Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Ginn Company Battle Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan, 66341-66343 [E6-19142]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 219 / Tuesday, November 14, 2006 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service Withdrawal of Notice of Availability of a Technical Agency Draft Recovery Plan for the Puerto Rican Parrot Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice, withdrawal. AGENCY: sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, withdraw the notice of availability of the revised technical agency draft recovery plan for the Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata vittata). The Puerto Rican parrot, largely green with a red forehead and blue flight feathers, is one of nine extant Amazona parrots occurring in the West Indies. The notice (71 FR 58426, October 3, 2006) was released in error, however, we anticipate announcing the current revision of the recovery plan in fiscal year 2007, which incorporates new information, describes actions considered necessary for the conservation of this species, establishes criteria (important milestones) for recognizing the recovery levels for downlisting from endangered to threatened, and estimates the time and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed. ADDRESSES: Copies of the original recovery plan are available by request ´ from the Boqueron Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 491, ´ Boqueron, Puerto Rico 00622 (telephone 787/851–7297) or by visiting our Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/ recovery/index.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Field Supervisor at the above address. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Puerto Rican parrot is presently considered one of the 10 most endangered birds in the world. Since 1973, the number of wild parrots has never surpassed 47 birds, and currently stands at a minimum of 28 individuals mostly confined within the Caribbean National Forest boundaries in the Luquillo Mountains. The Puerto Rican parrot is a fruiteating cavity nester seldom seen far from forests. The decline of the parrot and its restricted distribution are due to many factors, mostly the widespread habitat loss (e.g., deforestation.) The extant parrot population may have retreated to the Luquillo Mountains because preferred lowland habitat was destroyed. Due to its nesting requirements, it depends on mature forests with large cavity-forming trees. VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:07 Nov 13, 2006 Jkt 211001 Many stands of cavity-forming trees are old enough to meet nesting requirements in the Caribbean National Forest. Parrots concentrate their use of habitat within the largest remaining area of essentially unmodified forest. However, some observations suggest that the parrots are using private areas bordering the southern and northern parts of the Caribbean National Forest. Despite the present low numbers and limited distribution, many of the historical threats, such as nest competition and predation of eggs and chicks by pearly-eyed thrashers (Margarops fuscatus), predation of fledglings and adults by red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), predation by rats (Rattus rattus and R. norvegicus), parasitism by warble flies (Philornis pici), and the impact of hurricanes and competition for cavities with European and Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera), have been controlled through management strategies. Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point where it is again a secure, selfsustaining member of its ecosystem is a primary goal of the endangered species program. To help guide the recovery effort, we are preparing recovery plans for most listed species. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting, and estimate time and cost for implementing recovery measures. The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide a public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan development. When we announce the availability of the current revision of the recovery plan in fiscal year 2007, we will provide opportunity for public review and comment. Authority The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). Dated: October 12, 2006. Cynthia K. Dohner, Acting Regional Director. [FR Doc. E6–19162 Filed 11–13–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 66341 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Ginn Company Battle Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) advises the public that we intend to gather information necessary to prepare, in coordination with the Ginn Company (Applicant), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Battle Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in accordance with section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act. The Service provides this notice to—(1) Describe the proposed actions and possible alternatives; (2) advise other Federal and State agencies, affected Tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an EIS; (3) announce the initiation of a public scoping period; and (4) obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues and alternatives to be included in the EIS. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before December 14, 2006. ADDRESSES: Information, written comments, or questions related to the preparation of the EIS and the NEPA process should be submitted to Al Pfister, Western Colorado Field Office, 764 Horizon Drive, Building B, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506–3964 or via fax to (970) 245–6933. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to the following address: GinnHCP_scoping@fws.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Al Pfister, Western Colorado Project Leader, at the above address, or telephone 970–243–2778, extension 29. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1538) and Federal regulations prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of a fish or wildlife species listed as threatened or endangered. Under the Act, the following activities are defined as take: to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect listed animal species, or to attempt to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532). However, under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, we may issue permits to authorize ‘‘incidental take’’ of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the regulations that E:\FR\FM\14NON1.SGM 14NON1 sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES 66342 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 219 / Tuesday, November 14, 2006 / Notices implement the Act as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for threatened species and endangered species are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 50 CFR 17.22, respectively. The EIS would analyze the Service’s potential issuance of an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to the Applicant for its proposed Battle Mountain development. Should a permit be issued, the permit may include assurances under the Service’s ‘‘No Surprises’’ regulations. The Applicant’s proposed development project for private land on Battle Mountain includes a resort and an accompanying private ski area between the towns of Minturn and Red Cliff in Eagle County, Colorado. The project area encompasses approximately 1,943 hectares (ha) (4,800 acres (ac)). The residential development will include approximately 480 single and multiple family homes and 250 condostyle units. The ski area will include trails for all ability levels, creating approximately 445 ha (1,100 ac) of skiing, and will include skier services and amenities. The project is divided into three character areas for purposes of a conceptual plan. The Holy Cross Character Area consists of approximately 512 ha (1,265 ac). It will principally contain singlefamily homes on 0.4- and 0.8-ha (1- and 2-ac) lots and will interface with the ski area development to create ski in/out lodging. Approximately 62 dwelling units are proposed in this area. Approximately 438 ha (1,081 ac) of land in this character area will be designated recreation open space, which allows for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing. The Rock Creek Character Area consists of approximately 522 ha (1,290 ac) and is proposed to contain primarily single-family homes (up to 306 units) on varying lot sizes that also will interface with ski area development. This area will contain the Bolts Lake Gondola terminal for the top of the mountain, which will be utilized for services and passenger transport. This building will be associated with some skier services and amenities. Approximately 327 ha (807 ac) of this character area will be designated recreation open space, which allows for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing. The Willow Creek Character Area consists of approximately 457 ha (1,130 ac) and is proposed to contain primarily multiple-family units (up to 265), with approximately 84 single-family homes on 0.2-ha (0.5-ac) lots. This area will contain the resort core buildings that also will interface with ski area VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:07 Nov 13, 2006 Jkt 211001 development. The Bolts Lake gondola will terminate at the icon building in Willow Creek, which contains the majority of skier services and amenities, including restaurants and the beginner ski area with teaching terrain. Approximately 392 ha (968 ac) of this character area will be designated recreation open space, which allows for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing. The following four species are proposed to be addressed in the HCP: Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus), boreal toad (Bufo boreas boreas) (not a listed species), and slender moonwort (Botrychium lineare). Each of these species may be directly or indirectly affected by the Applicant’s proposed development. The proposed HCP and ITP would cover incidental take associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Battle Mountain residential resort and ski area, including—(1) Vegetation clearing in areas of suitable Canada lynx habitat; (2) construction and increased human activity within the project area; and (3) increased vehicle traffic on both I–70 and Highway 24, as well as within the project area. The draft HCP, prepared by the Applicant in support of the ITP application, will describe the impacts of take on proposed covered species, and will propose a conservation strategy to minimize and mitigate those impacts to the maximum extent practicable. The Applicant will develop habitat conservation measures for these species, with assistance from the Service. The Applicant is currently considering the following conservation measures as part of the HCP—(1) Creation of suitable winter forage habitat for lynx; (2) designing and implementing a traffic management plan to address increased vehicular traffic; (3) creating a fund for habitat protection and enhancement opportunities in the Eagle River Basin; and (4) financial support of Canada lynx reintroduction programs by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The Applicant and the Service will assess the implementation of these conservation measures for the duration of the HCP and term of the ITP. Implementation of the HCP would include monitoring compliance and regular reporting to the Service. Environmental Impact Statement The Service and the Applicant will select an environmental consulting firm to prepare the draft EIS to be prepared in accordance with NEPA. Although consultants will prepare the EIS, we PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 will supervise the scope and content of the document for NEPA purposes. The EIS will consider the proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives. A detailed description of the proposed action and alternatives will be included in the EIS. It is anticipated that several alternatives will be developed, which may vary by level of conservation, impacts caused by the proposed activities, permit area, or a combination of these factors. These alternatives will address alternative actions that can achieve some or all of the proposed action’s purposes and needs. Additionally, we will evaluate a NoAction alternative. Under the No-Action alternative, we would not issue a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit. The EIS also will evaluate potentially significant impacts on biological resources, land use, and socioeconomic and other environmental issues that could occur directly or indirectly with implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. For all potential impacts, the EIS will identify mitigation measures, where feasible, to reduce these impacts to a level below significance. We will conduct an environmental review of the EIS in accordance with the requirements of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), its implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), other applicable regulations, and our procedures for compliance with those regulations. We are furnishing this notice in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the NEPA implementing regulations, to obtain suggestions and information from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the EIS. The primary purpose of the scoping process is to identify important issues raised by the public that are related to the proposed action. We invite written comments from interested parties to help us identify the full range of issues related to the proposed action. You may submit written comments by mail or facsimile transmission (see ADDRESSES). All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative record and may be made available to the public. The Service requests that comments be specific. In particular, we request information regarding—direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that implementation of the proposed HCP or other alternatives could have on endangered and threatened and other covered species, and their communities and habitats; other possible alternatives that meet the purpose and need of the proposed HCP; potential adaptive management and/or monitoring E:\FR\FM\14NON1.SGM 14NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 219 / Tuesday, November 14, 2006 / Notices provisions; funding issues; existing environmental conditions in the plan area; other plans or projects that might be relevant to this proposed project; permit duration; maximum acreage that should be covered; specific species that should or should not be covered; specific landforms that should or should not be covered; and minimization and mitigation efforts. The Service estimates that the draft EIS will be available for public review in the spring of 2007. Dated: October 4, 2006. James J. Slack, Deputy Regional Director, Region 6. [FR Doc. E6–19142 Filed 11–13–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P ak.blm.conveyance@ak.blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunication device (TTD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877– 8330, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to contact the Bureau of Land Management. Dina L. Torres, Land Law Examiner, Branch of Adjudication II. [FR Doc. E6–19149 Filed 11–13–06; 8:45 am] Bureau of Land Management Alaska Native Claims Selection Bureau of Land Management AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of decision approving lands for conveyance. AGENCY: SUMMARY: As required by 43 CFR 2650.7(d), notice is hereby given that an appealable decision approving the surface and subsurface estates in certain lands for conveyance pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act will be issued to Bering Straits Native Corporation. The lands are in the vicinity of Wales and White Mountain, Alaska. Notice of the decision will also be published four times in the Nome Nugget. The time limits for filing an appeal are: 1. Any party claiming a property interest which is adversely affected by the decision shall have until December 14, 2006 to file an appeal. 2. Parties receiving service of the decision by certified mail shall have 30 days from the date of receipt to file an appeal. Parties who do not file an appeal in accordance with the requirements of 43 CFR Part 4, Subpart E, shall be deemed to have waived their rights. ADDRESSES: A copy of the decision may be obtained from: Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office, 222 West Seventh Avenue, #13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513–7599. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Bureau of Land Management by phone at 907–271–5960, or by e-mail at sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:07 Nov 13, 2006 Jkt 211001 Jennifer L. Noe, Land Law Examiner, Branch of Adjudication II. [FR Doc. E6–19150 Filed 11–13–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–$$–P Minerals Management Service DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Alaska Native Claims Selection Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877– 8330, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to contact the Bureau of Land Management. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BILLING CODE 4310–$$–P [AK–964–1410–KC–P; F–14844–A] [AK–964–1410–HY–P; F–21963, F–21966, F– 21967, F–22006, F–22862, F–21945, F– 21937] 66343 Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of decision approving lands for conveyance. SUMMARY: As required by 43 CFR 2650.7(d), notice is hereby given that an appealable decision approving the surface and subsurface estates in certain lands for conveyance pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act will be issued to Ahtna, Incorporated, successor in interest to Cantwell Yedatene-Na Corporation. The lands are in the vicinity of Cantwell, Alaska, and are located in: U.S. Survey No. 3229, Alaska Containing 5.00 acres. Notice of the decision will also be published four times in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. DATES: The time limits for filing an appeal are: 1. Any party claiming a property interest which is adversely affected by the decision shall have until December 14, 2006 to file an appeal. 2. Parties receiving service of the decision by certified mail shall have 30 days from the date of receipt to file an appeal. Parties who do not file an appeal in accordance with the requirements of 43 CFR part 4, subpart E, shall be deemed to have waived their rights. ADDRESSES: A copy of the decision may be obtained from: Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office, 222 West Seventh Avenue, #13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513–7599. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Bureau of Land Management by phone at 907–271–5960, or by e-mail at ak.blm.conveyance@ak.blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunication device (TTD) may call the Federal Information PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Programs for 2002–2007 and 2007–2012; OCS Lease Sale 201 and Proposed Lease Sale 205, Central Gulf of Mexico; Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 5-Year Leasing Program for 2007– 2012 Minerals Management Service, Interior. ACTION: Revision of 5-Year Leasing Program and Request for Comment. AGENCY: SUMMARY: On October 24, 2006, the Department of Interior/MMS and the State of Louisiana announced the settlement of the case of Blanco, et al., v. Burton, et al. The District Court approved the settlement and dismissed the case on October 24, 2006. As a result of the settlement agreement, the MMS proposes to expand Lease Sale 205, scheduled in the Proposed 5-Year Program for 2007–2012 and accompanying Draft EIS, from the currently proposed program area (Map 1) to include all available acreage in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area as proposed in the new program for subsequent Central Gulf sales (Map 2). The MMS is providing a 45-day comment period to specifically address this proposed change. The earlier comment periods on the Proposed 5Year Program and Draft EIS, remain as announced on August 25, 2006. The comment period on the Program closes on November 24, 2006, and on the Draft EIS on November 22, 2006. DATES: MMS is accepting comments regarding this newly proposed change for the Proposed 5-Year OCS Program for 2007–2012 and accompanying Draft EIS until December 29, 2006. Note that the comment periods for the earlier proposed 5-Year OCS Program for 2007– 2012 and the Draft EIS remain the same as previously announced. This new 45day comment period is for comments associated with the change identified here as a result of the settlement with Louisiana. E:\FR\FM\14NON1.SGM 14NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 219 (Tuesday, November 14, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66341-66343]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-19142]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service


Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Ginn Company Battle Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) advises the public that we intend 
to gather information necessary to prepare, in coordination with the 
Ginn Company (Applicant), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 
the Battle Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in accordance with 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act. The Service provides 
this notice to--(1) Describe the proposed actions and possible 
alternatives; (2) advise other Federal and State agencies, affected 
Tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an EIS; (3) announce 
the initiation of a public scoping period; and (4) obtain suggestions 
and information on the scope of issues and alternatives to be included 
in the EIS.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before December 14, 
2006.

ADDRESSES: Information, written comments, or questions related to the 
preparation of the EIS and the NEPA process should be submitted to Al 
Pfister, Western Colorado Field Office, 764 Horizon Drive, Building B, 
Grand Junction, Colorado 81506-3964 or via fax to (970) 245-6933. 
Comments may be submitted by e-mail to the following address: GinnHCP_
scoping@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Al Pfister, Western Colorado Project 
Leader, at the above address, or telephone 970-243-2778, extension 29.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1538) and 
Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' of a fish or wildlife species 
listed as threatened or endangered. Under the Act, the following 
activities are defined as take: to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture or collect listed animal species, or to 
attempt to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532). However, under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, we may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' of listed species. ``Incidental take'' is defined 
by the regulations that

[[Page 66342]]

implement the Act as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose 
of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing 
permits for threatened species and endangered species are at 50 CFR 
17.32 and 50 CFR 17.22, respectively.
    The EIS would analyze the Service's potential issuance of an 
Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to the Applicant for its proposed Battle 
Mountain development. Should a permit be issued, the permit may include 
assurances under the Service's ``No Surprises'' regulations.
    The Applicant's proposed development project for private land on 
Battle Mountain includes a resort and an accompanying private ski area 
between the towns of Minturn and Red Cliff in Eagle County, Colorado. 
The project area encompasses approximately 1,943 hectares (ha) (4,800 
acres (ac)). The residential development will include approximately 480 
single and multiple family homes and 250 condo-style units. The ski 
area will include trails for all ability levels, creating approximately 
445 ha (1,100 ac) of skiing, and will include skier services and 
amenities. The project is divided into three character areas for 
purposes of a conceptual plan.
    The Holy Cross Character Area consists of approximately 512 ha 
(1,265 ac). It will principally contain single-family homes on 0.4- and 
0.8-ha (1- and 2-ac) lots and will interface with the ski area 
development to create ski in/out lodging. Approximately 62 dwelling 
units are proposed in this area. Approximately 438 ha (1,081 ac) of 
land in this character area will be designated recreation open space, 
which allows for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, and 
skiing.
    The Rock Creek Character Area consists of approximately 522 ha 
(1,290 ac) and is proposed to contain primarily single-family homes (up 
to 306 units) on varying lot sizes that also will interface with ski 
area development. This area will contain the Bolts Lake Gondola 
terminal for the top of the mountain, which will be utilized for 
services and passenger transport. This building will be associated with 
some skier services and amenities. Approximately 327 ha (807 ac) of 
this character area will be designated recreation open space, which 
allows for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing.
    The Willow Creek Character Area consists of approximately 457 ha 
(1,130 ac) and is proposed to contain primarily multiple-family units 
(up to 265), with approximately 84 single-family homes on 0.2-ha (0.5-
ac) lots. This area will contain the resort core buildings that also 
will interface with ski area development. The Bolts Lake gondola will 
terminate at the icon building in Willow Creek, which contains the 
majority of skier services and amenities, including restaurants and the 
beginner ski area with teaching terrain. Approximately 392 ha (968 ac) 
of this character area will be designated recreation open space, which 
allows for year-round activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing.
    The following four species are proposed to be addressed in the HCP: 
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus), 
boreal toad (Bufo boreas boreas) (not a listed species), and slender 
moonwort (Botrychium lineare). Each of these species may be directly or 
indirectly affected by the Applicant's proposed development.
    The proposed HCP and ITP would cover incidental take associated 
with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Battle 
Mountain residential resort and ski area, including--(1) Vegetation 
clearing in areas of suitable Canada lynx habitat; (2) construction and 
increased human activity within the project area; and (3) increased 
vehicle traffic on both I-70 and Highway 24, as well as within the 
project area.
    The draft HCP, prepared by the Applicant in support of the ITP 
application, will describe the impacts of take on proposed covered 
species, and will propose a conservation strategy to minimize and 
mitigate those impacts to the maximum extent practicable. The Applicant 
will develop habitat conservation measures for these species, with 
assistance from the Service.
    The Applicant is currently considering the following conservation 
measures as part of the HCP--(1) Creation of suitable winter forage 
habitat for lynx; (2) designing and implementing a traffic management 
plan to address increased vehicular traffic; (3) creating a fund for 
habitat protection and enhancement opportunities in the Eagle River 
Basin; and (4) financial support of Canada lynx reintroduction programs 
by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The Applicant and the Service 
will assess the implementation of these conservation measures for the 
duration of the HCP and term of the ITP. Implementation of the HCP 
would include monitoring compliance and regular reporting to the 
Service.

Environmental Impact Statement

    The Service and the Applicant will select an environmental 
consulting firm to prepare the draft EIS to be prepared in accordance 
with NEPA. Although consultants will prepare the EIS, we will supervise 
the scope and content of the document for NEPA purposes. The EIS will 
consider the proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives. A 
detailed description of the proposed action and alternatives will be 
included in the EIS. It is anticipated that several alternatives will 
be developed, which may vary by level of conservation, impacts caused 
by the proposed activities, permit area, or a combination of these 
factors. These alternatives will address alternative actions that can 
achieve some or all of the proposed action's purposes and needs. 
Additionally, we will evaluate a No-Action alternative. Under the No-
Action alternative, we would not issue a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit.
    The EIS also will evaluate potentially significant impacts on 
biological resources, land use, and socioeconomic and other 
environmental issues that could occur directly or indirectly with 
implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. For all 
potential impacts, the EIS will identify mitigation measures, where 
feasible, to reduce these impacts to a level below significance.
    We will conduct an environmental review of the EIS in accordance 
with the requirements of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other applicable 
regulations, and our procedures for compliance with those regulations. 
We are furnishing this notice in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the 
NEPA implementing regulations, to obtain suggestions and information 
from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues and 
alternatives to be addressed in the EIS. The primary purpose of the 
scoping process is to identify important issues raised by the public 
that are related to the proposed action. We invite written comments 
from interested parties to help us identify the full range of issues 
related to the proposed action. You may submit written comments by mail 
or facsimile transmission (see ADDRESSES). All comments received, 
including names and addresses, will become part of the official 
administrative record and may be made available to the public.
    The Service requests that comments be specific. In particular, we 
request information regarding--direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts 
that implementation of the proposed HCP or other alternatives could 
have on endangered and threatened and other covered species, and their 
communities and habitats; other possible alternatives that meet the 
purpose and need of the proposed HCP; potential adaptive management 
and/or monitoring

[[Page 66343]]

provisions; funding issues; existing environmental conditions in the 
plan area; other plans or projects that might be relevant to this 
proposed project; permit duration; maximum acreage that should be 
covered; specific species that should or should not be covered; 
specific landforms that should or should not be covered; and 
minimization and mitigation efforts. The Service estimates that the 
draft EIS will be available for public review in the spring of 2007.

    Dated: October 4, 2006.
James J. Slack,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 6.
[FR Doc. E6-19142 Filed 11-13-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P