Draft Safe Harbor Agreements and Draft Environmental Assessments for the Marbled Murrelet in Washington State, 73504-73506 [2020-25359]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 73504 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices application to become a CCSF at least 90 days before the intended date of operation. In addition, once certified as a CCSF, the CCSF is required to submit any changes to the application information as they occur. CCSFs must renew their certification every 36 months by submitting a new complete application. CCSF applicants are required to provide TSA access to their records, equipment, and facilities necessary for TSA to conduct an eligibility assessment. (49 CFR 1549.7). A CCSF–K9 applicant must also submit an Operational Implementation Plan (OIP), described within the CCSP–K9 and any changes to the plan information as they occur. (1b) 3PK9–C Certifier Applications. TSA requires submission of initial applications, and updates to information in an application, by any person interested in being a 3PK9–C Certifier under the 3PK9–C Certifier Order. (2a) STA Applications. TSA regulations require CCSF applicants to ensure that individuals performing cargo screening and related functions, and their supervisors have completed an STA conducted by TSA. In addition, TSA regulations require CCSF Security Coordinators and their alternates to successfully have completed an STA. TSA regulations further require these individuals to submit personally identifiable information so that TSA can perform STAs. See TSA Form 419F, previously approved under OMB control number 1652–0040 (49 CFR 1549.111 and 1549.103). (2b) CHRC. TSA requires collection of personally identifiable information including fingerprints as necessary to conduct a CHRC from 3PK9–C Certifiers, CCSF–K9s, employees and authorized representatives, and those authorized to conduct 3PK9–C Program activities with unescorted access to a Security Identification Display Area, screening of air cargo, or carrying of explosives in the air cargo environment. (3) Recordkeeping. TSA requires CCSFs, CCSF–K9s, (49 CFR 1549.105), and 3PK9–C Certifiers to maintain records of compliance and make them available for TSA inspection. (4a) Security Programs. TSA requires CCSFs and CCSF–K9s to accept and operate under a standard security program provided by TSA, or submit a proposed modified security program or amendment(s) to the designated TSA official for approval initially and periodically thereafter as required (49 CFR 1549.7). (4b) The 3PK9–C Certifier Order. TSA requires 3PK9–C Certifiers to accept standards provided by TSA, or submit a proposed modified standard to the designated TSA official for approval initially and periodically thereafter as required. (5) Significant Security Concerns Information. TSA requires CCSP Holders, CCSP–K9 Holders, and 3PK9–C Certifiers to report to TSA incidents, suspicious activities, and/or threat information. (6) Security Coordinator. TSA requires CCSP Holders, CCSP–K9 Holders, and 3PK9– C Certifiers to provide the name and contact information of the SC and one or more designated alternates at the corporate or ownership level. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 Estimated Burden Hours TSA estimates the annual respondents for CCSF, CCSP–K9, and 3PK9–C Certifier to be 2,527 and the total annual hour burden to be 16,189.98 hours. Dated: November 12, 2020. Christina A. Walsh, TSA Paperwork Reduction Act Officer, Information Technology. [FR Doc. 2020–25368 Filed 11–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–05–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2020–N143; FXES11140100000–212–FF01E00000] Draft Safe Harbor Agreements and Draft Environmental Assessments for the Marbled Murrelet in Washington State Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), received two applications for enhancement of survival permits (permits) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permits would authorize the incidental take of the threatened marbled murrelet associated with forest management actions on private lands. The applications each include a safe harbor agreement (SHA), describing the actions the applicants will take to achieve a net conservation benefit on their lands for the species. We also announce the availability of two draft environmental assessments (EAs) addressing the effects of the proposed permits and SHAs on the human environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. We invite comments from all interested parties. SUMMARY: To ensure consideration, please submit written comments by December 18, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may view or download copies of the SHAs and draft EAs and obtain additional information on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/wafwo/. To request further information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comments are in reference to ‘‘Marbled Murrelet SHAs in Washington:’’ • Email: wfwocomments@fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2020– DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 N143 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102; Lacey, WA 98503. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Romanski, Conservation Planning and Hydropower Branch Manager, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 360–753– 5823 or 360–951–4303. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service received applications from the Rayonier Operating Company, LLC (Rayonier), and the Sierra Pacific Land & Timber Company Operating Company (Sierra Pacific) (jointly, the applicants) for enhancement of survival permits (permits) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The applications each request a permit that would authorize ‘‘take’’ of the threatened marbled murrelet associated with forest management actions on private lands, with implementation of a Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA). The SHAs describe actions the applicants will take to achieve a net conservation benefit for the covered species on the applicants’ lands. The Service also announces the availability of two draft environmental assessments (EAs) addressing the effects of the proposed permits and SHAs on the human environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). We invite comments from all interested parties regarding the permit applications, including the SHAs and draft EAs. Background Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ‘‘take’’ of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)). Section 4 of the ESA allows FWS to issue regulations which prohibit the take of any fish and wildlife species listed as threatened, as well (16 U.S.C. 1533(d)). The take prohibition has been extended to the marbled murrelet. Under 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,’’ as defined in our regulations, includes significant habitat modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term ‘‘harass’’ is defined in our regulations as an intentional or negligent act or E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices omission which creates the likelihood of injury to listed species 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). Incidental take is defined as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity (50 CFR 17.3). Under an SHA, participating landowners undertake management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat conditions for species listed under the ESA to an extent that is likely to result in a net conservation benefit for the covered listed species. An SHA, and the associated enhancement of survival permit issued to participating landowners, encourages private and other non-Federal property owners to implement conservation actions for federally listed species by assuring the participating landowners that they will not be subject to increased property use restrictions as a result of their efforts to either attract listed species to their property, or to increase the numbers or distribution of listed species already on their property. An SHA and its associated permit allow the property owner to alter or modify the enrolled property back to agreed-upon pre-permit baseline conditions at the end of the term of the permit, even if such alteration or modification results in the incidental take of a listed species. The baseline conditions must reflect the known biological and habitat characteristics that support existing levels of use of the enrolled property by the species covered in the SHA. The authorization to take listed species is contingent on the property owner complying with obligations in the SHA and the terms and conditions of the permit. The SHA’s net conservation benefits must be sufficient to contribute, either directly or indirectly, to the recovery of the covered listed species. Enrolled landowners may make lawful use of the enrolled property during the term of the permit and may incidentally take the listed species named on the permit in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit. Permit application requirements and issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits for SHAs that involve species listed as threatened, such as the marbled murrelet, are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.32(c). The Service’s Safe Harbor Policy (64 FR 32717, June 17, 1999) and the Safe Harbor Regulations (68 FR 53320, September 10, 2003; and 69 FR 24084, May 3, 2004) are available at VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 http://www.fws.gov/endangered/lawspolicies/regulations-and-policies.html. Proposed Actions The applicants have both developed SHAs in support of their applications for enhancement of survival permits, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. Rayonier’s proposed SHA is for forest management activities on over 212,400 acres of privately owned lands located in eleven counties in western Washington. Sierra Pacific’s proposed SHA is for forest management activities on over 184,300 acres of privately owned lands located in six counties in western Washington. The Service’s proposed actions are issuance of the requested permits and implementation of the SHAs. The requested permits would allow the applicants to maintain or increase potential nesting habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet on their lands, while providing incidental take authorization for marbled murrelets associated with timber harvesting and other forest management activities when conducted on the covered lands. Under the proposed SHAs, the applicants will continue to manage their forest lands for timber production in compliance with the Washington Forest Practices Rules, which include provisions for the protection of forested buffers along rivers, streams, wetlands, and unstable slopes. Under the SHAs, the applicants will continue to protect all previouslydocumented occupied marbled murrelet habitat on their lands. Additionally, each applicant will defer harvest in certain other areas identified as potential marbled murrelet nesting habitat on their lands for the term of their respective SHA. By volunteering to defer timber harvest in certain areas, the proposed SHAs protect more forest habitat on their lands than would otherwise be protected under existing forest practices rules. The term of the permits would extend to 2056, to coincide with the term of the 2006 Washington Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan, which provides take coverage for other ESA-listed salmon and other aquatic species. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance The proposed issuance of a permit is a Federal action that triggers the need for compliance with NEPA. Pursuant to the requirements of NEPA, we have prepared two draft EAs to analyze the environmental impacts of a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed Federal permit actions. As the EAs were developed prior to the Council on Environmental Quality’s issuance of PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73505 updated regulations implementing NEPA, which went into effect on September 14, 2020 (40 CFR 1506.13), they were developed under the previous regulations in the interest of time and efficiency. The EAs analyze similar alternatives, and each includes a no-action alternative, the proposed action, and an additional action alternative. For each EA, the proposed action is implementation of the SHA and issuance of the requested permit, as described above and in more detail in the individual SHAs. Each EA also analyses a no-action alternative, where the proposed Federal action of issuing the permit would not proceed, and one additional alternative analyzing a variation on the type and amount of habitat being considered to meet the net conservation benefit standard. Public Comments You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We specifically request information, views, and opinions from interested parties regarding our proposed Federal actions, including on the adequacy of the SHAs pursuant to the requirements for permits at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17 and the adequacy of the draft EAs pursuant to the requirements of NEPA. Public Availability of Comments All comments and materials we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personally identifiable information— may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Next Steps After public review and completion of the EAs, we will determine whether the proposed actions warrant findings of no significant impact or whether environmental impact statements should be prepared. We will evaluate the permit applications, associated documents, and any comments received, to determine whether each E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1 73506 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 223 / Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / Notices permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the requested permits would comply with section 7(a)(2) of the ESA by conducting separate intra-Service consultations on each proposed permit action. The final NEPA and permit determinations will not be completed until after the end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments received during the comment period. If we determine that all requirements are met, we intend to issue enhancement of survival permits under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and their implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.32 and 40 CFR 1506.6, respectively). Robyn Thorson, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2020–25359 Filed 11–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX21RB00TU60200; OMB Control Number 1028–0123] Agency Information Collection Activities; Current and Future Landsat User Requirements Geological Survey, Interior. Notice of information collection; request for comment. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are proposing to renew an information collection. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, and as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on this IC. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 19, 2021. ADDRESSES: Send your comments on this information collection request (ICR) by mail to U.S. Geological Survey, Information Collections Officer, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 159, Reston, VA 20192; or by email to gs-info_ collections@usgs.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 1028–0123 in the subject line of your comments. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Nov 17, 2020 Jkt 253001 To request additional information about this ICR, contact Rudy Schuster, Branch Chief by email at schusterr@usgs.gov, or by telephone at (970) 226–9165. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. We are soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the USGS; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the USGS enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the USGS minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this ICR. 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 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. Abstract: The USGS National Land Imaging (NLI) Program is currently planning for the next generation of Landsat satellites. These satellites will continue the multi-decadal continuous collection of moderate-resolution, multispectral, remotely-sensed imagery through the Landsat program. Landsat satellite imagery has been available at no cost to the public since 2008, which has resulted in the distribution of millions of scenes each subsequent year, as well tens of thousands of Landsat users registering with USGS to access the data. In order to continue to provide high quality imagery that meets the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 needs of users, NLI is collecting current and future user requirements for sensor and satellite attributes. These attributes include spatial resolution, spectral bands, frequency of acquisition, and many others. NLI will use the information from this collection to understand if they are currently meeting the needs of their user community and to help determine the features of future Landsat satellites. Questions will be asked to determine user characteristics, current uses of imagery, preferred attributes of Landsat imagery, and benefits of Landsat imagery. Previous surveys were provided to all U.S. Landsat imagery users who were registered with USGS and a large sample of international Landsat users were also invited. However, many changes have occurred, and many Landsat users are not registered with USGS, but instead access Landsat imagery through a variety of cloud servers. The current and future user requirements for sensor and satellite attributes information from this user group has not been collected and is essential for future satellite decisionmaking within the NLI program. All Landsat users who participate during Earth observation capacity-building workshops will be invited to take part in the survey. To protect the confidentiality and privacy of survey respondents, the data from the survey will not be associated with any respondent’s email address at any time and will only be analyzed and reported in aggregate. All files containing PII will be passwordprotected, housed on secure USGS servers, and only accessible to the research team. The data from the survey will be aggregated and statistically analyzed and the results will be published in publicly available USGS reports. Title of Collection: Current and Future Landsat User Requirements. OMB Control Number: 1028–0123. Form Number: None. Type of Review: Renewal of a previously approved collection. Respondents/Affected Public: General public. Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 11,660. Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 11,660. Estimated Completion Time per Response: 20 minutes on average. We estimate that it will take 20 minutes per person to complete the full survey and 5 minutes per person to complete the non-response survey. Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 3,335. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. E:\FR\FM\18NON1.SGM 18NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 223 (Wednesday, November 18, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73504-73506]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-25359]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2020-N143; FXES11140100000-212-FF01E00000]


Draft Safe Harbor Agreements and Draft Environmental Assessments 
for the Marbled Murrelet in Washington State

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), received two 
applications for enhancement of survival permits (permits) pursuant to 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permits would 
authorize the incidental take of the threatened marbled murrelet 
associated with forest management actions on private lands. The 
applications each include a safe harbor agreement (SHA), describing the 
actions the applicants will take to achieve a net conservation benefit 
on their lands for the species. We also announce the availability of 
two draft environmental assessments (EAs) addressing the effects of the 
proposed permits and SHAs on the human environment in accordance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act. We invite comments from all 
interested parties.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please submit written comments by 
December 18, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may view or download copies of the SHAs and draft EAs 
and obtain additional information on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/wafwo/. To request further information or submit written 
comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your 
information request or comments are in reference to ``Marbled Murrelet 
SHAs in Washington:''
     Email: [email protected].
     U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-
2020-N143 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Washington Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102; Lacey, WA 98503.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Romanski, Conservation Planning 
and Hydropower Branch Manager, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES); telephone: 360-753-5823 or 360-951-4303. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay 
Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service received applications from the 
Rayonier Operating Company, LLC (Rayonier), and the Sierra Pacific Land 
& Timber Company Operating Company (Sierra Pacific) (jointly, the 
applicants) for enhancement of survival permits (permits) pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.). The applications each request a permit that would authorize 
``take'' of the threatened marbled murrelet associated with forest 
management actions on private lands, with implementation of a Safe 
Harbor Agreement (SHA). The SHAs describe actions the applicants will 
take to achieve a net conservation benefit for the covered species on 
the applicants' lands. The Service also announces the availability of 
two draft environmental assessments (EAs) addressing the effects of the 
proposed permits and SHAs on the human environment in accordance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). 
We invite comments from all interested parties regarding the permit 
applications, including the SHAs and draft EAs.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits ``take'' of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)). Section 4 of the 
ESA allows FWS to issue regulations which prohibit the take of any fish 
and wildlife species listed as threatened, as well (16 U.S.C. 1533(d)). 
The take prohibition has been extended to the marbled murrelet. Under 
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,'' as defined in our 
regulations, includes significant habitat modification or degradation 
that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly 
impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, 
or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). The term ``harass'' is defined in our 
regulations as an intentional or negligent act or

[[Page 73505]]

omission which creates the likelihood of injury to listed species 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). Incidental take is defined as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of 
an otherwise lawful activity (50 CFR 17.3).
    Under an SHA, participating landowners undertake management 
activities on their property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat 
conditions for species listed under the ESA to an extent that is likely 
to result in a net conservation benefit for the covered listed species. 
An SHA, and the associated enhancement of survival permit issued to 
participating landowners, encourages private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation actions for federally listed 
species by assuring the participating landowners that they will not be 
subject to increased property use restrictions as a result of their 
efforts to either attract listed species to their property, or to 
increase the numbers or distribution of listed species already on their 
property.
    An SHA and its associated permit allow the property owner to alter 
or modify the enrolled property back to agreed-upon pre-permit baseline 
conditions at the end of the term of the permit, even if such 
alteration or modification results in the incidental take of a listed 
species. The baseline conditions must reflect the known biological and 
habitat characteristics that support existing levels of use of the 
enrolled property by the species covered in the SHA. The authorization 
to take listed species is contingent on the property owner complying 
with obligations in the SHA and the terms and conditions of the permit. 
The SHA's net conservation benefits must be sufficient to contribute, 
either directly or indirectly, to the recovery of the covered listed 
species. Enrolled landowners may make lawful use of the enrolled 
property during the term of the permit and may incidentally take the 
listed species named on the permit in accordance with the terms and 
conditions of the permit.
    Permit application requirements and issuance criteria for 
enhancement of survival permits for SHAs that involve species listed as 
threatened, such as the marbled murrelet, are found in the Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.32(c). The Service's Safe Harbor 
Policy (64 FR 32717, June 17, 1999) and the Safe Harbor Regulations (68 
FR 53320, September 10, 2003; and 69 FR 24084, May 3, 2004) are 
available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/regulations-and-policies.html.

Proposed Actions

    The applicants have both developed SHAs in support of their 
applications for enhancement of survival permits, pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA. Rayonier's proposed SHA is for forest 
management activities on over 212,400 acres of privately owned lands 
located in eleven counties in western Washington. Sierra Pacific's 
proposed SHA is for forest management activities on over 184,300 acres 
of privately owned lands located in six counties in western Washington. 
The Service's proposed actions are issuance of the requested permits 
and implementation of the SHAs.
    The requested permits would allow the applicants to maintain or 
increase potential nesting habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet 
on their lands, while providing incidental take authorization for 
marbled murrelets associated with timber harvesting and other forest 
management activities when conducted on the covered lands. Under the 
proposed SHAs, the applicants will continue to manage their forest 
lands for timber production in compliance with the Washington Forest 
Practices Rules, which include provisions for the protection of 
forested buffers along rivers, streams, wetlands, and unstable slopes. 
Under the SHAs, the applicants will continue to protect all previously-
documented occupied marbled murrelet habitat on their lands. 
Additionally, each applicant will defer harvest in certain other areas 
identified as potential marbled murrelet nesting habitat on their lands 
for the term of their respective SHA. By volunteering to defer timber 
harvest in certain areas, the proposed SHAs protect more forest habitat 
on their lands than would otherwise be protected under existing forest 
practices rules. The term of the permits would extend to 2056, to 
coincide with the term of the 2006 Washington Forest Practices Habitat 
Conservation Plan, which provides take coverage for other ESA-listed 
salmon and other aquatic species.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The proposed issuance of a permit is a Federal action that triggers 
the need for compliance with NEPA. Pursuant to the requirements of 
NEPA, we have prepared two draft EAs to analyze the environmental 
impacts of a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed Federal 
permit actions. As the EAs were developed prior to the Council on 
Environmental Quality's issuance of updated regulations implementing 
NEPA, which went into effect on September 14, 2020 (40 CFR 1506.13), 
they were developed under the previous regulations in the interest of 
time and efficiency.
    The EAs analyze similar alternatives, and each includes a no-action 
alternative, the proposed action, and an additional action alternative. 
For each EA, the proposed action is implementation of the SHA and 
issuance of the requested permit, as described above and in more detail 
in the individual SHAs. Each EA also analyses a no-action alternative, 
where the proposed Federal action of issuing the permit would not 
proceed, and one additional alternative analyzing a variation on the 
type and amount of habitat being considered to meet the net 
conservation benefit standard.

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in the ADDRESSES section. We specifically request information, 
views, and opinions from interested parties regarding our proposed 
Federal actions, including on the adequacy of the SHAs pursuant to the 
requirements for permits at 50 CFR parts 13 and 17 and the adequacy of 
the draft EAs pursuant to the requirements of NEPA.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments and materials we receive become part of the public 
record associated with this action. Before including your address, 
phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable 
information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire 
comment--including your personally identifiable information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from 
public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 
entirety.

Next Steps

    After public review and completion of the EAs, we will determine 
whether the proposed actions warrant findings of no significant impact 
or whether environmental impact statements should be prepared. We will 
evaluate the permit applications, associated documents, and any 
comments received, to determine whether each

[[Page 73506]]

permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
ESA. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the requested permits 
would comply with section 7(a)(2) of the ESA by conducting separate 
intra-Service consultations on each proposed permit action. The final 
NEPA and permit determinations will not be completed until after the 
end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments 
received during the comment period. If we determine that all 
requirements are met, we intend to issue enhancement of survival 
permits under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA.

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 
et seq.) and their implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.32 and 40 CFR 
1506.6, respectively).

Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-25359 Filed 11-17-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P