Draft Programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreements With Assurances and Receipt of Applications for Enhancement of Survival Permits for the Greater Sage-Grouse in Oregon; and Draft Environmental Assessment, 71444-71446 [2014-28361]

Download as PDF 71444 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 231 / Tuesday, December 2, 2014 / Notices Title of Proposal: Standardized Form for Collecting Information Regarding Race and Ethnic Data. OMB Control Number if applicable: 2535–0113. Description of the need for the information and proposed use: HUD’s standardized form for the Collection of Race and Ethnic Data complies with OMB’s revised standards for Federal Agencies issued, October 30, 1997. These standards apply to HUD Program Office and partners that collect, maintain, and report Federal Data on race and ethnicity for program administrative reporting. Agency form numbers, if applicable: HUD–27061. Members of Affected Public: Individuals or households, Business or other-for-profit, Not-for-profit institutions, State, Local or Tribal Government. Estimation of the total number of hours needed to prepare the information collection including number of responses, frequency of responses, and hours of responses: This proposal will result in no significant increase in the current information collection burden. An estimation of the total number of hours needed to provide the information for each grant application is 1 hour; however, the burden will be assessed against each individual grant program submission under the Paperwork Reduction Act; number of respondents is an estimated 11,000; 60% of responses will be quarterly and 40% annually. Status of the proposed information collection: Extension of a currently approved collection. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended. Dated: November 3, 2014. Loyd LaMois, Acting Director, Grants Management and Oversight Division, Office of Strategic Planning and Management. [FR Doc. 2014–28358 Filed 12–1–14; 8:45 am] rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 4210–67–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:30 Dec 01, 2014 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2014–N238; FXES11120100000–156–FF01E00000] Draft Programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreements With Assurances and Receipt of Applications for Enhancement of Survival Permits for the Greater SageGrouse in Oregon; and Draft Environmental Assessment Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received applications from five Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) for enhancement of survival (EOS) permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The permit applications include proposed programmatic candidate conservation agreements with assurances (CCAAs) for the greater sage-grouse, addressing conservation activities and ranching operations in Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and southern Union Counties, Oregon. The Service also announces the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA) addressing the proposed CCAAs and issuance of EOS permits in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). We invite comments from all interested parties on the applications, including the CCAAs and the EA. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received from interested parties no later than January 2, 2015. ADDRESSES: To request further information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comments are in reference to the Multi-County CCAA. • Internet: Documents may be viewed on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/ oregonfwo/. • Email: Jeff_Everett@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Multi-County CCAA’’ in the subject line of the message or comments. • U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE. 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266. • Fax: 503–231–6195, Attn: MultiCounty CCAA. • In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Documents will be available for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE. 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Everett or Jennifer Siani, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 503–231–6179. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have received five applications—from Baker Valley SWCD, Crook County SWCD, Grant SWCD, Lakeview SWCD, and Malheur County SWCD—for EOS permits under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA for incidental take of sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Each application includes a CCAA covering sage-grouse habitat on private lands in one or two counties in Oregon. The Service and the SWCDs prepared the CCAAs to provide landowners with the opportunity to voluntarily conserve the greater sage-grouse and its habitat while carrying out ranch operations. Background Information Private and other non-Federal property owners are encouraged to enter into CCAAs, in which they voluntarily undertake management activities on their properties to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species that are proposed for listing under the ESA, candidates for listing, or species that may become candidates or proposed for listing. EOS permits are issued to applicants in association with approved CCAAs to authorize incidental take of the covered species from covered activities, should they become listed. Through a CCAA and its associated EOS permit, the Service provides assurances to property owners that they will not be subjected to increased land use restrictions if the covered species become listed under the ESA in the future, provided certain conditions are met. Application requirements and issuance criteria for EOS permits for CCAAs are found in the Code of Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.22(d) and 17.32(d), respectively. See also our joint policy on CCAAs, which we published in the Federal Register with the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (64 FR 32726; June 17, 1999). On March 23, 2010, the Service determined that listing the greater sagegrouse under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) was warranted, but precluded by the need to address higher priority species E:\FR\FM\02DEN1.SGM 02DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 231 / Tuesday, December 2, 2014 / Notices rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES first. A proposed listing determination is scheduled for September 2015. In anticipation of the potential listing of sage-grouse under the ESA, the SWCDs requested assistance from the Service in developing sage-grouse CCAAs for ranch management activities on behalf of private landowners in Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and southern Union Counties, Oregon. Proposed Action The Service proposes to approve five programmatic CCAAs and to issue EOS permits, each with a term of 30 years, to the applicants for incidental take of greater sage-grouse caused by covered activities, if permit issuance criteria are met. Covered activities include rangeland treatments, livestock management, recreation, farm operations, and developments associated with ranching operations. The area covered under these proposed programmatic CCAAs is approximately 2,312,673 acres of core area (or preliminary priority habitat) and lowdensity (or preliminary general habitat) sage-grouse habitat located in Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and southern Union Counties, Oregon. Sage-grouse currently use habitats on the covered lands for lekking (breeding displays), late brood-rearing, and wintering. The draft programmatic CCAAs describe all of the threats to sage-grouse that have been identified on the covered lands, including: Loss and fragmentation of sagebrush habitat; large wildfires, as well as lack of fire in some areas; encroachment of junipers and other conifers; improper grazing; invasive plants; vegetation treatments that reduce or degrade sagebrush habitat; degradation of riparian areas; drought, as well as catastrophic flooding; disturbance from recreation and other activities; predation; West Nile virus; wild horse and burros; and insecticide use. The CCAAs also describe conservation measures landowners would implement to address each threat. Implementation of the programmatic CCAAs would benefit sage-grouse by reducing or eliminating threats to the species on the covered lands and by creating or maintaining habitat conditions that are suitable for all life-history stages of the species through the implementation of conservation measures. A private landowner who wishes to enroll under the programmatic CCAA would develop, in coordination with the SWCD, a site-specific plan (SSP) for the property to be enrolled. The SWCD would assist the landowner in identifying threats on the property and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:30 Dec 01, 2014 Jkt 235001 in selecting conservation measures to address those threats. Once the SSP is completed, the SWCD will submit it to the Service for approval. If the Service determines that an SSP is consistent with the terms and conditions established in the CCAA and EOS permit, the Service will issue a letter of concurrence to the SWCD approving the SSP. Upon Service approval of the SSP, the landowner and the SWCD will sign a Certificate of Inclusion in order for the landowner to receive coverage under the EOS permit issued to the SWCD for take of sage-grouse incidental to conservation and ranching activities, should the species become listed. Take authorization would become effective upon listing, as long as the enrolled landowner is in compliance with the terms and conditions of their SSP and the EOS permit. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance Approval of programmatic CCAAs and issuance of EOS permits are Federal actions that trigger the need for compliance with NEPA. Pursuant to NEPA, we have prepared one draft EA to analyze the environmental impacts related to the issuance of all five EOS permits and implementation of their associated programmatic CCAAs. The EA analyses three alternatives: A ‘‘no action’’ alternative, a landownerspecific alternative, and the proposed action. Under the no action alternative, the FWS would not enter into any additional CCAAs nor issue additional EOS permits for incidental take of sagegrouse associated with private ranching operations in Oregon; however, existing CCAAs and other conservation efforts would continue. The landownerspecific alternative would involve the development of CCAAs and issuance of EOS permits on an individual landowner-by-landowner basis. The proposed action alternative is a programmatic approach, in which the FWS would issue EOS permits to SWCDs and enter into multi-county CCAAs that will streamline landowner enrollment through certificates of inclusion. The proposed action is further described under ‘‘Proposed Action.’’ Public Comments You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We specifically request information, views, opinions, or suggestions from the public on our proposed Federal permit actions. We particularly seek comments on the following: (1) Biological information and data concerning greater sage-grouse; PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 71445 (2) current or planned activities in the covered area and their possible impacts on sage-grouse; (3) identification of any other environmental effects that should be considered with regard to the proposed permit actions; and (4) information regarding the adequacy of the CCAAs pursuant to the requirements for permits at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17. Public Availability of Comments All comments and materials we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, 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. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the EA, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at our Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES). Next Steps After completion of the EA based on consideration of public comments, we will determine whether adoption of the programmatic CCAAs warrants a finding of no significant impact or whether an environmental impact statement should be prepared pursuant to NEPA. We will evaluate the programmatic CCAAs, as well as any comments we receive, to determine whether implementation of the CCAAs would meet the criteria for issuance of EOS permits under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. We will also evaluate whether the proposed permit action would comply with section 7 of the ESA by conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation. We will consider the results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue EOS permits to the SWCDs. We will not make the final NEPA and permit decisions until after the end of the 30-day public comment period on this notice, and we will fully consider all comments we receive during the public comment period. If we determine that the permit issuance requirements are met, the Service will issue EOS permits to the five SWCDs. The SWCDs would then begin processing applications from landowners interested in developing SSPs consistent with the CCAAs in E:\FR\FM\02DEN1.SGM 02DEN1 71446 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 231 / Tuesday, December 2, 2014 / Notices order to receive coverage for the incidental take of greater sage-grouse under the SWCDs’ EOS permits. Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and their implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 40 CFR 1506.6, respectively). Dated: November 17, 2014 . Richard Hannan, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon. [FR Doc. 2014–28361 Filed 12–1–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [Docket No. BOEM–2014–0077; MMAA104000] Environmental Assessment for Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Virginia Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Interior. ACTION: Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment. AGENCY: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to consider the reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with the approval of wind energyrelated research activities offshore Virginia as proposed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Mineral, and Energy (DMME). The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the availability of the EA and to solicit public comment on the EA for a 30-day public comment period. DATES: BOEM will conduct a public information meeting to explain the proposed activities analyzed in the EA and provide additional opportunity for public comment on the EA. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Morin, BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Programs, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170–4817, (703) 787–1340 or michelle.morin@boem.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 6, 2013, BOEM issued a rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:30 Dec 01, 2014 Jkt 235001 Determination of No Competitive Interest (78 FR 73882) for a research lease requested by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). DMME subsequently submitted a research activities plan (RAP) that describes the proposed construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP). The RAP included the results of site characterization studies, such as geophysical, geotechnical, archaeological, and biological surveys. DMME’s proposed project would consist of two 6–MW wind turbine generators (WTGs), a 34.5-kilovolt (kV) alternating current (AC) submarine cable interconnecting the WTGs (inter-array cable), a 34.5 kV AC submarine transmission cable (export cable), and a 34.5 kV underground cable (onshore interconnection cable) that would connect the proposed project with existing infrastructure located in the City of Virginia Beach. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing to provide funding in support of VOWTAP and is participating as a cooperating agency in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. On March 14, 2014, BOEM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EA in the Federal Register (79 FR 14534). Comments received in response to the NOI can be viewed at: http:// www.regulations.gov by searching for Docket ID BOEM–2014–0009. A public scoping meeting was held April 3, 2014 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. BOEM used the input from the scoping process to solicit information regarding important environmental issues and alternatives that should be considered in the EA. Additionally, BOEM used the scoping process to identify and eliminate from detailed study issues which are not significant or issues that have been analyzed in prior environmental reviews. BOEM is seeking public input on the EA, including comments on the completeness and adequacy of the environmental analysis. BOEM will consider public comments on the EA in determining whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or conduct additional analysis under the NEPA. The EA and information on the public information meeting can be found online at http://www.boem.gov/ Research-Nomination-Outside-and-tothe-West-of-the-WEADOE/. COMMENTS: Federal, State, and local government agencies, tribal governments, and other interested PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 parties are requested to submit their written comments on the EA in one of the following ways: 1. Electronically: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the entry entitled ‘‘Enter Keyword or ID,’’ enter BOEM–2014–0077, then click ‘‘search.’’ Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this document. 2. In written form, delivered by hand or by mail, enclosed in an envelope labeled ‘‘Approval of the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Virginia’’ to: Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170– 4817. Comments must be received or postmarked no later than January 2, 2015. All written comments received or postmarked during the comment period will be made available to the public. Authority: This Notice of Availability is published pursuant to 43 CFR 46.305. Dated: November 24, 2014. Walter D. Cruickshank, Acting Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. [FR Doc. 2014–28164 Filed 12–1–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MR–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation Nos. 701–TA–506 and 508 and 731–TA–1238–1243 (Final)] Non-Oriented Electrical Steel From China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan Determinations On the basis of the record 1 developed in the subject investigations, the United States International Trade Commission (‘‘Commission’’) determines, pursuant to sections 705(b) and 735(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1671d(b)) and (19 U.S.C. 1673d(b)) (‘‘the Act’’), that an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of imports of non-oriented electrical steel from China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan, provided for in subheadings 7225.19.00, 7226.19.10, and 7226.19.90 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, that have been found by the Department of Commerce to be sold in the United 1 The record is defined in sec. 207.2(f) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 207.2(f)). E:\FR\FM\02DEN1.SGM 02DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 231 (Tuesday, December 2, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71444-71446]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28361]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2014-N238; FXES11120100000-156-FF01E00000]


Draft Programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreements With 
Assurances and Receipt of Applications for Enhancement of Survival 
Permits for the Greater Sage-Grouse in Oregon; and Draft Environmental 
Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received applications from five Soil and Water Conservation Districts 
(SWCDs) for enhancement of survival (EOS) permits under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The permit applications include 
proposed programmatic candidate conservation agreements with assurances 
(CCAAs) for the greater sage-grouse, addressing conservation activities 
and ranching operations in Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Lake, 
Malheur, and southern Union Counties, Oregon. The Service also 
announces the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA) 
addressing the proposed CCAAs and issuance of EOS permits in accordance 
with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). 
We invite comments from all interested parties on the applications, 
including the CCAAs and the EA.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received from 
interested parties no later than January 2, 2015.

ADDRESSES: To request further information or submit written comments, 
please use one of the following methods, and note that your information 
request or comments are in reference to the Multi-County CCAA.
     Internet: Documents may be viewed on the Internet at 
http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/.
     Email: Jeff_Everett@fws.gov. Include ``Multi-County CCAA'' 
in the subject line of the message or comments.
     U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2600 SE. 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266.
     Fax: 503-231-6195, Attn: Multi-County CCAA.
     In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Documents will be available 
for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 
2600 SE. 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Everett or Jennifer Siani, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES), telephone: 503-231-6179. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have received five applications--from 
Baker Valley SWCD, Crook County SWCD, Grant SWCD, Lakeview SWCD, and 
Malheur County SWCD--for EOS permits under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
ESA for incidental take of sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). 
Each application includes a CCAA covering sage-grouse habitat on 
private lands in one or two counties in Oregon. The Service and the 
SWCDs prepared the CCAAs to provide landowners with the opportunity to 
voluntarily conserve the greater sage-grouse and its habitat while 
carrying out ranch operations.

Background Information

    Private and other non-Federal property owners are encouraged to 
enter into CCAAs, in which they voluntarily undertake management 
activities on their properties to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat 
benefiting species that are proposed for listing under the ESA, 
candidates for listing, or species that may become candidates or 
proposed for listing. EOS permits are issued to applicants in 
association with approved CCAAs to authorize incidental take of the 
covered species from covered activities, should they become listed. 
Through a CCAA and its associated EOS permit, the Service provides 
assurances to property owners that they will not be subjected to 
increased land use restrictions if the covered species become listed 
under the ESA in the future, provided certain conditions are met.
    Application requirements and issuance criteria for EOS permits for 
CCAAs are found in the Code of Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.22(d) and 
17.32(d), respectively. See also our joint policy on CCAAs, which we 
published in the Federal Register with the Department of Commerce's 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine 
Fisheries Service (64 FR 32726; June 17, 1999).
    On March 23, 2010, the Service determined that listing the greater 
sage-grouse under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) was warranted, but precluded 
by the need to address higher priority species

[[Page 71445]]

first. A proposed listing determination is scheduled for September 
2015. In anticipation of the potential listing of sage-grouse under the 
ESA, the SWCDs requested assistance from the Service in developing 
sage-grouse CCAAs for ranch management activities on behalf of private 
landowners in Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and 
southern Union Counties, Oregon.

Proposed Action

    The Service proposes to approve five programmatic CCAAs and to 
issue EOS permits, each with a term of 30 years, to the applicants for 
incidental take of greater sage-grouse caused by covered activities, if 
permit issuance criteria are met. Covered activities include rangeland 
treatments, livestock management, recreation, farm operations, and 
developments associated with ranching operations. The area covered 
under these proposed programmatic CCAAs is approximately 2,312,673 
acres of core area (or preliminary priority habitat) and low-density 
(or preliminary general habitat) sage-grouse habitat located in Baker, 
Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Lake, Malheur, and southern Union Counties, 
Oregon. Sage-grouse currently use habitats on the covered lands for 
lekking (breeding displays), late brood-rearing, and wintering.
    The draft programmatic CCAAs describe all of the threats to sage-
grouse that have been identified on the covered lands, including: Loss 
and fragmentation of sagebrush habitat; large wildfires, as well as 
lack of fire in some areas; encroachment of junipers and other 
conifers; improper grazing; invasive plants; vegetation treatments that 
reduce or degrade sagebrush habitat; degradation of riparian areas; 
drought, as well as catastrophic flooding; disturbance from recreation 
and other activities; predation; West Nile virus; wild horse and 
burros; and insecticide use. The CCAAs also describe conservation 
measures landowners would implement to address each threat. 
Implementation of the programmatic CCAAs would benefit sage-grouse by 
reducing or eliminating threats to the species on the covered lands and 
by creating or maintaining habitat conditions that are suitable for all 
life-history stages of the species through the implementation of 
conservation measures.
    A private landowner who wishes to enroll under the programmatic 
CCAA would develop, in coordination with the SWCD, a site-specific plan 
(SSP) for the property to be enrolled. The SWCD would assist the 
landowner in identifying threats on the property and in selecting 
conservation measures to address those threats. Once the SSP is 
completed, the SWCD will submit it to the Service for approval. If the 
Service determines that an SSP is consistent with the terms and 
conditions established in the CCAA and EOS permit, the Service will 
issue a letter of concurrence to the SWCD approving the SSP. Upon 
Service approval of the SSP, the landowner and the SWCD will sign a 
Certificate of Inclusion in order for the landowner to receive coverage 
under the EOS permit issued to the SWCD for take of sage-grouse 
incidental to conservation and ranching activities, should the species 
become listed. Take authorization would become effective upon listing, 
as long as the enrolled landowner is in compliance with the terms and 
conditions of their SSP and the EOS permit.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    Approval of programmatic CCAAs and issuance of EOS permits are 
Federal actions that trigger the need for compliance with NEPA. 
Pursuant to NEPA, we have prepared one draft EA to analyze the 
environmental impacts related to the issuance of all five EOS permits 
and implementation of their associated programmatic CCAAs.
    The EA analyses three alternatives: A ``no action'' alternative, a 
landowner-specific alternative, and the proposed action. Under the no 
action alternative, the FWS would not enter into any additional CCAAs 
nor issue additional EOS permits for incidental take of sage-grouse 
associated with private ranching operations in Oregon; however, 
existing CCAAs and other conservation efforts would continue. The 
landowner-specific alternative would involve the development of CCAAs 
and issuance of EOS permits on an individual landowner-by-landowner 
basis. The proposed action alternative is a programmatic approach, in 
which the FWS would issue EOS permits to SWCDs and enter into multi-
county CCAAs that will streamline landowner enrollment through 
certificates of inclusion. The proposed action is further described 
under ``Proposed Action.''

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in the ADDRESSES section. We specifically request information, 
views, opinions, or suggestions from the public on our proposed Federal 
permit actions. We particularly seek comments on the following: (1) 
Biological information and data concerning greater sage-grouse; (2) 
current or planned activities in the covered area and their possible 
impacts on sage-grouse; (3) identification of any other environmental 
effects that should be considered with regard to the proposed permit 
actions; and (4) information regarding the adequacy of the CCAAs 
pursuant to the requirements for permits at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments and materials we receive become part of the public 
record associated with this action. Before including your address, 
phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comments, 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. Comments and materials we 
receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the 
EA, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during 
normal business hours, at our Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES).

Next Steps

    After completion of the EA based on consideration of public 
comments, we will determine whether adoption of the programmatic CCAAs 
warrants a finding of no significant impact or whether an environmental 
impact statement should be prepared pursuant to NEPA. We will evaluate 
the programmatic CCAAs, as well as any comments we receive, to 
determine whether implementation of the CCAAs would meet the criteria 
for issuance of EOS permits under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. We 
will also evaluate whether the proposed permit action would comply with 
section 7 of the ESA by conducting an intra-Service section 7 
consultation. We will consider the results of this consultation, in 
combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine 
whether or not to issue EOS permits to the SWCDs. We will not make the 
final NEPA and permit decisions until after the end of the 30-day 
public comment period on this notice, and we will fully consider all 
comments we receive during the public comment period.
    If we determine that the permit issuance requirements are met, the 
Service will issue EOS permits to the five SWCDs. The SWCDs would then 
begin processing applications from landowners interested in developing 
SSPs consistent with the CCAAs in

[[Page 71446]]

order to receive coverage for the incidental take of greater sage-
grouse under the SWCDs' EOS permits.

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.) and their implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 40 
CFR 1506.6, respectively).

    Dated: November 17, 2014 .
Richard Hannan,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2014-28361 Filed 12-1-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P