[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 1, 2016)]
[Pages 10620-10621]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04448]



[EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0335; FRL-9943-13-OW]

Request for Public Comment on the Draft EPA-USGS Technical 
Report: Protecting Aquatic Life From Effects of Hydrologic Alteration

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States 
Geological Survey (USGS).

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United 
States Geological Survey are releasing a draft technical report: 
Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration, for a 
60-day public comment period. This report was developed because 
hydrologic alteration can be a contributor of impairment for water 
bodies that are designated to support aquatic life. Stresses on aquatic 
life associated with hydrologic alteration may be further exacerbated 
through climate change. Recent climate trends have included the change 
in frequency and duration of extreme weather events, such as droughts 
and floods, which can have an impact on flow and affect aquatic life.
    The report is a nonprescriptive framework with information to help 
states, tribes, territories, water resource managers, and other 
stakeholders responsible for the maintenance of hydrologic flow regime 
to quantify flow targets for the preservation of aquatic life and 
habitat. This report also provides information on the relationship 
between hydrologic condition and water quality and gives examples of 
what some states and authorized tribes have done to address flow 
concerns using the Clean Water Act. The framework can also be used to 
translate narrative criteria and develop flow targets to protect 
aquatic life and habitat.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 2, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-
2015-0335, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. EPA 
may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit 
electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business 
Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted 
by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be 
accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the 
official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish 
to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents 
located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or 
other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full 
EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia 
submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please 
visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diana Eignor, Health and Ecological 
Criteria Division, Office of Water (Mail Code 4304T), Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; 
telephone number: (202) 566-1143; email address: [email protected].


I. General Information

A. How can I Get Copies of This Document and Other Related Information?

    1. Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the 
www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. 
Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically 
in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Water Docket, EPA/DC, EPA 
West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The Public 
Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public 
Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Water 
Docket is (202) 566-2426. For additional information about EPA's public 
docket, visit EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

II. How will this document be used?

    This draft report is a nonprescriptive framework that can be used 
to help quantify targets for flow regime components that are protective 
of aquatic life and their habitats. Flow targets can help states, 
tribes, and territories to prepare for changes in historic flow 
patterns. Maintaining flow targets may help increase a stream's 
resilience to climate change by reducing or avoiding intensification of 
existing stresses. This document, even after issued in final form, is 
not a rule, and it is therefore not mandatory for states and authorized 
tribes to adopt this framework into their water quality standards. Once 
the comment period has ended, EPA and the USGS will consider the 
comments, revise the document, as appropriate, and then publish a final 
document that will serve as a source of information for states, tribes, 
territories, and other stakeholders.

III. Solicitation of Scientific Views

    EPA and USGS are soliciting additional scientific views, data, and 
information regarding the science and technical approach used in the 
derivation of this draft technical document on hydrologic alteration.

IV. Additional Information

    EPA and USGS each conducted internal peer reviews of the report, 
and EPA managed a contractor-led independent external peer review of 
the Draft EPA-USGS Technical Report: Protecting Aquatic Life from 
Effects of Hydrologic Alteration. EPA will make the external peer 
review comments and Agency responses to these comments available in the 
docket with the revised draft technical document at http://www.regulations.gov.

[[Page 10621]]

    Dated: February 22, 2016.
Joel Beauvais,
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water.
[FR Doc. 2016-04448 Filed 2-29-16; 8:45 am]