Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the California Red-Legged Frog; Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, California; National Environmental Policy Act Documentation/Categorical Exclusion, 47138-47139 [2021-17968]

Download as PDF 47138 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 160 / Monday, August 23, 2021 / Notices License Agreement and regulations governing the NWR system at Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations. In 2002, the License Agreement was revised and renewed for an additional 50 years. On February 26, 2018, the Service and SFWMD entered into a renegotiated 20-year license agreement. Currently, the size of the licensed lands, referred to as the Refuge Interior, is approximately 141,374 acres. In addition to the ‘‘Refuge Interior,’’ the USFWS owns 3,814.50 acres in fee title to the east. This acreage is sub-divided into three management impoundments (A, B, and C), a 400-acre cypress swamp, and the recently added 2,586-acre Strazzulla Marsh (see below). In total, the Refuge currently includes 145,188 acres. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Introduction In 2015, the Service developed an environmental assessment under which the Service would exchange a Serviceowned property, Compartment D, with a State of Florida-owned property, Strazzulla Marsh. Both parcels are adjacent to WCA–1, the northern limit of the greater Everglades ecosystem. The purpose of the exchange was to bring Strazzulla Marsh, which is the last remaining sawgrass habitat in the eastern Everglades and one of the few remaining sawgrass marshes adjacent to the coastal ridge, into permanent protection as part of the Refuge. At the same time, the SFWMD obtained Compartment D for use as part of the Everglades Restoration Strategies Initiative, to improve overall water quality in the Everglades Protection Area. When the Congressional Appropriations Committee approved the proposed land exchange, it requested that the Refuge acquisition boundary be formally adjusted to reflect the changes in land ownership. This Notice satisfies this request and ensures that the current Refuge boundary is properly recorded. The Service today announces that it has adjusted the Refuge boundary lines to reflect this approved action (See Appendices), which removes the 1,327acre Compartment D parcel, which is now owned by the State of Florida, from the Refuge acquisition boundary. This action also brings a portion of Strazzulla Marsh, which was acquired by the United States in exchange for Compartment D, within the approved Refuge acquisition boundary. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:11 Aug 20, 2021 Jkt 253001 Authority This notice is published under the authority of the Improvement Act, Public Law 105–57. Leopoldo Miranda-Castro, Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, GA. [FR Doc. 2021–18013 Filed 8–20–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2020–N081; FXES11140800000–212–FF08ECAR00] Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the California RedLegged Frog; Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, California; National Environmental Policy Act Documentation/Categorical Exclusion Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the receipt of an enhancement of survival (EOS) permit application from the Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office that includes a proposed safe harbor agreement (SHA) in southern California for the federally threatened California red-legged frog. If granted, the SHA would provide for California redlegged frog recovery by providing a framework to reestablish frogs within their historical range. The EOS permit would be in effect for a 30-year period and would authorize take of the California red-legged frog incidental to the implementation of the Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, California. The documents available for review and comment are the SHA and National Environmental Policy Act documentation that supports a categorical exclusion. We invite comments from the public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 22, 2021. ADDRESSES: 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 the ‘‘California red-legged frog SHA for Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties.’’ Obtaining Documents: You may obtain the applicant’s safe harbor SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 agreements and the National Environmental Policy Act documentation from the internet at https://www.fws.gov/Carlsbad. Submitting Comments: You may submit written comments by the following method: • Email: fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov. For additional information about submitting comments, see the Public Comments Solicited section below. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Sobiech, 760–431–9440. 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 application from the Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office for an enhancement of survival (EOS) permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The requested 30-year permit would authorize the incidental take of the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), which is federally listed as threatened, in exchange for conservation measures that are expected to provide a net conservation benefit for the species. The application includes a proposed SHA that describes allowable land uses and the conservation measures that are intended to produce a net conservation benefit for the California red-legged frog on non-Federal lands in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. NonFederal property owners may enroll in this SHA, so long as the SHA remains in effect. Background Section 9 of the ESA and the implementing Federal regulations in effect at the time the California redlegged frog was listed prohibit the take of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. For the California redlegged frog, the take prohibitions as outlined in 50 CFR 17.31 apply, except that incidental take of California redlegged frog is not prohibited if resulting from routine ranching activities (as described in 50 CFR 17.43(d)(3)(i)–(xi) on private and tribal lands. ‘‘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. 1532(19)). ‘‘Harm’’ includes significant habitat modification or degradation that actually kills or injures listed wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Under specified circumstances, however, we may issue E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 160 / Monday, August 23, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES permits that authorize take of federally listed species, provided the take is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. ‘‘Incidental taking’’ is defined by the ESA implementing regulations as taking that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity (50 CFR 17.3). Regulations governing incidental take permits for endangered and threatened species, respectively, are found at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. Under SHAs, private and non-Federal participating landowners voluntarily undertake management activities on their properties to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). SHAs, and the subsequent EOS permits that are issued pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA, encourage private and other non-Federal property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species, by assuring property owners that they will not be subject to increased land use restriction as a result of efforts to attract or increase the numbers or distribution of a listed species on their property. In this case, an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) EOS permit is proposed to be issued to the Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office under a programmatic SHA providing a specific level of incidental take coverage should the enrolled landowners’ agreed-upon conservation measures and routine land uses (e.g., recreation, ranching, agriculture, and maintenance activities) result in take of the covered species. Application requirements and issuance criteria for EOS permits through SHAs are found at 50 CFR 17.22(c) and 17.32(c). California Red-Legged Frog The California red-legged frog is currently extirpated from its former range in Southern California south of the Transverse Ranges. It was last recorded in Riverside County in the early 2000s. Population declines have been attributed to habitat loss and degradation including introduced predators, water diversions, and poor water quality. Eligible lands under the SHA include aquatic (e.g., streams, creeks, ponds, and marshes), riparian, and adjacent upland habitat where threats to frogs have been addressed and minimized. Primary conservation measures implemented under the SHA include reintroductions, habitat management, and the minimization of potential threats (e.g., bullfrog predation and sedimentation). Additional conservation measures include allowing agency staff to monitor frogs and their VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:11 Aug 20, 2021 Jkt 253001 habitat and to salvage/rescue frogs when necessary. Covered land use activities include recreation, ranching, agriculture, maintenance activities, and ongoing activities associated with the enrolled lands. If California red-legged frog populations become established within the eligible lands covered under the SHA, take of California red-legged frogs associated with the approved land uses and conservation measures outlined under the certificate of inclusion for enrolled lands would be authorized under the EOS permit during the 30year permit term. The proposed SHA would implement conservation measures that contribute to the recovery of the California red-legged frog. The proposed SHA with the option for renewal is based on the commitment to implement the proposed SHA, including issuance of certificates of inclusion to participating non-Federal landowners. The reestablishment of the Southern California genetic lineage is an important conservation action for the species’ recovery. Therefore, the cumulative impact of the SHA and the activities it covers, which are facilitated by the allowable incidental take, are expected to provide a net conservation benefit to the California red-legged frog. Public Comments Solicited We solicit written comments on the proposed safe harbor agreement and National Environmental Policy Act documentation described in this notice. All comments received by the date specified in DATES will be considered in development of a final safe harbor agreement for the California red-legged frog. You may submit written comments and information by email to the Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office at the above address (see ADDRESSES). Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the decision record associated with this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organization or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representative or officials of organization or business, will be made PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47139 available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under Section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations for the Department of the Interior (43 CFR part 46). Scott Sobiech, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. [FR Doc. 2021–17968 Filed 8–20–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R3–ES–2021–N184; FXES11130300000–201–FF03E00000] Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Recovery Permit Applications Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of receipt of permit applications; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received applications for permits to conduct activities intended to enhance the propagation or survival of endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. DATES: We must receive your written comments on or before September 22, 2021. ADDRESSES: Document availability and comment submission: Submit requests for copies of the applications and related documents, as well as any comments, by one of the following methods. All requests and comments should specify the applicant name(s) and application number(s) (e.g., TEXXXXXX; see table in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION): • Email: permitsR3ES@fws.gov. Please refer to the respective application number (e.g., Application No. TEXXXXXX) in the subject line of your email message. • U.S. Mail: Regional Director, Attn: Nathan Rathbun, U.S. Fish and Wildlife SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 160 (Monday, August 23, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47138-47139]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-17968]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2020-N081; FXES11140800000-212-FF08ECAR00]


Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the California 
Red-Legged Frog; Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, California; 
National Environmental Policy Act Documentation/Categorical Exclusion

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
receipt of an enhancement of survival (EOS) permit application from the 
Service's Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office that includes a proposed 
safe harbor agreement (SHA) in southern California for the federally 
threatened California red-legged frog. If granted, the SHA would 
provide for California red-legged frog recovery by providing a 
framework to reestablish frogs within their historical range. The EOS 
permit would be in effect for a 30-year period and would authorize take 
of the California red-legged frog incidental to the implementation of 
the Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement in Orange, Riverside, and San 
Diego Counties, California. The documents available for review and 
comment are the SHA and National Environmental Policy Act documentation 
that supports a categorical exclusion. We invite comments from the 
public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 22, 
2021.

ADDRESSES: 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 the ``California red-legged 
frog SHA for Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties.''
    Obtaining Documents: You may obtain the applicant's safe harbor 
agreements and the National Environmental Policy Act documentation from 
the internet at https://www.fws.gov/Carlsbad.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit written comments by the 
following method:
     Email: [email protected]. For additional information 
about submitting comments, see the Public Comments Solicited section 
below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Sobiech, 760-431-9440. 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 application from the Service's Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office for an enhancement of survival (EOS) permit 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The requested 30-year permit would authorize the 
incidental take of the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), 
which is federally listed as threatened, in exchange for conservation 
measures that are expected to provide a net conservation benefit for 
the species. The application includes a proposed SHA that describes 
allowable land uses and the conservation measures that are intended to 
produce a net conservation benefit for the California red-legged frog 
on non-Federal lands in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. Non-
Federal property owners may enroll in this SHA, so long as the SHA 
remains in effect.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and the implementing Federal regulations in 
effect at the time the California red-legged frog was listed prohibit 
the take of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. For the 
California red-legged frog, the take prohibitions as outlined in 50 CFR 
17.31 apply, except that incidental take of California red-legged frog 
is not prohibited if resulting from routine ranching activities (as 
described in 50 CFR 17.43(d)(3)(i)-(xi) on private and tribal lands. 
``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. 1532(19)). 
``Harm'' includes significant habitat modification or degradation that 
actually kills or injures listed wildlife by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering 
(50 CFR 17.3). Under specified circumstances, however, we may issue

[[Page 47139]]

permits that authorize take of federally listed species, provided the 
take is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful 
activity. ``Incidental taking'' is defined by the ESA implementing 
regulations as taking that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, 
carrying out an otherwise lawful activity (50 CFR 17.3). Regulations 
governing incidental take permits for endangered and threatened 
species, respectively, are found at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32.
    Under SHAs, private and non-Federal participating landowners 
voluntarily undertake management activities on their properties to 
enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). SHAs, and the subsequent EOS permits that are issued pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA, encourage private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species, 
by assuring property owners that they will not be subject to increased 
land use restriction as a result of efforts to attract or increase the 
numbers or distribution of a listed species on their property. In this 
case, an ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) EOS permit is proposed to be issued to 
the Service's Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office under a programmatic 
SHA providing a specific level of incidental take coverage should the 
enrolled landowners' agreed-upon conservation measures and routine land 
uses (e.g., recreation, ranching, agriculture, and maintenance 
activities) result in take of the covered species. Application 
requirements and issuance criteria for EOS permits through SHAs are 
found at 50 CFR 17.22(c) and 17.32(c).

California Red-Legged Frog

    The California red-legged frog is currently extirpated from its 
former range in Southern California south of the Transverse Ranges. It 
was last recorded in Riverside County in the early 2000s. Population 
declines have been attributed to habitat loss and degradation including 
introduced predators, water diversions, and poor water quality. 
Eligible lands under the SHA include aquatic (e.g., streams, creeks, 
ponds, and marshes), riparian, and adjacent upland habitat where 
threats to frogs have been addressed and minimized. Primary 
conservation measures implemented under the SHA include 
reintroductions, habitat management, and the minimization of potential 
threats (e.g., bullfrog predation and sedimentation). Additional 
conservation measures include allowing agency staff to monitor frogs 
and their habitat and to salvage/rescue frogs when necessary. Covered 
land use activities include recreation, ranching, agriculture, 
maintenance activities, and ongoing activities associated with the 
enrolled lands.
    If California red-legged frog populations become established within 
the eligible lands covered under the SHA, take of California red-legged 
frogs associated with the approved land uses and conservation measures 
outlined under the certificate of inclusion for enrolled lands would be 
authorized under the EOS permit during the 30-year permit term. The 
proposed SHA would implement conservation measures that contribute to 
the recovery of the California red-legged frog. The proposed SHA with 
the option for renewal is based on the commitment to implement the 
proposed SHA, including issuance of certificates of inclusion to 
participating non-Federal landowners. The reestablishment of the 
Southern California genetic lineage is an important conservation action 
for the species' recovery. Therefore, the cumulative impact of the SHA 
and the activities it covers, which are facilitated by the allowable 
incidental take, are expected to provide a net conservation benefit to 
the California red-legged frog.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the proposed safe harbor agreement 
and National Environmental Policy Act documentation described in this 
notice. All comments received by the date specified in DATES will be 
considered in development of a final safe harbor agreement for the 
California red-legged frog. You may submit written comments and 
information by email to the Service's Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office 
at the above address (see ADDRESSES).

Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the decision record 
associated with this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from 
organization or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves 
as representative or officials of organization or business, will be 
made available for public disclosure in their entirety.

Authority

    We provide this notice under Section 10(c) of the ESA and its 
implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and the National 
Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing 
regulations for the Department of the Interior (43 CFR part 46).

Scott Sobiech,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2021-17968 Filed 8-20-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P