Puget Sound Draft Environmental Impact Statement--Withdrawn

NOAA Fisheries is announcing its withdrawal of its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on Puget Sound hatchery programs.  

In July 2014, NOAA Fisheries released its DEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The DEIS addressed two joint resource management plans (RMPs) for Puget Sound hatchery programs that were submitted to NOAA Fisheries by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Puget Sound treaty tribes (referred to as co-managers). NOAA Fisheries is now withdrawing the DEIS, following notice by the co-managers clarifying their intent to submit revised RMPs bundled by watershed. This notice and NOAA Fisheries' withdrawal of the DEIS effectively terminate the approach of bundling more than one hundred hatchery programs across Puget Sound into a single analysis.

The agency is moving forward with a revised approach that includes, generally, watershed-scale analyses. Due to changes in hatchery programs since the co-managers submitted their resource management plans in 2004, and public comments received on the draft EIS, NOAA Fisheries will replace the draft EIS with environmental reviews of Puget Sound hatchery programs that respond to the RMPs received from the co-managers, generally on a watershed-specific basis. The co-managers have indicated that they are revising their joint resource management plans to reflect this new watershed-scale approach and will continue to submit their revised plans to NOAA Fisheries for review under NOAA Fisheries' Endangered Species Act ยง4(d) regulations (50 CFR 223.203).

Under a watershed-scale approach, NOAA Fisheries can analyze and disclose the effects of hatchery programs that are unique to each watershed and still disclose the cumulative effects of hatchery programs on the human environment. Details of the preferred approach are given in the Frequently Asked Questions, below.

For more information, please contact Steve Leider at (360) 753-4650.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about the withdrawal (28kb)

Federal Register Notice of Withdrawal (177kb)