Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; City of Santee, California, 8987-8988 [2016-03717]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 35 / Tuesday, February 23, 2016 / Notices human environment that could result from issuance of the requested permit for the EMR CCAA, and we do not foresee any significant impacts. We completed an Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact on a Proposal to Implement Candidate Conservation Agreements and Conservation Measures for Eastern Massasaugas in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin (see http://www.fws.gov/ midwest/endangered/permits/ enhancement/ccaa/index.html). Participating in the EMR CCAA is strictly a voluntary action for landowners. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Next Steps We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Mrs. Rita Cutri (applicant) for a 3-year incidental take permit for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the preliminary determination that the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan 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 the associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for public review. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before March 24, 2016. 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). Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that the entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made 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. Authority mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES [FWS–R8–ES–2016–N026; FXES11120800000–167–FF08ECAR00] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; City of Santee, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We will evaluate the permit application, associated documents, and comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of the ESA, NEPA, and implementing regulations. If we determine that all requirements are met, we will sign the proposed CCAA and issue a permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA to MDNR and MDMVA for take of EMR. We will not make our final decision until after the end of the 30day public comment period, and we will fully consider all comments we receive during the public comment period. We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32), and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR part 46). Dated: February 8, 2016. Lynn M. Lewis, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Midwest Region. [FR Doc. 2016–03692 Filed 2–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 Fish and Wildlife Service 17:06 Feb 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Ms. Karen 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 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 8987 Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Ms. Rita Cutri (applicant) for a 3-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 threatened coastal California gnatcatcher in the course of activities associated with the construction of the Cutri residential home project, in the City of Santee, 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’’ HCP, 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 animal species, or to attempt to engage in 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 in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. The applicant requests a 3-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking coastal California E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1 8988 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 35 / Tuesday, February 23, 2016 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a result of permanent impacts to 2.92 acres (ac) of habitat the species uses for breeding, feeding, and sheltering. The take would be incidental to the applicant’s activities associated with the construction of the Cutri residential project in the City of Santee, California, and includes in-perpetuity preservation and management of 7.0 ac of coastal California gnatcatcher habitat. The Cutri residential project proposes to construct a single-family residence on a 9.9-acre parcel in the City of Santee. The project will permanently impact 2.92 ac of coastal California gnatcatcher occupied habitat as a result of clearing and grading activities. To minimize take of coastal California gnatcatcher by the Cutri residential development project and offset impacts to its habitat, the applicant proposes to mitigate for permanent impacts to 2.92 ac of occupied coastal California gnatcatcher habitat through the dedication of 7.0 ac of coastal California gnatcatcher habitat within an on-site conservation easement and funding long-term management to benefit the species. The applicant’s proposed HCP also contains the following proposed measures to minimize the effects of construction activities on the coastal California gnatcatcher: • Clearing of habitat will not take place during the coastal California gnatcatcher breeding season (defined as February 15–August 31). In the event it is not feasible to clear outside of the breeding season, three pre-construction surveys for nesting birds will be conducted within the week prior to initiating grading activities to ensure construction activities do not occur within 300 feet of an active nest. • A Service-approved biologist will conduct a training session for the grading contractor and will be present on site during the initial clearing and grubbing activities to ensure that impacts are limited to the project footprint. 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 coastal California gnatcatcher. If we approve the permit, take of coastal California gnatcatcher would be authorized for the applicant’s activities associated with the construction of the Cutri residential development project. In the proposed HCP, the applicant considers alternatives to the taking of coastal California gnatcatcher under the proposed action. Alternative VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:06 Feb 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 development configuration was considered; however, because of the small size of the project site, further avoidance of impacts to coastal California gnatcatcher habitat could not be achieved. The Applicant also considered the No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, no incidental take of coastal California gnatcatcher habitat would occur, and no long-term protection and management would be afforded to the species. 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; (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 coastal California gnatcatcher. PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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).). G. Mendel Stewart, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. [FR Doc. 2016–03717 Filed 2–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR U.S. Geological Survey [GX16EE000101000] Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comments on the National Spatial Data Infrastructure—Cooperative Agreements Program (NSDI CAP) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Interior. ACTION: Notice of a new information collection, National Spatial Data Infrastructure—Cooperative Agreements Program (NSDI CAP). AGENCY: We (the U.S. Geological Survey) are notifying the public that we have submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) the information collection request (ICR) described below. To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) and as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on this ICR. DATES: To ensure that your comments on this ICR are considered, OMB must receive them on or before March 24, 2016. ADDRESSES: Please submit written comments on this information SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\23FEN1.SGM 23FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 35 (Tuesday, February 23, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8987-8988]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-03717]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2016-N026; FXES11120800000-167-FF08ECAR00]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take 
Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Associated Documents; City of Santee, 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 Mrs. Rita Cutri (applicant) for a 3-year 
incidental take permit for the threatened coastal California 
gnatcatcher pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan 
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 the 
associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for 
public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before March 24, 2016.

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 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 Ms. Rita Cutri (applicant) 
for a 3-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 threatened coastal California gnatcatcher in the course 
of activities associated with the construction of the Cutri residential 
home project, in the City of Santee, 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'' HCP, 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 animal 
species, or to attempt to engage in 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 in the Code of Federal 
Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32.
    The applicant requests a 3-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking 
coastal California

[[Page 8988]]

gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a result of 
permanent impacts to 2.92 acres (ac) of habitat the species uses for 
breeding, feeding, and sheltering. The take would be incidental to the 
applicant's activities associated with the construction of the Cutri 
residential project in the City of Santee, California, and includes in-
perpetuity preservation and management of 7.0 ac of coastal California 
gnatcatcher habitat.
    The Cutri residential project proposes to construct a single-family 
residence on a 9.9-acre parcel in the City of Santee. The project will 
permanently impact 2.92 ac of coastal California gnatcatcher occupied 
habitat as a result of clearing and grading activities.
    To minimize take of coastal California gnatcatcher by the Cutri 
residential development project and offset impacts to its habitat, the 
applicant proposes to mitigate for permanent impacts to 2.92 ac of 
occupied coastal California gnatcatcher habitat through the dedication 
of 7.0 ac of coastal California gnatcatcher habitat within an on-site 
conservation easement and funding long-term management to benefit the 
species. The applicant's proposed HCP also contains the following 
proposed measures to minimize the effects of construction activities on 
the coastal California gnatcatcher:
     Clearing of habitat will not take place during the coastal 
California gnatcatcher breeding season (defined as February 15-August 
31). In the event it is not feasible to clear outside of the breeding 
season, three pre-construction surveys for nesting birds will be 
conducted within the week prior to initiating grading activities to 
ensure construction activities do not occur within 300 feet of an 
active nest.
     A Service-approved biologist will conduct a training 
session for the grading contractor and will be present on site during 
the initial clearing and grubbing activities to ensure that impacts are 
limited to the project footprint.

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 coastal California 
gnatcatcher. If we approve the permit, take of coastal California 
gnatcatcher would be authorized for the applicant's activities 
associated with the construction of the Cutri residential development 
project. In the proposed HCP, the applicant considers alternatives to 
the taking of coastal California gnatcatcher under the proposed action. 
Alternative development configuration was considered; however, because 
of the small size of the project site, further avoidance of impacts to 
coastal California gnatcatcher habitat could not be achieved. The 
Applicant also considered the No Action Alternative. Under the No 
Action Alternative, no incidental take of coastal California 
gnatcatcher habitat would occur, and no long-term protection and 
management would be afforded to the species.

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;
    (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 coastal 
California gnatcatcher.

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).).

G. Mendel Stewart,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2016-03717 Filed 2-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P