Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California, 78899-78901 [2014-30689]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 250 / Wednesday, December 31, 2014 / Notices the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond; including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions. C. Authority Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Dated: December 23, 2014. Michael Dennis, Director, Office of Housing Voucher Programs. the proposed forms or other available information. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the tollfree Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Arlette Mussington, Office of Policy, Programs and Legislative Initiatives, PIH, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., (L’Enfant Plaza, Room 2206), Washington, DC 20410; telephone 202– 402–4109, (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877– 8339. Copies of available documents submitted to OMB may be obtained from Ms. Mussington. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice informs the public that HUD is seeking approval from OMB for the information collection described in Section A. [FR Doc. 2014–30671 Filed 12–30–14; 8:45 am] A. Overview of Information Collection BILLING CODE 4210–67–P Title of Proposal: Inspector Candidate Assessment Questionnaire. OMB Approval Number: 2577–0243. Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection. Form Number: Form HUD 50002A and Form HUD 50002B—HFA. Description of the need for the information and proposed use: To meet the requirements of the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS), the Physical Condition of Multifamily Properties and the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) rules, the Department conducts physical condition inspections of approximately 14,000 multifamily and public housing properties annually. To conduct these inspections, HUD uses contract inspectors that are trained and certified in the Uniform Physical Condition Standards protocol by HUD. Individuals who wish to be trained and certified by HUD are requested to electronically submit the questionnaire via the Internet. The questionnaire provides HUD with basic knowledge of an individual’s inspection skills and abilities. As part of aligning REAC inspections, state Housing Finance Agencies may also fill out the form for informational purposes only. Respondents: Applicants to the UPCS inspector certification program and state HFA staff. Estimated Number of Respondents: 605. Estimated Number of Responses: 605. Frequency of Response: To apply to UPCS training. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5759–N–18] 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Inspector Candidate Assessment Questionnaire Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: HUD is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the information collection described below. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, HUD is requesting comment from all interested parties on the proposed collection of information. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment. DATES: Comments Due Date: March 2, 2015. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: Colette Pollard, Reports Management Officer, QDAM, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 4176, Washington, DC 20410–5000; telephone 202–402–3400 (this is not a toll-free number) or email at Colette.Pollard@hud.gov for a copy of mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:02 Dec 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00121 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 78899 Average Hours per Response: 15 to 20 minutes depending on the respondent. Total Estimated Burdens: 192 hours. B. Solicitation of Public Comment This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected parties concerning the collection of information described in Section A on the following: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond; including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions. Authority: Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Dated: December 23, 2014. Michael Dennis, Director, Office of Housing Voucher Programs. [FR Doc. 2014–30676 Filed 12–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2014–N147]; [FXES11120000– 156–FF08ECAR00] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Pauma Estates, Inc. (applicant) for a 5-year incidental take permit for the endangered arroyo toad pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the preliminary SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 78900 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 250 / Wednesday, December 31, 2014 / Notices determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ‘‘low-effect’’ Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. The basis for this determination is discussed in the environmental action statement (EAS) and associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for public review. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before January 30, 2015. ADDRESSES: Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 2177 Salk Avenue, Suite 250, Carlsbad, CA 92008. • Fax: Field Supervisor, 760–431– 9624. Obtaining Documents: To request copies of the application, proposed HCP, and EAS, contact the Service immediately, by telephone at 760–431– 9440 or by letter to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the proposed HCP and EAS also are available for public inspection during regular business hours at the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen A. Goebel, Assistant Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone 760– 431–9440. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Pauma Estates, Inc. (applicant) for a 5year incidental take permit for one covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., Act). The application addresses the potential ‘‘take’’ of the endangered arroyo toad in the course of activities associated with the construction of the Pauma Estates residential development in unincorporated San Diego County, California. A conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for project activities would be implemented as described in the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) by the applicant. We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the preliminary determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ‘‘loweffect’’ Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible for a categorical exclusion under VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:02 Dec 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. The basis for this determination is discussed in the environmental action statement (EAS) and associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for public review. Background Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under the Act as ‘‘to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1538). ‘‘Harm’’ includes significant habitat modification or degradation that actually kills or injures listed wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). However, under section 10(a) of the Act, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the Act as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species, respectively, are found at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. The applicant requests a 5-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking arroyo toad [Anaxyrus (=Bufo) californicus] as a result of permanent impacts to 10.74 acres (ac) of habitat the species uses for feeding and sheltering. The take would be incidental to the applicant’s activities associated with the construction of the Pauma Estates residential development in San Diego County, California, and includes in-perpetuity management activities within the proposed on-site biological open space area. The Pauma Estates project proposes to grade 16 lots for residential homes, construct the associated initial infrastructure (private road and utilities installation), and improve 3.8 ac of public road. The applicant will grade and install the initial infrastructure improvements necessary to create residential lots that will subsequently be sold to individual buyers for final buildout (e.g., pads, driveways, and landscaping) at an unspecified time in the future. The project will impact 10.74 ac of arroyo toad upland aestivation habitat permanently as a result of the residential development activities. To minimize take of arroyo toad by the Pauma Estates project and offset PO 00000 Frm 00122 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 impacts to its habitat, the applicant proposes to mitigate for permanent impacts to approximately 10.74 ac of occupied arroyo toad habitat through the on-site preservation of approximately 9.43 ac of occupied arroyo toad habitat within a dedicated conservation easement. In addition, the applicant proposes to improve the quality of arroyo toad habitat within the 9.43-ac biological open space area by providing funding for and implementing the in-perpetuity management of the biological open space area pursuant to an approved Resource Management Plan. The applicant’s proposed HCP also contains the following proposed measures to minimize the effects of activities to arroyo toad: • Grading and construction within arroyo toad upland aestivation habitat will only take place during the arroyo toad breeding season (defined as March 15–July 31), when arroyo toads are less likely to occupy the upland habitat. • A permanent arroyo toad barrier wall will be constructed between the development area and the on-site biological open space area. The above described impacts and mitigation will occur within designated critical habitat for the arroyo toad. Although the project site is adjacent to occupied habitat for other federally threatened and endangered species, no other listed species or designated critical habitat occur within the project site. Proposed Action and Alternatives The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, which includes measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the arroyo toad. If we approve the permit, take of arroyo toad would be authorized for the applicant’s activities associated with the construction of the Pauma Estates residential development. In the proposed HCP, the applicant considers alternatives to the taking of arroyo toad under the proposed action. Three alternatives to the taking of the listed species under the proposed action are considered in the proposed HCP. (1) Under the Reduced Density Alternative, the project impact footprint would be reduced; however, the alternative would either render the project economically infeasible, or would result in insufficient funding to conserve and manage arroyo toad habitat areas not proposed for development. (2) Under the Increased Density Alternative, additional areas of arroyo toad habitat would be impacted by project development and adequate E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 250 / Wednesday, December 31, 2014 / Notices habitat for the arroyo toad would not remain for conservation and management, thereby providing no benefit to the species in the project area. (3) Under the No Action Alternative, no arroyo toad habitat would be impacted or conserved. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Our Preliminary Determination The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of the proposed HCP qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1) and as a ‘‘low-effect’’ plan as defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). We base our determination that a HCP qualifies as a low-effect plan on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats, including designated critical habitat; (2) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) Impacts of the HCP, considered together with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to environmental values or resources that would be considered significant. Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional documentation. Next Steps We will evaluate the proposed HCP and comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We will also evaluate whether issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit would comply with section 7 of the Act by conducting an intra-Service consultation. We will use the results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue a permit. If the requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) are met, we will issue the permit to the applicant for incidental take of arroyo toad. Public Comments If you wish to comment on the permit application, proposed HCP, and associated documents, you may submit VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:02 Dec 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 comments by any of the methods noted in the ADDRESSES section. Public Availability of Comments 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. Authority We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Karen A. Goebel, Acting Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. [FR Doc. 2014–30689 Filed 12–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–HQ–NWRS–2014–N251; FXRS126309WHHC0–FF09R81000–156] Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council; Public Meeting Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a public meeting of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (Council). The Council provides advice about wildlife and habitat conservation endeavors that benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, the States, Native American tribes, and the Federal Government; and benefit recreational hunting. SUMMARY: Meeting: Tuesday January 13, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Wednesday January 14, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Eastern standard time). For deadlines and directions on registering to attend, requesting reasonable accommodations, submitting written material, and giving an oral presentation, please see ‘‘Public Input’’ under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in the South Penthouse Room, Main Interior Building, 1849 C St. NW., Washington, DC 20240. DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00123 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 78901 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Winchell, Council Designated Federal Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803; telephone (703) 358–2639; or email joshua_ winchell@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., we announce that Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council will hold a meeting. Background Formed in February 2010, the Council provides advice about wildlife and habitat conservation endeavors that: 1. Benefit wildlife resources; 2. Encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, the states, Native American tribes, and the Federal Government; and 3. Benefit recreational hunting. The Council advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, reporting through the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in consultation with the Director, Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Director, National Park Service (NPS); Chief, Forest Service (USFS); Chief, Natural Resources Service (NRCS); and Administrator, Farm Services Agency (FSA). The Council’s duties are strictly advisory and consist of, but are not limited to, providing recommendations for: 1. Implementing the Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Resource Conservation Plan—A Ten-Year Plan for Implementation; 2. Increasing public awareness of and support for the Wildlife Restoration Program; 3. Fostering wildlife and habitat conservation and ethics in hunting and shooting sports recreation; 4. Stimulating sportsmen and women’s participation in conservation and management of wildlife and habitat resources through outreach and education; 5. Fostering communication and coordination among State, tribal, and Federal governments; industry; hunting and shooting sportsmen and women; wildlife and habitat conservation and management organizations; and the public; 6. Providing appropriate access to Federal lands for recreational shooting and hunting; 7. Providing recommendations to improve implementation of Federal conservation programs that benefit E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 250 (Wednesday, December 31, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78899-78901]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30689]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2014-N147]; [FXES11120000-156-FF08ECAR00]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take 
Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California

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 an application from Pauma Estates, Inc. (applicant) for a 5-
year incidental take permit for the endangered arroyo toad pursuant to 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are requesting 
comments on the permit application and on the preliminary

[[Page 78900]]

determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ``low-effect'' 
Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible for a categorical exclusion under 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. The 
basis for this determination is discussed in the environmental action 
statement (EAS) and associated low-effect screening form, which are 
also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before January 30, 
2015.

ADDRESSES: Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
     U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 2177 Salk Avenue, Suite 250, 
Carlsbad, CA 92008.
     Fax: Field Supervisor, 760-431-9624.
    Obtaining Documents: To request copies of the application, proposed 
HCP, and EAS, contact the Service immediately, by telephone at 760-431-
9440 or by letter to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES). Copies of the proposed HCP and EAS also are available for 
public inspection during regular business hours at the Carlsbad Fish 
and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen A. Goebel, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); 
telephone 760-431-9440. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), have received an application from Pauma Estates, Inc. 
(applicant) for a 5-year incidental take permit for one covered species 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., Act). The application addresses the 
potential ``take'' of the endangered arroyo toad in the course of 
activities associated with the construction of the Pauma Estates 
residential development in unincorporated San Diego County, California. 
A conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for project 
activities would be implemented as described in the proposed Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) by the applicant.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ``low-
effect'' Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible for a categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 
as amended. The basis for this determination is discussed in the 
environmental action statement (EAS) and associated low-effect 
screening form, which are also available for public review.

Background

    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations 
prohibit the ``take'' of animal species listed as endangered or 
threatened. Take is defined under the Act as ``to harass, harm, pursue, 
hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species, or 
to attempt to engage in any such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1538). ``Harm'' 
includes significant habitat modification or degradation that actually 
kills or injures listed wildlife by significantly impairing essential 
behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 
17.3). However, under section 10(a) of the Act, the Service may issue 
permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. ``Incidental 
take'' is defined by the Act as take that is incidental to, and not the 
purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations 
governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered 
species, respectively, are found at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32.
    The applicant requests a 5-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking 
arroyo toad [Anaxyrus (=Bufo) californicus] as a result of permanent 
impacts to 10.74 acres (ac) of habitat the species uses for feeding and 
sheltering. The take would be incidental to the applicant's activities 
associated with the construction of the Pauma Estates residential 
development in San Diego County, California, and includes in-perpetuity 
management activities within the proposed on-site biological open space 
area.
    The Pauma Estates project proposes to grade 16 lots for residential 
homes, construct the associated initial infrastructure (private road 
and utilities installation), and improve 3.8 ac of public road. The 
applicant will grade and install the initial infrastructure 
improvements necessary to create residential lots that will 
subsequently be sold to individual buyers for final buildout (e.g., 
pads, driveways, and landscaping) at an unspecified time in the future.
    The project will impact 10.74 ac of arroyo toad upland aestivation 
habitat permanently as a result of the residential development 
activities.
    To minimize take of arroyo toad by the Pauma Estates project and 
offset impacts to its habitat, the applicant proposes to mitigate for 
permanent impacts to approximately 10.74 ac of occupied arroyo toad 
habitat through the on-site preservation of approximately 9.43 ac of 
occupied arroyo toad habitat within a dedicated conservation easement. 
In addition, the applicant proposes to improve the quality of arroyo 
toad habitat within the 9.43-ac biological open space area by providing 
funding for and implementing the in-perpetuity management of the 
biological open space area pursuant to an approved Resource Management 
Plan. The applicant's proposed HCP also contains the following proposed 
measures to minimize the effects of activities to arroyo toad:
     Grading and construction within arroyo toad upland 
aestivation habitat will only take place during the arroyo toad 
breeding season (defined as March 15-July 31), when arroyo toads are 
less likely to occupy the upland habitat.
     A permanent arroyo toad barrier wall will be constructed 
between the development area and the on-site biological open space 
area.
    The above described impacts and mitigation will occur within 
designated critical habitat for the arroyo toad. Although the project 
site is adjacent to occupied habitat for other federally threatened and 
endangered species, no other listed species or designated critical 
habitat occur within the project site.

Proposed Action and Alternatives

    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, which includes measures 
to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the arroyo toad. If we 
approve the permit, take of arroyo toad would be authorized for the 
applicant's activities associated with the construction of the Pauma 
Estates residential development. In the proposed HCP, the applicant 
considers alternatives to the taking of arroyo toad under the proposed 
action. Three alternatives to the taking of the listed species under 
the proposed action are considered in the proposed HCP.
    (1) Under the Reduced Density Alternative, the project impact 
footprint would be reduced; however, the alternative would either 
render the project economically infeasible, or would result in 
insufficient funding to conserve and manage arroyo toad habitat areas 
not proposed for development.
    (2) Under the Increased Density Alternative, additional areas of 
arroyo toad habitat would be impacted by project development and 
adequate

[[Page 78901]]

habitat for the arroyo toad would not remain for conservation and 
management, thereby providing no benefit to the species in the project 
area.
    (3) Under the No Action Alternative, no arroyo toad habitat would 
be impacted or conserved.

Our Preliminary Determination

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed HCP qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 
and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1) and as a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by the 
Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996).
    We base our determination that a HCP qualifies as a low-effect plan 
on the following three criteria:
    (1) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible 
effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their 
habitats, including designated critical habitat;
    (2) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources; and
    (3) Impacts of the HCP, considered together with the impacts of 
other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated 
projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to 
environmental values or resources that would be considered significant.

Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to prepare 
further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in making 
the final determination on whether to prepare such additional 
documentation.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the proposed HCP and comments we receive to 
determine whether the permit application meets the requirements and 
issuance criteria under section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). We will also evaluate whether issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) 
incidental take permit would comply with section 7 of the Act by 
conducting an intra-Service consultation. We will use the results of 
this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final 
analysis to determine whether or not to issue a permit. If the 
requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) are met, we will 
issue the permit to the applicant for incidental take of arroyo toad.

Public Comments

    If you wish to comment on the permit application, proposed HCP, and 
associated documents, you may submit comments by any of the methods 
noted in the ADDRESSES section.

Public Availability of Comments

    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.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Karen A. Goebel,
Acting Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2014-30689 Filed 12-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P