Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation in Central Texas, 65744-65745 [2011-27395]

Download as PDF 65744 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 205 / Monday, October 24, 2011 / Notices CAPITAL FUND EDUCATION AND TRAINING COMMUNITY FACILITIES (CFCF) PROGRAM AWARD FROM FY 2011 NOTICE OF FUNDING AVAILABILITY Amount funded Name/address of applicant Activity funded Newark Housing Authority, 500 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102–3112. $5,000,000 Construction of a New Facility. White Plains Housing Authority, 223 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, White Plains, NY 10601–4105. Brewer Housing Authority, 15 Colonial Circle, Brewer, ME 04412. Housing Authority of the City of Tacoma, 902 South L Street, Tacoma, WA 98405–4037. 3,500,000 Construction of a New Facility. 2,491,690 1,881,652 Construction of a New Facility. Construction of a New Facility. Northwest Georgia Housing Authority, 800 North Fifth Avenue, PO Box 1428, Rome, GA 30162–1428. 1,662,643 Construction of a New Facility. development area during the public comment period. The dates, times, and locations of these meetings will be announced in local newspapers at least 2 weeks before each meeting and will also be posted on the following Web sites: https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/; https://www.lcra.org/ energy/trans/crez/ fed_envrio_compliance.html. [FR Doc. 2011–27444 Filed 10–21–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–ES–2011–N142; 20124–1112– 0000–F2] Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation in Central Texas Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability of documents and announcement of public hearings. AGENCY: The Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation (applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The applicant has completed a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (DHCP) as part of the application package. A draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) that evaluates the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 has also been prepared. We are making the permit application package, including the application, DHCP, and DEA, available for public review and comment. DATES: Comment Period: To ensure consideration of your written comments, we must receive them on or before close of business (4:30 p.m. C.S.T.) December 23, 2011. Public Meetings: Two public meetings will be held in the transmission line tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:34 Oct 21, 2011 Jkt 226001 To find out how to obtain documents for review and where to submit comments, see Reviewing Documents in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. To submit comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your comment is in reference to permit number TE– 46542A–0: • E-mail: fw2_aues_consult@fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758–4460. • Fax: 512/490–0974. • We will also accept written and oral comments at both of the public meetings (see DATES). When submitting comments, please reference permit number TE–46542A–0. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758, or by phone at 512/ 490–0057. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we advise the public that: 1. We have gathered the information necessary to determine impacts and formulate alternatives for the draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) related to the potential issuance of an incidental take permit (ITP) to Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Project description Development of a facility at which the PHA will provide adult education, early childhood education, and job training. Development of a facility at which the PHA will provide adult education and job training. Development of a facility at which the PHA will provide adult education and job training. Development of a facility at which the PHA will provide adult education, early childhood education, and job training. Development of a facility at which the PHA will provide adult education, early childhood education, and job training. Services Corporation (LCRA; applicant); and 2. LCRA has developed a draft habitat conservation plan (DHCP) as part of the application for an ITP, which describes the measures LCRA has agreed to undertake to minimize and mitigate the effects of incidental take of federally listed species to the maximum extent practicable, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). LCRA has applied for an ITP (TE– 46542A–0) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The requested ITP, which would be in effect for a period of 30 years if granted, would authorize incidental take of two federally listed species (covered species), goldencheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) and black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla). As described in the DHCP, the proposed incidental take would occur in Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Mason, Menard, Schleicher, Sutton, and Tom Green Counties, Texas (Permit Area), and would result from activities associated with construction, maintenance, operation, and repair (both routine and emergency) of two Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines and their associated access roads (Covered Activities), which are required to be constructed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). The DEA considers the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the proposed action of permit issuance, including the measures that will be implemented to minimize and mitigate such impacts to the maximum extent practicable. Background We initially prepared a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 205 / Monday, October 24, 2011 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES held public scoping meetings in connection with the applicant’s requested permit. The NOI was published in the Federal Register on March 19, 2010 (75 FR 13299), and opened a comment period which lasted until June 17, 2010. A summary of comments provided during the 2010 scoping period, which included public meetings held April 19, 2010, in San Angelo, Texas; April 21, 2010, in Comfort, Texas; April 22, 2010, in Junction, Texas; April 26, 2010, in Lampasas, Texas; and April 27, 2010, in Fredericksburg, Texas, is available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Web site at https:// www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/ and on the applicant’s Web site at https://www.lcra.org/energy/ trans/crez/fed_envrio_compliance.html. Prior to the applicant filing its formal application with the Service for an incidental take permit, the scope of the anticipated covered activities was reduced significantly. Specifically, what was once to be an application covering take associated with construction, operation, maintenance, and repair of four 345-killivolt (kV) transmission lines, whose routes were unknown and which could touch all or a portion of 14 counties, is now an application for a permit authorizing potential take of listed species in connection with two 345-kV transmission lines and their associated access roads whose routes are known. Potential impacts to species have been reduced substantially, and mitigation for those impacts meets or exceeds mitigation levels accepted by the Service in HCPs covering the same species. Proposed Action The proposed action involves the issuance of an ITP by the Service for the Covered Activities in the Permit Area, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The ITP would cover ‘‘take’’ of the Covered Species associated with the construction, maintenance, operation, and repair of the transmission lines and associated access roads occurring within the Permit Area. The requested term of the permit is 30 years. To meet the requirements of a section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP, the applicant has developed and proposes to implement its DHCP, which describes the conservation measures LCRA has agreed to undertake to minimize and mitigate for the impacts of the proposed incidental take of the Covered Species to the maximum extent practicable, and ensures that incidental take will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of these species in the wild. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:34 Oct 21, 2011 Jkt 226001 Other Alternatives Considered We considered two alternatives to the proposed action. However, alternative route selection was not considered as part of any alternatives, as neither the applicant nor the Service had the authority to select alternative routes. Route selection is solely within the legal authority and discretion of the PUC. 1. No Action—No ITP would be issued. Under this alternative, the applicant examined whether it was possible to construct transmission lines along the routes selected by the PUC without the likelihood of causing take of listed species. LCRA examined the options for minimizing clearing of potential habitat (including that occurring within the rights-of-way) and conducting all clearing and construction activities outside of the breeding seasons of the Covered Species. While this would reduce the impacts to Covered Species, it still resulted in ‘‘take,’’ since their habitat occurs within the alignments for both transmission lines. In addition to the inability to avoid ‘‘take,’’ this alternative would also result in increased costs, increased safety and reliability concerns, and no conservation benefit from mitigation for the Covered Species. 2. Maximum Take Avoidance Alternative—Under this alternative, the applicant would employ the avoidance and minimization measures described under the No Action alternative, but they would pursue an ITP for less take than under the Proposed Alternative. This alternative would also result in increased costs, increased safety and reliability concerns, and less conservation benefit for the Covered Species than under the Proposed Alternative. Reviewing Documents You may obtain copies of the DEA and DHCP by going to the Service’s Web site at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/ or LCRA’s Web site at https://www.lcra.org/energy/trans/crez/ fed_envrio_compliance.html. Alternatively, you may obtain CD– ROMs with electronic copies of these documents by writing to Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758; calling 512/490–0057; or faxing 512/ 490–0974. A limited number of printed copies of the DEA and DHCP are also available, by request, from Mr. Zerrenner. Copies of the DEA and DHCP are also available for public inspection and review at the following locations, by appointment and written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 65745 • Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 1849 C. St., NW., Washington, DC 20240. • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Avenue, SW., Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87102. • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758. Persons wishing to review the application may obtain a copy by writing to the Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103. Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will not consider anonymous comments. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Section 9 of the Act and its implementing regulations prohibit ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as threatened or endangered under section 4 of the Act. However, section 10(a) of the ESA authorizes us to issue permits to take listed wildlife species where such take is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities and where the applicant meets certain statutory requirements. Joy E. Nicholopoulos, Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico. [FR Doc. 2011–27395 Filed 10–21–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P E:\FR\FM\24OCN1.SGM 24OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 205 (Monday, October 24, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65744-65745]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-27395]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2011-N142; 20124-1112-0000-F2]


Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft Habitat Conservation 
Plan for Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services 
Corporation in Central Texas

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of documents and announcement of public 
hearings.

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

SUMMARY: The Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services 
Corporation (applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) for an incidental take permit under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended. The applicant has completed a draft 
Habitat Conservation Plan (DHCP) as part of the application package. A 
draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) that evaluates the permit 
application in accordance with the requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 has also been prepared. We are making 
the permit application package, including the application, DHCP, and 
DEA, available for public review and comment.

DATES: Comment Period: To ensure consideration of your written 
comments, we must receive them on or before close of business (4:30 
p.m. C.S.T.) December 23, 2011.
    Public Meetings: Two public meetings will be held in the 
transmission line development area during the public comment period. 
The dates, times, and locations of these meetings will be announced in 
local newspapers at least 2 weeks before each meeting and will also be 
posted on the following Web sites: https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/; https://www.lcra.org/energy/trans/crez/fed_envrio_compliance.html.

ADDRESSES: To find out how to obtain documents for review and where to 
submit comments, see Reviewing Documents in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. 
To submit comments, please use one of the following methods, and note 
that your comment is in reference to permit number TE-46542A-0:
     E-mail: fw2_aues_consult@fws.gov.
     U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Austin Ecological Services 
Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758-4460.
     Fax: 512/490-0974.
     We will also accept written and oral comments at both of 
the public meetings (see DATES).
    When submitting comments, please reference permit number TE-46542A-
0.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, 
by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, 
Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758, or by phone at 512/490-0057.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA), we advise the public that:
    1. We have gathered the information necessary to determine impacts 
and formulate alternatives for the draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) 
related to the potential issuance of an incidental take permit (ITP) to 
Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA; 
applicant); and
    2. LCRA has developed a draft habitat conservation plan (DHCP) as 
part of the application for an ITP, which describes the measures LCRA 
has agreed to undertake to minimize and mitigate the effects of 
incidental take of federally listed species to the maximum extent 
practicable, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
    LCRA has applied for an ITP (TE-46542A-0) under section 10(a)(1)(B) 
of the Act. The requested ITP, which would be in effect for a period of 
30 years if granted, would authorize incidental take of two federally 
listed species (covered species), golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica 
chrysoparia) and black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla). As described 
in the DHCP, the proposed incidental take would occur in Gillespie, 
Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Mason, Menard, Schleicher, Sutton, and Tom Green 
Counties, Texas (Permit Area), and would result from activities 
associated with construction, maintenance, operation, and repair (both 
routine and emergency) of two Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) 
transmission lines and their associated access roads (Covered 
Activities), which are required to be constructed by the Public Utility 
Commission of Texas (PUC).
    The DEA considers the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of 
the proposed action of permit issuance, including the measures that 
will be implemented to minimize and mitigate such impacts to the 
maximum extent practicable.

Background

    We initially prepared a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement and

[[Page 65745]]

held public scoping meetings in connection with the applicant's 
requested permit. The NOI was published in the Federal Register on 
March 19, 2010 (75 FR 13299), and opened a comment period which lasted 
until June 17, 2010. A summary of comments provided during the 2010 
scoping period, which included public meetings held April 19, 2010, in 
San Angelo, Texas; April 21, 2010, in Comfort, Texas; April 22, 2010, 
in Junction, Texas; April 26, 2010, in Lampasas, Texas; and April 27, 
2010, in Fredericksburg, Texas, is available on the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service's (Service) Web site at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/ and on the applicant's Web site at https://www.lcra.org/energy/trans/crez/fed_envrio_compliance.html.
    Prior to the applicant filing its formal application with the 
Service for an incidental take permit, the scope of the anticipated 
covered activities was reduced significantly. Specifically, what was 
once to be an application covering take associated with construction, 
operation, maintenance, and repair of four 345-killivolt (kV) 
transmission lines, whose routes were unknown and which could touch all 
or a portion of 14 counties, is now an application for a permit 
authorizing potential take of listed species in connection with two 
345-kV transmission lines and their associated access roads whose 
routes are known. Potential impacts to species have been reduced 
substantially, and mitigation for those impacts meets or exceeds 
mitigation levels accepted by the Service in HCPs covering the same 
species.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action involves the issuance of an ITP by the Service 
for the Covered Activities in the Permit Area, pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The ITP would cover ``take'' of the Covered 
Species associated with the construction, maintenance, operation, and 
repair of the transmission lines and associated access roads occurring 
within the Permit Area.
    The requested term of the permit is 30 years. To meet the 
requirements of a section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP, the applicant has developed 
and proposes to implement its DHCP, which describes the conservation 
measures LCRA has agreed to undertake to minimize and mitigate for the 
impacts of the proposed incidental take of the Covered Species to the 
maximum extent practicable, and ensures that incidental take will not 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of these 
species in the wild.

Other Alternatives Considered

    We considered two alternatives to the proposed action. However, 
alternative route selection was not considered as part of any 
alternatives, as neither the applicant nor the Service had the 
authority to select alternative routes. Route selection is solely 
within the legal authority and discretion of the PUC.
    1. No Action--No ITP would be issued. Under this alternative, the 
applicant examined whether it was possible to construct transmission 
lines along the routes selected by the PUC without the likelihood of 
causing take of listed species. LCRA examined the options for 
minimizing clearing of potential habitat (including that occurring 
within the rights-of-way) and conducting all clearing and construction 
activities outside of the breeding seasons of the Covered Species. 
While this would reduce the impacts to Covered Species, it still 
resulted in ``take,'' since their habitat occurs within the alignments 
for both transmission lines. In addition to the inability to avoid 
``take,'' this alternative would also result in increased costs, 
increased safety and reliability concerns, and no conservation benefit 
from mitigation for the Covered Species.
    2. Maximum Take Avoidance Alternative--Under this alternative, the 
applicant would employ the avoidance and minimization measures 
described under the No Action alternative, but they would pursue an ITP 
for less take than under the Proposed Alternative. This alternative 
would also result in increased costs, increased safety and reliability 
concerns, and less conservation benefit for the Covered Species than 
under the Proposed Alternative.

Reviewing Documents

    You may obtain copies of the DEA and DHCP by going to the Service's 
Web site at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/ or LCRA's Web 
site at https://www.lcra.org/energy/trans/crez/fed_envrio_compliance.html. Alternatively, you may obtain CD-ROMs with electronic 
copies of these documents by writing to Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 
200, Austin, TX 78758; calling 512/490-0057; or faxing 512/490-0974. A 
limited number of printed copies of the DEA and DHCP are also 
available, by request, from Mr. Zerrenner. Copies of the DEA and DHCP 
are also available for public inspection and review at the following 
locations, by appointment and written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m.:
     Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 
1849 C. St., NW., Washington, DC 20240.
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Avenue, SW., Room 
6034, Albuquerque, NM 87102.
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 
200, Austin, TX 78758.
    Persons wishing to review the application may obtain a copy by 
writing to the Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. 
Box 1306, Room 6034, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. Before including your address, phone 
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--including 
your personal identifying information--may be made publicly available 
at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will not consider anonymous 
comments. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, will be made available for public 
disclosure in their entirety.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22) and NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6).
    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing regulations prohibit 
``take'' of fish and wildlife species listed as threatened or 
endangered under section 4 of the Act. However, section 10(a) of the 
ESA authorizes us to issue permits to take listed wildlife species 
where such take is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise 
lawful activities and where the applicant meets certain statutory 
requirements.

Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 2011-27395 Filed 10-21-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P