[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 75 (Thursday, April 20, 2017)]
[Pages 18614-18615]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07966]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF354

Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish

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

ACTION: Notice of final determination and discussion of underlying 
biological and environmental analyses.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that NMFS has evaluated one Tribal 
Resource Management Plan (TRMP or Tribal Plan) submitted by the 
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CTCR) to NMFS pursuant 
to the limitation on take prohibitions for actions conducted under 
Tribal Plans promulgated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The 
Tribal Plan specifies artificial propagation, harvest, predator 
control, kelt reconditioning, and monitoring and evaluation activities 
in the Okanogan River basin and portions of the Upper Columbia River 
(UCR). This document serves to notify the public that NMFS, by 
delegated authority from the Secretary of Commerce, has determined 
pursuant to the Tribal ESA section 4(d) Rule for salmon and steelhead 
that implementing and enforcing the plans will not appreciably reduce 
the likelihood of survival and recovery of ESA-listed UCR Spring 
Chinook salmon and steelhead.

DATES: The final determination on the take limit was made on February 
28, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Written responses to the determination should be addressed 
to the NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 1201 NE. Lloyd Blvd., 
#1100, Portland, OR 97232.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Meyers-Cherry at (503) 231-
2178 or by email at [email protected].


ESA-Listed Species Covered in This Notice

    Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): Endangered (but 
functionally extirpated in the analysis area), naturally produced UCR 
    Steelhead (O. mykiss): Threatened, naturally produced and 
artificially propagated UCR.


    The CTCR have submitted to NMFS a Tribal Plan for hatchery, fishery 
harvest, predator control, kelt reconditioning, and monitoring and 
evaluation activities in the Okanogan River basin, in the UCR basin in 
Washington State. The Tribal Plan was submitted February 4, 2014, 
pursuant to the Tribal ESA section 4(d) Rule.
    The Tribal Plan describes actions involving fisheries, hatchery, 
predator control, and kelt reconditioning activities (with associated 
monitoring and evaluation) in the Okanogan Basin and Columbia River 
mainstem. The Tribal Plan is intended to contribute to the recovery of 
the steelhead population in the Okanogan Basin, and to responsibly 
enhance fishing opportunity on non-listed Chinook salmon.
    As required, NMFS took comments on how the plans address the 
criteria in 50 CFR 223.203(b)(5) prior to making that determination.

Discussion of the Biological Analysis Underlying the Determination

    The hatchery, fishery, predator removal, kelt reconditioning, and 
monitoring and evaluation activities are intended to conserve native, 
ESA-listed UCR spring Chinook salmon and steelhead and to provide 
harvest in-tribal and non-tribal fisheries in the basin.
    The hatchery programs are designed to preserve, and bolster the 
natural spawning abundance of, the native UCR populations of the 
    The programs described in the Tribal Plan would be operated in such 
a way as to minimize potential risks to ESA-listed natural-origin UCR 
spring Chinook salmon, and steelhead populations. These potential risks 
include interactions between hatchery and natural fish that may lead to 
adverse genetic and ecological effects.
    As part of the proposed hatchery programs, monitoring and 
evaluation would be implemented to assess their performance in meeting 
population conservation or harvest augmentation objectives, and their 
effects on ESA-listed natural-origin spring Chinook salmon and 
steelhead. Information gained through monitoring and evaluation will be 
used to assess whether the impacts of the programs on listed fish are 
as expected. Review of monitoring and evaluation results by NMFS and 
the co-managers will occur annually to evaluate whether assumptions 
regarding Tribal Plan effects and analysis remain valid, and whether 
the objectives of the Tribal Plan are being accomplished. The Tribal 
Plan includes provisions for annual reports that will assess compliance 
with performance standards established through the plan. Reporting and 
inclusion of new information derived from research, monitoring, and 
evaluation activities described in the plan provides assurance that 
performance standards will be achieved in future seasons. NMFS' 
evaluation is available on the West Coast Region Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov.

Summary of Comments Received in the Response to the Proposed Evaluation 
and Pending Determination

    NMFS published notice of its Proposed Evaluation and Pending 
Determination (PEPD) on the plans for public review and comment on 
December 15, 2017 (81 FR 90783). The PEPD and an associated draft 
environmental assessment were available for public review and comment 
for 15 days.
    During the public comment period, NMFS received one comment letter 
on the PEPD. The comments were technical in nature, and did not require 
substantive modifications to the PEPD or the environmental assessment. 
The comments and NMFS' detailed responses are available on the West 
Coast Region Web site. Based on its evaluation and recommended 
determination, and taking into account the public comments, NMFS issued 
its final determination on the Tribal Plan.

[[Page 18615]]


    Under section 4 of the ESA, the Secretary is required to adopt such 
regulations as he deems necessary and advisable for the conservation of 
the species listed as threatened.
    The ESA Tribal 4(d) Rule (65 FR 42481; July 10, 2000) states that 
the ESA section 9 take prohibitions will not apply to Tribal Plans that 
will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery for 
the listed species.

    Dated: April 17, 2017.
Donna Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
[FR Doc. 2017-07966 Filed 4-19-17; 8:45 am]