Northwest USA - NOAA Seeks Public Comment/Information for Proposals to Designate Critical Habitat for Threatened Lower Columbia River Coho Salmon and Puget Sound Steelhead

NOAA Fisheries will prepare critical habitat designation proposals for lower Columbia River coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and Puget Sound steelhead (O. mykiss), both currently listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The areas under consideration include watersheds in the lower Columbia River basin in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, as well as watersheds in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington.

Comments and information regarding the designation process and areas being considered for designation as critical habitat may be sent to NOAA Fisheries no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time on March 11, 2011. Comments may be sent to Chief, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 525 NE Oregon Street—Suite 500, Portland, OR 97232. Comments may also be sent via fax to 503 230-5441 or submitted online via the Federal Rulemaking portal at Regulations.gov.

Public meetings have been scheduled to discuss and seek input on the approach to designating critical habitat for these species. Details regarding the meeting format and related information will be posted by January 25, 2011, on the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Office website. Meeting times and locations are as follows:

• January 26, 2011, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 1000 NE. Multnomah Street, Portland, OR 97232; and

• February 1, 2011, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the NOAA Campus, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Building 9, Seattle, WA 98115. (Please note—all attendees of the Seattle meeting will need to show photo identification in order to be permitted onto the NOAA campus.)

For more information, see the Federal Register notice or contact Steve Stone, NMFS, Northwest Region, Portland, OR 503-231-2317; or Dwayne Meadows, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, Silver Spring, MD 301-713-1401.