Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Application To Amend Incidental Take Permit; Revised Diversified Pacific Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents, City of Redlands, San Bernardino County, California, 21585-21587 [2016-08345]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 70 / Tuesday, April 12, 2016 / Notices property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panel; Biomarkers for AD: The Adult Children Study II. Date: May 3, 2016. Time: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, Suite 2C212, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call). Contact Person: Maurizio Grimaldi, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 2C218, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–496–9374, grimaldim2@mail.nih.gov. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: April 6, 2016. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5216, MSC 7852, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301–435– 1050, freundr@csr.nih.gov. This notice is being published less than 15 days prior to the meeting due to the timing limitations imposed by the review and funding cycle. (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393–93.396, 93.837–93.844, 93.846–93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS) Dated: April 6, 2016. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy. [FR Doc. 2016–08291 Filed 4–11–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2016–N032; FXES11120800000–167–FF08ECAR00] DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Application To Amend Incidental Take Permit; Revised Diversified Pacific Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents, City of Redlands, San Bernardino County, California National Institutes of Health ACTION: Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting SUMMARY: [FR Doc. 2016–08293 Filed 4–11–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting. The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; AIDS and Related Research: Clinical Applications Member Conflicts. Date: April 20–21, 2016. Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications. Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting). Contact Person: Robert Freund, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Apr 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 Notice of availability; request for comments. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Diversified Pacific (applicant), to amend a 5-year incidental take permit (permit). The application includes the applicant’s revised habitat conservation plan (HCP), as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). If approved, the amended permit would authorize incidental take of the endangered San Bernardino Merriam’s kangaroo rat (SBKR) in the course of routine construction activities associated with the development of residential houses in the City of Redlands. We invite public comment on the application for a permit amendment and the revised HCP, and on our preliminary determination that the revised HCP continues to qualify as ‘‘low-effect’’ for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination we used our low-effect screening form. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by May 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may request a copy of the amended permit application, the PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21585 low-effect screening form, and/or the revised HCP by email, telephone, fax, or U.S. mail (see below). These documents are also available for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at the office below. Please send your requests or comments by any one of the following methods, and specify ‘‘Diversified Pacific Low-Effect HCP’’ in your request or comment. • Email: karin_cleary-rose@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Diversified Pacific Low-Effect HCP’’ in the subject line of your message. • Telephone: Karin Cleary-Rose, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, 760– 322–2070 extension 206. • Fax: Karin Cleary-Rose, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, 760– 322–4648, Attn.: Diversified Pacific Low-Effect HCP. • U.S. Mail: Karin Cleary-Rose, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, Attn.: Diversified Pacific Low-Effect HCP, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm Springs, California 92262. • In-Person Viewing or Pickup of Documents, or Delivery of Comments: Call 760–322–2070 to make an appointment during regular business hours at the above address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karin Cleary-Rose, Inland Division Chief, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office; telephone 760–332–2070 extension 206. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction The Service issued an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to the applicant, Diversified Pacific, on August 21, 2015. The permit authorizes the applicant to take SBKR as a result of permanent impacts to 7.7 acres of habitat that the species uses for breeding, feeding, and sheltering. Take of SBKR is incidental to the applicant’s activities associated with the construction of residential houses in the City of Redlands, San Bernardino County, California. The site is located southwest and southeast of the intersection of Pioneer Avenue and Judson Street in the City of Redlands, San Bernardino County, California. The proposed project site is surrounded by residential development and a mix of active and abandoned citrus orchards. An active municipal airport is located approximately 0.25 mile northeast of the project site. The original permit required the applicant to mitigate impacts to the E:\FR\FM\12APN1.SGM 12APN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 21586 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 70 / Tuesday, April 12, 2016 / Notices SBKR by translocating HCP individuals (up to approximately 38 individuals) to a conserved property within the Santa Ana River watershed, monitoring those translocated individuals for 5 years, and funding the perpetual management of 20.9 acres of high-quality SBKR habitat at the conserved 100-acre Redlands Conservancy property in Redlands, California. The applicant captured 41 SBKR from 4.4 acres before commencement of ground disturbance on the project site and translocated them to an area of the Cajon Creek Conservation Bank in the City of Muscoy, San Bernardino County, California, where they augmented a lowdensity population of SBKR. These animals will be monitored for 5 years, including annual reporting. The applicant requests a permit amendment to expand the SBKR translocation program permitted in the HCP to allow for additional capture and translocation of SBKR from the project site to a Service-approved receiver site as described in the revised HCP. Upon inspection of the remaining undeveloped areas within the permit area, the SBKR biologist determined that 9.7 acres may still be occupied, for a total of 14.1 acres of occupied SBKR habitat. To minimize impacts associated with the expanded translocation program, the applicant will provide funding for the perpetual management and monitoring of 7.3 acres of additional occupied high-quality SBKR habitat in the City of Redlands, owned and conserved by the Redlands Land Conservancy into perpetuity as part of the revised HCP. This increase in the SBKR population across a larger portion of the permit area was unexpected given the overall poor quality of the conditions onsite and the limited number of SBKR previously trapped. The abnormally wet 2015 summer season allowed for increased seed production of summer annual plants. In turn, the SBKR on the project site experienced high reproductive success, which led to an expansion of distribution of SBKR on the site. Because the project site is within an urban matrix and physically isolated from other areas that support SBKR, the project site still does not provide longterm conservation value for the species. Pursuant to the terms of the original permit, the applicant prepared a management plan for and provided financial assurances for long-term funding of the management of 20.9 acres of high-value SBKR conservation land at the Redlands Conservancy Conservation Area. Under the permit amendment, the applicant would fund an endowment VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Apr 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 account for management of an additional 7.3 acres of Conservancy lands, for a total of 28.2 acres of Conservancy lands with high-value SBKR land protected and managed in perpetuity. We published a final rule to list SBKR as endangered on September 24, 1998 (63 FR 51005). The rule became effective September 24, 1998. Final designation of critical habitat was published on April 23, 2002 (67 FR 19812). A 5-year review of the species was published on May 21, 2010 (75 FR 28636). Background Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531– 1544 et seq.) and Federal regulations (50 CFR 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 incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, respectively. In addition to meeting other criteria, activities covered by an incidental take permit must not jeopardize the continued existence in the wild of federally listed wildlife or plants. Applicant’s Proposal The applicant requests an amendment to the 5-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to allow for expanded translocation of SBKR from the project site to high-quality habitat receiver sites. Upon issuance of the current permit, and as a condition of construction within the project area, the SBKR biologist trapped 4.4 acres of the estimated 7.7 acres of occupied habitat PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and discontinued trapping as the maximum take of SBKR had occurred. Upon further inspection, the SBKR biologist determined that 9.7 acres of undeveloped portions of the project area remained occupied by SBKR, for a total of 14.1 acres of occupied SBKR habitat. We think that the abnormally wet 2015 summer season allowed for increased seed production of summer annual plants. In turn, the SBKR on the project site experienced high reproductive success and recruitment of juveniles, which increased the total numbers of individuals on the site and led to an expansion of distribution of SBKR on the site. Because the project site is within an urban matrix and physically isolated from other areas that support SBKR, we still believe that the project site does not provide long-term conservation value for the species. If we approve the permit, the applicant would translocate all remaining SBKR to other Serviceapproved receiver sites from the remaining undeveloped portion of property as identified in the revised HCP. Translocation of SBKR from the project site is a requirement under the current permit as mitigation for impacts to SBKR, and it is recognized that moving the species off of the project site, which provides no connectivity to other SBKR populations, to approved receiver sites is a conservation benefit to the species. To mitigate take of SBKR at the project site, the applicant proposes the following mitigation strategy: 1. All SBKR captured prior to ground disturbance on the project site will be translocated to one or more Serviceapproved receiver sites in the Santa Ana River Watershed. These animals will be monitored for 5 years, including annual reporting. 2. The applicant will provide funding for the perpetual management and monitoring of 7.3 acres of additional high-quality occupied SBKR habitat in the City of Redlands, owned and conserved by the Redlands Land Conservancy into perpetuity as part of the revised HCP. In total for both the original HCP and the revised HCP, the applicant will fund the perpetual management and monitoring of 28.2 acres of SBKR habitat. Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan Alternatives In the revised HCP, the applicant considers alternatives to the taking of SBKR under the proposed action. Our proposed action is to issue an amended permit to the applicant, who would implement the revised HCP. If we approve the amended permit, additional take of SBKR would be authorized for E:\FR\FM\12APN1.SGM 12APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 70 / Tuesday, April 12, 2016 / Notices the applicant’s construction activities associated with the development of residential houses in the City of Redlands. The applicant’s revised HCP identifies a no-build alternative that would not result in additional incidental take of SBKR; however, it is infeasible for the applicant to accept this alternative, as it would result in no development of the land and associated infrastructure improvements necessary to the City of Redlands and surrounding community. The revised HCP also examined participation in a regional HCP as an alternative to an individual HCP. This alternative plan is infeasible because there is currently no completed regional plan, and the timing for completion of a regional plan is unknown. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Our Preliminary Determination We invite comments on our preliminary determination that our proposed action, based on the applicant’s proposed activities to expand SBKR translocation minimization and mitigation measures, would have a minor or negligible effect on SBKR, and that the revised HCP qualifies as ‘‘low effect’’ as defined by our Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). We base our determination that this 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. As more fully explained in our associated low-effect screening form, the applicant’s revised HCP qualifies as a low-effect HCP for the following reasons: 1. The project is small in size and the loss of this habitat would not jeopardize the continued existence of the SBKR. 2. The project site is not in designated critical habitat for the SBKR. 3. The translocation of additional SBKR off of the project site to conserved receiver sites would increase the local genetic diversity of SBKR at multiple locations in the Santa Ana River watershed, contributing to species recovery. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:18 Apr 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 Therefore, our proposed issuance of the requested incidental take permit qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act, as provided by Department of the Interior implementing regulations in part 46 of title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR 46.205, 46.210, and 46.215). Based on our review of public comments we receive in response to this notice, we may revise this preliminary determination. Public Review The Service invites the public to comment on the application to amend the permit, including the revised HCP, during the public comment period. Copies of the documents will be available during a 30-day public comment period (see DATES). If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments to the address listed in ADDRESSES. 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. Next Steps We will evaluate the revised HCP and comments we receive to determine whether the application for a permit amendment 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 an amended section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit would comply with section 7 of the Act by reinitiating intra-Service consultation. We will use the results of the reinitiation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue a permit amendment. If the requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) are met, we will issue the permit amendment to the applicant for incidental take of SBKR associated with expanded translocation activities. Scott A. Sobiech, Acting Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. [FR Doc. 2016–08345 Filed 4–11–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 21587 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2016–N049; FXES11130800000–167–FF08ENVS00] Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit for the Proposed Springs Preserve Safe Harbor Agreement, Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application and request for comment. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from the Las Vegas Valley Water District (applicant) for an enhancement of survival permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The permit application includes a proposed safe harbor agreement (SHA) between the applicant and the Service. The SHA provides for voluntary activities that will contribute to the recovery of the Pahrump poolfish. We have made a preliminary determination that the proposed SHA and permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). SUMMARY: Written comments must be received on or before May 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Michael J. Senn, Field Supervisor, by U.S. mail at Southern Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130; or by fax to 702–515–5231 (see Public Review and Comment under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Harter, Fish Biologist, at the Southern Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office address, or by telephone at 702– 515–5230. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have received an application from the Las Vegas Valley Water District (applicant) for an enhancement of survival permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The permit application includes a proposed safe harbor agreement (SHA) between the applicant and the Service. The SHA provides for voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance, enhancement, or creation activities that will contribute to the recovery of the Pahrump poolfish (Empetrichthys latos). The proposed duration of both the SHA and permit is for 15 years, with an option to extend an additional 15 years. DATES: E:\FR\FM\12APN1.SGM 12APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 12, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21585-21587]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-08345]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2016-N032; FXES11120800000-167-FF08ECAR00]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Application To 
Amend Incidental Take Permit; Revised Diversified Pacific Low-Effect 
Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents, City of Redlands, 
San Bernardino County, California

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application from Diversified Pacific (applicant), to amend 
a 5-year incidental take permit (permit). The application includes the 
applicant's revised habitat conservation plan (HCP), as required by the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). If approved, the 
amended permit would authorize incidental take of the endangered San 
Bernardino Merriam's kangaroo rat (SBKR) in the course of routine 
construction activities associated with the development of residential 
houses in the City of Redlands. We invite public comment on the 
application for a permit amendment and the revised HCP, and on our 
preliminary determination that the revised HCP continues to qualify as 
``low-effect'' for a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination we used our low-
effect screening form.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
May 12, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may request a copy of the amended permit application, 
the low-effect screening form, and/or the revised HCP by email, 
telephone, fax, or U.S. mail (see below). These documents are also 
available for public inspection by appointment during normal business 
hours at the office below. Please send your requests or comments by any 
one of the following methods, and specify ``Diversified Pacific Low-
Effect HCP'' in your request or comment.
     Email: karin_cleary-rose@fws.gov. Include ``Diversified 
Pacific Low-Effect HCP'' in the subject line of your message.
     Telephone: Karin Cleary-Rose, Palm Springs Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 760-322-2070 extension 206.
     Fax: Karin Cleary-Rose, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 760-322-4648, Attn.: Diversified Pacific Low-Effect HCP.
     U.S. Mail: Karin Cleary-Rose, Palm Springs Fish and 
Wildlife Office, Attn.: Diversified Pacific Low-Effect HCP, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm 
Springs, California 92262.
     In-Person Viewing or Pickup of Documents, or Delivery of 
Comments: Call 760-322-2070 to make an appointment during regular 
business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karin Cleary-Rose, Inland Division 
Chief, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office; telephone 760-332-2070 
extension 206. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-
877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Introduction

    The Service issued an incidental take permit under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to the applicant, Diversified Pacific, on August 
21, 2015. The permit authorizes the applicant to take SBKR as a result 
of permanent impacts to 7.7 acres of habitat that the species uses for 
breeding, feeding, and sheltering. Take of SBKR is incidental to the 
applicant's activities associated with the construction of residential 
houses in the City of Redlands, San Bernardino County, California. The 
site is located southwest and southeast of the intersection of Pioneer 
Avenue and Judson Street in the City of Redlands, San Bernardino 
County, California. The proposed project site is surrounded by 
residential development and a mix of active and abandoned citrus 
orchards. An active municipal airport is located approximately 0.25 
mile northeast of the project site.
    The original permit required the applicant to mitigate impacts to 
the

[[Page 21586]]

SBKR by translocating HCP individuals (up to approximately 38 
individuals) to a conserved property within the Santa Ana River 
watershed, monitoring those translocated individuals for 5 years, and 
funding the perpetual management of 20.9 acres of high-quality SBKR 
habitat at the conserved 100-acre Redlands Conservancy property in 
Redlands, California. The applicant captured 41 SBKR from 4.4 acres 
before commencement of ground disturbance on the project site and 
translocated them to an area of the Cajon Creek Conservation Bank in 
the City of Muscoy, San Bernardino County, California, where they 
augmented a low-density population of SBKR. These animals will be 
monitored for 5 years, including annual reporting.
    The applicant requests a permit amendment to expand the SBKR 
translocation program permitted in the HCP to allow for additional 
capture and translocation of SBKR from the project site to a Service-
approved receiver site as described in the revised HCP. Upon inspection 
of the remaining undeveloped areas within the permit area, the SBKR 
biologist determined that 9.7 acres may still be occupied, for a total 
of 14.1 acres of occupied SBKR habitat. To minimize impacts associated 
with the expanded translocation program, the applicant will provide 
funding for the perpetual management and monitoring of 7.3 acres of 
additional occupied high-quality SBKR habitat in the City of Redlands, 
owned and conserved by the Redlands Land Conservancy into perpetuity as 
part of the revised HCP. This increase in the SBKR population across a 
larger portion of the permit area was unexpected given the overall poor 
quality of the conditions onsite and the limited number of SBKR 
previously trapped. The abnormally wet 2015 summer season allowed for 
increased seed production of summer annual plants. In turn, the SBKR on 
the project site experienced high reproductive success, which led to an 
expansion of distribution of SBKR on the site. Because the project site 
is within an urban matrix and physically isolated from other areas that 
support SBKR, the project site still does not provide long-term 
conservation value for the species. Pursuant to the terms of the 
original permit, the applicant prepared a management plan for and 
provided financial assurances for long-term funding of the management 
of 20.9 acres of high-value SBKR conservation land at the Redlands 
Conservancy Conservation Area. Under the permit amendment, the 
applicant would fund an endowment account for management of an 
additional 7.3 acres of Conservancy lands, for a total of 28.2 acres of 
Conservancy lands with high-value SBKR land protected and managed in 
perpetuity.
    We published a final rule to list SBKR as endangered on September 
24, 1998 (63 FR 51005). The rule became effective September 24, 1998. 
Final designation of critical habitat was published on April 23, 2002 
(67 FR 19812). A 5-year review of the species was published on May 21, 
2010 (75 FR 28636).

Background

    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations (50 CFR 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 incidental take permits for threatened and 
endangered species are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, respectively. In 
addition to meeting other criteria, activities covered by an incidental 
take permit must not jeopardize the continued existence in the wild of 
federally listed wildlife or plants.

Applicant's Proposal

    The applicant requests an amendment to the 5-year permit under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to allow for expanded translocation of 
SBKR from the project site to high-quality habitat receiver sites. Upon 
issuance of the current permit, and as a condition of construction 
within the project area, the SBKR biologist trapped 4.4 acres of the 
estimated 7.7 acres of occupied habitat and discontinued trapping as 
the maximum take of SBKR had occurred. Upon further inspection, the 
SBKR biologist determined that 9.7 acres of undeveloped portions of the 
project area remained occupied by SBKR, for a total of 14.1 acres of 
occupied SBKR habitat.
    We think that the abnormally wet 2015 summer season allowed for 
increased seed production of summer annual plants. In turn, the SBKR on 
the project site experienced high reproductive success and recruitment 
of juveniles, which increased the total numbers of individuals on the 
site and led to an expansion of distribution of SBKR on the site. 
Because the project site is within an urban matrix and physically 
isolated from other areas that support SBKR, we still believe that the 
project site does not provide long-term conservation value for the 
species.
    If we approve the permit, the applicant would translocate all 
remaining SBKR to other Service-approved receiver sites from the 
remaining undeveloped portion of property as identified in the revised 
HCP. Translocation of SBKR from the project site is a requirement under 
the current permit as mitigation for impacts to SBKR, and it is 
recognized that moving the species off of the project site, which 
provides no connectivity to other SBKR populations, to approved 
receiver sites is a conservation benefit to the species. To mitigate 
take of SBKR at the project site, the applicant proposes the following 
mitigation strategy:
    1. All SBKR captured prior to ground disturbance on the project 
site will be translocated to one or more Service-approved receiver 
sites in the Santa Ana River Watershed. These animals will be monitored 
for 5 years, including annual reporting.
    2. The applicant will provide funding for the perpetual management 
and monitoring of 7.3 acres of additional high-quality occupied SBKR 
habitat in the City of Redlands, owned and conserved by the Redlands 
Land Conservancy into perpetuity as part of the revised HCP. In total 
for both the original HCP and the revised HCP, the applicant will fund 
the perpetual management and monitoring of 28.2 acres of SBKR habitat.

Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan Alternatives

    In the revised HCP, the applicant considers alternatives to the 
taking of SBKR under the proposed action. Our proposed action is to 
issue an amended permit to the applicant, who would implement the 
revised HCP. If we approve the amended permit, additional take of SBKR 
would be authorized for

[[Page 21587]]

the applicant's construction activities associated with the development 
of residential houses in the City of Redlands. The applicant's revised 
HCP identifies a no-build alternative that would not result in 
additional incidental take of SBKR; however, it is infeasible for the 
applicant to accept this alternative, as it would result in no 
development of the land and associated infrastructure improvements 
necessary to the City of Redlands and surrounding community. The 
revised HCP also examined participation in a regional HCP as an 
alternative to an individual HCP. This alternative plan is infeasible 
because there is currently no completed regional plan, and the timing 
for completion of a regional plan is unknown.

Our Preliminary Determination

    We invite comments on our preliminary determination that our 
proposed action, based on the applicant's proposed activities to expand 
SBKR translocation minimization and mitigation measures, would have a 
minor or negligible effect on SBKR, and that the revised HCP qualifies 
as ``low effect'' as defined by our Habitat Conservation Planning 
Handbook (November 1996).
    We base our determination that this 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.
    As more fully explained in our associated low-effect screening 
form, the applicant's revised HCP qualifies as a low-effect HCP for the 
following reasons:
    1. The project is small in size and the loss of this habitat would 
not jeopardize the continued existence of the SBKR.
    2. The project site is not in designated critical habitat for the 
SBKR.
    3. The translocation of additional SBKR off of the project site to 
conserved receiver sites would increase the local genetic diversity of 
SBKR at multiple locations in the Santa Ana River watershed, 
contributing to species recovery.
    Therefore, our proposed issuance of the requested incidental take 
permit qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act, as provided by Department of the Interior 
implementing regulations in part 46 of title 43 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (43 CFR 46.205, 46.210, and 46.215). Based on our review of 
public comments we receive in response to this notice, we may revise 
this preliminary determination.

Public Review

    The Service invites the public to comment on the application to 
amend the permit, including the revised HCP, during the public comment 
period. Copies of the documents will be available during a 30-day 
public comment period (see DATES). If you wish to comment, you may 
submit your comments to the address listed in ADDRESSES. 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.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the revised HCP and comments we receive to 
determine whether the application for a permit amendment 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 an 
amended section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit would comply with 
section 7 of the Act by reinitiating intra-Service consultation. We 
will use the results of the reinitiation, in combination with the above 
findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue a 
permit amendment. If the requirements and issuance criteria under 
section 10(a) are met, we will issue the permit amendment to the 
applicant for incidental take of SBKR associated with expanded 
translocation activities.

Scott A. Sobiech,
Acting Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2016-08345 Filed 4-11-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P