Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement To Consider a Highway Right-of-Way With Associated Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit, and Resource Management Plan Amendments, Washington County, UT, 66692-66694 [2019-26287]

Download as PDF 66692 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 234 / Thursday, December 5, 2019 / Notices technical data and provide recommendations for resolution. Use of the SRP only may be exercised after FEMA and local communities have been engaged in a collaborative consultation process for at least 60 days without a mutually acceptable resolution of an appeal. Additional information regarding the SRP process can be found online at https://www.floodsrp.org/pdfs/ srp_overview.pdf. The watersheds and/or communities affected are listed in the tables below. The Preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, FIS report for each community are available for inspection at both the online location https:// www.fema.gov/preliminary floodhazarddata and the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables. For communities with multiple ongoing Preliminary studies, the studies can be identified by the unique project number and Preliminary FIRM date listed in the tables. Additionally, the current effective FIRM and FIS report for each community are accessible online through the FEMA Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov for comparison. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, ‘‘Flood Insurance.’’) Michael M. Grimm, Assistant Administrator for Risk Management, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Community Community map repository address Pulaski County, Arkansas and Incorporated Areas Project: 15–06–1728S Preliminary Date: July 29, 2019 City of Little Rock. Public Works Administration Building, 701 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. [FR Doc. 2019–26249 Filed 12–4–19; 8:45 am] jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 9110–12–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:38 Dec 04, 2019 Jkt 250001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management Fish and Wildlife Service [20X LLUTC03000 L14400000 ER0000 LXSSJ0740000; UTU–93620; 13–08807] Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement To Consider a Highway Right-of-Way With Associated Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit, and Resource Management Plan Amendments, Washington County, UT Bureau of Land Management, Interior; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as co-lead agencies, intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider a right-ofway application submitted by the Utah Department of Transportation (referred to henceforth as the Northern Corridor project), potential amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) Resource Management Plans (RMPs), and the issuance of an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to Washington County, Utah, under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. SUMMARY: This Notice initiates the public scoping process. Scoping comments may be submitted in writing until January 6, 2020. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through a news release to local and regional media outlets and the BLM website at: https://www.blm.gov/news/ utah. In order to be considered during the preparation of the Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 30-day scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. The BLM and FWS will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft EIS. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments related to the proposed actions by any of the following methods: • Website: https://go.usa.gov/xpC6H. • Email: BLM_UT_NorthernCorridor@ blm.gov. DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Attn: Northern Corridor, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790. Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM St. George Field Office, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84790 and FWS Utah Ecological Services Field Office, 2369 W. Orton Circle, West Valley City, Utah 84119. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gloria Tibbetts, Color Country District Planning and Environmental Coordinator, telephone (435) 865–3063; address 176 DL Sargent Dr., Cedar City, UT 84721; email BLM_UT_ NorthernCorridor@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Ms. Tibbetts during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 4, 2018, the Utah Department of Transportation submitted an application for a right-of-way (ROW) grant for the Northern Corridor project north of the city of St. George, Utah, on BLM-managed public lands in the Red Cliffs NCA and the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve—an area set aside for Mojave desert tortoise mitigation under the 1995 Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The FWS is working with Washington County (County) on an HCP pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA in response to the proposed Northern Corridor project and other development in the county. The BLM is also considering amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red Cliffs NCA RMPs that would allow consideration of and mitigation for the proposed Northern Corridor project. The EIS will analyze four proposed actions: (1) Whether the BLM will approve a 1.75-mile ROW section of the approximately 4-mile long Northern Corridor project that crosses the 62,000acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and the 45,000-acre congressionally established Red Cliffs NCA; (2) Whether the BLM will amend the Red Cliffs NCA RMP to allow for a transportation ROW and/or corridor within the NCA; (3) Whether the BLM will amend the St. George Field Office RMP to modify management on approximately 6,800 acres outside the Reserve and NCA to offset the ROW impacts; and (4) Whether the FWS will issue an associated ITP for the Mojave desert tortoise for specific land use and land development activities in Washington County. E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 234 / Thursday, December 5, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES The BLM and FWS decisions that will stem from the Northern Corridor project analysis in the EIS are related, allowing the Department of the Interior to consolidate the effort. The BLM will work jointly with the FWS to ensure both agencies’ requirements are addressed through all aspects of the NEPA process and development of the EIS. For these reasons, the agencies are analyzing these connected actions within one EIS. ITP—Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. See 16 U.S.C. 1538(a). Under Section 3 of the ESA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.’’ 16 U.S.C. 1532(19). The term ‘‘harm’’ is further defined by regulation as ‘‘an act which actually kills or injures wildlife.’’ 50 CFR 17.3. ‘‘Such an act 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.’’ Id. The term ‘‘harass’’ is also further defined in the regulations as ‘‘an intentional or negligent act or omission that 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.’’ Id. Under Section 10(a)(l)(B) of the ESA, the Secretary of the Interior may authorize the taking of federally listed species if such taking occurs incidental to otherwise legal activities and where a conservation plan has been developed. Section 10(a)(2)(A) requires that the conservation plan describe: (1) The impact that will likely result from such taking; (2) The steps an applicant will take to minimize and mitigate that take to the maximum extent practicable and the funding that will be available to implement such steps; (3) The alternative actions to such taking that an applicant considered and the reasons why such alternatives are not being utilized; and (4) Other measures that the FWS may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan. Issuance criteria under Section 10(a)(2)(B) for an ITP require the FWS to find that: (1) The taking will be incidental to otherwise lawful activities; (2) An applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of such taking; (3) An applicant has ensured that adequate funding for the plan will be provided; VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:38 Dec 04, 2019 Jkt 250001 (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) The measures, if any, that FWS requires as necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the plan will be met. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and § 17.32, respectively. Washington County’s ITP expired in 2016 and the FWS granted an extension to allow time for a renewal. If approved, the Northern Corridor would require an amendment to the HCP because it would impact the Red Cliff Desert Reserve’s function as mitigation under the HCP. Before renewal of the ITP can be approved, the Utah Department of Transportation and the County must demonstrate that impacts to the previous value of the Reserve from the highway would be fully offset. RMPs—Background The BLM approved the Red Cliffs RMP on December 21, 2016. The Approved RMP satisfies the legislative direction in Section 1974(d)(1) of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (16 U.S.C 460www, Pub. L. 111–11) that the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, develop a comprehensive RMP for the Red Cliffs NCA to achieve the following Congressionally-defined purposes: ‘‘(1) To conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources of the National Conservation Area; and (2) To protect each species that is located in the National Conservation Area; and listed as a threatened or endangered species on the list of threatened species or the list of endangered species published under [the Endangered Species Act of 1973].’’ 16 U.S.C. 460www(a). The St. George Field Office RMP was approved on March 15, 1999, to fulfill the planning requirements of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and to provide a vision and direction for future public land management in Washington County. The BLM approved an amendment to the St. George Field Office RMP on December 21, 2016, to protect endangered native plant species listed as threatened and endangered and to update OHV area designations. The BLM is considering amending the St. George RMP again to allow for possible measures that the County proposed to mitigate the potential loss of tortoise habitat by any development of a ROW corridor. Specifically, the County has PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 66693 proposed creating a new habitat Zone 6 in the Reserve to provide additional desert tortoise habitat and to offset habitat loss potentially occurring from a ROW. NEPA Process The BLM and FWS will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the EIS in order to consider the variety of resource issues and concerns identified during the scoping period. Potential direct, indirect, residual, and cumulative impacts from the proposed actions will be analyzed in the EIS. The purpose of the public scoping process is to identify relevant subject areas that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including potential alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EIS. At present, the BLM and FWS have identified the following preliminary subject areas: Impacts to threatened and endangered species, including the federally listed Mojave desert tortoise; impacts to the mitigation for the 1995 HCP; impacts to the Red Cliffs NCA’s purposes for designation, impacts to recreation and livestock grazing, and socioeconomic and transportation impacts in the surrounding communities. The BLM and FWS will follow the NEPA public participation requirements to satisfy the public involvement requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470(f)) pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Any information about historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by the proposed project will assist the BLM and FWS in identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources in the context of both NEPA and Section 106 of the NHPA. The BLM and FWS will consult with Indian tribes on a government-togovernment basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the proposed Northern Corridor project, associated RMP amendments, and possible ESA 10(a)(1)(b) permit issuance are invited to participate in the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis as a cooperating agency. E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 66694 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 234 / Thursday, December 5, 2019 / Notices (Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2) Edwin L. Roberson, State Director. Noreen Walsh, Regional Director. [FR Doc. 2019–26287 Filed 12–4–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–DQ–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R6–ES–2019–N123; FXES11130600000–201–FF06E00000] Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Recovery Permit Applications Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of receipt of permit applications; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received applications for permits to conduct activities intended to enhance the propagation or survival of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to SUMMARY: Application No. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. TE53607D–0 ..... Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Denver, Colorado. TE080647–1 ...... Wildlife Specialties, LLC, Lyons, Colorado. City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, Fort Collins, Colorado. TE57437D–0 ..... TE73239C–1 ..... jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES TE66521B–2 ..... Background The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et Applicant, city, state TE067729–6 ...... TE42721B–1 ..... seq.), prohibits certain activities with endangered and threatened species unless authorized by a Federal permit. The 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 recovery permit issued by us under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA authorizes the permittee to conduct activities with endangered species for scientific purposes that promote recovery or for enhancement of propagation or survival of the species. Our regulations implementing section 10(a)(1)(A) 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. Permit Applications Available for Review and Comment We invite local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public to comment on the following applications. Location Take activity • Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) ........... • Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) • Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius). • Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) • Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius). • Bonytail chub (Gila elegans) ................. • Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus). • Black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) ... CO, KS, UT ........................ Capture, handle, insert PIT tags, clip fins, and release. Renew. CO ...................................... Capture, handle, measure, insert PIT tags, tissue sample for genetic analysis, and release. Pursue for presence/absence surveys. Pursue for presence/absence surveys, capture, mark, vaccinate, release, reintroduce, and monitor populations. Pursue for presence/absence surveys. Capture, handle, measure, insert PIT tags, tissue sample for genetic analysis, and release. Pursue for presence/absence surveys. New. CO ...................................... CO ...................................... Timothy Carden, Monte Vista, Colorado. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City, Missouri. • Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus). • Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) CO ...................................... Western Biology, LLC, Hotchkiss, Colorado. • Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus). • Black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) ... AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, TX, UT. CO, WY, MT, UT, KS, NE, SD, ND. 17:38 Dec 04, 2019 Jkt 250001 Permit action Species Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the administrative record. 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 comment on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. DATES: We must receive your written comments by January 6, 2020. ADDRESSES: Document availability and comment submission: Use one of the following methods to request documents or submit comments. Requests and comments should specify the applicant name(s) and application number(s) (e.g., TE123456): • Email: permitsR6ES@fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: Marjorie Nelson, Chief, Division of Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 134 Union Blvd., Suite 670, Lakewood, CO 80228. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathy Konishi, Recovery Permits Coordinator, Ecological Services, 303– 236–4224 (phone), or permitsR6ES@ fws.gov (email). Individuals who are hearing or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877– 8339 for TTY assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: KS, MO ............................... While you can 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 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Renew. Renew. New. Amend. Amend. made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Next Steps If we decide to issue permits to any of the applicants listed in this notice, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register. E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 234 (Thursday, December 5, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66692-66694]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-26287]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

Fish and Wildlife Service

[20X LLUTC03000 L14400000 ER0000 LXSSJ0740000; UTU-93620; 13-08807]


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement To 
Consider a Highway Right-of-Way With Associated Issuance of an 
Incidental Take Permit, and Resource Management Plan Amendments, 
Washington County, UT

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior; Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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

SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976, as amended, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as 
amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS), as co-lead agencies, intend to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) to consider a right-of-way application submitted 
by the Utah Department of Transportation (referred to henceforth as the 
Northern Corridor project), potential amendments to the St. George 
Field Office and Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) Resource 
Management Plans (RMPs), and the issuance of an Incidental Take Permit 
(ITP) to Washington County, Utah, under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA.

DATES: This Notice initiates the public scoping process. Scoping 
comments may be submitted in writing until January 6, 2020. The date(s) 
and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 
days in advance through a news release to local and regional media 
outlets and the BLM website at: https://www.blm.gov/news/utah. In order 
to be considered during the preparation of the Draft EIS, all comments 
must be received prior to the close of the 30-day scoping period or 15 
days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. The BLM and FWS 
will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon 
publication of the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments related to the proposed 
actions by any of the following methods:
     Website: https://go.usa.gov/xpC6H.
     Email: [email protected].
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Attn: Northern Corridor, 
345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790.
    Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM St. 
George Field Office, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84790 
and FWS Utah Ecological Services Field Office, 2369 W. Orton Circle, 
West Valley City, Utah 84119.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gloria Tibbetts, Color Country 
District Planning and Environmental Coordinator, telephone (435) 865-
3063; address 176 DL Sargent Dr., Cedar City, UT 84721; email 
[email protected]. Persons who use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 
1-800-877-8339 to contact Ms. Tibbetts during normal business hours. 
The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message 
or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 4, 2018, the Utah Department of 
Transportation submitted an application for a right-of-way (ROW) grant 
for the Northern Corridor project north of the city of St. George, 
Utah, on BLM-managed public lands in the Red Cliffs NCA and the Red 
Cliffs Desert Reserve--an area set aside for Mojave desert tortoise 
mitigation under the 1995 Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan 
(HCP). The FWS is working with Washington County (County) on an HCP 
pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA in response to the proposed 
Northern Corridor project and other development in the county. The BLM 
is also considering amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red 
Cliffs NCA RMPs that would allow consideration of and mitigation for 
the proposed Northern Corridor project.
    The EIS will analyze four proposed actions: (1) Whether the BLM 
will approve a 1.75-mile ROW section of the approximately 4-mile long 
Northern Corridor project that crosses the 62,000-acre Red Cliffs 
Desert Reserve and the 45,000-acre congressionally established Red 
Cliffs NCA; (2) Whether the BLM will amend the Red Cliffs NCA RMP to 
allow for a transportation ROW and/or corridor within the NCA; (3) 
Whether the BLM will amend the St. George Field Office RMP to modify 
management on approximately 6,800 acres outside the Reserve and NCA to 
offset the ROW impacts; and (4) Whether the FWS will issue an 
associated ITP for the Mojave desert tortoise for specific land use and 
land development activities in Washington County.

[[Page 66693]]

    The BLM and FWS decisions that will stem from the Northern Corridor 
project analysis in the EIS are related, allowing the Department of the 
Interior to consolidate the effort. The BLM will work jointly with the 
FWS to ensure both agencies' requirements are addressed through all 
aspects of the NEPA process and development of the EIS. For these 
reasons, the agencies are analyzing these connected actions within one 
EIS.

ITP--Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ``take'' of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered or threatened. See 16 U.S.C. 1538(a). 
Under Section 3 of the ESA, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to 
attempt to engage in any such conduct.'' 16 U.S.C. 1532(19). The term 
``harm'' is further defined by regulation as ``an act which actually 
kills or injures wildlife.'' 50 CFR 17.3. ``Such an act 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.'' Id. The term 
``harass'' is also further defined in the regulations as ``an 
intentional or negligent act or omission that 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.'' Id.
    Under Section 10(a)(l)(B) of the ESA, the Secretary of the Interior 
may authorize the taking of federally listed species if such taking 
occurs incidental to otherwise legal activities and where a 
conservation plan has been developed. Section 10(a)(2)(A) requires that 
the conservation plan describe: (1) The impact that will likely result 
from such taking; (2) The steps an applicant will take to minimize and 
mitigate that take to the maximum extent practicable and the funding 
that will be available to implement such steps; (3) The alternative 
actions to such taking that an applicant considered and the reasons why 
such alternatives are not being utilized; and (4) Other measures that 
the FWS may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes 
of the plan. Issuance criteria under Section 10(a)(2)(B) for an ITP 
require the FWS to find that: (1) The taking will be incidental to 
otherwise lawful activities; (2) An applicant will, to the maximum 
extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of such taking; 
(3) An applicant has ensured that adequate funding for the plan will be 
provided; (4) The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) The 
measures, if any, that FWS requires as necessary or appropriate for the 
purposes of the plan will be met. Regulations governing permits for 
endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and Sec.  17.32, 
respectively.
    Washington County's ITP expired in 2016 and the FWS granted an 
extension to allow time for a renewal. If approved, the Northern 
Corridor would require an amendment to the HCP because it would impact 
the Red Cliff Desert Reserve's function as mitigation under the HCP. 
Before renewal of the ITP can be approved, the Utah Department of 
Transportation and the County must demonstrate that impacts to the 
previous value of the Reserve from the highway would be fully offset.

RMPs--Background

    The BLM approved the Red Cliffs RMP on December 21, 2016. The 
Approved RMP satisfies the legislative direction in Section 1974(d)(1) 
of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (16 U.S.C 460www, 
Pub. L. 111-11) that the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, 
develop a comprehensive RMP for the Red Cliffs NCA to achieve the 
following Congressionally-defined purposes: ``(1) To conserve, protect, 
and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future 
generations the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, 
historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources of the 
National Conservation Area; and (2) To protect each species that is 
located in the National Conservation Area; and listed as a threatened 
or endangered species on the list of threatened species or the list of 
endangered species published under [the Endangered Species Act of 
1973].'' 16 U.S.C. 460www(a).
    The St. George Field Office RMP was approved on March 15, 1999, to 
fulfill the planning requirements of the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 and to provide a vision and direction for future 
public land management in Washington County. The BLM approved an 
amendment to the St. George Field Office RMP on December 21, 2016, to 
protect endangered native plant species listed as threatened and 
endangered and to update OHV area designations. The BLM is considering 
amending the St. George RMP again to allow for possible measures that 
the County proposed to mitigate the potential loss of tortoise habitat 
by any development of a ROW corridor. Specifically, the County has 
proposed creating a new habitat Zone 6 in the Reserve to provide 
additional desert tortoise habitat and to offset habitat loss 
potentially occurring from a ROW.

NEPA Process

    The BLM and FWS will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop 
the EIS in order to consider the variety of resource issues and 
concerns identified during the scoping period. Potential direct, 
indirect, residual, and cumulative impacts from the proposed actions 
will be analyzed in the EIS.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to identify relevant 
subject areas that will influence the scope of the environmental 
analysis, including potential alternatives, and guide the process for 
developing the EIS. At present, the BLM and FWS have identified the 
following preliminary subject areas: Impacts to threatened and 
endangered species, including the federally listed Mojave desert 
tortoise; impacts to the mitigation for the 1995 HCP; impacts to the 
Red Cliffs NCA's purposes for designation, impacts to recreation and 
livestock grazing, and socioeconomic and transportation impacts in the 
surrounding communities.
    The BLM and FWS will follow the NEPA public participation 
requirements to satisfy the public involvement requirements under 
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 
470(f)) pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Any information about historic 
and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by the 
proposed project will assist the BLM and FWS in identifying and 
evaluating impacts to such resources in the context of both NEPA and 
Section 106 of the NHPA.
    The BLM and FWS will consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-
government basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due 
consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes 
and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the 
proposed Northern Corridor project, associated RMP amendments, and 
possible ESA 10(a)(1)(b) permit issuance are invited to participate in 
the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by 
the BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis 
as a cooperating agency.


[[Page 66694]]


(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2)

Edwin L. Roberson,
State Director.
Noreen Walsh,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2019-26287 Filed 12-4-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-DQ-P