Montana Department of Natural Resources Final Amended Habitat Conservation Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, 24335-24336 [2018-11209]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 102 / Friday, May 25, 2018 / Notices Date: May 15, 2018. Merrie Nichols-Dixon, Director, Office of Policy, Programs and Legislative Initiatives. [FR Doc. 2018–11305 Filed 5–24–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2017–0044; FF06E11000–167–FXES11120600000] Montana Department of Natural Resources Final Amended Habitat Conservation Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) and final Montana Department of Natural Resources Amended Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for forest management in Montana. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) applied to the Service for an amended incidental take permit (permit) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). DNRC is requesting authorization of additional incidental take of three federally listed and one unlisted species on 81,416 acres to be added to its HCPcovered lands. DNRC also amended the HCP to incorporate the terms of a settlement agreement from a 2013 lawsuit on the original permit. The final SEIS considers the environmental effects of amending the HCP and permit and addresses public comments received on the 2017 draft EIS. DATES: The documents will be available for inspection through June 25, 2018. We will not decide whether to issue an amended permit before the 30-day review period ends. We will document our decision in a record of decision (ROD). Reviewing Documents: You may review the final SEIS and final amended HCP in any of the following ways: • Internet: Go to www.regulations.gov and search for Docket No. FWS–R6–ES– 2017–0044. • In-person Review or Pick-up: Documents will also be available for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 780 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 ADDRESSES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:28 May 24, 2018 Jkt 241001 Creston Hatchery Road, Kalispell, MT 59901 (telephone, 406–758–6882); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 585 Shepard Way, Suite 1, Helena, MT 59601 (telephone, 406–449–5225); and Montana DNRC Forest Management Bureau, 2705 Spurgin Rd, Missoula, MT 59804 (telephone, 406–542–4328). • Information regarding the final documents is available in alternative formats upon request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Conard, Assistant Field Supervisor, Kalispell Field Office, via email at Ben_ Conard@fws.gov or via telephone at 406–758–6882; or Gary Frank, Deputy Chief, Forest Management Bureau, Montana DNRC, via email at gfrank@ mt.gov, or via telephone at 406–542 –4328. Information on this proposed action is also available at the DNRC’s website at https://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/ trust/forest-management/hcp. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech disabled, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8337. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we are advising the public that we are providing the final SEIS and amended HCP for public review. We jointly prepared the final SEIS for our compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and DNRC’s compliance with the Montana Environmental Policy Act. Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits take of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered (16 U.S.C. 1538). Under section 3 of the ESA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ‘‘harm’’ is defined in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations as ‘‘an act which actually kills or injures wildlife. Such acts may include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering’’ (50 CFR 17.3). The term ‘‘harass’’ is defined in the regulations as ‘‘an intentional or negligent act or omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it 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). Under section 10(a) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed fish and PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24335 wildlife species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the incidental take of endangered and threatened species. Regulations governing activities involving endangered species are at 50 CFR part 17, subpart C, and regulations governing activities involving threatened species are at 50 CFR part 17, subpart D. NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to determine whether the actions may significantly affect the human environment. Under NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500 et seq.), Federal agencies must also compare effects of a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action. In these analyses, the Federal agency will identify potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative effects, as well as possible mitigation for any significant effects, on biological resources, land use, air quality, water resources, socioeconomics, environmental justice, cultural resources, and other environmental resources that could occur with the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. The Applicant’s Project In 2011, we issued a permit to DNRC for take of the grizzly bear, Canada lynx, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and Columbia redband trout incidental to forest management activities covered in their HCP (75 FR 57059). The grizzly bear, Canada lynx, and bull trout are listed as threatened under the ESA, while the westslope and Columbia redband trout are not listed species. The original permit covered approximately 548,500 acres of forested State trust lands in western Montana. The HCP addressed the process and contingencies for DNRC to transfer, exchange, or add lands for their forest management activities in the future. Thus, the Service had considered in the 2011 final EIS the potential effects of amending the HCP and permit to cover such actions, but was not able to analyze effects from adding specific lands that had not yet been identified. The final SEIS analyzes potential effects to the human and natural environment from the preferred alternative to amend the permit to cover take from DNRC’s forest management activities on an additional 81,416 acres. The permit’s take authorization would increase for the grizzly bear, Canada lynx, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1 24336 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 102 / Friday, May 25, 2018 / Notices trout. Change in authorized take of the Columbia redband trout is not necessary, because it does not occur on the additional lands. The amended permit would require DNRC to implement all applicable HCP conservation commitments on the additional lands to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the take. In April, 2013, Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental Information Center, and Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the issuance of the permit in a Federal District Court in Montana. The Court ruled in the Service’s favor on all but one count. DNRC and the plaintiffs subsequently entered a settlement agreement for the remaining count in September 2015. The future addition of lands to the HCP and permit were not part of the complaint or the settlement agreement. The DNRC amended the HCP to incorporate the terms of the settlement agreement, which would not result in any changes to the permit. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 National Environmental Policy Act Compliance Issuing an amended permit is a Federal action that requires compliance with NEPA. The amended permit would require the implementation of DNRC’s amendments to the HCP. Therefore, the final SEIS analyzes the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of issuing an amended permit and implementing the required measures in the amended HCP to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the take. We also analyzed the effects of a no-action alternative. The no-action alternative includes amending the HCP to incorporate the terms of the settlement agreement, which is legally required, but does not include adding lands or issuing an amended permit authorizing additional take. The final SEIS also includes all comments we received on the draft SEIS and our response to those comments. In accordance with NEPA (40 CFR 1502.14(e)), we identified the proposed action as our preferred alternative in the final SEIS. The action agency’s preferred alternative is a preliminary indication of its preference of action, chosen from among the alternatives analyzed. It is the alternative that the agency believes would fulfill its statutory mission and responsibilities, giving consideration to environmental, economic, technical, and other factors (43 CFR 46.420(d)). The preferred alternative is not a final agency decision; the final agency decision will be presented in the ROD after the 30-day review period for the final SEIS. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:28 May 24, 2018 Jkt 241001 Public Review Copies of the Final SEIS and Amended HCP are available for review (see ADDRESSES). Any comment we receive will become part of the administrative record and may be available to the public. 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. In addition to our publication of this notice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will publish a Federal Register notice. The EPA is charged, under section 309 of the Clean Air Act, to review all Federal agencies’ EISs and to comment on the adequacy and the acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in the EISs. EPA also serves as the repository for EISs prepared by Federal agencies and provides notice of their availability in the Federal Register. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Database provides information about EISs prepared by Federal agencies, as well as EPA’s comments concerning the EISs. All EISs are filed with EPA, which publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal Register. The notice of availability is the start of the 30-day ‘‘wait period’’ for final EISs, during which agencies are generally required to wait 30 days before making a decision on a proposed action. For more information, see https://www.epa.gov/ nepa. You may search for EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https:// cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/ action/eis/search. Authority: We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations for incidental take permits (50 CFR 17.22) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR part 46). PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: May 16, 2018. Marjorie Nelson, Chief—Ecological Services, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, Colorado. [FR Doc. 2018–11209 Filed 5–24–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [F–20520; 18X.LLAK.944000.L14100000.HY0000.P] Alaska Native Claims Selection Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of decision approving lands for conveyance. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hereby provides constructive notice that it will issue an appealable decision approving conveyance of the surface and subsurface estates in certain lands to Kukulget, Inc., and Sivuqaq, Inc., both Alaska Native corporations, pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, as amended (ANCSA). DATES: Any party claiming a property interest in the lands affected by the decision may appeal the decision in accordance with the requirements of 43 CFR part 4 within the time limits set out in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section. ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the decision from the BLM, Alaska State Office, 222 West Seventh Avenue, #13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513–7504. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Eileen Bryant, BLM Alaska State Office, 907–271–5715 or ebryant@blm.gov. The BLM Alaska State Office may also be contacted via a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) through the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877– 8339. The relay service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the BLM. The BLM will reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As required by 43 CFR 2650.7(d), notice is hereby given that the BLM will issue an appealable decision to Kukulget, Inc., and Sivuqaq, Inc. The decision approves conveyance of the surface and subsurface estates in certain lands pursuant to the ANCSA (43 U.S.C. 1601, et seq.). The lands are located on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, and are described as: Lots 4 and 5, U.S. Survey No. 4340, Alaska. Containing 424.35 acres. E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 102 (Friday, May 25, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24335-24336]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-11209]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2017-0044; FF06E11000-167-FXES11120600000]


Montana Department of Natural Resources Final Amended Habitat 
Conservation Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the final supplemental environmental impact statement 
(SEIS) and final Montana Department of Natural Resources Amended 
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for forest management in Montana. The 
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) applied 
to the Service for an amended incidental take permit (permit) under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). DNRC is requesting 
authorization of additional incidental take of three federally listed 
and one unlisted species on 81,416 acres to be added to its HCP-covered 
lands. DNRC also amended the HCP to incorporate the terms of a 
settlement agreement from a 2013 lawsuit on the original permit. The 
final SEIS considers the environmental effects of amending the HCP and 
permit and addresses public comments received on the 2017 draft EIS.

DATES: The documents will be available for inspection through June 25, 
2018. We will not decide whether to issue an amended permit before the 
30-day review period ends. We will document our decision in a record of 
decision (ROD).

ADDRESSES: Reviewing Documents: You may review the final SEIS and final 
amended HCP in any of the following ways:
     Internet: Go to www.regulations.gov and search for Docket 
No. FWS-R6-ES-2017-0044.
     In-person Review or Pick-up: Documents will also be 
available for public inspection by appointment during normal business 
hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 780 Creston Hatchery Road, 
Kalispell, MT 59901 (telephone, 406-758-6882); U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 585 Shepard Way, Suite 1, Helena, MT 59601 (telephone, 406-
449-5225); and Montana DNRC Forest Management Bureau, 2705 Spurgin Rd, 
Missoula, MT 59804 (telephone, 406-542-4328).
     Information regarding the final documents is available in 
alternative formats upon request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Conard, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Kalispell Field Office, via email at [email protected] or 
via telephone at 406-758-6882; or Gary Frank, Deputy Chief, Forest 
Management Bureau, Montana DNRC, via email at [email protected], or via 
telephone at 406-542 -4328. Information on this proposed action is also 
available at the DNRC's website at https://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/trust/forest-management/hcp. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech disabled, please call the Federal 
Relay Service at 800-877-8337.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we are advising the public 
that we are providing the final SEIS and amended HCP for public review. 
We jointly prepared the final SEIS for our compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and DNRC's compliance with the Montana 
Environmental Policy Act.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits take of fish and wildlife species 
listed as endangered (16 U.S.C. 1538). Under section 3 of the ESA, the 
term ``take'' means to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, 
kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such 
conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The term ``harm'' is defined in title 
50 of the Code of Federal Regulations as ``an act which actually kills 
or injures wildlife. Such acts may include significant habitat 
modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife 
by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering'' (50 CFR 17.3). The term ``harass'' 
is defined in the regulations as ``an intentional or negligent act or 
omission which creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying 
it 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).
    Under section 10(a) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to 
authorize incidental take of listed fish and wildlife species. 
``Incidental take'' is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental 
to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. 
Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions for issuing 
incidental take permits to non-Federal entities for the incidental take 
of endangered and threatened species. Regulations governing activities 
involving endangered species are at 50 CFR part 17, subpart C, and 
regulations governing activities involving threatened species are at 50 
CFR part 17, subpart D.
    NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies 
conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to 
determine whether the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. Under NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500 
et seq.), Federal agencies must also compare effects of a reasonable 
range of alternatives to the proposed action. In these analyses, the 
Federal agency will identify potentially significant direct, indirect, 
and cumulative effects, as well as possible mitigation for any 
significant effects, on biological resources, land use, air quality, 
water resources, socioeconomics, environmental justice, cultural 
resources, and other environmental resources that could occur with the 
implementation of the proposed action and alternatives.

The Applicant's Project

    In 2011, we issued a permit to DNRC for take of the grizzly bear, 
Canada lynx, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and Columbia 
redband trout incidental to forest management activities covered in 
their HCP (75 FR 57059). The grizzly bear, Canada lynx, and bull trout 
are listed as threatened under the ESA, while the westslope and 
Columbia redband trout are not listed species. The original permit 
covered approximately 548,500 acres of forested State trust lands in 
western Montana. The HCP addressed the process and contingencies for 
DNRC to transfer, exchange, or add lands for their forest management 
activities in the future. Thus, the Service had considered in the 2011 
final EIS the potential effects of amending the HCP and permit to cover 
such actions, but was not able to analyze effects from adding specific 
lands that had not yet been identified. The final SEIS analyzes 
potential effects to the human and natural environment from the 
preferred alternative to amend the permit to cover take from DNRC's 
forest management activities on an additional 81,416 acres. The 
permit's take authorization would increase for the grizzly bear, Canada 
lynx, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat

[[Page 24336]]

trout. Change in authorized take of the Columbia redband trout is not 
necessary, because it does not occur on the additional lands. The 
amended permit would require DNRC to implement all applicable HCP 
conservation commitments on the additional lands to avoid, minimize, 
and mitigate the impacts of the take.
    In April, 2013, Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental 
Information Center, and Natural Resources Defense Council challenged 
the issuance of the permit in a Federal District Court in Montana. The 
Court ruled in the Service's favor on all but one count. DNRC and the 
plaintiffs subsequently entered a settlement agreement for the 
remaining count in September 2015. The future addition of lands to the 
HCP and permit were not part of the complaint or the settlement 
agreement. The DNRC amended the HCP to incorporate the terms of the 
settlement agreement, which would not result in any changes to the 
permit.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    Issuing an amended permit is a Federal action that requires 
compliance with NEPA. The amended permit would require the 
implementation of DNRC's amendments to the HCP. Therefore, the final 
SEIS analyzes the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of issuing 
an amended permit and implementing the required measures in the amended 
HCP to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the take. We also 
analyzed the effects of a no-action alternative. The no-action 
alternative includes amending the HCP to incorporate the terms of the 
settlement agreement, which is legally required, but does not include 
adding lands or issuing an amended permit authorizing additional take. 
The final SEIS also includes all comments we received on the draft SEIS 
and our response to those comments.
    In accordance with NEPA (40 CFR 1502.14(e)), we identified the 
proposed action as our preferred alternative in the final SEIS. The 
action agency's preferred alternative is a preliminary indication of 
its preference of action, chosen from among the alternatives analyzed. 
It is the alternative that the agency believes would fulfill its 
statutory mission and responsibilities, giving consideration to 
environmental, economic, technical, and other factors (43 CFR 
46.420(d)). The preferred alternative is not a final agency decision; 
the final agency decision will be presented in the ROD after the 30-day 
review period for the final SEIS.

Public Review

    Copies of the Final SEIS and Amended HCP are available for review 
(see ADDRESSES). Any comment we receive will become part of the 
administrative record and may be available to the public. 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.
    In addition to our publication of this notice, the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will publish a Federal Register 
notice. The EPA is charged, under section 309 of the Clean Air Act, to 
review all Federal agencies' EISs and to comment on the adequacy and 
the acceptability of the environmental impacts of proposed actions in 
the EISs. EPA also serves as the repository for EISs prepared by 
Federal agencies and provides notice of their availability in the 
Federal Register. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Database 
provides information about EISs prepared by Federal agencies, as well 
as EPA's comments concerning the EISs. All EISs are filed with EPA, 
which publishes a notice of availability on Fridays in the Federal 
Register. The notice of availability is the start of the 30-day ``wait 
period'' for final EISs, during which agencies are generally required 
to wait 30 days before making a decision on a proposed action. For more 
information, see https://www.epa.gov/nepa. You may search for EPA 
comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

    Authority: We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations for 
incidental take permits (50 CFR 17.22) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et 
seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR part 
46).

    Dated: May 16, 2018.
Marjorie Nelson,
Chief--Ecological Services, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Lakewood, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 2018-11209 Filed 5-24-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P