Skip to Content

Rule

Fisheries Off West Coast States; West Coast Salmon Fisheries; Amendment 14; Essential Fish Habitat Descriptions for Pacific Salmon

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

NMFS issues this final rule to implement Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) identifications and descriptions for Pacific salmon included in Amendment 14 to the Pacific Salmon Fishery Management Plan (Salmon FMP). This final rule codifies the EFH identifications and descriptions for freshwater and marine habitats of Pacific salmon managed under the Salmon FMP, including Chinook, coho, and pink salmon. This action is necessary to comply with an order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho which directed NMFS to codify the EFH identifications and descriptions contained in Amendment 14 to the Salmon FMP.

DATES:

Effective November 14, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the Record of Decision, the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and Amendment 14 to the Salmon FMP are available at www.nwr.noaa.gov or from D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-0070, phone: 206-526-6150.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Copps (Northwest Region, NMFS), 206-526-6140; fax: 206-526-6736.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to regulate domestic fisheries within the 200-mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (16 U.S.C. 1811, 1853). Conservation and management of fish stocks is accomplished through Fishery Management Plans (FMPs). Eight regional fishery management councils develop FMPs and amendments to those plans for fisheries within their jurisdiction (16 U.S.C. 1853). To be effective, FMPs and FMP amendments developed by the councils must be approved by the Secretary and then implemented through regulation (16 U.S.C. 1854). More information on the FMP process can be found at 16 U.S.C. 1851-1854.

Essential Fish Habitat

The Magnuson-Stevens Act, originally enacted in 1976, has been amended several times. In 1996, the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act adding provisions intended to end overfishing and rebuild overfished fisheries, reduce bycatch, and assess and minimize the impacts of management measures on fishing communities. Congress articulated in its findings that one of the greatest long-term threats to the viability of commercial and recreational fisheries is the continuing loss of marine, estuarine, and other aquatic habitats. Habitat considerations should receive increased attention for the conservation and management of fishery resources of the United States (16 U.S.C. 1801(a)(9)). In making such findings, Congress declared one of the purposes of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to be the promotion of “the protection of [EFH] in the review of projects conducted under Federal permits, licenses, or other authorities that affect or have the potential to affect such habitat” (16 U.S.C. 1801(b)(7)). To ensure habitat considerations receive increased attention for the conservation and management of fishery resources, the amended Magnuson-Stevens Act required each existing, and any new, FMP to: describe and identify essential fish habitat for the fishery based on the guidelines established by the Secretary under section 1855(b)(1)(A) of this title; minimize to the extent practicable adverse effects on such habitat caused by fishing; and, identify other actions to encourage the conservation and enhancement of such habitat (16 U.S.C. 1853(a)(7)). “EFH” is defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Act as “those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity” (16 U.S.C. 1802(10)).

The EFH regulations (50 CFR 600.815) establish additional guidance to the councils on how to identify and describe EFH. The regulations indicate that councils should obtain information to describe and identify EFH from the best available sources, including peer reviewed literature, unpublished scientific reports, data files of government resource agencies, fisheries landing reports, and other sources of information.

The regulations identify four classification levels to organize available information relevant to EFH identifications and descriptions. Level 1 information is limited to species distributional data; level 2 information includes habitat-related densities; level 3 includes growth, reproduction or survival rates within habitats; and level 4 consists of production rates by habitat. Councils are encouraged to identify and describe EFH based on the highest level of detail (i.e., level 4). The EFH regulations (50 CFR 600.815, subpart J) provide a complete description of each of these levels as well as guidance on how the councils should analyze the available information.

To establish EFH, the regulations advise the councils to interpret the available information in a “risk-averse fashion to ensure adequate areas are identified as EFH for managed species” (50 CFR 600.815(a)(1)(iv)(A)). For Pacific salmon, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) obtained information at all four levels for certain freshwater areas, and the first three levels of information for the estuaries; only the first level of information was available for marine areas.

Amendment 14 to the Pacific Salmon Fishery Management Plan

The Secretary approved the Salmon FMP under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), in 1978. The Pacific Council has amended the Salmon FMP 14 times since 1978. The Pacific Council identified and described EFH for Pacific Salmon in Amendment 14 to the Salmon FMP and submitted it on June 12, 2000 for Secretarial review. Following a public comment period, the Secretary approved Amendment 14 on September 27, 2000. NMFS codified some, but not all, components of Amendment 14. The Pacific Salmon EFH descriptions and identifications, however, were not codified.

In September of 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho (Court) (Case No. CV02-C-EJL) held that the Start Printed Page 60988EFH identifications and descriptions for Pacific salmon included in Amendment 14 constitute a substantive rule under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553 et seq. The Court remanded Amendment 14's EFH Pacific Salmon designations to NMFS and ordered that it undertake notice and comment rulemaking to codify the EFH identifications and descriptions. To comply with the Court's order, NMFS published a proposed rule to codify EFH for Pacific salmon on April 20, 2007 (72 FR 19862). Public comments for this action were received through July 19, 2007.

This final rule codifies the EFH identifications and descriptions for freshwater and marine habitats of Pacific salmon managed under the Salmon FMP for Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho (O. kisutch), and Puget Sound pink (O. gorbuscha) salmon in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.

Changes from the Proposed Rule

NMFS made minor, non-substantive changes to the proposed rule to improve the clarity and accuracy of the regulations. Such changes include corrections to United States Geological Survey Hydrological Unit Codes identified in the regulations, deletion of confusing and unnecessary language regarding the extent of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as revisions to correct grammatical and spelling errors.

Comments and Responses

NMFS received one comment on the proposed rule.

Comment: The U.S. Department of Interior commented that the following three Bureau of Reclamation dams should be included in table 1 of the proposed regulations as impassable man-made barriers and thereby function as the upstream extent of EFH: Bumping Lake Dam on the Bumping River (HUC 17090002); McKay Dam on McKay Creek in the Umatilla River basin (HUC 17070103); and Emigrant Dam on Emigrant Creek in the Middle Rogue River basin (HUC 17100308).

In addition, the U.S. Department of Interior noted that the proposed rule would identify EFH for coho salmon in the Lower Deschutes River (HUC 17070306) and commented that based on NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWRSC-66 entitled “Updated Status of Federally Listed ESUs of West Coast Salmon and Steelhead,” coho salmon did not historically, and do not presently, occur in the Deschutes River Basin.

Response: NMFS acknowledges DOI's comments. NMFS will provide DOI's comments to the Pacific Council for its consideration in the full EFH review required under 50 CFR 600.815(a)(10). During this review, the Council and NMFS will consider what changes to make to EFH in the FMP and will initiate the appropriate plan amendment process. Until this process is complete, NMFS will consider the information provided by DOI in any EFH consultations that may become necessary.

Classification

The NMFS Northwest Region completed an ESA section 7 consultation on November 18, 1999, on the effects of Amendment 14 on listed salmon evolutionarily significant units. Amendment 14 does not by itself authorize any fishing or other activity that would result in adverse effects to listed fish or designated critical habitat. Based on this and other considerations, NMFS concluded that Amendment 14 and its implementing regulations are not likely to adversely affect listed salmon or their critical habitat. This rule is consistent with the determination in Amendment 14 that the action does not jeopardize the continued existence of ESA listed salmon.

This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

The Chief Counsel for Regulations of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification or the economic impacts of the rule. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: October 8, 2008.

John Oliver

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service.

End Signature Start Amendment Part

For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS is amending

End Amendment Part Start Part

Part 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Section 660.412 is added under subpart H to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
EFH identifications and descriptions for Pacific salmon.

Pacific salmon essential fish habitat (EFH) includes all those water bodies occupied or historically accessible in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California in hydrologic units identified in Table 1 of this subpart H. Exceptions include cases in which man-made barriers (dams) identified in Table 1 of this subpart H represent the upstream extent of Pacific salmon access. EFH also includes the marine and estuarine areas shoreward of state boundaries and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington State. To clearly identify watersheds that contain EFH, NMFS uses fourth field hydrologic unit codes (HUCs) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (defined in the Department of the Interior, USGS publication; Hydrologic Unit Maps, Water Supply Paper 2294, 1987). The geographic extent of HUCs range from first field (largest geographic extent) to sixth field (smallest geographic extent). Fourth field HUCs divide the landscape into distinct geographic areas that are identified by eight numbers unique to that hydrologic unit.

(a) Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) EFH includes all streams, estuaries, marine waters, and other water bodies occupied or historically accessible to Chinook salmon in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California, in hydrologic units identified in Table 1 of this subpart H. Exceptions include cases in which man-made barriers (dams) identified in Table 1 of this subpart H represent the upstream extent of Pacific salmon access. EFH also includes the marine and estuarine areas shoreward of state boundaries and the EEZ off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California north or Point Conception.

(b) Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) EFH includes all streams, estuaries, marine waters, and other water bodies occupied or historically accessible to coho in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California, in hydrologic units identified in Table 1 of this subpart H. Exceptions include cases in which man-made barriers (dams) identified in Table 1 of this subpart H represent the upstream extent of Pacific Start Printed Page 60989salmon access. EFH also includes the marine and estuarine areas shoreward of state boundaries and the EEZ off the coasts Washington, Oregon, and California north of Point Conception.

(c) Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) EFH includes all streams, estuaries, marine waters, and other water bodies occupied or historically accessible to pink salmon within Washington State, in hydrologic units identified in Table 1 of this subpart H. Exceptions include cases in which man-made barriers (dams) identified in Table 1 of this subpart H represent the upstream extent of Pacific salmon access. EFH also includes waters north and east of Cape Flattery, Washington, including Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia.

Start Amendment Part

3. Table 1 to part 660, subpart H, is added to read as follows:

End Amendment Part

Table 1 to Part 660, Subpart H—Pacific Salmon EFH Identified by USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)

USGS HUCState(s)Hydrologic Unit NameSalmon SpeciesImpassible Man-made Barrier (if present)
17110001WAFraser (Whatcom)Coho salmonn/a
17110002WAStrait of GeorgiaChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110003WASan Juan IslandsChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110004WANooksack RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110005WAUpper SkagitChinook, coho, and pink salmonGorge Lake Dam
17110006WASauk RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110007WALower Skagit RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110008WAStillaguamish RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110009WASkykomish RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110010WASnoqualmieChinook, coho, and pink salmonTolt Dam (S. Fork Tolt R.)
17110011WASnohomish RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110012WALake WashingtonChinook and coho salmonCedar Falls (Masonry) Dam (Cedar R.)
17110013WADuwamish RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17110014WAPuyallup RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110015WANisqually RiverChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110016WADeschutes RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17110017WASkokomish RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17110018WAHood CanalChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110019WAPuget SoundChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110020WADungeness - ElwhaChinook, coho, and pink salmonn/a
17110021WAHoko - CrescentChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100101WAHoh - QuillayuteChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100102WAQueets - QuinaultChinook and coho salmonn/a
Start Printed Page 60990
17100103WAUpper Chehalis RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100104WALower Chehalis RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100105WAGrays HarborChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100106WAWillapa BayChinook and coho salmonn/a
17080001OR/WALower Columbia-Sandy RiverChinook and coho salmonImpassable Man-made Barrier
17080002WALewis RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17080003OR/WALower Columbia - Clatskanie RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17080004WAUpper Cowlitz RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17080005WACowlitz RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17080006OR/WALower ColumbiaChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090001ORMiddle Fork Willamette RiverChinook salmonDexter Dam
17090002ORCoast Fork Willamette RiverChinook salmonDorena Dam
17090003ORUpper Willamette RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090004ORMcKenzie RiverChinook and coho salmonCougar Dam
17090005ORN. Santiam RiverChinook and coho salmonBig Cliff Dam
17090006ORS. Santiam RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090007ORMid. Willamette RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090008ORYamhill RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090009ORMolalla - Pudding RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090010ORTualatin RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17090011ORClackamas RiverChinook and coho salmonOak Grove Dam
17090012ORLower Willamette RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17070101OR/WAMid. Columbia - Lake WallulaChinook and coho salmonn/a
17070102OR/WAWalla Walla RiverChinook salmonn/a
17070103ORUmatilla RiverChinook salmonn/a
17070104ORWillowChinook salmonn/a
17070105OR/WAMid. Columbia - HoodChinook and coho salmonn/a
17070106WAKlickitat RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17070301ORUpper Deschutes RiverChinook salmonn/a
17070305ORLower Crooked RiverChinook salmonOpal Springs Dam
17070306ORLower Deschutes RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17070307ORTrout CreekChinook and coho salmonn/a
17070201ORUpper John Day RiverChinook salmonn/a
Start Printed Page 60991
17070202ORNorth Fork John Day RiverChinook salmonn/a
17070203ORMiddle Fork John Day RiverChinook salmonn/a
17070204ORLower John Day RiverChinook salmonn/a
17030001WAUpper Yakima RiverChinook and coho salmonKeechelus Dam Kachess Dam (Kachess R.) Cle Elum Dam (Cle Elum R.)
17030002WANaches RiverChinook and coho salmonRimrock Dam (Tieton R.)
17030003WALower Yakima RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17020005WAColumbia RiverChinook and coho salmonChief Joseph Dam
17020006WAOkanogan RiverChinook salmonn/a
17020007WASimilkameenChinook salmonn/a
17020008WAMethow RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17020010WAUpper Columbia - Entiat RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17020011WAWenatchee RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17020016WAUpper Columbia - Priest RapidsChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060101OR/IDHells CanyonChinook salmonHells Canyon Complex (Hells Canyon, Oxbow, and Brownlee Dams)
17060102ORImnaha RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060103OR/WA/IDLower Snake - Asotin CreekChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060104ORUpper Grande RondeChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060105ORWallowa RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060106OR/WALower Grande RondeChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060107WALower Snake - Tucannon RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060110WALower Snake RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17060201IDUpper Salmon RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060202IDPahsimeroi RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060203IDMid. Salmon - Panther RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060204IDLemhi RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060205IDUpper Middle Fork Salmon RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060206IDLower Middle Fork Salmon RiverChinook salmonn/a
Start Printed Page 60992
17060207IDMid. Salmon - ChamberlainChinook salmonn/a
17060208IDS.F. Salmon RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060209IDLower Salmon RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060210IDLittle Salmon RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060301IDUpper Selway RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060302IDLower Selway RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060303IDLochsa RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060304IDM.F. Clearwater RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060305IDS.F. Clearwater RiverChinook salmonn/a
17060306WA/IDClearwater RiverChinook and coho salmonDworshak Dam (at border of HUCs 17060306 and 17060308)
17100201ORNecanicum RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100202ORNehalem RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100203ORWilson - Trask - NestuccaChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100204ORSiletz-Yaquina RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100205ORAlsea RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100206ORSiuslaw RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100207ORSiltcoos RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100301ORN. Umpqua RiverChinook and coho salmonSoda Springs Dam
17100302ORS. Umpqua RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100303ORUmpqua RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100304ORCoos RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100305ORCoquille RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100306ORSixes RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100307ORUpper Rogue RiverChinook and coho salmonLost Creek Dam
17100308ORMiddle Rogue RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100309CA/ORApplegate RiverChinook and coho salmonApplegate Dam
17100310ORLower Rogue RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100311CA/ORIllinois RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
17100312CA/ORChetco RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010101CA/ORSmith RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010206CA/ORUpper Klamath RiverChinook and coho salmonIron Gate Dam
18010207CAShasta RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010208CAScott RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010209CA/ORLower Klamath RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
Start Printed Page 60993
18010210CASalmon RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010211CATrinity RiverChinook and coho salmonLewiston Dam
18010212CAS.F. Trinity RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010102CAMad-RedwoodChinook and coho salmonRobert W. Matthews Dam
18010103CAUpper Eel RiverChinook and coho salmonScott Dam
18010104CAMiddle Fork Eel RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010105CALower Eel RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010106CASouth Fork Eel RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010107CAMattole RiverChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010108CABig - Navarro - GarciaChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010109CAGualala - Salmon CreekChinook and coho salmonn/a
18010110CARussian RiverChinook and coho salmonCoyote Valley Dam (E. Fork Russian R.) Warm Springs Dam (Dry Cr.)
18010111CABodega BayChinook and coho salmonn/a
18060001CASan Lorenzo-SoquelCoho salmonNewell Dam (Newell Cr.)
18060006CACentral CoastalCoho salmonn/a
18050001CASuisun BayChinook and coho salmonn/a
18050002CASan Pablo BayChinook and coho salmonSan Pablo Dam (San Pablo Cr.)
18050003CACoyote CreekChinook and coho salmonLeRoy Anderson Dam
18050004CASan Francisco BayChinook and coho salmonn/a
18050005CATomales-Drakes BayCoho salmonNicasio Dam (Nicasio Cr.) Peters Dam (Lagunitas Cr.)
18050006CASan Francisco-Coastal SouthCoho salmonn/a
18020101CASac.-Lower Cow-Lower ClearChinook salmonn/a
18020102CALower Cottonwood CreekChinook salmonn/a
18020103CASacramento - Lower ThomesChinook salmonn/a
18020104CASacramento - Stone CorralChinook salmonn/a
18020105CALower Butte CreekChinook salmonn/a
18020106CALower Feather RiverChinook salmonn/a
18020107CALower Yuba RiverChinook salmonn/a
18020108CALower Bear RiverChinook salmonn/a
18020109CALower Sacramento RiverChinook salmonn/a
18020110CALower CacheChinook salmonn/a
Start Printed Page 60994
18020111CALower American RiverChinook salmonNimbus Dam
18020112CASacramento-Upper ClearChinook salmonWhiskeytown Dam (Clear Cr.)
18020113CACottonwood HeadwatersChinook salmonn/a
18020114CAUpper Elder - Upper ThomasChinook salmonn/a
18020118CAUpper Cow - Battle CreekChinook salmonn/a
18020119CAMill - Big ChicoChinook salmonn/a
18020120CAUpper Butte CreekChinook salmonn/a
18020125CAUpper YubaChinook salmonn/a
18040001CAMid. San Joaquin- L. CowchillaChinook salmonn/a
18040002CAMid. San Joaquin- L. Merced- L. StanislausChinook salmonLa Grange Dam (Tuolumne R.)
18040003CASan Joaquin DeltaChinook salmonn/a
18040004CAL. Calaveras - Mormon SloughChinook salmonn/a
18040005CAL. Consumnes- L. MokelumneChinook salmonCamanche Dam
18040010CAUpper StanislausChinook salmonGoodwin Dam
18040011CAUpper CalverasChinook salmonNew Hogan Dam
18040013CAUpper CosumnesChinook salmonn/a
End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E8-24515 Filed 10-14-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S