Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to Consider a Highway Right-of-Way, Draft Amended Habitat Conservation Plan and Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit for the Mojave Desert Tortoise, and Resource Management Plan Amendments, Washington County, UT and Notice of Intent for the Proposed Closure of Certain Federal Lands to Recreational Target Shooting, Washington County, UT, 35950-35952 [2020-12748]

Download as PDF 35950 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 114 / Friday, June 12, 2020 / Notices correcting data discrepancies in the EIS but did not significantly change the alternatives. (Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10) Jamie E. Connell, Colorado State Director. [FR Doc. 2020–12608 Filed 6–11–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–JB–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management Fish and Wildlife Service [20XL1109AF LLUTC03000 L16100000.DS0000 LXSSJ0740000; UTU– 93620; 13–08807] Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to Consider a Highway Right-of-Way, Draft Amended Habitat Conservation Plan and Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit for the Mojave Desert Tortoise, and Resource Management Plan Amendments, Washington County, UT and Notice of Intent for the Proposed Closure of Certain Federal Lands to Recreational Target Shooting, Washington County, UT Bureau of Land Management, Interior; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; notice of ESA Section 10(a)(1)(B) permit application; and notice of intent. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), as amended, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (OPLMA), and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), as co-lead agencies, announce the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider a right-of-way (ROW) application submitted by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) (referred to henceforth as the Northern Corridor Project), and potential amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) Resource Management Plans (RMPs). DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM and USFWS must receive written comments on the proposed Northern Corridor Project Draft EIS, including potential amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red Cliffs NCA RMPs, the jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 11, 2020 Jkt 250001 Draft Amended HCP and ITP application, and the potential closure of certain Federal lands to recreational target shooting by September 10, 2020. The BLM and USFWS will announce public involvement opportunities at least 15 days in advance through media releases, mailed notifications and/or the project website set out in the ADDRESSES section. ADDRESSES: The Draft EIS, Draft Amended HCP, and ESA section 10 ITP application are available for review on the BLM ePlanning project website at https://go.usa.gov/xw8TX. Click the Documents and Reports link on the left side of the screen to find the electronic versions of these materials. You may submit written comments related to the Northern Corridor Project Draft EIS, Draft Amended HCP, and proposed closure of certain Federal lands to recreational target shooting by either of the following methods: • Email: BLM_UT_NorthernCorridor@ blm.gov. • Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Attn: Northern Corridor, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gloria Tibbetts, BLM 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 leave a message or question for the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours. If you would like to request to view a hard copy, please call the St. George Field Office for more information at (435) 688–3200, Monday through Friday, except holidays. For information on the Draft Amended HCP or ITP application, contact Laura Romin, Acting Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, telephone (801) 554–7660; email utahfieldoffice_ esa@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In compliance with section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the USFWS is considering the issuance of an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) to Washington County, Utah. The ITP would authorize the take of the federally threatened Mojave desert tortoise incidental to covered activities such as residential and commercial development for a 25-year permit term. The application for the permit requires the County to amend their 1995 Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to current standards and ensure impacts are PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 avoided, minimized, and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. The 62,000-acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve (Reserve), of which approximately 70 percent is now a National Conservation Area (NCA), was established pursuant to commitments in the 1995 HCP. In accordance with the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019, Public Law 116–9, 16 U.S.C. 7913, and 43 CFR 8364.1, this notice also announces the opening of a concurrent public comment period regarding the proposed permanent closure of recreational target shooting within the proposed Reserve Zone 6 area southwest of St. George, Utah. On September 4, 2018, UDOT submitted an application for a ROW grant for the Northern Corridor Project north of the City of St. George, Utah, on non-Federal and BLM-administered public lands across the NCA and Reserve, which was established for the Mojave desert tortoise under the 1995 Washington County HCP. The 1995 HCP expired in 2016 and was extended by the USFWS to allow Washington County (County) to amend the HCP pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The Draft amended HCP includes the proposed Northern Corridor as a changed circumstance, with Zone 6 as the primary proposed addition to the conservation strategy. The USFWS received an application for an ITP dated January 30, 2015. The BLM is also considering amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red Cliffs NCA RMPs that would allow consideration of and mitigation (Zone 6) for the proposed Northern Corridor Project. The Draft EIS considers four proposed actions: (1) Whether the BLM will approve a 1.9-mile ROW section of the approximately four-mile long Northern Corridor project that crosses the 62,000acre Reserve, of which 45,000-acres were congressionally established as the 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 USFWS will issue an ITP for the Mojave desert tortoise for specific land use and land development activities in Washington County; and (4) Whether the BLM will amend the St. George Field Office RMP to modify management on approximately 3,471 acres within a 6,800-acre area (Zone 6) outside the Reserve and NCA to offset the ROW impacts. The other half of Zone 6 is owned by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The BLM is required to respond to UDOT’s application for a ROW under E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 114 / Friday, June 12, 2020 / Notices Title V of the FLPMA, 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 2800, and other applicable Federal laws. The BLM will consider UDOT’s ROW application through the analysis in the Draft EIS. The BLM will approve, approve with modifications, or deny issuance of a ROW grant to UDOT for the Northern Corridor. The purpose of the BLM’s Red Cliffs NCA RMP amendment Federal action is to consider changes to current management within the NCA in conjunction with its review of the pending ROW application. The need for the USFWS’s proposed action is to respond to the County’s application for an ITP that addresses covered activities which have the potential to result in take of the Mojave desert tortoise, pursuant to ESA Section (10)(a)(1)(B) and its implementing regulations and policies. USFWS must review the applicant’s Draft amended HCP to ensure that the elements required by Sections 10(a)(2)(A) and 10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA are satisfied. The purpose of the BLM’s St. George Field Office RMP amendment Federal action is to allow for possible management changes to Federal lands in the proposed Reserve Zone 6 to offset impacts if a ROW is granted within the Red Cliffs NCA and Reserve. This amendment potentially includes permanently closing approximately 3,471 acres of Federal lands within Zone 6 to recreational target shooting. Scoping was initiated with the publication of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register on December 5, 2019 (84 FR 66692). The scoping period was open through January 6, 2020. A public scoping meeting was held in St. George, Utah, on December 17, 2019. Other public outreach methods included a news release distributed on December 2, 2019, and scoping notifications sent to the BLM and USFWS interested party lists on December 10, 2019. The BLM considered all input received during the scoping period. A summary of the comments received during the scoping period can be found in the Scoping Report posted on the project website at https://go.usa.gov/xw8TX. The Draft EIS considers the impacts of the proposed action, four other alternative highway alignments, and a no action alternative. Under Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, the BLM would deny UDOT’s application for a ROW across the Red Cliffs NCA for the Northern Corridor and would not amend the Red Cliffs NCA and St. George Field Office RMPs. The USFWS would deny the County’s application for an ITP. This alternative reflects all of the roadway and transit improvements VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 11, 2020 Jkt 250001 from the applicable local, regional, and statewide transportation plans that would be completed by 2050, absent the Northern Corridor. It provides a baseline against which to compare the action alternatives in the EIS. Under Alternative 2, the T-Bone Mesa Alignment, the BLM would issue a ROW grant to UDOT for the Northern Corridor across the NCA skirting the southern edge of T-Bone Mesa. This alignment would connect Green Spring Drive on the east to Red Hills Parkway on the west just north of the Pioneer Hills trailhead parking area. The Northern Corridor would be approximately four miles long, and approximately 2.2 miles of the corridor would cross BLM-administered lands. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP would be amended to allow for the ROW and consider designation of a utility corridor along the same route. The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the amended HCP. The St. George Field Office RMP would be amended to support the conservation measures outlined for Zone 6 in the amended HCP. This amendment potentially includes permanently closing the lands in Zone 6 to recreational target shooting in order to achieve those conservation measures and managing Zone 6 consistent with the rest of the Reserve. Under Alternative 3, the UDOT Application Alignment, the BLM would issue a ROW grant to UDOT across the Red Cliffs NCA for the Northern Corridor for the alignment included in UDOT’s ROW application. This alignment would connect Green Spring Drive on the east to Red Hills Parkway on the west just north of the Pioneer Hills trailhead parking area. Under this alternative, the Northern Corridor would be approximately 4.3 miles long, and approximately 1.9 miles would cross BLM-administered lands. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP would be amended to allow for the ROW and consider a utility corridor along the same route. The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the amended HCP. The St. George Field Office RMP would be amended to support the conservation measures outlined for Zone 6 in the revised HCP. This amendment potentially includes permanently closing the lands in Zone 6 to recreational target shooting in order to achieve those conservation measures and managing the area consistent with the rest of the Reserve. Under Alternative 4, the Southern Alignment, the BLM would issue a ROW grant to UDOT across the NCA for the Northern Corridor on the Southern Alignment. Under this alternative, the PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 35951 Northern Corridor would follow the southern border of the NCA, connecting Green Spring Drive on the east to Red Hills Parkway on the west just south of the Pioneer Hills trailhead parking area. The Northern Corridor would be approximately 5.3 miles long, and approximately 1.5 miles would cross BLM-administered lands. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP would be amended to allow for the ROW and to consider a utility corridor along the same route. The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the amended HCP. The St. George Field Office RMP would be amended to support the conservation measures outlined for Zone 6 in the revised HCP. This amendment potentially includes permanently closing the lands in Zone 6 to recreational target shooting in order to achieve those conservation measures and managing the area consistent with the rest of the Reserve. Under Alternative 5, the Red Hills Parkway Expressway Alignment, the BLM would grant necessary ROW amendments to the existing UDOT ROW for the Red Hills Parkway for UDOT to convert Red Hills Parkway into a gradeseparate expressway between Highland Drive and Bluff Street. Improvements would include converting existing intersections at 200 East (Skyline Drive) and 1000 East to grade-separated interchanges, and necessary modifications to the mainline roadway to accommodate the new interchange with Interstate 15 (I–15). The intersections at 900 East and Industrial Road would be closed and/or converted to right-in-right-out movements only. Existing driveways along the corridor to public and private properties would either be closed or converted to right-inright-out movements only. The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the amended HCP. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP and the St. George Field Office RMPs would not be amended because Zone 6 would not be needed to mitigate for impacts to desert tortoises; this alternative changes the existing Red Hills Parkway to an expressway in the same ROW. Under Alternative 6, the St. George Boulevard/100 South One-Way Couplet, the BLM would deny UDOT’s application for a ROW across the Red Cliffs NCA for the Northern Corridor. Rather, this analyzes a scenario where the City of St. George would convert St. George Boulevard and 100 South to oneway streets. The two roadways would be converted between I–15 and Bluff Street, wherein St. George Boulevard would only accommodate westbound traffic and 100 South would only accommodate eastbound traffic. The St. E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 35952 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 114 / Friday, June 12, 2020 / Notices George Boulevard would be converted from its existing two lanes in each direction (with a raised center median and turn pockets) to three westbound lanes. Modifications to the cross streets between I–15 and Bluff Street would discontinue eastbound left and right turns from the cross streets. Similarly, 100 South would be converted from its existing two lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane, to three eastbound lanes, and modifications to the intersections at cross streets between I–15 and Bluff Street would discontinue westbound left and right turns from the cross streets. In addition, the existing interchange with I–15 at St. George Boulevard would be reconfigured and combined with a new interchange at 100 South to provide a split interchange between these two roadways connected by one-way ramps. Southbound I–15 traffic would exit I–15 at St. George Boulevard and enter I–15 from 100 South. Similarly, northbound I–15 traffic would exit I–15 at 100 South and enter I–15 from St. George Boulevard. The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the amended HCP. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP and the St. George Field Office RMP would not be amended. The BLM and USFWS have identified Alternative 3 as the agencies’ preferred ROW alignment and ITP issuance alternative for the purposes of public comment and review, with Alternative B identified as the preferred for the two RMP amendments. However, the identification of this preferred alternative does not represent the agencies’ final decision, and following the public comment period, there may be changes or adjustments based on information received during the public comment period. In the Final EIS, the BLM and USFWS may develop the agencies’ proposed actions (ROW and ITP) and the BLM’s proposed RMP amendments by using components from any alternative considered in the range of alternatives in the Draft EIS. For this reason, the BLM and USFWS invite and encourage comments on all alternatives, alignments, and actions described in the Draft EIS and Draft Amended HCP. The BLM and USFWS will continue to provide and coordinate public participation opportunities to assist the agencies in satisfying the public involvement requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470f) pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). The information about historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by the proposed actions will assist the BLM and USFWS in identifying and evaluating impacts to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 11, 2020 Jkt 250001 such resources in the context of both NEPA and Section 106 of the NHPA. The BLM and USFWS will continue to 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, Tribes, and stakeholders—that may be interested in or affected by the decision on this proposed project—are encouraged to review and comment on the Draft EIS, Draft Amended HCP, and ITP application. The BLM and USFWS are soliciting comments on the entire Draft EIS to include comments about how the proposed permanent closure of Zone 6 lands to recreational target shooting and other management will affect the public. The USFWS is also soliciting comments on the Draft Amended HCP and the ITP application. Please note that public comments and information submitted can be made available for public review and disclosure upon request and in coordination with the points of contact provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays. The BLM and USFWS will respond to substantive comments by making appropriate revisions to the documents or by explaining why a comment did not warrant a change. Before including your 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 can 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: 40 CFR 1502.9, 40 CFR 1506.6, 43 CFR 46.435, 43 CFR 1610.2, 43 CFR 8364.1 and 16 U.S.C. 7913. For USFWS, 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). Anita Bilbao, Acting State Director. Noreen Walsh, Regional Director. [FR Doc. 2020–12748 Filed 6–11–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–DQ–P PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [Docket No. BOEM–2020–0005] Notice of Availability of a Supplement to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Vineyard Wind LLC’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore Massachusetts and Public Meetings Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing the availability of a supplement to the Vineyard Wind Offshore Wind Energy Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Supplement) prepared for the Construction and Operation Plan (COP) submitted by Vineyard Wind LLC (Vineyard Wind). The Supplement analyzes reasonably foreseeable effects from an expanded cumulative activities scenario for offshore wind development, previously unavailable fishing data, a new transit lane alternative, and changes to the COP since publication of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This notice of availability (NOA) announces the start of the public review and comment period, as well as the time and dates for virtual public meetings on the Supplement. After BOEM holds the public meetings and addresses comments provided, BOEM will prepare a final EIS. DATES: Comments should be submitted no later than July 27, 2020. BOEM’s virtual public meetings will be held at the following dates and times (Eastern): Friday, June 26, 2020; 5 p.m.; Tuesday, June 30, 202; 1 p.m.; Thursday, July 2, 2020; 5 p.m.; Tuesday, July 7, 2020; 1 p.m.; and Thursday, July 9, 2020; 5 p.m. ADDRESSES: The Supplement and detailed information about the proposed wind energy facility, including the COP and the Draft EIS, can be found on a project specific page on BOEM’s website at: https://www.boem.gov/VineyardWind/. Comments can be submitted in any of the following ways: • In written form by mail, enclosed in an envelope labeled ‘‘Vineyard Wind COP Supplement to the Draft EIS’’ and addressed to Program Manager, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, Virginia 20166. Comments must be received or SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 114 (Friday, June 12, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35950-35952]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-12748]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

Fish and Wildlife Service

[20XL1109AF LLUTC03000 L16100000.DS0000 LXSSJ0740000; UTU-93620; 13-
08807]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement to Consider a Highway Right-of-Way, Draft Amended Habitat 
Conservation Plan and Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit for the 
Mojave Desert Tortoise, and Resource Management Plan Amendments, 
Washington County, UT and Notice of Intent for the Proposed Closure of 
Certain Federal Lands to Recreational Target Shooting, Washington 
County, UT

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; notice of ESA Section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit application; and notice of intent.

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

SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), as amended, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976 (FLPMA), as amended, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 
2009 (OPLMA), and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended, 
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Fish and Wildlife Service 
(USFWS), as co-lead agencies, announce the availability of the Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider a right-of-way (ROW) 
application submitted by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) 
(referred to henceforth as the Northern Corridor Project), and 
potential amendments to the St. George Field Office and Red Cliffs 
National Conservation Area (NCA) Resource Management Plans (RMPs).

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM and USFWS must 
receive written comments on the proposed Northern Corridor Project 
Draft EIS, including potential amendments to the St. George Field 
Office and Red Cliffs NCA RMPs, the Draft Amended HCP and ITP 
application, and the potential closure of certain Federal lands to 
recreational target shooting by September 10, 2020. The BLM and USFWS 
will announce public involvement opportunities at least 15 days in 
advance through media releases, mailed notifications and/or the project 
website set out in the ADDRESSES section.

ADDRESSES: The Draft EIS, Draft Amended HCP, and ESA section 10 ITP 
application are available for review on the BLM ePlanning project 
website at https://go.usa.gov/xw8TX. Click the Documents and Reports 
link on the left side of the screen to find the electronic versions of 
these materials.
    You may submit written comments related to the Northern Corridor 
Project Draft EIS, Draft Amended HCP, and proposed closure of certain 
Federal lands to recreational target shooting by either of the 
following methods:
     Email: [email protected].
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Attn: Northern Corridor, 
345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gloria Tibbetts, BLM 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 leave a message or question for the above individual. 
The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Replies are 
provided during normal business hours. If you would like to request to 
view a hard copy, please call the St. George Field Office for more 
information at (435) 688-3200, Monday through Friday, except holidays. 
For information on the Draft Amended HCP or ITP application, contact 
Laura Romin, Acting Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
telephone (801) 554-7660; email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In compliance with section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the ESA, the USFWS is considering the issuance of an Incidental Take 
Permit (ITP) to Washington County, Utah. The ITP would authorize the 
take of the federally threatened Mojave desert tortoise incidental to 
covered activities such as residential and commercial development for a 
25-year permit term. The application for the permit requires the County 
to amend their 1995 Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to current 
standards and ensure impacts are avoided, minimized, and mitigated to 
the maximum extent practicable. The 62,000-acre Red Cliffs Desert 
Reserve (Reserve), of which approximately 70 percent is now a National 
Conservation Area (NCA), was established pursuant to commitments in the 
1995 HCP.
    In accordance with the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, 
Management, and Recreation Act of 2019, Public Law 116-9, 16 U.S.C. 
7913, and 43 CFR 8364.1, this notice also announces the opening of a 
concurrent public comment period regarding the proposed permanent 
closure of recreational target shooting within the proposed Reserve 
Zone 6 area southwest of St. George, Utah.
    On September 4, 2018, UDOT submitted an application for a ROW grant 
for the Northern Corridor Project north of the City of St. George, 
Utah, on non-Federal and BLM-administered public lands across the NCA 
and Reserve, which was established for the Mojave desert tortoise under 
the 1995 Washington County HCP. The 1995 HCP expired in 2016 and was 
extended by the USFWS to allow Washington County (County) to amend the 
HCP pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The Draft amended HCP 
includes the proposed Northern Corridor as a changed circumstance, with 
Zone 6 as the primary proposed addition to the conservation strategy. 
The USFWS received an application for an ITP dated January 30, 2015. 
The BLM is also considering amendments to the St. George Field Office 
and Red Cliffs NCA RMPs that would allow consideration of and 
mitigation (Zone 6) for the proposed Northern Corridor Project.
    The Draft EIS considers four proposed actions: (1) Whether the BLM 
will approve a 1.9-mile ROW section of the approximately four-mile long 
Northern Corridor project that crosses the 62,000-acre Reserve, of 
which 45,000-acres were congressionally established as the 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 
USFWS will issue an ITP for the Mojave desert tortoise for specific 
land use and land development activities in Washington County; and (4) 
Whether the BLM will amend the St. George Field Office RMP to modify 
management on approximately 3,471 acres within a 6,800-acre area (Zone 
6) outside the Reserve and NCA to offset the ROW impacts. The other 
half of Zone 6 is owned by the Utah School and Institutional Trust 
Lands Administration.
    The BLM is required to respond to UDOT's application for a ROW 
under

[[Page 35951]]

Title V of the FLPMA, 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 2800, 
and other applicable Federal laws. The BLM will consider UDOT's ROW 
application through the analysis in the Draft EIS. The BLM will 
approve, approve with modifications, or deny issuance of a ROW grant to 
UDOT for the Northern Corridor.
    The purpose of the BLM's Red Cliffs NCA RMP amendment Federal 
action is to consider changes to current management within the NCA in 
conjunction with its review of the pending ROW application.
    The need for the USFWS's proposed action is to respond to the 
County's application for an ITP that addresses covered activities which 
have the potential to result in take of the Mojave desert tortoise, 
pursuant to ESA Section (10)(a)(1)(B) and its implementing regulations 
and policies. USFWS must review the applicant's Draft amended HCP to 
ensure that the elements required by Sections 10(a)(2)(A) and 
10(a)(2)(B) of the ESA are satisfied.
    The purpose of the BLM's St. George Field Office RMP amendment 
Federal action is to allow for possible management changes to Federal 
lands in the proposed Reserve Zone 6 to offset impacts if a ROW is 
granted within the Red Cliffs NCA and Reserve. This amendment 
potentially includes permanently closing approximately 3,471 acres of 
Federal lands within Zone 6 to recreational target shooting.
    Scoping was initiated with the publication of a Notice of Intent in 
the Federal Register on December 5, 2019 (84 FR 66692). The scoping 
period was open through January 6, 2020. A public scoping meeting was 
held in St. George, Utah, on December 17, 2019. Other public outreach 
methods included a news release distributed on December 2, 2019, and 
scoping notifications sent to the BLM and USFWS interested party lists 
on December 10, 2019. The BLM considered all input received during the 
scoping period. A summary of the comments received during the scoping 
period can be found in the Scoping Report posted on the project website 
at https://go.usa.gov/xw8TX.
    The Draft EIS considers the impacts of the proposed action, four 
other alternative highway alignments, and a no action alternative. 
Under Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, the BLM would deny 
UDOT's application for a ROW across the Red Cliffs NCA for the Northern 
Corridor and would not amend the Red Cliffs NCA and St. George Field 
Office RMPs. The USFWS would deny the County's application for an ITP. 
This alternative reflects all of the roadway and transit improvements 
from the applicable local, regional, and statewide transportation plans 
that would be completed by 2050, absent the Northern Corridor. It 
provides a baseline against which to compare the action alternatives in 
the EIS.
    Under Alternative 2, the T-Bone Mesa Alignment, the BLM would issue 
a ROW grant to UDOT for the Northern Corridor across the NCA skirting 
the southern edge of T-Bone Mesa. This alignment would connect Green 
Spring Drive on the east to Red Hills Parkway on the west just north of 
the Pioneer Hills trailhead parking area. The Northern Corridor would 
be approximately four miles long, and approximately 2.2 miles of the 
corridor would cross BLM-administered lands. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP 
would be amended to allow for the ROW and consider designation of a 
utility corridor along the same route. The ITP would be issued subject 
to the conservation measures in the amended HCP. The St. George Field 
Office RMP would be amended to support the conservation measures 
outlined for Zone 6 in the amended HCP. This amendment potentially 
includes permanently closing the lands in Zone 6 to recreational target 
shooting in order to achieve those conservation measures and managing 
Zone 6 consistent with the rest of the Reserve.
    Under Alternative 3, the UDOT Application Alignment, the BLM would 
issue a ROW grant to UDOT across the Red Cliffs NCA for the Northern 
Corridor for the alignment included in UDOT's ROW application. This 
alignment would connect Green Spring Drive on the east to Red Hills 
Parkway on the west just north of the Pioneer Hills trailhead parking 
area. Under this alternative, the Northern Corridor would be 
approximately 4.3 miles long, and approximately 1.9 miles would cross 
BLM-administered lands. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP would be amended to 
allow for the ROW and consider a utility corridor along the same route. 
The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the 
amended HCP. The St. George Field Office RMP would be amended to 
support the conservation measures outlined for Zone 6 in the revised 
HCP. This amendment potentially includes permanently closing the lands 
in Zone 6 to recreational target shooting in order to achieve those 
conservation measures and managing the area consistent with the rest of 
the Reserve.
    Under Alternative 4, the Southern Alignment, the BLM would issue a 
ROW grant to UDOT across the NCA for the Northern Corridor on the 
Southern Alignment. Under this alternative, the Northern Corridor would 
follow the southern border of the NCA, connecting Green Spring Drive on 
the east to Red Hills Parkway on the west just south of the Pioneer 
Hills trailhead parking area. The Northern Corridor would be 
approximately 5.3 miles long, and approximately 1.5 miles would cross 
BLM-administered lands. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP would be amended to 
allow for the ROW and to consider a utility corridor along the same 
route. The ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in 
the amended HCP. The St. George Field Office RMP would be amended to 
support the conservation measures outlined for Zone 6 in the revised 
HCP. This amendment potentially includes permanently closing the lands 
in Zone 6 to recreational target shooting in order to achieve those 
conservation measures and managing the area consistent with the rest of 
the Reserve.
    Under Alternative 5, the Red Hills Parkway Expressway Alignment, 
the BLM would grant necessary ROW amendments to the existing UDOT ROW 
for the Red Hills Parkway for UDOT to convert Red Hills Parkway into a 
grade-separate expressway between Highland Drive and Bluff Street. 
Improvements would include converting existing intersections at 200 
East (Skyline Drive) and 1000 East to grade-separated interchanges, and 
necessary modifications to the mainline roadway to accommodate the new 
interchange with Interstate 15 (I-15). The intersections at 900 East 
and Industrial Road would be closed and/or converted to right-in-right-
out movements only. Existing driveways along the corridor to public and 
private properties would either be closed or converted to right-in-
right-out movements only. The ITP would be issued subject to the 
conservation measures in the amended HCP. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP and 
the St. George Field Office RMPs would not be amended because Zone 6 
would not be needed to mitigate for impacts to desert tortoises; this 
alternative changes the existing Red Hills Parkway to an expressway in 
the same ROW.
    Under Alternative 6, the St. George Boulevard/100 South One-Way 
Couplet, the BLM would deny UDOT's application for a ROW across the Red 
Cliffs NCA for the Northern Corridor. Rather, this analyzes a scenario 
where the City of St. George would convert St. George Boulevard and 100 
South to one-way streets. The two roadways would be converted between 
I-15 and Bluff Street, wherein St. George Boulevard would only 
accommodate westbound traffic and 100 South would only accommodate 
eastbound traffic. The St.

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George Boulevard would be converted from its existing two lanes in each 
direction (with a raised center median and turn pockets) to three 
westbound lanes. Modifications to the cross streets between I-15 and 
Bluff Street would discontinue eastbound left and right turns from the 
cross streets. Similarly, 100 South would be converted from its 
existing two lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane, to three 
eastbound lanes, and modifications to the intersections at cross 
streets between I-15 and Bluff Street would discontinue westbound left 
and right turns from the cross streets. In addition, the existing 
interchange with I-15 at St. George Boulevard would be reconfigured and 
combined with a new interchange at 100 South to provide a split 
interchange between these two roadways connected by one-way ramps. 
Southbound I-15 traffic would exit I-15 at St. George Boulevard and 
enter I-15 from 100 South. Similarly, northbound I-15 traffic would 
exit I-15 at 100 South and enter I-15 from St. George Boulevard. The 
ITP would be issued subject to the conservation measures in the amended 
HCP. The Red Cliffs NCA RMP and the St. George Field Office RMP would 
not be amended.
    The BLM and USFWS have identified Alternative 3 as the agencies' 
preferred ROW alignment and ITP issuance alternative for the purposes 
of public comment and review, with Alternative B identified as the 
preferred for the two RMP amendments. However, the identification of 
this preferred alternative does not represent the agencies' final 
decision, and following the public comment period, there may be changes 
or adjustments based on information received during the public comment 
period. In the Final EIS, the BLM and USFWS may develop the agencies' 
proposed actions (ROW and ITP) and the BLM's proposed RMP amendments by 
using components from any alternative considered in the range of 
alternatives in the Draft EIS. For this reason, the BLM and USFWS 
invite and encourage comments on all alternatives, alignments, and 
actions described in the Draft EIS and Draft Amended HCP.
    The BLM and USFWS will continue to provide and coordinate public 
participation opportunities to assist the agencies in satisfying the 
public involvement requirements under Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470f) pursuant to 36 CFR 
800.2(d)(3). The information about historic and cultural resources 
within the area potentially affected by the proposed actions will 
assist the BLM and USFWS in identifying and evaluating impacts to such 
resources in the context of both NEPA and Section 106 of the NHPA.
    The BLM and USFWS will continue to 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, Tribes, and 
stakeholders--that may be interested in or affected by the decision on 
this proposed project--are encouraged to review and comment on the 
Draft EIS, Draft Amended HCP, and ITP application.
    The BLM and USFWS are soliciting comments on the entire Draft EIS 
to include comments about how the proposed permanent closure of Zone 6 
lands to recreational target shooting and other management will affect 
the public. The USFWS is also soliciting comments on the Draft Amended 
HCP and the ITP application. Please note that public comments and 
information submitted can be made available for public review and 
disclosure upon request and in coordination with the points of contact 
provided in the ADDRESSES section of this notice during regular 
business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except 
holidays. The BLM and USFWS will respond to substantive comments by 
making appropriate revisions to the documents or by explaining why a 
comment did not warrant a change.
    Before including your 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 can 
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: 40 CFR 1502.9, 40 CFR 1506.6, 43 CFR 46.435, 43 CFR 
1610.2, 43 CFR 8364.1 and 16 U.S.C. 7913. For USFWS, 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).

Anita Bilbao,
Acting State Director.
Noreen Walsh,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2020-12748 Filed 6-11-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-DQ-P