevant to the following seven threatened salmon ESUs:

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha); threatened Upper Willamette River (UWR), and Lower Columbia River (LCR).

Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss); threatened Upper Willamette River (UWR), Lower Columbia River (LCR), Snake River Basin (SRB), and Middle Columbia River (MCR).

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta); threatened Columbia River (CR).

Background

The City of Portland, Office of Transportation, submitted the RMP for routine road maintenance activities that might affect certain salmonid ESUs listed as threatened within the boundaries of the City of Portland. The RMP was designed so that routine road maintenance activities would be protective of salmonids and their habitat.

As specified in the July 10, 2000, ESA 4(d) rule for salmon and steelhead (65 FR 42422, July 10, 2000) under limit 10(i), take prohibitions to threatened Start Printed Page 23697species of salmonids do not apply to routine road maintenance activities of a state, county, city or port that complies with a program that is substantially similar to that contained in the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Routine Road Maintenance Water Quality and Habitat Guide Best Management Practices (Guide, July 1999), and that is determined to meet or exceed the protections provided in the ODOT Guide. NMFS may approve a routine road maintenance program of any state, city, county or port that contains management practices that are equivalent to or better than those in the ODOT Guide. Prior to final approval of a routine road maintenance program, NMFS must publish notification in the Federal Register announcing the program's availability for public review and comment.

The City of Portland RMP submittal includes a cover letter addressed to D. Robert Lohn, Regional Administrator of NMFS, and a statement of commitment from the City of Portland to implement the RMP. In Part 1, the RMP provides the responsible entity and legal authority for the program and provides a description of the program, including a comparison with ODOT's best management practices. In Part 2, the RMP provides a description of the geographic area to which the program applies, including an analysis of the environmental baseline of the watersheds of the lower Columbia River and the lower Willamette River, and tributaries to the Willamette River within the City of Portland. Part 2 also includes maps and tables that depict various habitat parameters such as culverts that block fish passage, riparian condition, and water quality condition. In Part 3 , the RMP describes the listed species distribution and status, including distribution maps for steelhead and chinook. The RMP also provides information on fish use within lower Willamette River and its tributary. A bibliography of relevant reports are provided in Part 4. In Part 5, the RMP makes an affirmative conclusion that the program is substantially similar to or better than ODOT's program, and summarizes the training, monitoring, and reporting elements of the RMP.

The RMP defines what activities are routine road maintenance. These consist of maintenance activities that are conducted on currently serviceable structures, facilities, and equipment, involve no expansion of or change in use, and do not result in significant negative hydrological impact. The City of Portland best management practices (Part 1b) includes three activities that differ from ODOT's. Best management practices for surface work, sweeping/flushing, and snow/ice removal/sanding differ from ODOT's best management practices. The RMP provides information to support the assertion that the City of Portland's practices for these activities are as effective or more effective than ODOT's practices at protecting fish and their habitat. Approval or disapproval of the RMP will depend on NMFS findings after public review and comment.

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 424222, July 10, 2000) identifies specific categories of activities that contribute to the conservation of listed salmonids and sets out the criteria for such activities. The rule further provides that the prohibitions of paragraph (a) of the rule do not apply to activities associated with routine road maintenance provided that a state or local program has been approved by NMFS to be in accordance with the salmon and steelhead 4(d) rule (65 FR 424222, July 10, 2000).

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Dated: April 28, 2003.

Phil Williams,

Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-11061 Filed 5-2-03; 8:45 am]

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