NOAA designates critical habitat for green sturgeon
74 Fed. Reg. 52300 / Vol. 74, No. 195 / Friday, October 9, 2009 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / 50 CFR Part 226
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rulemaking To Designate Critical Habitat for the Threatened Southern Distinct Population Segment of North American Green Sturgeon
ACTION: Final rule.
Green sturgeon inhabit certain estuaries on the northern California, Oregon, and Washington coasts during the summer, and inhabit coastal marine waters along the central California coast and between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and southeast Alaska over the winter. Photo by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife available from Fisheries and Oceans Canada
SUMMARY: We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), designate critical habitat for the threatened Southern distinct population segment of North American green sturgeon (Southern DPS of green sturgeon) pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specific areas proposed for designation include: Coastal U.S. marine waters within 60 fathoms (fm) depth from Monterey Bay, California (including Monterey Bay), north to Cape Flattery, Washington, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington, to its United States boundary; the Sacramento River, lower Feather River, and lower Yuba River in California; the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun, San Pablo, and San Francisco bays in California; the lower Columbia River estuary; and certain coastal bays and estuaries in California (Humboldt Bay), Oregon (Coos Bay, Winchester Bay, Yaquina Bay, and Nehalem Bay), and Washington (Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor). This rule designates approximately 515 kilometer (km) (320 miles (mi)) of freshwater river habitat, 2,323 km2 (897 mi2) of estuarine habitat, 29,581 km2 (11,421 mi2) of marine habitat, 784 km (487 mi) of habitat in the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta, and 350 km2 (135 mi2) of habitat within the Yolo and Sutter bypasses (Sacramento River, CA) as critical habitat for the Southern DPS of green sturgeon. This rule excludes the following areas from designation because the economic benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species: Coastal U.S. marine waters within 60 fm depth from the California/Mexico border north to Monterey Bay, CA, and from the Alaska/Canada border northwest to the Bering Strait; the lower Columbia River from river kilometer (RKM) 74 to the Bonneville Dam; and certain coastal bays and estuaries in California (Elkhorn Slough, Tomales Bay, Noyo Harbor, and the estuaries to the head of the tide in the Eel and Klamath/Trinity rivers), Oregon (Tillamook Bay and the estuaries to the head of the tide in the Rogue, Siuslaw, and Alsea rivers), and Washington (Puget Sound). Particular areas are also excluded based on impacts on national security and impacts on Indian lands. The areas excluded from the designation comprise approximately 0.2 km (0.1 mi) of freshwater habitat, 2,945 km2 (1,137 mi2) of estuarine habitat and 1,034,935 km2 (399,590 mi2) of marine habitat. This final rule responds to and incorporates public comments received on the proposed rule and supporting documents, as well as peer reviewer comments received on the draft biological report and draft ESA section 4(b)(2) report.
LINKS: Center for Biological Diversity and Appeal-Democrat.com