Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; City of Monterey Park, California, 96471-96473 [2016-31694]

Download as PDF srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 251 / Friday, December 30, 2016 / Notices Guam Andersen AFB Andersen AFB Family Housing Andersen GU Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77201640013 Status: Excess Comments: Friable asbestos Reasons: Contamination Andersen AFB Family Housing Robert’s Terrace Housing Area Andersen GU Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77201640014 Status: Excess Directions: Some Capehart Housing along Ponape Blvd. Comments: Friable asbestos Reasons: Contamination Missouri Table Rock Lake Project TRL–45426 Cape Fair Recreation Area Pit Toilet Cape Fair MO 65624 Landholding Agency: COE Property Number: 31201640019 Status: Underutilized Comments: Extensive deterioration; building in disrepair due to cracks in the foundation, walls & sidewalk. Reasons: Extensive deterioration 01002 LONGBR–29279 Dwelling Frame W/Double Garage & Patio 30174 Visitor Center Road Macon MO 63552 Landholding Agency: COE Property Number: 31201640020 Status: Excess Directions: Long Branch Project Comments: Unsound foundation; black mold throughout; water damage on ceiling; fireplace collapsing. Reasons: Extensive deterioration Montana 3 Buildings Tiber Dam Camp, N1/2, SW1/4, SE1/4 Chester MT 59522 Landholding Agency: Interior Property Number: 61201640003 Status: Excess Directions: R008400200B, R008400400B, R008400300B Comments: Rodent damaged and extensive deterioration of wood; clear threat to physical safety Reasons: Extensive deterioration Nebraska 543800B117 Cattle Poleshed #73 RPUID:03.55111 844 RD 313 Clay Center NE 68933 Landholding Agency: Agriculture Property Number: 15201640026 Status: Excess Directions: 19606 HRUSKA U.S. Meat Animal Research Center Comments: Not structurally sound. Reasons: Extensive deterioration Nevada FMA HSG 800–804 (&99011 Land Fee Pru) Tonopah AFS Z164—WZVS Tonopah NV 89049 VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:18 Dec 29, 2016 Jkt 241001 Landholding Agency: Air Force Property Number: 18201530002 Status: Excess Directions: Fac #80000818213 #2 Victoria St.; 80100818212 #3 Victoria St.; 80300818210 #5 Victoria St.; 80300818209 #6 Victoria St.; 80400818208 #7 Victoria St. Comments: Documented deficiencies: severely weather damaged; significant rodent infestation; clear threat of physical safety Reasons: Extensive deterioration Virgin Islands Cinnamon Bay Concession Cottage Cinnamon Bay Campground on North Shore Road St. John VI 00830 Landholding Agency: Interior Property Number: 61201640002 Status: Underutilized Directions: #1–10 Comments: Property located within floodway which has not been correct or contained; documented deficiencies; foundation is crumbling at the edges causing the stuccoed walls to sink. Reasons: Floodway; Extensive deterioration Unsuitable Properties Land California Steam Plant Naval Air Station North Island Coronado CA Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77201640010 Status: Underutilized Directions: 2.62 acres of land Comments: Public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area Steam Plant Parking Area Naval Air Station North Island Coronado CA Landholding Agency: Navy Property Number: 77201640011 Status: Underutilized Directions: 1.1 acres of land Comments: Public access denied and no alternative method to gain access without compromising national security. Reasons: Secured Area [FR Doc. 2016–31334 Filed 12–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2016–N230]; [FXES11140800000–178–FF08ECAR00] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; City of Monterey Park, California AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 96471 Notice of availability; request for comments. ACTION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Monterey Park Retail Partners, LLC (applicant) for a 5year incidental take permit for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) 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 January 30, 2017. 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, 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, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Monterey Park Retail Partners, LLC (applicant) for a 5-year incidental take permit for one covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., Act). The application addresses the potential ‘‘take’’ of the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica; gnatcatcher) in SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1 96472 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 251 / Friday, December 30, 2016 / Notices the course of activities associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Monterey Park Market Place project, in the City of Monterey Park, Los Angeles County, California. A conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for project activities would be implemented as described in the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP). 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. srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 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. Applicant’s Proposed Project The applicant requests a 5-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking gnatcatcher as a result of permanent impacts to 2.77 acres 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 Monterey Park Market Place project in the City of Monterey Park, California, and includes restoration and inperpetuity preservation and management of 12 acres of gnatcatcher habitat. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:18 Dec 29, 2016 Jkt 241001 The Monterey Park Market Place project consists of the construction of a 62-acre commercial retail development in the City of Monterey Park. The project will permanently impact 2.77 acres of gnatcatcher-occupied habitat as a result of clearing and grading activities. Up to three gnatcatcher territories have been documented on the project site. To minimize take of gnatcatcher by the Monterey Park Market Place project and offset impacts to its habitat, the applicant proposes to mitigate for permanent impacts to 2.77 acres of occupied gnatcatcher habitat through the restoration, conservation, and inperpetuity management of 12 acres of coastal sage scrub suitable for the gnatcatcher by a Service-approved restoration contractor and the Puente Hills Habitat Authority. The applicant’s proposed HCP also contains the following proposed measures to minimize the effects of construction activities on the gnatcatcher: • Grading limits will be delineated with construction fencing and silt fencing to ensure that impact limits do not extend beyond the allowed limits of development. • A Service-approved biologist will monitor grading of the site and provide a letter summarizing compliance with the construction limits of the proposed project to the Service within one month of completion of grading. • Vegetation clearing will take place outside of the bird nesting season (February l5 through August 31) to the fullest extent practicable. Clearing may only occur during this period once a Service-approved biologist has conducted at least three surveys of the impact areas for nesting birds, with each survey taking place one week apart and the last survey conducted within 24 hours prior to clearing. The Serviceapproved biologist will document compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and other applicable regulations that protect nesting birds. If an active bird nest is observed, an appropriate buffer (minimum of 300 feet for any active gnatcatcher nest) will be established wherein no project activities will occur until the nest is no longer active. 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 gnatcatcher. If we approve the permit, take of gnatcatcher would be authorized for the applicant’s activities associated with the construction of the Monterey PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Park Market Place project. In the proposed HCP, the applicant considers alternatives to the taking of gnatcatcher under the proposed action. Alternative development configuration was considered; however, because of the small size and irregular shape of the project site, further avoidance of impacts to gnatcatcher habitat could not be achieved. The applicant also considered the No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, no incidental take of 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 the approval of the HCP and issuance of an incidental take permit qualify for categorical exclusion under NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided by the 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), and that the HCP qualifies as a ‘‘low-effect’’ plan as defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (December 2016). We base our determination that an 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 E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1 96473 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 251 / Friday, December 30, 2016 / Notices 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 gnatcatcher. Public Comments Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R3–ES–2016–N229; FXES11130300000–178–FF03E00000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permit Applications Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: 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 ADDRESSES. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Karen A. Goebel, Acting Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. BILLING CODE 4333–15–P Applicant We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on the following applications for a permit to conduct activities intended to enhance the survival of endangered or threatened species. Federal law prohibits certain activities with endangered species unless a permit is obtained. DATES: We must receive any written comments on or before January 30, 2017. ADDRESSES: Send written comments by U.S. mail to the Regional Director, Attn: Carlita Payne, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458; or by electronic mail to permitsR3ES@fws.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carlita Payne, (612) 713–5343. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), prohibits certain activities with endangered and threatened species unless the activities are specifically authorized by a Federal permit. The [FR Doc. 2016–31694 Filed 12–29–16; 8:45 am] Application No. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR We invite local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies and the public to comment on the following applications. Please refer to the permit number when you submit comments. Documents and other information the applicants have submitted with the applications are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) and Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). Permit Applications Proposed activities in the following permit requests are for the recovery and enhancement of survival of the species in the wild. Permit action Location Activity Type of take Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin. Illinois ................................ Survey and monitor, habitat assessment. Capture and release, exuviae collection, adult counts. Capture, handle, radio-tag, harp trap, release. Renew. Capture, handle, mist-net, harp trap, radio-tag, band, release. New. Kenneth Mierzwa. Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana). TE11170C ..... Ashleigh Cable. TE01311C ..... Shawn McKinley. TE13571C ..... srobinson on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Applications Available for Review and Comment Species TE38793A ..... Jennifer Moore. Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), gray bat (M. grisescens), northern long-eared bat (M. septentrionalis). Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), gray bat (M. grisescens), northern long-eared bat (M. septentrionalis), Virginia big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendii virginianus). Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). TE14588C ..... Dane Smith VerDate Sep<11>2014 ESA and our implementing regulations in part 17 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provide for the issuance of such permits and require that we invite public comment before issuing permits for activities involving endangered species. A permit granted by us under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA authorizes the permittee to conduct activities with U.S. endangered or threatened species for scientific purposes, enhancement of propagation or survival, or interstate commerce (the latter only in the event that it facilitates scientific purposes or enhancement of propagation or survival). Our regulations implementing section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA for these permits are found at 50 CFR 17.22 for endangered wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.32 for threatened wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.62 for endangered plant species, and 50 CFR 17.72 for threatened plant species. Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), gray bat (M. grisescens), northern long-eared bat (M. septentrionalis). 19:18 Dec 29, 2016 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Rangewide ........................ Michigan ........................... Missouri ............................ Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Conduct presence/absence surveys, document habitat use, conduct population monitoring, evaluate impacts. Conduct presence/absence surveys, document habitat use, conduct population monitoring, evaluate impacts. Survey and monitoring, habitat assessment, population connectivity assessment. Conduct presence/absence surveys, document habitat use, conduct population monitoring, evaluate impacts. Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM New. Capture, handle, pit-tag, New. tissue collection, release. Capture, handle, mist-net, radio-tag, band, tissue collection, release. 30DEN1 New.

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 251 (Friday, December 30, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 96471-96473]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31694]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2016-N230]; [FXES11140800000-178-FF08ECAR00]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take 
Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Associated Documents; City of Monterey Park, 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 Monterey Park Retail Partners, LLC 
(applicant) for a 5-year incidental take permit for the threatened 
coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) 
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 January 30, 
2017.

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, 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, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), have received an application from Monterey Park Retail 
Partners, LLC (applicant) for a 5-year incidental take permit for one 
covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., Act). The 
application addresses the potential ``take'' of the threatened coastal 
California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica; 
gnatcatcher) in

[[Page 96472]]

the course of activities associated with the construction, operation, 
and maintenance of the Monterey Park Market Place project, in the City 
of Monterey Park, Los Angeles County, California. A conservation 
program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for project activities would 
be implemented as described in the applicant's proposed habitat 
conservation plan (HCP).
    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.

Applicant's Proposed Project

    The applicant requests a 5-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant anticipates taking 
gnatcatcher as a result of permanent impacts to 2.77 acres 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 Monterey Park Market Place project in the City of 
Monterey Park, California, and includes restoration and in-perpetuity 
preservation and management of 12 acres of gnatcatcher habitat.
    The Monterey Park Market Place project consists of the construction 
of a 62-acre commercial retail development in the City of Monterey 
Park. The project will permanently impact 2.77 acres of gnatcatcher-
occupied habitat as a result of clearing and grading activities. Up to 
three gnatcatcher territories have been documented on the project site.
    To minimize take of gnatcatcher by the Monterey Park Market Place 
project and offset impacts to its habitat, the applicant proposes to 
mitigate for permanent impacts to 2.77 acres of occupied gnatcatcher 
habitat through the restoration, conservation, and in-perpetuity 
management of 12 acres of coastal sage scrub suitable for the 
gnatcatcher by a Service-approved restoration contractor and the Puente 
Hills Habitat Authority. The applicant's proposed HCP also contains the 
following proposed measures to minimize the effects of construction 
activities on the gnatcatcher:
     Grading limits will be delineated with construction 
fencing and silt fencing to ensure that impact limits do not extend 
beyond the allowed limits of development.
     A Service-approved biologist will monitor grading of the 
site and provide a letter summarizing compliance with the construction 
limits of the proposed project to the Service within one month of 
completion of grading.
     Vegetation clearing will take place outside of the bird 
nesting season (February l5 through August 31) to the fullest extent 
practicable. Clearing may only occur during this period once a Service-
approved biologist has conducted at least three surveys of the impact 
areas for nesting birds, with each survey taking place one week apart 
and the last survey conducted within 24 hours prior to clearing. The 
Service-approved biologist will document compliance with the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and other applicable regulations that protect 
nesting birds. If an active bird nest is observed, an appropriate 
buffer (minimum of 300 feet for any active gnatcatcher nest) will be 
established wherein no project activities will occur until the nest is 
no longer active.

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 gnatcatcher. If we 
approve the permit, take of gnatcatcher would be authorized for the 
applicant's activities associated with the construction of the Monterey 
Park Market Place project. In the proposed HCP, the applicant considers 
alternatives to the taking of gnatcatcher under the proposed action. 
Alternative development configuration was considered; however, because 
of the small size and irregular shape of the project site, further 
avoidance of impacts to gnatcatcher habitat could not be achieved. The 
applicant also considered the No Action Alternative. Under the No 
Action Alternative, no incidental take of 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 the approval 
of the HCP and issuance of an incidental take permit qualify for 
categorical exclusion under NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided 
by the 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), and that the HCP qualifies as a ``low-effect'' plan as 
defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (December 2016).
    We base our determination that an 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

[[Page 96473]]

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 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 ADDRESSES.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you may 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Authority

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

Karen A. Goebel,
Acting Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2016-31694 Filed 12-29-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P