Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for the Desert Tortoise and Mohave Ground Squirrel and Draft Environmental Assessment; Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project; San Bernardino County, California, 60416-60417 [2017-27440]

Download as PDF 60416 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2017–N148]; [FXES11140800000–178–FF08E00000] Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for the Desert Tortoise and Mohave Ground Squirrel and Draft Environmental Assessment; Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project; San Bernardino County, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comment. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the receipt and availability of a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and draft environmental assessment (EA), which evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project. The Hinkley HCP was submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in support of an application under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, for a permit authorizing the incidental take of covered species resulting from covered activities. PG&E’s application is for a 50-year incidental take permit to cover groundwater remediation activities within a plan area of approximately 29,927 acres in and around Hinkley, California. We request review and comment on the Hinkley HCP and the draft EA from local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by January 19, 2018. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: • Internet: You may obtain copies of the Hinkley HCP and draft EA on the Hinkley Groundwater Remediation website at https://www.hinkley groundwater.com. • U.S. Mail: A limited number of CD– ROM and printed copies of the Hinkley HCP and draft EA and are available, by request, from the Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office at 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm Springs, CA 92262; by mail at the Hinkley Independent Review Panel (IRP) Manager Office, 36236 Serra Rd., Hinkley, CA 92347; by phone at (714) 338–1800; or by email at info@ projectnagivator.com. Please specify that your request is about the Hinkley HCP. • In-Person: Copies of the Hinkley HCP and draft EA are also available for public inspection and review at the sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:36 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 following locations, by appointment and written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Æ Hinkley IRP Manager Office, 36236 Serra Rd., Hinkley, CA 92347. Æ PG&E Public Outreach Office, 22999 Community Blvd., Hinkley, CA 92347. Æ Barstow Library, 304 E Buena Vista St, Barstow, CA 92311. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: Æ Email: fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov; please include ‘‘Hinkley HCP’’ in the subject line. Æ U.S. Mail: Kennon A. Corey, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, Attn: Hinkley HCP, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm Springs, CA 92262, Attn: Hinkley HCP. Æ Telephone: Kennon A. Corey, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, (760) 322–2070. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Hoffmann, by mail at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm Springs, CA 92262; or by phone at (760) 322– 2070. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the receipt and availability of a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and draft environmental assessment (EA), which evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project. The Hinkley HCP was submitted by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in support of an application under section 10 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for a permit authorizing the incidental take of covered species resulting from covered activities. The proposed Hinkley HCP area encompasses approximately 29,927 acres in the southeastern portion of San Bernardino County, within the State of California. Introduction Under section 10(c) of the ESA and under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), this notice advises the public of the receipt and availability for public review of the draft Hinkley HCP and draft EA, which evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, the Hinkley HCP, submitted with an application for a permit to authorize the incidental take of federally listed covered species resulting from covered activities within the plan area. The Service is the Lead Agency pursuant to NEPA. The proposed Federal action is issuance to PG&E of an incidental take permit (ITP) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered under section 4 (16 U.S.C. 1538, 1533, respectively). Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA provides for the issuance of a permit for the taking of listed fish and wildlife species that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity (‘‘incidental take’’). The ESA implementing regulations extend, under certain circumstances, the prohibition of take to threatened species (50 CFR 17.31). Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. For more about the HCP program, go to http:// www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/ pdf/hcp.pdf. Under section 10(a) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed fish and wildlife species. Section 10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA contains criteria for issuing ITPs to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met: • The taking will be incidental; • The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; • The applicant will develop an HCP and ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be provided; • The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and • The applicant will carry out any other measures that the Secretary may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. The purpose of issuing an ITP to PG&E would be to permit incidental take of the covered species resulting from groundwater remediation activities conducted by PG&E and conditioned on PG&E’s minimization and mitigation of the impacts of such take in accordance with an approved Hinkley HCP. Implementation of the Hinkley HCP is intended to maximize the benefits of conservation measures for covered species and eliminate expensive and time-consuming efforts associated with processing individual ITPs for each groundwater remediation project within PG&E’s plan area. The proposed Hinkley HCP includes measures intended to minimize and mitigate the impacts of the taking to the maximum extent practicable from groundwater remediation activities within the plan area. Proposed Action The proposed action is the issuance of an ITP by the Service to PG&E for the E:\FR\FM\20DEN1.SGM 20DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Notices incidental take of covered species from groundwater remediation activities, including the avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of impacts to covered species within the 29,927-acre plan area for 50 years. The proposed Hinkley HCP is a conservation plan for two species, the desert tortoise (federally listed as threatened) and the Mohave ground squirrel (not currently listed). The groundwater remediation activities that will be covered by the ITP include groundwater monitoring, freshwater injection into the water table, operation of agricultural units for bioremediation, below- and above-ground treatments, access road construction, structure demolition, and emergency repair of infrastructure. Potential impacts to covered species include disruption of normal behavior by covered activities, movement of animals away from work areas, and injury or death due to construction activities. The Hinkley HCP would provide a comprehensive approach to the protection and management of these species and their habitat within the plan area. The plan area is approximately 29,927 acres, and includes all areas within which PG&E is proposing to conduct groundwater remediation activities. The plan area is common to both alternatives analyzed in the EA, and represents the surface area above the projected maximum spatial extent of contaminated groundwater. The plan area also defines the maximum spatial extent of surface areas within which PG&E may implement groundwater remediation activities, and the maximum spatial extent of potential groundwater effects such as drawdown or accumulation of remediation byproducts. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Alternatives We considered two alternatives in the EA: (1) The Proposed Action as described in the HCP, and (2) the No Action alternative. Two other alternatives, discussed in the HCP as alternatives considered but not utilized, were not carried forward for analysis in the EA. The No Action alternative is based on PG&E’s continued implementation of groundwater remediation activities, consistent with current laws and regulations, in areas where take of listed species would be avoided; under this alternative we would not issue an ITP. Request for Comments Consistent with section 10(c) of the ESA, we invite your submission of written comments, data, or arguments with respect to PG&E’s permit VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:36 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 application, the Hinkley HCP, and proposed permitting decision. 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 your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Next Steps Issuance of an incidental take permit is a Federal proposed action subject to compliance with NEPA. We will evaluate the application, associated documents, and any public comments we receive to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. If we determine that those requirements are met, we will issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of the covered species. We will make our final permit decision no sooner than 30 days after the public comment period closes. Authority 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. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). G. Mendel Stewart, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. [FR Doc. 2017–27440 Filed 12–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCAC06000 L14400000 EU0000 17X L1109AF; CACA 52759] Notice of Realty Action: Proposed Non-Competitive (Direct) Sale of Public Land in Santa Barbara County, CA AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior. PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ACTION: 60417 Notice of realty action. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to sell 5.93 acres of public land to resolve an unauthorized use and occupancy in Santa Barbara County, California, to Arc Vineyards, LLC, under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), as amended, at not less than the fair market value of $19,500. DATES: Submit written comments to the BLM at the address below. Comments must be received by the BLM on or before February 5, 2018. ADDRESSES: Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield Field Office, 4801 Pegasus Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93308. Attn: Gabriel Garcia, Field Manager. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maria Soto, Realty Specialist, 661–391– 6023, at the above address or email to msoto@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following described land located in Santa Barbara County, California, is proposed for direct sale under the authority of Section 203 of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1713). San Bernardino Meridian, California T. 9 N, R. 33 W, Sec. 20, lot 1. The area described contains 5.93 acres. The BLM determined the land is no longer required for any other Federal purpose. A direct sale of this parcel is in conformance with the 1997 Caliente Resource Management Plan (RMP), as amended by Environmental Assessment DOI–BLM–CA–C060–2012–0021 Decision Record signed on July 2, 2014. Subsequently, the 2014 Bakersfield RMP replaced the Caliente RMP. The parcel was identified as suitable for disposal and sale under Section 203 of FLPMA and is limited to the smallest acreage necessary to resolve the unauthorized use and occupancy. The BLM found no significant biological or cultural resource values on the lands and expects no impacts to resource values from this action. An Environmental Site Assessment has been performed and is available for review. The sale would dispose of an isolated public land parcel that is difficult to manage because it is completely surrounded by private land and there is no legal access, would E:\FR\FM\20DEN1.SGM 20DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 243 (Wednesday, December 20, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60416-60417]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-27440]



[[Page 60416]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2017-N148]; [FXES11140800000-178-FF08E00000]


Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for the Desert Tortoise and 
Mohave Ground Squirrel and Draft Environmental Assessment; Hinkley 
Groundwater Remediation Project; San Bernardino County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for public comment.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the receipt 
and availability of a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and draft 
environmental assessment (EA), which evaluates the impacts of, and 
alternatives to, the proposed Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project. 
The Hinkley HCP was submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) 
in support of an application under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended, for a permit authorizing the incidental take of covered 
species resulting from covered activities. PG&E's application is for a 
50-year incidental take permit to cover groundwater remediation 
activities within a plan area of approximately 29,927 acres in and 
around Hinkley, California. We request review and comment on the 
Hinkley HCP and the draft EA from local, State, and Federal agencies; 
Tribes; and the public.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
January 19, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents:
     Internet: You may obtain copies of the Hinkley HCP and 
draft EA on the Hinkley Groundwater Remediation website at https://www.hinkleygroundwater.com.
     U.S. Mail: A limited number of CD-ROM and printed copies 
of the Hinkley HCP and draft EA and are available, by request, from the 
Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office at 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, 
Suite 208, Palm Springs, CA 92262; by mail at the Hinkley Independent 
Review Panel (IRP) Manager Office, 36236 Serra Rd., Hinkley, CA 92347; 
by phone at (714) 338-1800; or by email at [email protected]. 
Please specify that your request is about the Hinkley HCP.
     In-Person: Copies of the Hinkley HCP and draft EA are also 
available for public inspection and review at the following locations, 
by appointment and written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:
    [cir] Hinkley IRP Manager Office, 36236 Serra Rd., Hinkley, CA 
92347.
    [cir] PG&E Public Outreach Office, 22999 Community Blvd., Hinkley, 
CA 92347.
    [cir] Barstow Library, 304 E Buena Vista St, Barstow, CA 92311.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
    [cir] Email: [email protected]; please include ``Hinkley 
HCP'' in the subject line.
    [cir] U.S. Mail: Kennon A. Corey, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife 
Office, Attn: Hinkley HCP, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, 
Palm Springs, CA 92262, Attn: Hinkley HCP.
    [cir] Telephone: Kennon A. Corey, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife 
Office, (760) 322-2070.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Hoffmann, by mail at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, 
Palm Springs, CA 92262; or by phone at (760) 322-2070.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the receipt and availability of a draft Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) and draft environmental assessment (EA), which 
evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed Hinkley 
Groundwater Remediation Project. The Hinkley HCP was submitted by the 
Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in support of an application 
under section 10 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(ESA), for a permit authorizing the incidental take of covered species 
resulting from covered activities. The proposed Hinkley HCP area 
encompasses approximately 29,927 acres in the southeastern portion of 
San Bernardino County, within the State of California.

Introduction

    Under section 10(c) of the ESA and under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), this notice advises the public of the 
receipt and availability for public review of the draft Hinkley HCP and 
draft EA, which evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, the 
Hinkley HCP, submitted with an application for a permit to authorize 
the incidental take of federally listed covered species resulting from 
covered activities within the plan area. The Service is the Lead Agency 
pursuant to NEPA. The proposed Federal action is issuance to PG&E of an 
incidental take permit (ITP) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ``take'' of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered under section 4 (16 U.S.C. 1538, 1533, 
respectively). Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA provides for the issuance 
of a permit for the taking of listed fish and wildlife species that is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise 
lawful activity (``incidental take''). The ESA implementing regulations 
extend, under certain circumstances, the prohibition of take to 
threatened species (50 CFR 17.31). Regulations governing permits for 
endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. For 
more about the HCP program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/hcp.pdf.
    Under section 10(a) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to 
authorize incidental take of listed fish and wildlife species. Section 
10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA contains criteria for issuing ITPs to non-
Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, 
provided the following criteria are met:
     The taking will be incidental;
     The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, 
minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;
     The applicant will develop an HCP and ensure that adequate 
funding for the plan will be provided;
     The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
     The applicant will carry out any other measures that the 
Secretary may require as being necessary or appropriate for the 
purposes of the HCP.
    The purpose of issuing an ITP to PG&E would be to permit incidental 
take of the covered species resulting from groundwater remediation 
activities conducted by PG&E and conditioned on PG&E's minimization and 
mitigation of the impacts of such take in accordance with an approved 
Hinkley HCP. Implementation of the Hinkley HCP is intended to maximize 
the benefits of conservation measures for covered species and eliminate 
expensive and time-consuming efforts associated with processing 
individual ITPs for each groundwater remediation project within PG&E's 
plan area.
    The proposed Hinkley HCP includes measures intended to minimize and 
mitigate the impacts of the taking to the maximum extent practicable 
from groundwater remediation activities within the plan area.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is the issuance of an ITP by the Service to 
PG&E for the

[[Page 60417]]

incidental take of covered species from groundwater remediation 
activities, including the avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of 
impacts to covered species within the 29,927-acre plan area for 50 
years. The proposed Hinkley HCP is a conservation plan for two species, 
the desert tortoise (federally listed as threatened) and the Mohave 
ground squirrel (not currently listed). The groundwater remediation 
activities that will be covered by the ITP include groundwater 
monitoring, freshwater injection into the water table, operation of 
agricultural units for bioremediation, below- and above-ground 
treatments, access road construction, structure demolition, and 
emergency repair of infrastructure. Potential impacts to covered 
species include disruption of normal behavior by covered activities, 
movement of animals away from work areas, and injury or death due to 
construction activities. The Hinkley HCP would provide a comprehensive 
approach to the protection and management of these species and their 
habitat within the plan area.
    The plan area is approximately 29,927 acres, and includes all areas 
within which PG&E is proposing to conduct groundwater remediation 
activities. The plan area is common to both alternatives analyzed in 
the EA, and represents the surface area above the projected maximum 
spatial extent of contaminated groundwater. The plan area also defines 
the maximum spatial extent of surface areas within which PG&E may 
implement groundwater remediation activities, and the maximum spatial 
extent of potential groundwater effects such as drawdown or 
accumulation of remediation byproducts.

Alternatives

    We considered two alternatives in the EA: (1) The Proposed Action 
as described in the HCP, and (2) the No Action alternative. Two other 
alternatives, discussed in the HCP as alternatives considered but not 
utilized, were not carried forward for analysis in the EA. The No 
Action alternative is based on PG&E's continued implementation of 
groundwater remediation activities, consistent with current laws and 
regulations, in areas where take of listed species would be avoided; 
under this alternative we would not issue an ITP.

Request for Comments

    Consistent with section 10(c) of the ESA, we invite your submission 
of written comments, data, or arguments with respect to PG&E's permit 
application, the Hinkley HCP, and proposed permitting decision.

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 your entire comment--including 
your personal identifying information--may be made publicly available 
at any time. While you may request in your comment that we withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 
entirety.

Next Steps

    Issuance of an incidental take permit is a Federal proposed action 
subject to compliance with NEPA. We will evaluate the application, 
associated documents, and any public comments we receive to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the 
ESA. If we determine that those requirements are met, we will issue a 
permit to the applicant for the incidental take of the covered species. 
We will make our final permit decision no sooner than 30 days after the 
public comment period closes.

Authority

    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. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 
CFR 1506.6).

G. Mendel Stewart,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2017-27440 Filed 12-19-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P