Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Finding on Petition to List Puget Sound Steelhead as an Endangered or Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act

EPA: Federal Register
"SUMMARY: We (NMFS) have completed an updated Endangered Species Act (ESA) status review of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations in the Puget Sound area (Washington). We initiated this review in response to a petition received from Mr. Sam Wright on September 13, 2004, to list Puget Sound steelhead as a threatened or endangered species. We have determined that naturally spawned winter- and summer-run steelhead populations and two hatchery steelhead stocks, below natural and manmade impassable barriers, in the river basins of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and Hood Canal (Washington) constitute a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and hence a ``species'' for listing consideration under the ESA. After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial information, evaluating threats facing the species, and taking into account those efforts being made to protect the species, we conclude that the Puget Sound steelhead DPS is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Therefore, we are proposing that the Puget Sound steelhead DPS be listed under the ESA as a threatened species. We will announce the timing and location of a public hearing to be held in the Puget Sound area, and propose 4(d) protective regulations and critical habitat for the Puget Sound steelhead DPS in subsequent Federal Register notices."