Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit; Draft Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus); Andrews, Gaines, Crane, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties, Texas, 74370-74372 [2020-25685]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 74370 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 225 / Friday, November 20, 2020 / Notices Office of Housing Counseling is responsible for administration of the Department’s Housing Counseling Program, authorized by Section 106 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 (12 U.S.C. 1701w and 1701x). The Housing Counseling Program supports the delivery of a wide variety of housing counseling services to homebuyers, homeowners, low- to moderate-income renters, and the homeless. The primary objective of the program is to educate families and individuals in order to help them make smart decisions regarding improving their housing situation and meeting the responsibilities of tenancy and homeownership, including through budget and financial counseling. Counselors also help borrowers avoid predatory lending practices, such as inflated appraisals, unreasonably high interest rates, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default, and possible foreclosure. Counselors may also provide reverse mortgage counseling to elderly homeowners who seek to convert equity in their homes to pay for home improvements, medical costs, living expenses or other expenses. Additionally, housing counselors may distribute and be a resource for information concerning of fair housing and fair lending requirements of the Fair Housing Act, as well as finding units accessible to persons with disabilities, . The Housing Counseling Program is instrumental to achievement of HUD’s mission. The Program’s far-reaching effects support numerous departmental programs, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single family housing programs. Approximately 1,700 HUDparticipating agencies provide housing counseling services nationwide currently. Of these, approximately 975 have been directly approved by HUD. HUD maintains a list of these agencies so that individuals in need of assistance can easily access the nearest HUDapproved Housing Counseling Agency (HCA) via HUD’s website, an automated 1800 Hotline, or a smart phone application. Form HUD–9900, Application for Approval as a Housing Counseling Agency, is necessary to make sure that people who contact a HUD-approved HCA can have confidence they will receive quality service and these agencies meet HUD requirements for approval. Respondents (i.e., affected public): Not-for-profit institutions. Estimated Number of Respondents: 700. Estimated Number of Responses: 700. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Nov 19, 2020 Jkt 253001 Frequency of Response: 1. Average Hours per Response: 8.1667. Total Estimated Burden: 5,717 hours. Notice of availability; request for comments. ACTION: This notice advises the public that Canyon Environmental, LLC (applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival permit (permit) parties concerning the collection of supported by the draft Candidate information described in Section A on Conservation Agreement with the following: Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush (1) Whether the proposed collection Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) (CCAA) of information is necessary for the in Andrews, Gaines, Crane, Ector, Ward, proper performance of the functions of and Winkler Counties, Texas. The the agency, including whether the applicant has applied to the Service for information will have practical utility; the permit pursuant to the Endangered (2) The accuracy of the agency’s Species Act. The requested permit, if estimate of the burden of the proposed approved, would authorize incidental collection of information; take of the dunes sagebrush lizard (3) Ways to enhance the quality, (DSL), resulting from activities utility, and clarity of the information to completed pursuant to the draft CCAA. be collected; and If approved, the requested permit would (4) Ways to minimize the burden of become effective should the DSL the collection of information on those become federally listed during the life of who are to respond, including through the permit and CCAA. The proposed the use of appropriate automated permit would have a term of up to 23 collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting years. We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment electronic submission of responses. (EA) that has been prepared to evaluate HUD encourages interested parties to the permit application in accordance submit comment in response to these with the requirements of the National questions. Environmental Policy Act. We are C. Authority making the permit application package, including the draft CCAA and draft EA, Section 3507 of the Paperwork as well as the issuance criteria for the Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. requested permit, available for public Chapter 35. review and comment. Assistant Secretary for Housing—Federal DATES: Submission of comments: We Housing Commissioner, Dana T. Wade, having reviewed and approved this will accept comments received or document, is delegating the authority to postmarked on or before December 21, electronically sign this document to 2020. submitter, Nacheshia Foxx, who is the ADDRESSES : Obtaining Documents for Federal Register Liaison for HUD, for Review: You may obtain copies of the purposes of publication in the Federal permit application, draft CCAA, draft Register. EA, or other related documents in the Nacheshia Foxx, following formats: Federal Liaison for the Department of Housing Internet: and Development. • http://www.regulations.gov (search [FR Doc. 2020–25686 Filed 11–19–20; 8:45 am] for Docket No. FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES BILLING CODE 4210–67–P 2012;2020 2012;0065). • http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/. Hard copies or CD 2012;ROM: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR • Contact Field Supervisor by phone Fish and Wildlife Service or U.S. mail (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT; reference the [Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2020–0065; notice title and docket number FWS FXES111602C0000–212–FF02ENEH00] 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065). Email: fw2_HCP_Permits@fws.gov. Application for an Enhancement of Reviewing Public Comments: View Survival Permit; Draft Candidate submitted comments on http:// Conservation Agreement With www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065. Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus); Submitting Comments: You may Andrews, Gaines, Crane, Ector, Ward, submit written comments by one of the and Winkler Counties, Texas following methods: Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Follow the instructions for submitting Interior. B. Solicitation of Public Comment PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM 20NON1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 225 / Friday, November 20, 2020 / Notices comments on Docket No. FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065. Hard Copy: Submit by U.S. mail to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB (JAO/3W); 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041, 2012;3803. We request that you submit comments by only the methods described above. We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means we will post any personal information you provide us (see Public Availability of Comments). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, by mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78758; via phone at 512 2012;490 2012;0057, ext. 248.; or via the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), make available the draft Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) (CCAA) in Andrews, Gaines, Crane, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties, Texas. Canyon Environmental, LLC (applicant) has applied for an enhancement of survival permit (permit). If approved, the requested permit would become effective and authorize incidental take of the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus; DSL) should the DSL become federally listed during the life of the permit and CCAA under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The permit would authorize incidental take of the DSL resulting from activities covered by the draft CCAA (e.g., oil and gas exploration and development, sand mining, renewable energy development and operations, pipeline construction and operations, local government activities, agricultural activities, general construction activities), and incidental take resulting from conservation, research, and monitoring activities completed pursuant to the draft CCAA. These activities of the CCAA, collectively, are intended to meet the net conservation benefit standard. In accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) we have prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the permit application. We are accepting comments on the permit application and draft EA. In addition, we advise the public that the applicant has developed a draft CCAA which describes the measures the applicant has volunteered to implement VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Nov 19, 2020 Jkt 253001 in an effort to meet the issuance criteria for a 10(a)(1)(A) permit associated with a CCAA. Prior to a permit decision, the Service must conduct an analysis to determine if the draft CCAA has met the criteria for the issuance of the requested permit and does not have any disqualifying factors that would prevent the permit from being issued. The issuance criteria for CCAAs are found at 50 CFR 17.22(d)(2) and 50 CFR 17.32(d)(2), and are as follows: 1. The take will be incidental to an otherwise lawful activity and will be in accordance with the terms of the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(i) and 17.32(d)(2)(i)). 2. The implementation of the terms of the CCAA is reasonably expected to provide a net conservation benefit to the affected covered species by contributing to the conservation of the species included in the permit, and the CCAA otherwise complies with the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances policy (81 FR 95164; 50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(ii) and 17.32(d)(2)(ii)). 3. The probable direct and indirect effects of any authorized take will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery in the wild of any species (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(iii) and 17.32(d)(2)(iii)). 4. Implementation of the terms of the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances is consistent with applicable Federal, State, and Tribal laws and regulations (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(iv) and 17.32(d)(2)(iv)). 5. Implementation of the terms of the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances will not be in conflict with any ongoing conservation programs for species covered by the permit (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(v) and 17.32(d)(2)(v)). 6. The Applicant has shown capability for and commitment to implementing all of the terms of the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(vi) and 17.32(d)(2)(vi)). The Service has not yet reached a determination whether the draft CCAA meets the above permit issuance criteria. We are accepting comments on the permit relative to the above criteria to assist in our evaluation including suggested revisions to assist in satisfying the above criteria. Background Section 9 of the ESA and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 17 prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under the ESA as to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 74371 collect listed animal species, or to attempt to engage in such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1538(19)). However, under section 10(a) of the ESA, we may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing such take of endangered and threatened species are found at 50 CFR 17.21–22 and 50 CFR 17.31–32, respectively. Proposed Action The proposed action is the issuance of a 10(a)(1)(A) enhancement of survival permit (permit) to Canyon Environmental, LLC (applicant) and approval of the proposed Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) (CCAA). The draft CCAA would operate under a programmatic structure. There would be a single permit holder (the applicant) and a single CCAA under which multiple participants could be enrolled through certificates of inclusion (CIs). Individual oil and gas, sand mining, renewable energy, pipeline, local government, and agricultural entities interested in participating in the CCAA and seeking incidental take coverage under the permit could enroll projects under the CCAA and permit via a CI. Coverage under the permit would only apply to oil and gas exploration and development, sand mining, renewable energy development and operations, pipeline construction and operations, local government activities, agricultural activities, and general construction activities within the CCAA permit area (covered activities) on and/or associated with enrolled properties in the CCAA through execution of a CI in compliance with all elements of the CCAA and underlying permit. The conservation strategy of the CCAA will be completed by the applicant, with input from the Service and the Adaptive Management Committee. Specific conservation measures include avoidance, minimization, and mitigation and vary for each enrolled industry sector. New surface disturbance in DSL habitat triggers the payment of habitat conservation fees and the implementation of conservation measures to minimize and mitigate for the impacts of the disturbance. The applicant intends to use the conservation fees to implement additional conservation measures consistent with the conservation strategy. The 2020 DSL CCAA is a stand-alone voluntary conservation E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM 20NON1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 74372 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 225 / Friday, November 20, 2020 / Notices program for the net conservation benefit of the DSL although implementation intends to complement other DSL conservation efforts, including the Texas Conservation Plan, Natural Resource Conservation Service programs, and the New Mexico conservation programs. As stated in the draft CCAA, the requested term of the permit would be up to 23 years from the date the permit is signed and the CCAA is approved. The permit could be issued for a shorter duration. The permit, and subsequent CIs, would become effective and authorize incidental take of the DSL should the DSL become federally listed during the life of the permit and CCAA, as long as the applicant and enrolled participants are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the CCAA, permit, and individual CIs. The permit, and subsequent CIs, would authorize incidental ‘‘take’’ of the DSL associated with implementation of covered activities. Because take of individual DSL would be difficult to detect, take of DSL would be quantified using the acres of suitable DSL habitat impacted through implementation of covered activities by participants in the CCAA. As proposed in the CCAA, the permit could authorize incidental take of DSL associated with impacts to up to 34,690 acres of suitable DSL habitat within the Plan Area which the permit application estimates as approximately 12 percent of modeled DSL habitat within Texas. The applicant has developed, and proposes to implement, the CCAA. This CCAA is a conservation strategy that includes such actions and measures the applicant and enrolled participants have voluntarily agreed to undertake. These actions and measures include potentially acquiring conservation easements, and the implementation of selected avoidance and minimization measures to reduce habitat loss and fragmentation in high and intermediate suitability DSL habitat areas. As stated in the issuance criteria, the implementation of the conservation strategy must be reasonably expected to provide a net conservation benefit and to improve the status of the species. Status refers to the populations of the species on the enrolled property, or in this case the covered area in the CCAA. Alternatives At this time, we are considering one alternative to the proposed action as part of this process, the No Action Alternative. However, the proposed action could also be modified either in response to public and stakeholder VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Nov 19, 2020 Jkt 253001 comments or to achieve issuance criterion. Under No Action Alternative, the Service would not issue the permit, and therefore this CCAA would not be available. Next Steps We will evaluate the permit application, draft CCAA, draft EA, associated documents, and comments we receive during the comment period to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of ESA, NEPA, and implementing regulations. If we determine that all requirements are met, we will approve the CCAA and issue the permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) to the applicant in accordance with the terms of the CCAA and specific terms and conditions of the authorizing permit. We will not make our final decision until after the 30-day comment period ends, and we have fully considered all comments received during the public comment period. Public Availability of Comments All comments we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Requests for copies of comments will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and Service and Department of the Interior policies and procedures. 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 to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under the authority of section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Amy L. Lueders. Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2020–25685 Filed 11–19–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2020–N118; FXES11140100000–201–FF01E00000] Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for Streaked Horned Lark Habitat Restoration, Linn County, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an enhancement of survival permit application from Scott Erion pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for streaked horned lark (lark) which is federally listed as threatened. The permit application includes a draft safe harbor agreement (SHA) developed for the conservation of the lark. The permit if issued would authorize the incidental take of the lark associated with habitat management actions intended to benefit the lark. We have prepared a draft environment action statement (EAS) for our preliminary determination that the proposed SHA and permit issuance may be eligible for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act. We are making the permit application package, including the proposed SHA and draft EAS, available for public review and comment. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received from interested parties no later than December 21, 2020. ADDRESSES: To view documents, 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 the ‘‘Erion Property SHA.’’ • Internet: Documents may be viewed on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/ oregonfwo/. • Email: FW1ErionSHAcomments@ fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: State Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 100; Portland, OR 97266. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elise Brown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 503–231–6179; facsimile: 503–231– 6195. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an enhancement of survival permit application from Scott Erion pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\20NON1.SGM 20NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 225 (Friday, November 20, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74370-74372]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-25685]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2020-0065; FXES111602C0000-212-FF02ENEH00]


Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit; Draft 
Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for the Dunes 
Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus); Andrews, Gaines, Crane, 
Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties, Texas

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Canyon Environmental, LLC 
(applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
for an enhancement of survival permit (permit) supported by the draft 
Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Dunes 
Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) (CCAA) in Andrews, Gaines, 
Crane, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties, Texas. The applicant has 
applied to the Service for the permit pursuant to the Endangered 
Species Act. The requested permit, if approved, would authorize 
incidental take of the dunes sagebrush lizard (DSL), resulting from 
activities completed pursuant to the draft CCAA. If approved, the 
requested permit would become effective should the DSL become federally 
listed during the life of the permit and CCAA. The proposed permit 
would have a term of up to 23 years. We also announce the availability 
of a draft environmental assessment (EA) that has been prepared to 
evaluate the permit application in accordance with the requirements of 
the National Environmental Policy Act. We are making the permit 
application package, including the draft CCAA and draft EA, as well as 
the issuance criteria for the requested permit, available for public 
review and comment.

DATES: Submission of comments: We will accept comments received or 
postmarked on or before December 21, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents for Review: You may obtain copies of the 
permit application, draft CCAA, draft EA, or other related documents in 
the following formats:
    Internet:
     http://www.regulations.gov (search for Docket No. FWS 
2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065).
     http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/.
    Hard copies or CD 2012;ROM:
     Contact Field Supervisor by phone or U.S. mail (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT; reference the notice title and docket 
number FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065).
    Email: [email protected].
    Reviewing Public Comments: View submitted comments on http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 
2012;0065.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit written comments by one of the 
following methods:
    Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for 
submitting

[[Page 74371]]

comments on Docket No. FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065.
    Hard Copy: Submit by U.S. mail to Public Comments Processing, Attn: 
FWS 2012;R2 2012;ES 2012;2020 2012;0065; U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, MS: PRB (JAO/3W); 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041, 
2012;3803.
    We request that you submit comments by only the methods described 
above. We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means we will post any personal 
information you provide us (see Public Availability of Comments).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, 
by mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 
200, Austin, Texas 78758; via phone at 512 2012;490 2012;0057, ext. 
248.; or via the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), make available the draft Candidate Conservation Agreement 
with Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) 
(CCAA) in Andrews, Gaines, Crane, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties, 
Texas. Canyon Environmental, LLC (applicant) has applied for an 
enhancement of survival permit (permit). If approved, the requested 
permit would become effective and authorize incidental take of the 
dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus; DSL) should the DSL 
become federally listed during the life of the permit and CCAA under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). The permit would authorize incidental take of the DSL resulting 
from activities covered by the draft CCAA (e.g., oil and gas 
exploration and development, sand mining, renewable energy development 
and operations, pipeline construction and operations, local government 
activities, agricultural activities, general construction activities), 
and incidental take resulting from conservation, research, and 
monitoring activities completed pursuant to the draft CCAA. These 
activities of the CCAA, collectively, are intended to meet the net 
conservation benefit standard.
    In accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) we have prepared a 
draft environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the permit application. 
We are accepting comments on the permit application and draft EA.
    In addition, we advise the public that the applicant has developed 
a draft CCAA which describes the measures the applicant has volunteered 
to implement in an effort to meet the issuance criteria for a 
10(a)(1)(A) permit associated with a CCAA. Prior to a permit decision, 
the Service must conduct an analysis to determine if the draft CCAA has 
met the criteria for the issuance of the requested permit and does not 
have any disqualifying factors that would prevent the permit from being 
issued. The issuance criteria for CCAAs are found at 50 CFR 17.22(d)(2) 
and 50 CFR 17.32(d)(2), and are as follows:
    1. The take will be incidental to an otherwise lawful activity and 
will be in accordance with the terms of the Candidate Conservation 
Agreement with Assurances (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(i) and 17.32(d)(2)(i)).
    2. The implementation of the terms of the CCAA is reasonably 
expected to provide a net conservation benefit to the affected covered 
species by contributing to the conservation of the species included in 
the permit, and the CCAA otherwise complies with the Candidate 
Conservation Agreement with Assurances policy (81 FR 95164; 50 CFR 
17.22(d)(2)(ii) and 17.32(d)(2)(ii)).
    3. The probable direct and indirect effects of any authorized take 
will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery 
in the wild of any species (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(iii) and 
17.32(d)(2)(iii)).
    4. Implementation of the terms of the Candidate Conservation 
Agreement with Assurances is consistent with applicable Federal, State, 
and Tribal laws and regulations (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(iv) and 
17.32(d)(2)(iv)).
    5. Implementation of the terms of the Candidate Conservation 
Agreement with Assurances will not be in conflict with any ongoing 
conservation programs for species covered by the permit (50 CFR 
17.22(d)(2)(v) and 17.32(d)(2)(v)).
    6. The Applicant has shown capability for and commitment to 
implementing all of the terms of the Candidate Conservation Agreement 
with Assurances (50 CFR 17.22(d)(2)(vi) and 17.32(d)(2)(vi)).
    The Service has not yet reached a determination whether the draft 
CCAA meets the above permit issuance criteria. We are accepting 
comments on the permit relative to the above criteria to assist in our 
evaluation including suggested revisions to assist in satisfying the 
above criteria.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 
part 17 prohibit the ``take'' of fish or wildlife species listed as 
endangered or threatened. Take is defined under the ESA as to ``harass, 
harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect 
listed animal species, or to attempt to engage in such conduct'' (16 
U.S.C. 1538(19)). However, under section 10(a) of the ESA, we may issue 
permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. ``Incidental 
take'' is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the 
purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity.
    Regulations governing such take of endangered and threatened 
species are found at 50 CFR 17.21-22 and 50 CFR 17.31-32, respectively.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is the issuance of a 10(a)(1)(A) enhancement of 
survival permit (permit) to Canyon Environmental, LLC (applicant) and 
approval of the proposed Candidate Conservation Agreement with 
Assurances for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) 
(CCAA). The draft CCAA would operate under a programmatic structure. 
There would be a single permit holder (the applicant) and a single CCAA 
under which multiple participants could be enrolled through 
certificates of inclusion (CIs). Individual oil and gas, sand mining, 
renewable energy, pipeline, local government, and agricultural entities 
interested in participating in the CCAA and seeking incidental take 
coverage under the permit could enroll projects under the CCAA and 
permit via a CI. Coverage under the permit would only apply to oil and 
gas exploration and development, sand mining, renewable energy 
development and operations, pipeline construction and operations, local 
government activities, agricultural activities, and general 
construction activities within the CCAA permit area (covered 
activities) on and/or associated with enrolled properties in the CCAA 
through execution of a CI in compliance with all elements of the CCAA 
and underlying permit. The conservation strategy of the CCAA will be 
completed by the applicant, with input from the Service and the 
Adaptive Management Committee. Specific conservation measures include 
avoidance, minimization, and mitigation and vary for each enrolled 
industry sector. New surface disturbance in DSL habitat triggers the 
payment of habitat conservation fees and the implementation of 
conservation measures to minimize and mitigate for the impacts of the 
disturbance. The applicant intends to use the conservation fees to 
implement additional conservation measures consistent with the 
conservation strategy. The 2020 DSL CCAA is a stand-alone voluntary 
conservation

[[Page 74372]]

program for the net conservation benefit of the DSL although 
implementation intends to complement other DSL conservation efforts, 
including the Texas Conservation Plan, Natural Resource Conservation 
Service programs, and the New Mexico conservation programs.
    As stated in the draft CCAA, the requested term of the permit would 
be up to 23 years from the date the permit is signed and the CCAA is 
approved. The permit could be issued for a shorter duration. The 
permit, and subsequent CIs, would become effective and authorize 
incidental take of the DSL should the DSL become federally listed 
during the life of the permit and CCAA, as long as the applicant and 
enrolled participants are in compliance with the terms and conditions 
of the CCAA, permit, and individual CIs.
    The permit, and subsequent CIs, would authorize incidental ``take'' 
of the DSL associated with implementation of covered activities. 
Because take of individual DSL would be difficult to detect, take of 
DSL would be quantified using the acres of suitable DSL habitat 
impacted through implementation of covered activities by participants 
in the CCAA. As proposed in the CCAA, the permit could authorize 
incidental take of DSL associated with impacts to up to 34,690 acres of 
suitable DSL habitat within the Plan Area which the permit application 
estimates as approximately 12 percent of modeled DSL habitat within 
Texas.
    The applicant has developed, and proposes to implement, the CCAA. 
This CCAA is a conservation strategy that includes such actions and 
measures the applicant and enrolled participants have voluntarily 
agreed to undertake. These actions and measures include potentially 
acquiring conservation easements, and the implementation of selected 
avoidance and minimization measures to reduce habitat loss and 
fragmentation in high and intermediate suitability DSL habitat areas. 
As stated in the issuance criteria, the implementation of the 
conservation strategy must be reasonably expected to provide a net 
conservation benefit and to improve the status of the species. Status 
refers to the populations of the species on the enrolled property, or 
in this case the covered area in the CCAA.

Alternatives

    At this time, we are considering one alternative to the proposed 
action as part of this process, the No Action Alternative. However, the 
proposed action could also be modified either in response to public and 
stakeholder comments or to achieve issuance criterion.
    Under No Action Alternative, the Service would not issue the 
permit, and therefore this CCAA would not be available.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application, draft CCAA, draft EA, 
associated documents, and comments we receive during the comment period 
to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of 
ESA, NEPA, and implementing regulations. If we determine that all 
requirements are met, we will approve the CCAA and issue the permit 
under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) to the 
applicant in accordance with the terms of the CCAA and specific terms 
and conditions of the authorizing permit. We will not make our final 
decision until after the 30-day comment period ends, and we have fully 
considered all comments received during the public comment period.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments we receive become part of the public record associated 
with this action. Requests for copies of comments will be handled in 
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and Service and 
Department of the Interior policies and procedures. 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 to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 
entirety.

Authority

    We provide this notice under the authority of section 10(c) of the 
ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6).

Amy L. Lueders.
Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-25685 Filed 11-19-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P