Bay Delta Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan, Sacramento, CA; Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement, Receipt of Applications, and Announcement of Public Meetings, 75939-75942 [2013-29779]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 240 / Friday, December 13, 2013 / Notices Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program Comments: 1.8; parking lot [FR Doc. 2013–29447 Filed 12–12–13; 8:45 am] Mississippi BILLING CODE 4210–67–P Harrison County Farm John Clark Rd. Gulfport MS 39503 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201320022 Status: Excess GSA Number: 4–A–MS–0572 Directions: Disposal Agency: GSA; Landholding Agency: Agriculture Comments: 14.14 acres; fire ant. investigations/grazing; contact GSA for more info. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD003 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Nevada Bureau of Reclamation RBG Water Project Site Bureau of Reclamation Henderson NV 89011 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201140004 Status: Surplus GSA Number: 9–I–AZ–0562 Comments: water easement (will not impact conveyance); 22±acres; current use: water sludge disposal site; lead from shotgun shells on <1 acre. New York FAA Radio Communication Link Adjacent to Babcock Road Coleville NY 13787 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201330001 Status: Excess GSA Number: 1–NY–0977–AA Comments: 6.03 acres; contact GSA for more info. Gettysburg Radio Tower Site Potter County Gettysburg SD 57442 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201310007 Status: Surplus GSA Number: 7–D–SD–0537 Directions: one antenna tower & 144 sf. bldg. located on property Comments: 2.21 acres; 144 sf. bldg. is used for storage Texas Fort Worth Federal Center 501 W. Felix Ft. Worth TX 76115 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201320023 Status: Surplus GSA Number: 7–G–TX–0767–6 Comments: 0.38 acres; perpetual use easement over 100% of property; secured area; approval to access granted by City of Ft. Worth Washington ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES [FWS–R8–ES–2013–N252] Bay Delta Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan, Sacramento, CA; Draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement, Receipt of Applications, and Announcement of Public Meetings National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce; Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: This notice announces the availability of the Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan (BDCP, or the Plan) and Draft BDCP Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/ EIS) for public review and comment. In response to receipt of an application from the California Department of Water Resources and certain State and Federal water contractors (the Applicants), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are considering the proposed action of issuing 50-year incidental take permits (ITPs) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. The proposed ITPs would authorize the take of individual species listed under the ESA. The permits are needed because take of species could occur as a result of implementation of activities, including those associated with water operations of the California State Water Project by the California Department of Water Resources. Covered activities in the Plan include the construction, operation, monitoring, and maintenance associated with water conveyance, ecosystem restoration, and other activities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin SUMMARY: South Dakota 1.8 Ac. of the Richland FB N. Parking Lot 825 Jadwin Ave. Richland WA 99723 Landholding Agency: GSA Property Number: 54201310002 Status: Excess GSA Number: 9–G–WA–1263 VerDate Mar<15>2010 Fish and Wildlife Service 13:32 Dec 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 75939 Delta (Delta) and vicinity as described in the BDCP. The Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation’s) proposed Federal action is to change operation of Central Valley Project (CVP) facilities in the Delta consistent with the BDCP; this operations change would support implementation of coordinated operation of the CVP with the California State Water Project. Reclamation may also make decisions regarding wheeling CVP water through new Delta conveyance facilities, and implementing habitat restoration and monitoring actions proposed by the BDCP that are consistent with Reclamation’s regulatory requirements, programs, authorities, and appropriations. These three Federal co-lead agencies have not selected a preferred alternative at this time. Comments on the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS must be received or postmarked by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on April 14, 2014. Twelve public meetings will be held to receive comments on the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting dates and times. DATES: To view or download the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS, or for a list of locations to view hard-bound copies, go to www.baydeltaconservationplan.com. You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: 1. By email: Submit comments to bdcp.comments@noaa.gov. 2. By hard-copy: Submit comments by U.S. mail, or by hand-delivery, to Ryan Wulff, National Marine Fisheries Service, 650 Capitol Mall, Suite 5–100, Sacramento, CA 95814. Please see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting locations. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Wulff, National Marine Fisheries Service, 916–930–3733; Lori Rinek, Fish and Wildlife Service, 916–930–5652; or Theresa Olson, Bureau of Reclamation, 916–414–2433. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Special Accommodation The public meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Ryan Wulff, National Marine Fisheries Service, at 916–930–3733 at least 5 working days prior to the meeting date. E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 75940 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 240 / Friday, December 13, 2013 / Notices Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of individuals of an endangered species and, by regulation, a threatened species, 16 U.S.C. 1538(a) (endangered species); 1533(d) (threatened species). The ESA defines the term ‘‘take’’ as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species, or attempt to engage in such conduct. ‘‘Harm’’ includes significant habitat modification or degradation that actually kills or injures listed wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3(c)). NMFS defines ‘‘harm’’ to include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 222.102). Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, FWS and NMFS may issue ITPs authorizing the take of listed species if, among other things, such taking is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. Although take of listed plant species is not prohibited under the ESA, and therefore authorization under an ITP is not necessary, plant species may be included on a permit in recognition of the conservation benefits provided to them under a habitat conservation plan. The Applicants have prepared and submitted the BDCP with their permit applications to the FWS, NMFS, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, pursuant to the regulatory requirements for a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit under the ESA, and a section 2835 permit under the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 2003 (California Fish and Game Code, Section 2800 et seq.). The Applicants seek 50-year incidental take permits for covered activities within the proposed Plan Area. The Plan Area encompasses the Delta and additional areas in which conservation measures may be implemented pursuant to the Plan. Incidental take permits issued for the BDCP will extend to covered activities in the Plan Area. The conservation strategy in the Plan is primarily focused on the statutory Delta, as defined in California Water Code Section 12220. However, certain areas outside the statutory Delta contain desirable locations for actions that advance the goals and objectives of the Plan. Suisun Marsh, Suisun Bay, and the Yolo Bypass have been included in the Plan Area to provide important sites for habitat restoration that directly VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:32 Dec 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 supports goals and objectives for natural communities and covered species. In addition, the conservation strategy includes measures that will be implemented outside of the statutory Delta to complement regional conservation planning efforts underway in Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Sacramento Counties. Because the California State Water Project and CVP water infrastructure is operated in coordination, the effects of implementing the BDCP may extend to aquatic systems beyond the Delta, both upstream and downstream. Therefore, the BDCP effects analysis considers these potential upstream and downstream aquatic effects, both positive and negative, to ensure that the overall effects of the BDCP are sufficiently described, analyzed, and addressed. The Applicants have requested permits that will authorize take of 19 animals listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA, and 19 animals that are not currently listed under the Act. The following four listed species are proposed for coverage under the NMFS permit: Sacramento River winter-run chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU); Central Valley spring-run chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) ESU; Central Valley steelhead (O. mykiss) ESU; and the Southern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The following 15 listed species are proposed for coverage under the FWS permit: Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus); riparian brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius); riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes riparia); salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris); San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica); California clapper rail (Rallus longirostris obsoletus); least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus); giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas); California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii); California tiger salamander, Central Valley DPS (Ambystoma californiense); conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio); longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna); Valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus); vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi); and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi). The proposed Plan and FWS and NMFS permits would also cover 19 animal species that are not currently listed under the ESA: Chinook salmon, Central Valley fall and late fall run ESU (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha); longfin PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys); Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus); white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus); Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus); river lamprey (Lampetra ayresii); Suisun shrew (Sorex ornatus sinuosus); California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus); greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida); Suisun song sparrow (Melospiza melodia maxillaries); Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni); tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor); western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea); western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis); white-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus); yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens); western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata); California linderiella (Linderiella occidentalis); and midvalley fairy shrimp (Branchinecta mesovallensis). The proposed permit also would include the following two federally listed plant species: Soft bird’s-beak (Cordylanthus mollis ssp. mollis); and Suisun thistle (Cirsium hydrophilum var. hydrophilum). If the proposed applications are approved and the permits are issued, take authorization of covered listed species would be effective at the time of permit issuance. Take of the currently non-listed covered species would be authorized concurrent with the species’ listing under the ESA, should they be listed during the permit period. The proposed Plan is intended to be a comprehensive document that would provide for projects that protect and restore ecosystem health and water supply reliability, to proceed within a stable regulatory environment. In order to comply with the requirements of the Federal ESA, the proposed Plan addresses a number of elements, including: Species and habitat goals and objectives; an evaluation of the effects of covered activities on covered species, including indirect and cumulative effects; a conservation strategy; a monitoring and adaptive management program; descriptions of changed circumstances and remedial measures; identification of funding sources; and an assessment of alternatives to take of listed animal species. Activities proposed for incidental take coverage include all Plan activities related to the development and operation of water conveyance infrastructure; habitat protection, restoration, creation, and enhancement; and other conservation measures to address important stressors in the aquatic environment. The conservation measures were developed to achieve a E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 240 / Friday, December 13, 2013 / Notices package of landscape-scale, natural community, and species biological goals and objectives. The conservation measures fall into the following categories: • Construction and operation of new water conveyance infrastructure. • Operation of both existing and new water conveyance facilities in the Delta consistent with operational criteria in the Plan. • Protection of existing functioning natural communities that are not currently protected. • Restoration of specific natural communities in areas that do not currently support those communities. • Improvement of existing habitat functions within existing natural communities. • Ongoing management of natural communities and habitat for covered species to maximize the ecological function in the lands conserved by the Plan over the long term. • Reduction of the adverse effects on covered fish species that result from specific stressors such as predation, toxic constituents in water or sediment, and illegal harvest. The biological goals of this habitat conservation plan are: (1) To minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the effects on covered species of the activities proposed in this Plan; and (2) to provide for the conservation and management of covered species in the Plan Area. Restoration, protection, or enhancement of the following natural community types would be undertaken under the proposed Plan: Tidal freshwater and brackish emergent wetland; tidal perennial aquatic; transitional upland areas; seasonally inundated floodplain; channel margin; valley foothill riparian; grassland; vernal pool complex; alkali seasonal wetland complex; managed seasonal wetland; nontidal perennial emergent wetland and nontidal perennial aquatic; and cultivated lands. The Plan also intends to provide public benefits, including helping to prevent species from becoming threatened or endangered, improving ecosystem health, improving the reliability of water supplies, and reducing future risks to the Delta from earthquakes, levee failure, and climate change. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of proposed major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The Federal actions for NMFS and FWS are the proposed VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:32 Dec 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 issuance of ESA section 10(a)(1)(B) take permits to the Applicants. Reclamation’s proposed Federal action is to change operation of CVP facilities in the Delta consistent with the BDCP that would support implementation of coordinated operation of the CVP with the California State Water Project. Reclamation may also make decisions regarding wheeling CVP water through new Delta conveyance facilities, and implementing habitat restoration and monitoring actions proposed by the BDCP that are consistent with Reclamation’s regulatory requirements, programs, authorities, and appropriations. A joint Draft EIR/EIS has been prepared to satisfy NEPA and the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code, Section 21000 et seq.). NMFS, FWS, and Reclamation are Federal co-lead agencies under NEPA, and the California Department of Water Resources is the State lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act. The Draft EIR/EIS analyzes 16 alternatives, including the issuance of ITPs/authorizations and implementation of the proposed Plan, which is described above. In addition, as required by NEPA, the EIR/EIS identifies direct, indirect, and cumulative effects, and possible mitigation for those effects, on biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, environmental justice, cultural resources, and other environmental resources that could occur with the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. No Action Alternative: Under the No Action Alternative, FWS and NMFS would not issue ITPs or incidental take authorizations for implementation of the BDCP, and Reclamation would continue to operate the CVP consistent with current management direction. As a result, the Applicants would likely seek individual incidental take authorization as needed for new projects and ongoing operations that would result in the take of federally listed species. Action alternatives: Four main variables define each of the 15 action alternatives analyzed in the Draft EIR/ EIS: • Alignment and design of water conveyance (delivery) facilities. • Operational guidelines. • Water delivery capacity (from 3,000 to 15,000 cubic feet per second). • Acreage of proposed habitat restoration and enhancement. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 75941 Public Meeting Information Twelve public meetings will be held to provide an overview of the project and allow public comment and discussion: 1. Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center, 848 M Street, Fresno, CA 93721. 2. Thursday, January 16, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Four Points by Sheraton, 5101 California Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93309. 3. Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, 110 W Fremont Street, Stockton, CA 95202. 4. Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., San Jose Marriott, 301 S. Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113. 5. Thursday, January 23, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Red Lion Hotel, 1830 Hilltop Drive, Redding, CA 96002. 6. Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court, Fairfield, CA 94533. 7. Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Jean Harvie Community Center, 14273 River Road, Walnut Grove, CA 95690. 8. Thursday, January 30, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. 9. Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. 10. Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ontario Convention Center, 2000 E. Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764. 11. Thursday, February 6, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101. 12. Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Clarksburg Middle School, 52870 Netherlands Road, Clarksburg, CA 95612. Public Comments This notice is provided pursuant to ESA and NEPA, as amended. Submitting comments to the email and hard-copy addresses identified in the ADDRESSES section of this notice will constitute effective filing of the California Environmental Quality Act comments on the EIR portion of the EIR/ EIS. NMFS, FWS, and Reclamation are furnishing this notice to allow other agencies and the public an opportunity to review and comment on these documents. All comments received will become part of the public record for this action. Comments on the Draft BDCP and/or Draft EIR/EIS should be E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 75942 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 240 / Friday, December 13, 2013 / Notices submitted to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. Before including your address, phone number, email 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 may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments submitted to the above address will be reviewed and considered by all of the lead agencies. Next Steps The lead agencies will compile and review all public comments on the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS submitted to them prior to preparation of a final EIR/ EIS. A permit decision by NMFS and FWS and a decision by Reclamation on CVP operations consistent with the BDCP, habitat restoration, and monitoring actions in the Delta will be made no sooner than 30 days after the publication of the final EIR/EIS and completion of the Record of Decision. A draft Implementing Agreement is still under preparation and will be made available to the public for review and comment in early 2014. It will be posted at www.baydeltaconservationplan.com as soon as it is available. Dated: December 9, 2013. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Dated: December 4, 2013. Alexandra Pitts, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Fish and Wildlife Service. Dated: December 2, 2013. Pablo R. Arroyave, Deputy Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of Reclamation. [FR Doc. 2013–29779 Filed 12–11–13; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P; 4310–MN–P; 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement [S1D1S SS08011000 SX066A000 67F 134S180110; S2D2S SS08011000 SX066A00 33F 13xs501520] Notice of Proposed Information Collection; Request for Comments for 1029–0114 Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Interior. AGENCY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:32 Dec 12, 2013 Jkt 232001 Notice and request for comments. ACTION: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is announcing its intention to renew authority to collect information for a series of customer surveys to evaluate OSM’s performance in meeting the performance goals outlined in its annual plans developed pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) previously approved the collection and assigned it clearance number 1029–0114. DATES: Comments on the proposed information collection must be received by February 11, 2014, to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to John Trelease, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1951 Constitution Ave. NW., Room 203–SIB, Washington, DC 20240. Comments may also be submitted electronically to jtrelease@osmre.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To receive a copy of the information collection request contact John Trelease, at (202) 208–2783 or electronically at jtrelease@osmre.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13), require that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities [see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)]. This notice identifies the information collection that OSM will be submitting to OMB for approval. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection of information is 1029– 0114 and is on the forms along with the expiration date. OSM will request a 3year term of approval for this information collection activity. Comments are invited on: (1) The need for the collection of information for the performance of the functions of the agency; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and (4) ways to minimize the information collection burden on respondents, such as use of automated means of collection of the information. A summary of the public comments will accompany SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 OSM’s submission of the information collection request to OMB. Before including your address, phone number, email 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 ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. This notice provides the public with 60 days in which to comment on the following information collection activity: Title: Technical Evaluations Series. OMB Control Number: 1029–0114. Summary: The series of surveys are needed to ensure that technical assistance activities, technology transfer activities and technical forums are useful for those who participate or receive the assistance. Specifically, representatives from State and Tribal regulatory and reclamation authorities, representatives of industry, environmental or citizen groups, or the public, are the recipients of the assistance or participants in these forums. These surveys will be the primary means through which OSM evaluates its performance in meeting the performance goals outlined in its annual plans developed pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act. Bureau Form Number: None. Frequency of Collection: Once. Description of Respondents: 26 State and Tribal governments, industry organizations and individuals who request information or assistance. Total Annual Responses: 550. Total Annual Burden Hours: 46. Dated: December 5, 2013. Andrew F. DeVito, Chief, Division of Regulatory Support. [FR Doc. 2013–29737 Filed 12–12–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–05–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 337–TA–847] Certain Mobile Phones and Tablet Computers, and Components Thereof; Commission Determination To Review in Part a Final Initial Determination Finding a Violation of Section 337; Schedule for Briefing on the Issues Under Review and on Remedy, the Public Interest, and Bonding U.S. International Trade Commission. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 240 (Friday, December 13, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75939-75942]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29779]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD003
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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2013-N252]


Bay Delta Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community 
Conservation Plan, Sacramento, CA; Draft Environmental Impact Report/
Environmental Impact Statement, Receipt of Applications, and 
Announcement of Public Meetings

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, Commerce; Fish and Wildlife Service and 
Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces the availability of the Draft Bay Delta 
Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan (BDCP, or the 
Plan) and Draft BDCP Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIR/EIS) for public review and comment. In response to 
receipt of an application from the California Department of Water 
Resources and certain State and Federal water contractors (the 
Applicants), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National 
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), are considering the proposed action of 
issuing 50-year incidental take permits (ITPs) under the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. The proposed ITPs would 
authorize the take of individual species listed under the ESA. The 
permits are needed because take of species could occur as a result of 
implementation of activities, including those associated with water 
operations of the California State Water Project by the California 
Department of Water Resources. Covered activities in the Plan include 
the construction, operation, monitoring, and maintenance associated 
with water conveyance, ecosystem restoration, and other activities in 
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and vicinity as described in 
the BDCP.
    The Bureau of Reclamation's (Reclamation's) proposed Federal action 
is to change operation of Central Valley Project (CVP) facilities in 
the Delta consistent with the BDCP; this operations change would 
support implementation of coordinated operation of the CVP with the 
California State Water Project. Reclamation may also make decisions 
regarding wheeling CVP water through new Delta conveyance facilities, 
and implementing habitat restoration and monitoring actions proposed by 
the BDCP that are consistent with Reclamation's regulatory 
requirements, programs, authorities, and appropriations. These three 
Federal co-lead agencies have not selected a preferred alternative at 
this time.

DATES: Comments on the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS must be received or 
postmarked by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on April 14, 2014.
    Twelve public meetings will be held to receive comments on the 
Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for 
meeting dates and times.

ADDRESSES: To view or download the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS, or for 
a list of locations to view hard-bound copies, go to 
www.baydeltaconservationplan.com.
    You may submit written comments by one of the following methods:
    1. By email: Submit comments to bdcp.comments@noaa.gov.
    2. By hard-copy: Submit comments by U.S. mail, or by hand-delivery, 
to Ryan Wulff, National Marine Fisheries Service, 650 Capitol Mall, 
Suite 5-100, Sacramento, CA 95814.
    Please see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting locations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Wulff, National Marine Fisheries 
Service, 916-930-3733; Lori Rinek, Fish and Wildlife Service, 916-930-
5652; or Theresa Olson, Bureau of Reclamation, 916-414-2433.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Special Accommodation

    The public meetings are physically accessible to people with 
disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other 
auxiliary aids should be directed to Ryan Wulff, National Marine 
Fisheries Service, at 916-930-3733 at least 5 working days prior to the 
meeting date.

[[Page 75940]]

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the ``take'' of individuals of an 
endangered species and, by regulation, a threatened species, 16 U.S.C. 
1538(a) (endangered species); 1533(d) (threatened species). The ESA 
defines the term ``take'' as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species, or attempt to 
engage in such conduct. ``Harm'' includes significant habitat 
modification or degradation that actually kills or injures listed 
wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3(c)). NMFS 
defines ``harm'' to include significant habitat modification or 
degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 
222.102). Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, FWS and NMFS may 
issue ITPs authorizing the take of listed species if, among other 
things, such taking is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise 
lawful activities. Although take of listed plant species is not 
prohibited under the ESA, and therefore authorization under an ITP is 
not necessary, plant species may be included on a permit in recognition 
of the conservation benefits provided to them under a habitat 
conservation plan.
    The Applicants have prepared and submitted the BDCP with their 
permit applications to the FWS, NMFS, and the California Department of 
Fish and Wildlife, pursuant to the regulatory requirements for a 
section 10(a)(1)(B) permit under the ESA, and a section 2835 permit 
under the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 
2003 (California Fish and Game Code, Section 2800 et seq.).
    The Applicants seek 50-year incidental take permits for covered 
activities within the proposed Plan Area. The Plan Area encompasses the 
Delta and additional areas in which conservation measures may be 
implemented pursuant to the Plan. Incidental take permits issued for 
the BDCP will extend to covered activities in the Plan Area.
    The conservation strategy in the Plan is primarily focused on the 
statutory Delta, as defined in California Water Code Section 12220. 
However, certain areas outside the statutory Delta contain desirable 
locations for actions that advance the goals and objectives of the 
Plan. Suisun Marsh, Suisun Bay, and the Yolo Bypass have been included 
in the Plan Area to provide important sites for habitat restoration 
that directly supports goals and objectives for natural communities and 
covered species. In addition, the conservation strategy includes 
measures that will be implemented outside of the statutory Delta to 
complement regional conservation planning efforts underway in Yolo, 
Solano, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Sacramento Counties.
    Because the California State Water Project and CVP water 
infrastructure is operated in coordination, the effects of implementing 
the BDCP may extend to aquatic systems beyond the Delta, both upstream 
and downstream. Therefore, the BDCP effects analysis considers these 
potential upstream and downstream aquatic effects, both positive and 
negative, to ensure that the overall effects of the BDCP are 
sufficiently described, analyzed, and addressed.
    The Applicants have requested permits that will authorize take of 
19 animals listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA, and 19 
animals that are not currently listed under the Act. The following four 
listed species are proposed for coverage under the NMFS permit: 
Sacramento River winter[hyphen]run chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus 
tshawytscha) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU); Central Valley 
spring-run chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) ESU; Central Valley 
steelhead (O. mykiss) ESU; and the Southern Distinct Population Segment 
(DPS) of North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The 
following 15 listed species are proposed for coverage under the FWS 
permit: Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus); riparian brush rabbit 
(Sylvilagus bachmani riparius); riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes 
riparia); salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris); San 
Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica); California clapper rail 
(Rallus longirostris obsoletus); least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii 
pusillus); giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas); California 
red[hyphen]legged frog (Rana draytonii); California tiger salamander, 
Central Valley DPS (Ambystoma californiense); conservancy fairy shrimp 
(Branchinecta conservatio); longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta 
longiantenna); Valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus 
californicus dimorphus); vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta 
lynchi); and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi).
    The proposed Plan and FWS and NMFS permits would also cover 19 
animal species that are not currently listed under the ESA: Chinook 
salmon, Central Valley fall and late fall run ESU (Oncorhynchus 
tshawytscha); longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys); Sacramento 
splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus); white sturgeon (Acipenser 
transmontanus); Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus); river 
lamprey (Lampetra ayresii); Suisun shrew (Sorex ornatus sinuosus); 
California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus); greater 
sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida); Suisun song sparrow (Melospiza 
melodia maxillaries); Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni); tricolored 
blackbird (Agelaius tricolor); western burrowing owl (Athene 
cunicularia hypugaea); western yellow[hyphen]billed cuckoo (Coccyzus 
americanus occidentalis); white-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus); yellow-
breasted chat (Icteria virens); western pond turtle (Actinemys 
marmorata); California linderiella (Linderiella occidentalis); and 
midvalley fairy shrimp (Branchinecta mesovallensis). The proposed 
permit also would include the following two federally listed plant 
species: Soft bird's-beak (Cordylanthus mollis ssp. mollis); and Suisun 
thistle (Cirsium hydrophilum var. hydrophilum).
    If the proposed applications are approved and the permits are 
issued, take authorization of covered listed species would be effective 
at the time of permit issuance. Take of the currently non-listed 
covered species would be authorized concurrent with the species' 
listing under the ESA, should they be listed during the permit period. 
The proposed Plan is intended to be a comprehensive document that would 
provide for projects that protect and restore ecosystem health and 
water supply reliability, to proceed within a stable regulatory 
environment.
    In order to comply with the requirements of the Federal ESA, the 
proposed Plan addresses a number of elements, including: Species and 
habitat goals and objectives; an evaluation of the effects of covered 
activities on covered species, including indirect and cumulative 
effects; a conservation strategy; a monitoring and adaptive management 
program; descriptions of changed circumstances and remedial measures; 
identification of funding sources; and an assessment of alternatives to 
take of listed animal species.
    Activities proposed for incidental take coverage include all Plan 
activities related to the development and operation of water conveyance 
infrastructure; habitat protection, restoration, creation, and 
enhancement; and other conservation measures to address important 
stressors in the aquatic environment. The conservation measures were 
developed to achieve a

[[Page 75941]]

package of landscape[hyphen]scale, natural community, and species 
biological goals and objectives. The conservation measures fall into 
the following categories:
     Construction and operation of new water conveyance 
infrastructure.
     Operation of both existing and new water conveyance 
facilities in the Delta consistent with operational criteria in the 
Plan.
     Protection of existing functioning natural communities 
that are not currently protected.
     Restoration of specific natural communities in areas that 
do not currently support those communities.
     Improvement of existing habitat functions within existing 
natural communities.
     Ongoing management of natural communities and habitat for 
covered species to maximize the ecological function in the lands 
conserved by the Plan over the long term.
     Reduction of the adverse effects on covered fish species 
that result from specific stressors such as predation, toxic 
constituents in water or sediment, and illegal harvest.
    The biological goals of this habitat conservation plan are: (1) To 
minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the effects 
on covered species of the activities proposed in this Plan; and (2) to 
provide for the conservation and management of covered species in the 
Plan Area. Restoration, protection, or enhancement of the following 
natural community types would be undertaken under the proposed Plan: 
Tidal freshwater and brackish emergent wetland; tidal perennial 
aquatic; transitional upland areas; seasonally inundated floodplain; 
channel margin; valley foothill riparian; grassland; vernal pool 
complex; alkali seasonal wetland complex; managed seasonal wetland; 
nontidal perennial emergent wetland and nontidal perennial aquatic; and 
cultivated lands. The Plan also intends to provide public benefits, 
including helping to prevent species from becoming threatened or 
endangered, improving ecosystem health, improving the reliability of 
water supplies, and reducing future risks to the Delta from 
earthquakes, levee failure, and climate change.
    National Environmental Policy Act Compliance
    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.) requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis 
of proposed major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality 
of the human environment. The Federal actions for NMFS and FWS are the 
proposed issuance of ESA section 10(a)(1)(B) take permits to the 
Applicants. Reclamation's proposed Federal action is to change 
operation of CVP facilities in the Delta consistent with the BDCP that 
would support implementation of coordinated operation of the CVP with 
the California State Water Project. Reclamation may also make decisions 
regarding wheeling CVP water through new Delta conveyance facilities, 
and implementing habitat restoration and monitoring actions proposed by 
the BDCP that are consistent with Reclamation's regulatory 
requirements, programs, authorities, and appropriations. A joint Draft 
EIR/EIS has been prepared to satisfy NEPA and the California 
Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code, Section 
21000 et seq.). NMFS, FWS, and Reclamation are Federal co-lead agencies 
under NEPA, and the California Department of Water Resources is the 
State lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act.
    The Draft EIR/EIS analyzes 16 alternatives, including the issuance 
of ITPs/authorizations and implementation of the proposed Plan, which 
is described above. In addition, as required by NEPA, the EIR/EIS 
identifies direct, indirect, and cumulative effects, and possible 
mitigation for those effects, on biological resources, land use, air 
quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, environmental 
justice, cultural resources, and other environmental resources that 
could occur with the implementation of the proposed action and 
alternatives.
    No Action Alternative: Under the No Action Alternative, FWS and 
NMFS would not issue ITPs or incidental take authorizations for 
implementation of the BDCP, and Reclamation would continue to operate 
the CVP consistent with current management direction. As a result, the 
Applicants would likely seek individual incidental take authorization 
as needed for new projects and ongoing operations that would result in 
the take of federally listed species.
    Action alternatives: Four main variables define each of the 15 
action alternatives analyzed in the Draft EIR/EIS:
     Alignment and design of water conveyance (delivery) 
facilities.
     Operational guidelines.
     Water delivery capacity (from 3,000 to 15,000 cubic feet 
per second).
     Acreage of proposed habitat restoration and enhancement.
Public Meeting Information
    Twelve public meetings will be held to provide an overview of the 
project and allow public comment and discussion:
    1. Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Fresno Convention 
and Entertainment Center, 848 M Street, Fresno, CA 93721.
    2. Thursday, January 16, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Four Points by 
Sheraton, 5101 California Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93309.
    3. Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., University Plaza 
Waterfront Hotel, 110 W Fremont Street, Stockton, CA 95202.
    4. Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., San Jose 
Marriott, 301 S. Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113.
    5. Thursday, January 23, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Red Lion Hotel, 
1830 Hilltop Drive, Redding, CA 96002.
    6. Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 
2200 Gateway Court, Fairfield, CA 94533.
    7. Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Jean Harvie 
Community Center, 14273 River Road, Walnut Grove, CA 95690.
    8. Thursday, January 30, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sheraton Grand 
Sacramento Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
    9. Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Los Angeles 
Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
    10. Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ontario 
Convention Center, 2000 E. Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764.
    11. Thursday, February 6, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., San Diego 
Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.
    12. Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Clarksburg 
Middle School, 52870 Netherlands Road, Clarksburg, CA 95612.

Public Comments

    This notice is provided pursuant to ESA and NEPA, as amended. 
Submitting comments to the email and hard-copy addresses identified in 
the ADDRESSES section of this notice will constitute effective filing 
of the California Environmental Quality Act comments on the EIR portion 
of the EIR/EIS. NMFS, FWS, and Reclamation are furnishing this notice 
to allow other agencies and the public an opportunity to review and 
comment on these documents. All comments received will become part of 
the public record for this action. Comments on the Draft BDCP and/or 
Draft EIR/EIS should be

[[Page 75942]]

submitted to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this 
document. Before including your address, phone number, email 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 may 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so. Comments submitted to the above address will be reviewed 
and considered by all of the lead agencies.

Next Steps

    The lead agencies will compile and review all public comments on 
the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS submitted to them prior to preparation 
of a final EIR/EIS. A permit decision by NMFS and FWS and a decision by 
Reclamation on CVP operations consistent with the BDCP, habitat 
restoration, and monitoring actions in the Delta will be made no sooner 
than 30 days after the publication of the final EIR/EIS and completion 
of the Record of Decision. A draft Implementing Agreement is still 
under preparation and will be made available to the public for review 
and comment in early 2014. It will be posted at 
www.baydeltaconservationplan.com as soon as it is available.

    Dated: December 9, 2013.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    Dated: December 4, 2013.
Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Fish and Wildlife 
Service.

    Dated: December 2, 2013.
Pablo R. Arroyave,
Deputy Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of Reclamation.
[FR Doc. 2013-29779 Filed 12-11-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P; 4310-MN-P; 4310-55-P