Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan for Western Butte County, California: Environmental Impact Statement, 72108-72113 [2015-29447]

Download as PDF 72108 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 222 / Wednesday, November 18, 2015 / Notices Meeting Agenda • Designated Federal Officer (DFO) update; • TMC Chair update; • Executive Director and Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) staff update; • Update on Coarse Sediment Lessons Learned Workshop; • TMC efficiency subcommittee update; • Public comment; • Discussion of watershed restoration needs and role in meeting TRRP goals; and • TRRP Goals, objectives, and definition of completion. The final agenda will be posted on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/arcata. Public Input If you wish to . . . You must contact Elizabeth Hadley (FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) no later than . . . Submit written information or questions for the TAMWG to consider during the meeting ............ December 3, 2015. Submitting Written Information or Questions Draft Plan. We also announce meetings and invite comments. DATES: Submitting Comments: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received by February 16, 2016. Public Meetings: Three public meetings will be held: 1. Monday, January 25, 2016; 6–8 p.m., Chico Masonic Center, 1110 W. East Ave., Chico, CA 95926. 2. Tuesday, January 26, 2016; 2–4 p.m., Oroville Southside Community Center, 2959 Lower Wyandotte Rd., Oroville, CA 95966. 3. Tuesday, January 26, 2016; 6–8 p.m., Gridley City Council Chambers, 685 Kentucky St., Gridley, CA 95948. ADDRESSES: Submitting Comments: Please address written comments to one of the following individuals: 1. Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division; or Eric Tattersall, Deputy Assistant Field Supervisor, by mail/hand-delivery at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W– 2605, Sacramento, California 95825; or by facsimile to (916) 414–6713. You may telephone (916) 414–6600 to make an appointment during regular business hours to drop off comments at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. 2. Gretchen Umlauf, by mail/handdelivery at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, 650 Capitol Mall, Suite 5–100, Sacramento, California 95814; or by facsimile to (916) 930–3629. You may telephone (916) 930–5646 to make an appointment during regular business hours to drop off comments at the National Marine Fisheries Service. Please send comments related specifically to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process to the Jon Clark, Executive Director, Butte County Association of Governments, 2580 Sierra Sunrise Terrace, Suite 100, Chico, California 95928. You may also submit comments by facsimile to (530) 879–2444. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service Interested members of the public may submit relevant information or questions for the TAMWG to consider during the meeting. Written statements must be received by the date listed in ‘‘Public Input,’’ so that the information may be available to the TAMWG for their consideration prior to this meeting. Written statements must be supplied to Elizabeth Hadley in one of the following formats: One hard copy with original signature, one electronic copy with original signature, and one electronic copy via email (acceptable file formats are Adobe Acrobat PDF, MS Word, PowerPoint, or rich text file). Registered speakers who wish to expand on their oral statements, or those who wished to speak but could not be accommodated on the agenda, may submit written statements to Elizabeth Hadley up to 7 days after the meeting. Summary minutes of the meeting will be maintained by Elizabeth Hadley (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). The minutes will be available for public inspection within 14 days after the meeting, and will be posted on the TAMWG Web site at http:// www.fws.gov/arcata. Dated: November 12, 2015. Joseph C. Polos, Supervisory Fish Biologist, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, Arcata, California. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES [FR Doc. 2015–29411 Filed 11–17–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P 18:50 Nov 17, 2015 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [FWS–R8–ES–2015–N184; FF08ESMF00– FXES11120800000–156] Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan/ Natural Community Conservation Plan for Western Butte County, California: Environmental Impact Statement Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine Fisheries Service, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of permit application, joint Draft Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report, joint draft Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan; request for comment. AGENCY: This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), have prepared a draft environmental impact statement and environmental impact report (DEIS/R) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended (NEPA), and its implementing regulations. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are cooperating agencies on the DEIS/R. This notice also announces the receipt of applications for 50-year incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The applicants prepared the Draft Butte Regional Conservation Plan (Draft Plan, or BRCP) pursuant to the Act and the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 2002 (NCCPA). The permits are needed to authorize the incidental take of 39 covered species that could result from activities covered under the proposed SUMMARY: Meeting Minutes VerDate Sep<11>2014 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 222 / Wednesday, November 18, 2015 / Notices Reviewing Documents: You may obtain copies of the Draft Plan and DEIS/R from any of the individuals in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, or from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office Web site at http://www.fws.gov/ sacramento. Copies of these documents are also available for public inspection, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. Additionally, hardbound copies of the DEIS/R and Draft Plan are available for viewing, or for partial or complete duplication, at the following locations in Chico: • Butte County Association of Governments, 2580 Sierra Sunrise Terrace, Suite 100; • Biggs Branch Library, 464A B Street; • Chico Branch Library, 1108 Sherman Avenue; • Gridley Branch Library, 299 Spruce Street; and • Oroville Branch Library, 1820 Mitchell Avenue. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: (1) Rick Kuyper, Endangered Species Division; Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division; or Eric Tattersall, Deputy Assistant Field Supervisor, at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office address above or at (916) 414–6600 (telephone); or (2) Gretchen Umlauf, National Marine Fisheries Service, at the address above or at (916) 930–5646 (telephone). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), have prepared a draft environmental impact statement and environmental impact report (DEIS/R) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; NEPA), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are cooperating agencies on the DEIS/R. This notice also announces the receipt of applications from the County of Butte, City of Oroville, City of Chico, City of Biggs, City of Gridley, Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Western Canal Water District (WCWD), Biggs— West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and Richvale Irrigation District (applicants) for 50-year incidental take VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:50 Nov 17, 2015 Jkt 238001 permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; Act) from FWS and NMFS. The applicants prepared the Draft Butte Regional Conservation Plan (Draft Plan, or BRCP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act and the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 2002 (NCCPA). A twelfth permit will also be considered for the implementing entity that will form prior to permit issuance. The implementing entity is described in the Draft Plan and Draft IA and will be composed of representatives from each of the applicants. The applicants are requesting the authorization of incidental take for 39 covered species that could result from activities covered under the proposed Draft Plan. We announce meetings and invite comments. Introduction The Draft Plan is a comprehensive, regional habitat conservation plan designed to provide long-term conservation and management of natural communities, sensitive species, and the habitats upon which those species depend, while accommodating other important land uses. The Draft Plan is being submitted as a habitat conservation plan pursuant to the Act, and a natural community conservation plan under the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA). FWS will serve as the administrative lead for all actions related to this Federal Register notice for the EIS component of the EIS/EIR and receipt of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for species under FWS’s jurisdiction. NMFS will serve as the administrative lead for all actions related to this Federal Register notice for receipt of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for species under NMFS’s jurisdiction. BCAG will serve as the State lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the EIR component. BCAG, in accordance with the CEQA, is publishing a similar notice. In addition to this notice of the draft EIR/EIS, EPA is publishing a notice announcing the draft EIS, as required under section 309 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). The publication of EPA’s notice is the official start of the minimum requirement for a public comment period for an EIS (see EPA’s Role in the EIS Process). Background Information Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531– 1544 et seq.) and Federal regulations (50 CFR part 17) prohibit the taking of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened under section PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 72109 4 of the Act. Take of federally listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species, or attempt to engage in such conduct. The term ‘‘harass’’ is defined in the regulations as to carry out actions that create the likelihood of injury to listed species to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns, which include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term ‘‘harm’’ is defined in the regulations as significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury of listed species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). However, under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that allow the take of federally listed species, provided that the take that occurs is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act contains provisions for issuing such incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: (1) The taking will be incidental; (2) The applicants will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; (3) The applicants will develop a proposed HCP and ensure that adequate funding for the HCP will be provided; (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) The applicants will carry out any other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. Proposed Project In 2007, the BRCP Planning Agreement was entered into and by and among the Local Agencies, BCAG, CDFG, the Service and NMFS. In 2010, Western Canal Water District, Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, Richvale Irrigation District and Caltrans became signatories to the Planning Agreement. The Planning Agreement set out the initial scope of the program and defined the roles and responsibilities of the parties in the development of the BRCP. The Planning Agreement has helped guide the BRCP planning process and to define the initial scope of the effort. BCAG served E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 72110 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 222 / Wednesday, November 18, 2015 / Notices as the lead in coordination of the process and preparation of the BRCP. The BRCP’s conservation strategy proposes to provide a regional approach for the long-term conservation of covered species (see Covered Species below) and natural communities within the BRCP plan area while allowing for compatible future land use and development under county and city general plan updates and the regional transportation plans. The BRCP identifies and addresses the covered activities carried out by the permittees that may result in take of covered species within the BRCP plan area. The proposed BRCP is consistent with and is intended to support compliance with other Federal and State wildlife and related laws and regulations, other local conservation planning efforts, and the city and county general plans. The BRCP was developed in coordination with the development of city and county general plans in the BRCP plan area, with feedback loops between the BRCP and general plan processes. These feedback loops identified opportunities and constraints and allowed for improvements in the general plans regarding the avoidance and minimization of impacts on biological resources and the development of open space and conservation elements that dovetail with the BRCP. The proposed BRCP is designed to streamline and coordinate existing processes for review and permitting of public and private activities that potentially affect protected species. To meet this goal, the BRCP sets out a conservation strategy that includes measures intended to ensure that impacts on covered species and habitats related to covered activities are avoided, minimized, or mitigated, as appropriate. These covered activities encompass the range of existing and future activities that are associated with much of the regional economy (see Covered Activities, below). The proposed conservation strategy includes establishing a reserve system that would be composed of an estimated 89,600 acres of large, contiguous blocks of land that would be permanently preserved, monitored, and managed, and restoration of an estimated 1,121 acres of covered species’ habitat. The conservation strategy would remain in rough step with impacts, and the reserve system would be assembled according to predefined milestones throughout the proposed 50-year permit term. Plan Area The BRCP plan area (or permit area) includes approximately 564,270 acres, including the western lowlands and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:50 Nov 17, 2015 Jkt 238001 foothills of Butte County. The BRCP Plan Area is bounded on the west by county boundaries with Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa Counties; bounded on the south by boundaries with Sutter and Yuba Counties; bounded on the north by the boundary with Tehama County; and bounded on the east by the upper extent of landscape dominated by oak woodland natural communities. Specifically, the eastern oak woodland boundary is defined by a line below which land cover types dominated by oak trees comprise more than one half of the land cover present, plus a small portion of the City of Chico that extends above the oak zone. The boundary of the BRCP plan area is based on political, ecological, and hydrologic factors. Covered Activities The proposed section 10 incidental take permit may allow take of wildlife covered species resulting from covered activities on non-Federal land in the proposed BRCP plan area. BCAG and local partners are requesting incidental take authorization for covered species that could be affected by activities identified in the BRCP. The activities within the BRCP plan area for which incidental take permit coverage is requested include construction and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure, both public and private, that are consistent with local general plans, and local, State, and Federal laws. The following is a summary of covered activities as proposed in the BRCP. Activities are grouped geographically (within urban permit areas, outside urban permit areas, and within the system of conservation lands established in the BRCP) and are further grouped into activities that result in permanent development, and activities involving maintenance of existing or new facilities that are expected to occur over time during the permit duration. This following list is not intended to be exhaustive; rather, it provides an overview of the types of activities that would be expected to occur. 1. Activities within Urban Permit Areas (UPAs) are areas within the BRCP plan area within which the cities and County anticipate urban development under their respective general plan updates. a. Permanent Development: covered activities within UPAs as a result of new construction and improvements to existing facilities are covered, including the following types of activities: residential, commercial, public facilities, and industrial construction; recreational activity–related construction; transportation facilities construction; pipeline installation; PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 utility services (above and below ground); waste and wastewater management activities; flood control and stormwater management activities; and in-water permanent development projects. b. Recurring Maintenance: covered activities within UPAs include maintenance of existing and new facilities resulting in temporary impacts, including the following types of activities: recreational activities; transportation facilities maintenance; pipeline maintenance; utility services; waste and wastewater facilities management activities; flood control and stormwater management activities; vegetation management; bridge and drainage structure maintenance; inwater recurring maintenance activities; and irrigation and drainage canal activities (Western Canal Water District, Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and Richvale Irrigation District). 2. Activities Outside UPAs are areas of the County within the BRCP Plan Area and located outside of the UPAs. Covered activities include linear utilities, transportation construction and maintenance projects, and agricultural support services projects. Outside UPAs do not include areas that become part of BRCP conservation lands. a. Permanent Development: covered activities of outside UPAs include new construction and improvements to existing facilities, including the following types of activities: waste management and wastewater facilities; rerouting of canals (Western Canal Water District, Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and Richvale Irrigation District); transportation facilities construction; BCAG Regional Transportation Plan and Caltrans projects; County rural bridge replacement projects; Butte County rural intersection improvement projects; Butte County rural roadway improvement projects; in-water permanent development projects; and agricultural services. b. Recurring Maintenance covered activities of outside UPAs include maintenance of existing and new facilities, including the following types of activities: waste and wastewater management activities; irrigation and drainage canal activities (Western Canal Water District, Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and Richvale Irrigation District); transportation facilities maintenance; flood control and stormwater management activities; vegetation management; in-water maintenance activities; and bridge and drainage structure maintenance. E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 222 / Wednesday, November 18, 2015 / Notices burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) (FWS), western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis) (FWS), greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida) (FWS), California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus) (FWS), American peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) (FWS), Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni) (FWS), whitetailed kite (Elanus leucurus) (FWS), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (FWS), Blainville’s horned lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) (FWS), Western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata) (FWS), foothill Covered Species yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii) (FWS), Covered Species are those species Western spadefoot toad (Spea addressed in the proposed BRCP for hammondii) (FWS), and Central Valley which conservation actions will be fall/late fall-run Chinook salmon implemented and for which the (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (NMFS). Applicants will seek incidental take Take of listed plant species is not authorizations for a period of up to 50 prohibited on non-Federal land under years. Proposed covered species include the Act, and cannot be authorized under threatened and endangered species a section 10 permit. However, the listed under the Act, species listed applicants propose to include plant under the California Endangered species in recognition of the Species Act (CESA), as well as currently conservation benefits provided for them unlisted species that have the potential under an HCP. For the purposes of the to become listed during the life of the Plan, certain plant species are further BRCP. The BRCP currently includes 39 included to meet regulatory obligations listed and non-listed wildlife and plant under section 7 of the Act and the species. CESA. All species included on an The following federally listed incidental take permit would receive threatened and endangered wildlife assurances under FWS’s ‘‘No Surprises’’ species are proposed to be covered by regulations found in 50 CFR 17.22(b)(5) the BRCP (‘‘NMFS’’ indicates those and 17.32(b)(5). The following federally species to be included only on the listed plant species are proposed to be NMFS permit, and ‘‘FWS’’ indicates included in the BRCP in recognition of those species only to be included on the the conservation benefits provided for FWS permit): The threatened Central them under the BRCP and the Valley steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) assurances permit holders would (NMFS), endangered Sacramento River receive if they are included on FWS’s winter-run Chinook salmon permit: the threatened Hoover’s spurge (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (NMFS), (Chamaesyce hooveri), endangered threatened Central Valley spring-run Butte County meadowfoam (Limnanthes Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus floccosa ssp. californica), endangered tshawytscha) (NMFS), threatened green hairy Orcutt grass (Orcuttia pilosa), sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) threatened slender Orcutt grass (NMFS), threatened Valley elderberry (Orcuttia tenuis), and endangered longhorn beetle (Desmocerus Greene’s tuctoria (Tuctoria greenei). The californicus dimorphus) (FWS), following unlisted plant species are also endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp proposed to be included in the BRCP: (Lepidurus packardi) (FWS), Ferris’ milkvetch (Astragalus tener var. endangered conservancy fairy shrimp ferrisiae), lesser saltscale (Atriplex (Branchinecta conservatio) (FWS), minuscula), Ahart’s dwarf rush (Juncus threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp leiospermus var. ahartii), Red Bluff (Branchinecta lynchi) (FWS), and dwarf rush (Juncus leiospermus var. threatened giant garter snake leiospermus), veiny monardella (Thamnophis gigas) (FWS). (Monardella douglasii ssp. venosa), The following non-listed wildlife Ahart’s paronychia (Paronychia ahartii), species are proposed to be covered by California beaked-rush (Rhynchospora the BRCP (‘‘NMFS’’ indicates those californica), Butte County checkerbloom species to be included on the NMFS (Sidalcea robusta), and Butte County permit and ‘‘FWS’’ indicates those golden clover (Trifolium jokerstii). species to be included on the FWS National Environmental Policy Act permit): tricolored blackbird (Agelaius Compliance tricolor) (FWS), yellow-breasted chat FWS prepared the EIS, with NMFS, (Icteria virens) (FWS), bank swallow Corps, and EPA as cooperating agencies. (Riparia riparia) (FWS), Western asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 3. Conservation Lands include the system of conservation lands established under the BRCP. It includes conservation actions implemented by the BRCP on conservation lands, including the following types of activities: habitat management; habitat restoration and enhancement; habitat and species monitoring; directed studies; general maintenance of conservation lands and facilities; avoidance and minimization measures; and other species conservation measures. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:50 Nov 17, 2015 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 72111 The EIS is the Federal portion of the Draft EIS/R, to analyze the impacts of issuing incidental take permits based on the Draft Plan. BCAG facilitated the preparation of the EIR portion of the Draft EIS/R, in compliance with the CEQA, but all applicants share the CEQA lead agency role. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is a CEQA Trustee and Responsible Agency. The Draft EIS/R was developed to inform the public of the proposed action, alternatives, and associated impacts; address public comments received during the scoping period for the Draft EIS/R; and disclose irreversible commitments of resources. The Draft EIS/R was developed to inform the public of the proposed action, alternatives, and associated impacts; address public comments received during the scoping period for the Draft EIS/R; and disclose irreversible commitments of resources. The proposed permit issuance triggers the need for compliance with NEPA. FWS published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS/R in the Federal Register on December 14, 2012 (77 FR 74500). The NOI announced a public scoping period during which time the public was invited to provide written comments and attend two public scoping meetings, which were held on January 9, 2012, in Oroville and Chico, California. The Service is now providing notice of the availability of the Draft EIS/R, which evaluates the impacts of the Proposed Action described above (i.e., issuance of the permits and implementation of the Draft Plan), as well as the No-Action Alternative, a Reduced Development/Reduced Fill Alternative, and a Greater Conservation Alternative, which are described below. No-Action Alternative Under the No-Action Alternative, FWS and NMFS would not issue incidental take permits to the Applicants, and the Draft Plan would not be implemented. Under this alternative, projects that may adversely affect federally listed species would require project-level consultation with FWS and NMFS pursuant to section 7 or section 10 of the Act. The applicants and others whose ongoing activities or future actions have the potential for incidental take of State-listed species in the plan area would apply for incidental take authorization under CESA through a Section 2081(b) permit. Under the No Action Alternative, there would be no comprehensive means to coordinate and standardize mitigation and compensation requirements of the Act and CESA within the Plan Area. This is E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 72112 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 222 / Wednesday, November 18, 2015 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES anticipated to result in a more costly, less equitable, less efficient project review process that would reap fewer conservation benefits. Conservation planning and implementation would not happen at a regional scale and, therefore, would not establish a large interconnected system of conservation lands to meet the needs of the species covered by the BRCP. Reduced Development/Reduced Fill Alternative Under the Reduced Development/ Reduced Fill Alternative, the reduced development alternatives described in the applicants’ general plan EIRs were combined to create a single reduced development/reduced fill footprint. Under the applicant’s general plan alternatives, there would be either a reduction in the development footprint for the respective jurisdictions such that the development would be concentrated closer to urban centers or a reduction in the total dwelling units and commercial/industrial square footage such that less development would occur. Covered activities under this alternative would be similar to those described in the BRCP but would be limited to the reduced-development footprint and to a permit term of 30 years. The conservation strategy would be similar to that of the BRCP because it would apply similar natural community acreage limitations. This alternative would also reduce impacts on waters of the United States by reducing the potential impacts on jurisdictional waters, including wetlands, by reducing the amount of overall development anticipated to occur within the Plan Area and by applying the acreage limitations to jurisdictional waters as described in the BRCP. This also includes reduced dredge or fill of jurisdictional waters of the United States, including wetlands, by reducing or eliminating the types of covered activities identified in the BRCP associated with bridges and transportation projects. However, though the conservation measures (and any activities undertaken by the water districts or irrigation districts) would be the same as under the proposed action, there would be an overall reduced amount and extent of conserved lands under this alternative because less development would occur over a shorter time period. Greater Conservation Alternative The Greater Conservation Alternative would increase the target amount of certain natural community types to be conserved under the conservation strategy. This alternative would VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:50 Nov 17, 2015 Jkt 238001 maintain the same Plan Area, covered species, covered activities, and conservation measures as the Proposed Action Alternative, but would modify the proposed conservation strategy to increase conservation of two land cover types: grasslands and rice. The increase in these land cover types, as compared to the Proposed Action, is expected to provide additional habitat for certain covered species (e.g., Swainson’s hawk, white-tailed kite, and giant garter snake). This alternative would increase grasslands conserved by 9,850 acres (an approximately 20 percent increase) and increase rice conservation by 35,310 acres (an approximately 90 percent increase) as compared to the proposed action. The Greater Conservation Alternative would result in approximately 51,955 and up to 78,140 total acres of grasslands and rice conservation, respectively. EPA’s Role in the EIS Process The EPA is charged under section 309 of the Clean Air Act to review all Federal agencies’ EISs and to comment on the adequacy and the acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in the EISs. EPA also serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by Federal agencies and provides notice of their availability in the Federal Register. The EIS database provides information about EISs prepared by Federal agencies, as well as EPA’s comments concerning the EISs. All EISs are filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. For more information, see http:// www.epa.gov/compliance/nepa/ eisdata.html. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. Public Comments We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this notice, the Draft EIS/R. and Draft Plan. We particularly seek comments on the following: 1. Biological information concerning the species; 2. Relevant data concerning the species; 3. Additional information concerning the range, distribution, population size, and population trends of the species; 4. Current or planned activities in the subject area and their possible impacts on the species; PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5. The presence of archeological sites, buildings and structures, historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic preservation concerns, which are required to be considered in project planning by the National Historic Preservation Act; and 6. Identification of any other environmental issues that should be considered with regard to the proposed development and permit action. You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. Comments and materials we receive will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Service’s Sacramento address (see ADDRESSES). Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—might 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. Next Steps This notice is provided under section 10(a) of the Act and FWS regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the applications, associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to prepare a Final EIS/R. Permit decisions will be made no sooner than 30 days after the publication of the NOA of for the Final EIS/R and completion of the Record of Decision. Authority We publish this notice under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347 et seq.; NEPA), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR parts 1500– 1508, as well as in compliance with section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531–1544 et seq.; Act). E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 222 / Wednesday, November 18, 2015 / Notices Dated: November 6, 2015. Alexandra Pitts, Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California. Dated: November 6, 2015. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–29447 Filed 11–17–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public Interest U.S. International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has received a complaint entitled Certain Computer Cables, Chargers, Adapters, Peripheral Devices and Packaging Containing the Same, DN 3100; the Commission is soliciting comments on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or complainant’s filing under section 210.8(b) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.8(b)). SUMMARY: Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205–2000. The public version of the complaint can be accessed on the Commission’s Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at EDIS,1 and will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205–2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server at United States International Trade Commission (USITC) at USITC.2 The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission’s Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at EDIS.3 Hearing-impaired persons are advised asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 1 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov. 2 United States International Trade Commission (USITC): http://edis.usitc.gov. 3 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:50 Nov 17, 2015 Jkt 238001 that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission’s TDD terminal on (202) 205–1810. The Commission has received a complaint and a submission pursuant to section 210.8(b) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure filed on behalf of Belkin International, Inc. on November 12, 2015. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain computer cables, chargers, adapters, peripheral devices and packaging containing the same. The complaint names as respondents Dongguan Pinte Electronic Co., Ltd. of China and Dongguan Shijie Fresh Electronic Products Factory of China. The complainant requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order and a cease and desist order. Proposed respondents, other interested parties, and members of the public are invited to file comments, not to exceed five (5) pages in length, inclusive of attachments, on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or section 210.8(b) filing. Comments should address whether issuance of the relief specifically requested by the complainant in this investigation would affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers. In particular, the Commission is interested in comments that: (i) Explain how the articles potentially subject to the requested remedial orders are used in the United States; (ii) identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating to the requested remedial orders; (iii) identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or third parties make in the United States which could replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded; (iv) indicate whether complainant, complainant’s licensees, and/or third party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the requested exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order within a commercially reasonable time; and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 72113 (v) explain how the requested remedial orders would impact United States consumers. Written submissions must be filed no later than by close of business, eight calendar days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. There will be further opportunities for comment on the public interest after the issuance of any final initial determination in this investigation. Persons filing written submissions must file the original document electronically on or before the deadlines stated above and submit 8 true paper copies to the Office of the Secretary by noon the next day pursuant to section 210.4(f) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.4(f)). Submissions should refer to the docket number (‘‘Docket No. 3100’’) in a prominent place on the cover page and/or the first page. (See Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures, Electronic Filing Procedures.4) Persons with questions regarding filing should contact the Secretary (202–205–2000). Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary and on EDIS.5 This action is taken under the authority of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and of sections 201.10 and 210.8(c) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 201.10, 210.8(c)). By order of the Commission. Dated: November 12, 2015. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission. [FR Doc. 2015–29453 Filed 11–17–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020–02–P 4 Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures: http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/ rules/handbook_on_electronic_filing.pdf. 5 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov. E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 222 (Wednesday, November 18, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72108-72113]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-29447]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[FWS-R8-ES-2015-N184; FF08ESMF00-FXES11120800000-156]


Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation 
Plan for Western Butte County, California: Environmental Impact 
Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine Fisheries 
Service, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of permit application, joint 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report, joint 
draft Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan; 
request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (FWS), have prepared a draft environmental impact 
statement and environmental impact report (DEIS/R) under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended (NEPA), and its 
implementing regulations. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) are cooperating agencies on the DEIS/R.
    This notice also announces the receipt of applications for 50-year 
incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended. The applicants prepared the Draft Butte Regional Conservation 
Plan (Draft Plan, or BRCP) pursuant to the Act and the California 
Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 2002 (NCCPA). The 
permits are needed to authorize the incidental take of 39 covered 
species that could result from activities covered under the proposed 
Draft Plan. We also announce meetings and invite comments.

DATES: Submitting Comments: To ensure consideration, written comments 
must be received by February 16, 2016.
    Public Meetings: Three public meetings will be held:
    1. Monday, January 25, 2016; 6-8 p.m., Chico Masonic Center, 1110 
W. East Ave., Chico, CA 95926.
    2. Tuesday, January 26, 2016; 2-4 p.m., Oroville Southside 
Community Center, 2959 Lower Wyandotte Rd., Oroville, CA 95966.
    3. Tuesday, January 26, 2016; 6-8 p.m., Gridley City Council 
Chambers, 685 Kentucky St., Gridley, CA 95948.

ADDRESSES: Submitting Comments: Please address written comments to one 
of the following individuals:
    1. Mike Thomas, Chief, Conservation Planning Division; or Eric 
Tattersall, Deputy Assistant Field Supervisor, by mail/hand-delivery at 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 
2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825; or by facsimile 
to (916) 414-6713. You may telephone (916) 414-6600 to make an 
appointment during regular business hours to drop off comments at the 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office.
    2. Gretchen Umlauf, by mail/hand-delivery at National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, West Coast Region, National Marine 
Fisheries Service, 650 Capitol Mall, Suite 5-100, Sacramento, 
California 95814; or by facsimile to (916) 930-3629. You may telephone 
(916) 930-5646 to make an appointment during regular business hours to 
drop off comments at the National Marine Fisheries Service.
    Please send comments related specifically to the California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process to the Jon Clark, Executive 
Director, Butte County Association of Governments, 2580 Sierra Sunrise 
Terrace, Suite 100, Chico, California 95928. You may also submit 
comments by facsimile to (530) 879-2444.

[[Page 72109]]

    Reviewing Documents: You may obtain copies of the Draft Plan and 
DEIS/R from any of the individuals in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, 
or from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office Web site at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento. Copies of these documents are also available 
for public inspection, by appointment, during regular business hours, 
at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. Additionally, hard-bound 
copies of the DEIS/R and Draft Plan are available for viewing, or for 
partial or complete duplication, at the following locations in Chico:
     Butte County Association of Governments, 2580 Sierra 
Sunrise Terrace, Suite 100;
     Biggs Branch Library, 464A B Street;
     Chico Branch Library, 1108 Sherman Avenue;
     Gridley Branch Library, 299 Spruce Street; and
     Oroville Branch Library, 1820 Mitchell Avenue.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
    (1) Rick Kuyper, Endangered Species Division; Mike Thomas, Chief, 
Conservation Planning Division; or Eric Tattersall, Deputy Assistant 
Field Supervisor, at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office address 
above or at (916) 414-6600 (telephone); or
    (2) Gretchen Umlauf, National Marine Fisheries Service, at the 
address above or at (916) 930-5646 (telephone).
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call 
the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice advises the public that we, the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), have prepared a draft 
environmental impact statement and environmental impact report (DEIS/R) 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; NEPA), and its implementing regulations in the 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. The National Marine 
Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are cooperating agencies on 
the DEIS/R.
    This notice also announces the receipt of applications from the 
County of Butte, City of Oroville, City of Chico, City of Biggs, City 
of Gridley, Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG), California 
Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Western Canal Water District 
(WCWD), Biggs--West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and 
Richvale Irrigation District (applicants) for 50-year incidental take 
permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.; Act) from FWS and NMFS. The applicants prepared the Draft 
Butte Regional Conservation Plan (Draft Plan, or BRCP) pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act and the California Natural Community 
Conservation Planning Act of 2002 (NCCPA). A twelfth permit will also 
be considered for the implementing entity that will form prior to 
permit issuance. The implementing entity is described in the Draft Plan 
and Draft IA and will be composed of representatives from each of the 
applicants. The applicants are requesting the authorization of 
incidental take for 39 covered species that could result from 
activities covered under the proposed Draft Plan. We announce meetings 
and invite comments.

Introduction

    The Draft Plan is a comprehensive, regional habitat conservation 
plan designed to provide long-term conservation and management of 
natural communities, sensitive species, and the habitats upon which 
those species depend, while accommodating other important land uses. 
The Draft Plan is being submitted as a habitat conservation plan 
pursuant to the Act, and a natural community conservation plan under 
the California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA).
    FWS will serve as the administrative lead for all actions related 
to this Federal Register notice for the EIS component of the EIS/EIR 
and receipt of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for species under FWS's 
jurisdiction. NMFS will serve as the administrative lead for all 
actions related to this Federal Register notice for receipt of a 
section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for species under NMFS's jurisdiction. BCAG 
will serve as the State lead agency under the California Environmental 
Quality Act (CEQA) for the EIR component. BCAG, in accordance with the 
CEQA, is publishing a similar notice.
    In addition to this notice of the draft EIR/EIS, EPA is publishing 
a notice announcing the draft EIS, as required under section 309 of the 
Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). The publication of EPA's notice 
is the official start of the minimum requirement for a public comment 
period for an EIS (see EPA's Role in the EIS Process).

Background Information

    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations (50 CFR part 17) prohibit the taking of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered or threatened under section 4 of the Act. 
Take of federally listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act as 
to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect listed species, or attempt to engage in such conduct. The term 
``harass'' is defined in the regulations as to carry out actions that 
create the likelihood of injury to listed species to such an extent as 
to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns, which include, but 
are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The 
term ``harm'' is defined in the regulations as significant habitat 
modification or degradation that results in death or injury of listed 
species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). However, 
under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that allow 
the take of federally listed species, provided that the take that 
occurs is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful 
activity.
    Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species 
are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Act contains provisions for issuing such incidental take permits to 
non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, 
provided the following criteria are met:
    (1) The taking will be incidental;
    (2) The applicants will, to the maximum extent practicable, 
minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;
    (3) The applicants will develop a proposed HCP and ensure that 
adequate funding for the HCP will be provided;
    (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the 
survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
    (5) The applicants will carry out any other measures that the 
Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes 
of the HCP.

Proposed Project

    In 2007, the BRCP Planning Agreement was entered into and by and 
among the Local Agencies, BCAG, CDFG, the Service and NMFS. In 2010, 
Western Canal Water District, Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte 
Water District, Richvale Irrigation District and Caltrans became 
signatories to the Planning Agreement. The Planning Agreement set out 
the initial scope of the program and defined the roles and 
responsibilities of the parties in the development of the BRCP. The 
Planning Agreement has helped guide the BRCP planning process and to 
define the initial scope of the effort. BCAG served

[[Page 72110]]

as the lead in coordination of the process and preparation of the BRCP.
    The BRCP's conservation strategy proposes to provide a regional 
approach for the long-term conservation of covered species (see Covered 
Species below) and natural communities within the BRCP plan area while 
allowing for compatible future land use and development under county 
and city general plan updates and the regional transportation plans. 
The BRCP identifies and addresses the covered activities carried out by 
the permittees that may result in take of covered species within the 
BRCP plan area.
    The proposed BRCP is consistent with and is intended to support 
compliance with other Federal and State wildlife and related laws and 
regulations, other local conservation planning efforts, and the city 
and county general plans. The BRCP was developed in coordination with 
the development of city and county general plans in the BRCP plan area, 
with feedback loops between the BRCP and general plan processes. These 
feedback loops identified opportunities and constraints and allowed for 
improvements in the general plans regarding the avoidance and 
minimization of impacts on biological resources and the development of 
open space and conservation elements that dovetail with the BRCP.
    The proposed BRCP is designed to streamline and coordinate existing 
processes for review and permitting of public and private activities 
that potentially affect protected species. To meet this goal, the BRCP 
sets out a conservation strategy that includes measures intended to 
ensure that impacts on covered species and habitats related to covered 
activities are avoided, minimized, or mitigated, as appropriate. These 
covered activities encompass the range of existing and future 
activities that are associated with much of the regional economy (see 
Covered Activities, below). The proposed conservation strategy includes 
establishing a reserve system that would be composed of an estimated 
89,600 acres of large, contiguous blocks of land that would be 
permanently preserved, monitored, and managed, and restoration of an 
estimated 1,121 acres of covered species' habitat. The conservation 
strategy would remain in rough step with impacts, and the reserve 
system would be assembled according to predefined milestones throughout 
the proposed 50-year permit term.

Plan Area

    The BRCP plan area (or permit area) includes approximately 564,270 
acres, including the western lowlands and foothills of Butte County. 
The BRCP Plan Area is bounded on the west by county boundaries with 
Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa Counties; bounded on the south by boundaries 
with Sutter and Yuba Counties; bounded on the north by the boundary 
with Tehama County; and bounded on the east by the upper extent of 
landscape dominated by oak woodland natural communities. Specifically, 
the eastern oak woodland boundary is defined by a line below which land 
cover types dominated by oak trees comprise more than one half of the 
land cover present, plus a small portion of the City of Chico that 
extends above the oak zone. The boundary of the BRCP plan area is based 
on political, ecological, and hydrologic factors.

Covered Activities

    The proposed section 10 incidental take permit may allow take of 
wildlife covered species resulting from covered activities on non-
Federal land in the proposed BRCP plan area. BCAG and local partners 
are requesting incidental take authorization for covered species that 
could be affected by activities identified in the BRCP. The activities 
within the BRCP plan area for which incidental take permit coverage is 
requested include construction and maintenance of facilities and 
infrastructure, both public and private, that are consistent with local 
general plans, and local, State, and Federal laws. The following is a 
summary of covered activities as proposed in the BRCP. Activities are 
grouped geographically (within urban permit areas, outside urban permit 
areas, and within the system of conservation lands established in the 
BRCP) and are further grouped into activities that result in permanent 
development, and activities involving maintenance of existing or new 
facilities that are expected to occur over time during the permit 
duration. This following list is not intended to be exhaustive; rather, 
it provides an overview of the types of activities that would be 
expected to occur.
    1. Activities within Urban Permit Areas (UPAs) are areas within the 
BRCP plan area within which the cities and County anticipate urban 
development under their respective general plan updates.
    a. Permanent Development: covered activities within UPAs as a 
result of new construction and improvements to existing facilities are 
covered, including the following types of activities: residential, 
commercial, public facilities, and industrial construction; 
recreational activity-related construction; transportation facilities 
construction; pipeline installation; utility services (above and below 
ground); waste and wastewater management activities; flood control and 
stormwater management activities; and in-water permanent development 
projects.
    b. Recurring Maintenance: covered activities within UPAs include 
maintenance of existing and new facilities resulting in temporary 
impacts, including the following types of activities: recreational 
activities; transportation facilities maintenance; pipeline 
maintenance; utility services; waste and wastewater facilities 
management activities; flood control and stormwater management 
activities; vegetation management; bridge and drainage structure 
maintenance; in-water recurring maintenance activities; and irrigation 
and drainage canal activities (Western Canal Water District, Biggs West 
Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and Richvale Irrigation 
District).
    2. Activities Outside UPAs are areas of the County within the BRCP 
Plan Area and located outside of the UPAs. Covered activities include 
linear utilities, transportation construction and maintenance projects, 
and agricultural support services projects. Outside UPAs do not include 
areas that become part of BRCP conservation lands.
    a. Permanent Development: covered activities of outside UPAs 
include new construction and improvements to existing facilities, 
including the following types of activities: waste management and 
wastewater facilities; rerouting of canals (Western Canal Water 
District, Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and 
Richvale Irrigation District); transportation facilities construction; 
BCAG Regional Transportation Plan and Caltrans projects; County rural 
bridge replacement projects; Butte County rural intersection 
improvement projects; Butte County rural roadway improvement projects; 
in-water permanent development projects; and agricultural services.
    b. Recurring Maintenance covered activities of outside UPAs include 
maintenance of existing and new facilities, including the following 
types of activities: waste and wastewater management activities; 
irrigation and drainage canal activities (Western Canal Water District, 
Biggs West Gridley Water District, Butte Water District, and Richvale 
Irrigation District); transportation facilities maintenance; flood 
control and stormwater management activities; vegetation management; 
in-water maintenance activities; and bridge and drainage structure 
maintenance.

[[Page 72111]]

    3. Conservation Lands include the system of conservation lands 
established under the BRCP. It includes conservation actions 
implemented by the BRCP on conservation lands, including the following 
types of activities: habitat management; habitat restoration and 
enhancement; habitat and species monitoring; directed studies; general 
maintenance of conservation lands and facilities; avoidance and 
minimization measures; and other species conservation measures.

Covered Species

    Covered Species are those species addressed in the proposed BRCP 
for which conservation actions will be implemented and for which the 
Applicants will seek incidental take authorizations for a period of up 
to 50 years. Proposed covered species include threatened and endangered 
species listed under the Act, species listed under the California 
Endangered Species Act (CESA), as well as currently unlisted species 
that have the potential to become listed during the life of the BRCP. 
The BRCP currently includes 39 listed and non-listed wildlife and plant 
species.
    The following federally listed threatened and endangered wildlife 
species are proposed to be covered by the BRCP (``NMFS'' indicates 
those species to be included only on the NMFS permit, and ``FWS'' 
indicates those species only to be included on the FWS permit): The 
threatened Central Valley steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (NMFS), 
endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus 
tshawytscha) (NMFS), threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook 
salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (NMFS), threatened green sturgeon 
(Acipenser medirostris) (NMFS), threatened Valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) (FWS), endangered vernal 
pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi) (FWS), endangered conservancy 
fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio) (FWS), threatened vernal pool 
fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) (FWS), and threatened giant garter 
snake (Thamnophis gigas) (FWS).
    The following non-listed wildlife species are proposed to be 
covered by the BRCP (``NMFS'' indicates those species to be included on 
the NMFS permit and ``FWS'' indicates those species to be included on 
the FWS permit): tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) (FWS), 
yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens) (FWS), bank swallow (Riparia 
riparia) (FWS), Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) 
(FWS), western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis) 
(FWS), greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida) (FWS), 
California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus) (FWS), 
American peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) (FWS), Swainson's 
hawk (Buteo swainsoni) (FWS), white-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus) 
(FWS), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (FWS), Blainville's horned 
lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) (FWS), Western pond turtle (Actinemys 
marmorata) (FWS), foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii) (FWS), 
Western spadefoot toad (Spea hammondii) (FWS), and Central Valley fall/
late fall-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (NMFS).
    Take of listed plant species is not prohibited on non-Federal land 
under the Act, and cannot be authorized under a section 10 permit. 
However, the applicants propose to include plant species in recognition 
of the conservation benefits provided for them under an HCP. For the 
purposes of the Plan, certain plant species are further included to 
meet regulatory obligations under section 7 of the Act and the CESA. 
All species included on an incidental take permit would receive 
assurances under FWS's ``No Surprises'' regulations found in 50 CFR 
17.22(b)(5) and 17.32(b)(5). The following federally listed plant 
species are proposed to be included in the BRCP in recognition of the 
conservation benefits provided for them under the BRCP and the 
assurances permit holders would receive if they are included on FWS's 
permit: the threatened Hoover's spurge (Chamaesyce hooveri), endangered 
Butte County meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica), 
endangered hairy Orcutt grass (Orcuttia pilosa), threatened slender 
Orcutt grass (Orcuttia tenuis), and endangered Greene's tuctoria 
(Tuctoria greenei). The following unlisted plant species are also 
proposed to be included in the BRCP: Ferris' milkvetch (Astragalus 
tener var. ferrisiae), lesser saltscale (Atriplex minuscula), Ahart's 
dwarf rush (Juncus leiospermus var. ahartii), Red Bluff dwarf rush 
(Juncus leiospermus var. leiospermus), veiny monardella (Monardella 
douglasii ssp. venosa), Ahart's paronychia (Paronychia ahartii), 
California beaked-rush (Rhynchospora californica), Butte County 
checkerbloom (Sidalcea robusta), and Butte County golden clover 
(Trifolium jokerstii).

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    FWS prepared the EIS, with NMFS, Corps, and EPA as cooperating 
agencies. The EIS is the Federal portion of the Draft EIS/R, to analyze 
the impacts of issuing incidental take permits based on the Draft Plan. 
BCAG facilitated the preparation of the EIR portion of the Draft EIS/R, 
in compliance with the CEQA, but all applicants share the CEQA lead 
agency role. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is a CEQA 
Trustee and Responsible Agency. The Draft EIS/R was developed to inform 
the public of the proposed action, alternatives, and associated 
impacts; address public comments received during the scoping period for 
the Draft EIS/R; and disclose irreversible commitments of resources. 
The Draft EIS/R was developed to inform the public of the proposed 
action, alternatives, and associated impacts; address public comments 
received during the scoping period for the Draft EIS/R; and disclose 
irreversible commitments of resources.
    The proposed permit issuance triggers the need for compliance with 
NEPA. FWS published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS/R in the 
Federal Register on December 14, 2012 (77 FR 74500). The NOI announced 
a public scoping period during which time the public was invited to 
provide written comments and attend two public scoping meetings, which 
were held on January 9, 2012, in Oroville and Chico, California.
    The Service is now providing notice of the availability of the 
Draft EIS/R, which evaluates the impacts of the Proposed Action 
described above (i.e., issuance of the permits and implementation of 
the Draft Plan), as well as the No-Action Alternative, a Reduced 
Development/Reduced Fill Alternative, and a Greater Conservation 
Alternative, which are described below.

No-Action Alternative

    Under the No-Action Alternative, FWS and NMFS would not issue 
incidental take permits to the Applicants, and the Draft Plan would not 
be implemented. Under this alternative, projects that may adversely 
affect federally listed species would require project-level 
consultation with FWS and NMFS pursuant to section 7 or section 10 of 
the Act. The applicants and others whose ongoing activities or future 
actions have the potential for incidental take of State-listed species 
in the plan area would apply for incidental take authorization under 
CESA through a Section 2081(b) permit. Under the No Action Alternative, 
there would be no comprehensive means to coordinate and standardize 
mitigation and compensation requirements of the Act and CESA within the 
Plan Area. This is

[[Page 72112]]

anticipated to result in a more costly, less equitable, less efficient 
project review process that would reap fewer conservation benefits. 
Conservation planning and implementation would not happen at a regional 
scale and, therefore, would not establish a large interconnected system 
of conservation lands to meet the needs of the species covered by the 
BRCP.

Reduced Development/Reduced Fill Alternative

    Under the Reduced Development/Reduced Fill Alternative, the reduced 
development alternatives described in the applicants' general plan EIRs 
were combined to create a single reduced development/reduced fill 
footprint. Under the applicant's general plan alternatives, there would 
be either a reduction in the development footprint for the respective 
jurisdictions such that the development would be concentrated closer to 
urban centers or a reduction in the total dwelling units and 
commercial/industrial square footage such that less development would 
occur. Covered activities under this alternative would be similar to 
those described in the BRCP but would be limited to the reduced-
development footprint and to a permit term of 30 years. The 
conservation strategy would be similar to that of the BRCP because it 
would apply similar natural community acreage limitations. This 
alternative would also reduce impacts on waters of the United States by 
reducing the potential impacts on jurisdictional waters, including 
wetlands, by reducing the amount of overall development anticipated to 
occur within the Plan Area and by applying the acreage limitations to 
jurisdictional waters as described in the BRCP. This also includes 
reduced dredge or fill of jurisdictional waters of the United States, 
including wetlands, by reducing or eliminating the types of covered 
activities identified in the BRCP associated with bridges and 
transportation projects. However, though the conservation measures (and 
any activities undertaken by the water districts or irrigation 
districts) would be the same as under the proposed action, there would 
be an overall reduced amount and extent of conserved lands under this 
alternative because less development would occur over a shorter time 
period.

Greater Conservation Alternative

    The Greater Conservation Alternative would increase the target 
amount of certain natural community types to be conserved under the 
conservation strategy. This alternative would maintain the same Plan 
Area, covered species, covered activities, and conservation measures as 
the Proposed Action Alternative, but would modify the proposed 
conservation strategy to increase conservation of two land cover types: 
grasslands and rice. The increase in these land cover types, as 
compared to the Proposed Action, is expected to provide additional 
habitat for certain covered species (e.g., Swainson's hawk, white-
tailed kite, and giant garter snake). This alternative would increase 
grasslands conserved by 9,850 acres (an approximately 20 percent 
increase) and increase rice conservation by 35,310 acres (an 
approximately 90 percent increase) as compared to the proposed action. 
The Greater Conservation Alternative would result in approximately 
51,955 and up to 78,140 total acres of grasslands and rice 
conservation, respectively.

EPA's Role in the EIS Process

    The EPA is charged under section 309 of the Clean Air Act to review 
all Federal agencies' EISs and to comment on the adequacy and the 
acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in the 
EISs.
    EPA also serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared 
by Federal agencies and provides notice of their availability in the 
Federal Register. The EIS database provides information about EISs 
prepared by Federal agencies, as well as EPA's comments concerning the 
EISs. All EISs are filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of 
availability on Fridays in the Federal Register.
    For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/compliance/nepa/eisdata.html. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs 
themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

Public Comments

    We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this 
notice, the Draft EIS/R. and Draft Plan. We particularly seek comments 
on the following:
    1. Biological information concerning the species;
    2. Relevant data concerning the species;
    3. Additional information concerning the range, distribution, 
population size, and population trends of the species;
    4. Current or planned activities in the subject area and their 
possible impacts on the species;
    5. The presence of archeological sites, buildings and structures, 
historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic 
preservation concerns, which are required to be considered in project 
planning by the National Historic Preservation Act; and
    6. Identification of any other environmental issues that should be 
considered with regard to the proposed development and permit action.
    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in the ADDRESSES section. Comments and materials we receive will 
be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal 
business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the 
Service's Sacramento address (see ADDRESSES).

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--might 
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.

Next Steps

    This notice is provided under section 10(a) of the Act and FWS 
regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the applications, associated 
documents, and comments submitted thereon to prepare a Final EIS/R. 
Permit decisions will be made no sooner than 30 days after the 
publication of the NOA of for the Final EIS/R and completion of the 
Record of Decision.

Authority

    We publish this notice under the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347 et seq.; NEPA), and its 
implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 
CFR parts 1500-1508, as well as in compliance with section 10(c) of the 
Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.; Act).


[[Page 72113]]


    Dated: November 6, 2015.
Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California.
    Dated: November 6, 2015.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-29447 Filed 11-17-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P