[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 68 (Friday, April 9, 2010)]
[Pages 18235-18236]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-7952]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2010-N043; 80221-1113-0000-C2]

Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project, Alpine County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability: final environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: This notice announces the availability of the Paiute Cutthroat 
Trout Restoration Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for public review. We, the Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service), along with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National 
Forest (Cooperating Agency) and the California Department of Fish and 
Game (CDFG, California Environmental Quality Act lead agency) 
(collectively, agencies), are proposing to restore Paiute cutthroat 
trout to the species historical range within the Silver King Creek 
watershed, Alpine County, California. To accomplish this, the agencies 
must first eradicate the non-native and hybrid trout which currently 
occupy the habitat. We are publishing this notice to inform the public 
of the proposed action and to make available for review the Final EIS/
EIR, which includes responses to public comments received on the March 
2009, Draft EIS/EIR.

DATES: A Record of Decision will be signed no sooner than 30 days after 
the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency notice. We must 
receive comments by 5 p.m. on May 10, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments to Robert D. Williams, State Supervisor, by 
U.S. mail at Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, 
Suite 234, Reno, NV 89502; by telephone at (775) 861-6300 or by fax at 
(775) 861-6301.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chad Mellison, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the address or telephone or fax numbers above.


Availability of Documents

    You may download copies of the EIS from the Nevada Fish and 
Wildlife Office Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/nevada. Alternatively, 
you may contact us by telephone or visit during regular business hours 
    In addition, copies of all documents are available at the 
Markleeville Library and Archives, 270 Laramie Street, P.O. Box 187, 
Markleeville, CA, 96120; (530) 694-2120.


    The Paiute cutthroat trout was listed as endangered by the Service 
under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 on March 11, 1967 
(Service 1967) and reclassified to threatened under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 on July 16, 1975 (Service 1975). Silver King Creek, 
from Llewellyn Falls downstream to Silver King Canyon, and its 
associated tributaries in Alpine County, California, comprise the 
native historical range of the Paiute cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus 
clarkii seleniris) (Service 2004).
    The fish now present in the Silver King Creek watershed between 
Llewellyn Falls and Silver King Canyon are a genetic mixture of 
introduced rainbow trout (O. mykiss), Lahontan cutthroat trout (O. c. 
henshawi), golden trout (O. aquabonita ssp.), and Paiute cutthroat 
trout. Hybridization with nonnative trout species is the primary threat 
to Paiute cutthroat trout within its historical range (Service 2004). 
Fishery restoration efforts involving Paiute cutthroat trout span from 
1950 to the present and include prior removals of nonnative and 
hybridized fish, as well as establishing and maintaining introduced 
populations of nonhybridized Paiute cutthroat trout. Populations of 
Paiute cutthroat trout have been established in several California 
streams outside the Silver King Creek watershed, including the North 
Fork of Cottonwood Creek and Cabin Creek in the Inyo National Forest 
(Mono County), Sharktooth Creek (Fresno County), and Stairway Creek 
(Madera County) both on the Sierra National Forest.
    Paiute cutthroat trout are currently found in Silver King Creek 
upstream of Llewellyn Falls, where a previously-introduced population 
was restored by CDFG in the early 1990's and in other tributaries where 
populations have been established within the watershed (e.g., Four Mile 
Creek, Fly Valley Creek, Coyote Creek and Corral Valley Creek).
    The project would implement the first and second recovery actions 
listed in the Paiute Cutthroat Trout Revised Recovery Plan (Service 
2004) which lists actions to restore, recover, and ultimately delist 
the species. The objective of the proposed project is to return Paiute 
cutthroat trout back to its historical range and establish them as the 
only salmonid fish species in Silver King Creek to prevent 
hybridization with other trout. This is an important and necessary step 
in preventing Paiute cutthroat trout from going extinct and

[[Page 18236]]

also in conserving the species and restoring it to a level that would 
allow it to be removed from the Federal threatened species list. Under 
current conditions, easy public access between stream reaches 
downstream and upstream of Llewellyn Falls may result in a future 
unauthorized transplant of nonnative and/or hybridized fish to areas 
above the falls.
    Under the proposed project, the agencies would: (1) Use chemical 
treatment (rotenone) to eradicate nonnative trout from Silver King 
Creek and its tributaries between Llewellyn Falls and Silver King 
Canyon; (2) Neutralize the rotenone downstream of Silver King Canyon to 
the 30-minute travel time mark near the confluence with Snodgrass Creek 
using potassium permanganate; and (3) Restock the project area with 
Paiute cutthroat trout from established donor streams in the upper 
Silver King Creek watershed (i.e., Fly Valley, Four Mile, Silver King 
Creek, or possibly Coyote Creek).
    The proposed stocking of Paiute cutthroat trout will expand the 
current population size and distribution downstream from Llewellyn 
Falls to a series of six impassible fish barriers in Silver King Canyon 
and associated tributaries. These barriers, the two highest being 8 and 
10 feet high, would prevent any reinvasion of nonnative trout from 
areas downstream of the project area and greatly reduce the likelihood 
of and impacts from any future illegal nonnative species introduction. 
By expanding the populations and range of the species, the project 
would also increase the probability of long-term viability and reduce 
threats from genetic bottlenecking and stochastic events.
    The proposed project also includes pre-treatment biological surveys 
and monitoring for amphibians and aquatic macroinvertebrates; placement 
of signs to inform the public; water quality monitoring (during and 
post treatment); and post-treatment biological monitoring. The Agencies 
would apply rotenone to the project area in the summers of 2010 and 
2011 (and 2012 if needed). Additional treatments would be scheduled as 
necessary to ensure complete removal of nonnative trout from the 
project area.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The analysis provided in the Final EIR/EIS is intended to 
accomplish the following: Inform the public of the agencies' proposed 
action and alternatives; address public comments received on the Draft 
EIS/EIR; disclose the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental 
effects of our proposed action and alternatives; and indicate any 
irreversible commitment of resources that would result from 
implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. Additionally, 
the agencies responded to 21 individual comment letters on the Draft 
EIS/EIR. A response to each comment received in these letters has been 
included in the Final EIS/EIR (Appendix I). Additionally, the agencies 
received over 500 support letters for the project.

Public Involvement

    The agencies issued a notice of intent to prepare an EIS/EIR for 
the proposed project, on June 2, 2006 (71 FR 32125) and a notice of 
availability of the Draft EIS/EIR for the proposed project on March 20, 
2009 (74 FR 11965). The Draft EIS/EIR analyzed the potential 
environmental impacts that may result from the proposed action and 

Public Review

    Copies of the final EIS are available for review (see Availability 
of Documents). Any comments received will become part of the 
administrative record and may be available to the public. Before 
submitting comments that include your address, phone number, e-mail 
address, or other personal identifying information, you should be aware 
that your entire comment, including your personal identifying 
information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you may 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    The final EIS includes all comments we received on the draft EIS, 
and our responses to those comments. No decision will be made on the 
proposed action until at least 30 days after the Environmental 
Protection Agency's publication of their notice in the Federal 
Register. After the 30-day waiting period, we will complete a Record of 
Decision that announces the action that will be implemented and 
discusses all factors leading to the decision.
    This notice is provided under regulations for implementing NEPA, as 
amended (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: April 1, 2010.
Ken McDermond,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 2010-7952 Filed 4-8-10; 8:45 am]