Evaluation of the Effects of Discharge Permit Reauthorization on Endangered Species

February 01, 2011

Impacts of the John M. Asplund Water Pollution Control Facility discharge on Cook Inlet beluga whales

This Biological Evaluation has been prepared to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consultation requirements under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and as a requirement of Section 301(h) of the Clean Water Act for renewal of the John M. Asplund Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) discharge permit. Reauthorization of the 301(h)-modified National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the WPCF is currently under review by Region 10 of the EPA.

The Anchorage Water and Wastewater utility applied for and received its initial permit with 301(h) modifications in 1985, which was administratively extended and subsequently renewed in 2000. AWWU's current applications for renewal is now under review by EPA. As part of its renewal and decision process, EPA must obtain federal agency certifications that a proposed action authorize a modification of the NPDES permit under Section 301(h) of the Act (permit reauthorization) will not adversely affect threatened or endangered species or their critical habitats, as listed by NOAA Fisheries, in the area of the WPCF outfall.

NOAA, on April 22, 2008, designated the beluga whale in Cook Inlet as an endangered species. Designation of a Critical Habitat Area for the beluga whale has been proposed by NOAA Fisheries and is currently proceeding through a public review process. No other threatened or endangered species or their habitats exist in the area of the Asplund WPCF discharge.

This BE will be used in whole or in part by EPA, in consultation with NOAA Fisheries, to determine whether a permit reauthorization is likely to affect the continued existence of the Cook Inlet beluga whale population.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on 06/18/2018

Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Beluga Whale