Essential Fish Habitat Consultation

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1 1 Essential Fish Habitat Consultation Marine Shoreline Development Workshop February 21, 2007 John H. Stadler Washington State Habitat Office National Marine Fisheries Service Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) Amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act in 1996 to include essential fish habitat (EFH) Recognized that the loss of habitat is a major factor in the decline of many important fisheries Established procedures for consulting with NMFS for protection of EFH What is EFH? Definition (MSA 3(10)) Essential fish habitat means those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity.

2 2 What does this mean? those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. (50 CFR ) waters = include aquatic areas and their associated physical, chemical, and biological properties that are used by fish and may include aquatic areas historically used by fish where appropriate substrate = includes sediment, hard bottom, structures underlying the waters, and associated biological communities What does this mean? those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. (50 CFR ) necessary = the habitat required to support a sustainable fishery and the managed species contribution to a healthy ecosystem spawning, breeding, feeding or growth to maturity = covers a species full life cycle Which Species Have EFH? Those species managed under a Federal Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) Developed by Fishery Management Councils Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) Descriptions of EFH contained in FMP

3 3 PFMC Fishery Plans Pacific Coast Groundfish 83 species of rockfishes, flatfishes, etc. Coastal Pelagic Species 5 species anchovies, sardines, squid, mackerels Pacific Coast Salmon Chinook, coho, Puget Sound pink Highly Migratory Species Tunas, sharks, billfish, etc. How is EFH designated? Designated on the basis of information indicating that certain aquatic habitats or conditions are necessary to sustain the fishery Includes aquatic areas only EFH-Consultation Trigger MSA, Section 305(b)(2) Each Federal Agency shall consult with the Secretary with respect to any action authorized, funded, or undertaken, or proposed to be authorized, funded, or undertaken, by such agency, that may adversely affect* any essential fish habitat identified under this Act. * Differs from ESA determination of may affect, not likely to adversely affect

4 4 An Adverse Effect Reduces the Quality and/or Quantity of EFH Effects to habitat only Does not include capture or directed killing of fish unless habitat being affected. Direct or indirect effects, including both longand short-term effects Physical, chemical, or biological alterations of the waters or substrate Prey species and their habitat, and other ecosystem components May result from actions occurring within EFH or outside of EFH e.g., delivery of sediment to a stream from upslope construction activities that smothers spawning beds EFH Consultation Process Step 1 The Federal agency makes EFH effect determination after considering: All project elements, including conservation measures Long- and short-term effects No adverse effect No EFH consultation May adversely affect EFH consultation required EFH Consultation Process Step 2 The Federal Agency submits an EFH Assessment that contains: 1. A description of the proposed action 2. An analysis of the adverse effects of the action on EFH 3. The Agency s conclusion regarding the effects of the action on EFH 4. Proposed mitigation, if applicable 5. Any additional relevant information site reviews, expert opinions, alternative analyses, etc.

5 5 EFH Consultation Process Step 3 NMFS: Reviews EFH assessment Provides conservation recommendations Avoid, minimize, mitigate, or otherwise offset adverse effects on EFH May include adverse effects not identified by action agency Source: University of Washington Freshwater and Marine Image Bank EFH Consultation Process Step 4 The Federal agency: Provides a detailed, written response within 30 days Will recommendations be implemented? If not, then why not? Basis for scientific disagreements Use of Existing Environmental Review Procedures 50 CFR (5)(f) The requirements of sections 305(b)(2) and 305(b)(4) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act..can be combined with existing procedures required by other statutes if such processes meet, or are modified to meet, the following criteria: Timely notification of action Includes assessment of the impacts to EFH NMFS has made a finding that the existing procedure satisfies all requirements of the MSA

6 6 Use of Existing Environmental Review Procedures 50 CFR (5)(f) Endangered Species Act National Environmental Policy Act Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Simplified EFH Assessment Refer to other review documents where appropriate Project description Adverse effects etc. Add new information as needed Additional effects Additional conservation measures Timeline may follow either procedure Summary 1. EFH consultation process established by the MSA in EFH designated only for those species managed under FMP 3. Consultation is required for any Federal action that may adversely affect designated EFH 4. Conservation recommendations are intended to reduce the adverse effects of the project and conserve EFH 5. Can be combined with ESA consultation. Useful websites NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation Pacific Fisheries Management Council Fishery management plans Descriptions of EFH NMFS Northwest Region

7 7 Case Studies Discussion Marina breakwater Upland development with stream relocation Submarine cable crossing Commercial pier

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