Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance, Santa Clara County, California; Draft Screening Form and Draft Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan, 73796-73797 [2021-28124]

Download as PDF 73796 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 28, 2021 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2021–0076; FF08ESMF00–FXES11140800000–212] Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance, Santa Clara County, California; Draft Screening Form and Draft Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. Notice of availability of permit application; request for comment. ACTION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of a draft low-effect screening form (screening form) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), supported by a draft low-effect habitat conservation plan (draft HCP). The Lehigh Southwest Cement Company (Lehigh) (applicant) has applied for an ITP under the ESA for Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance in Santa Clara County, California. The requested ITP, which would be in effect for a period of 20 years, if granted, would authorize incidental take of the federally threatened California red-legged frog. In accordance with NEPA requirements, we have determined that the proposed action qualifies for a categorical exclusion as low effect. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on the application. Before issuing the requested permit, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. SUMMARY: We must receive your written comments on or before January 27, 2022. DATES: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Dec 27, 2021 Jkt 256001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph Terry, Senior Fish and Wildlife Biologist, or Ryan Olah, Supervisor, Coast Bay Division, Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, by phone at 916–414–6600 or via the Federal Relay Service at 800–877– 8339. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft loweffect screening form (screening form), prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. This notice also announces the receipt of an application from the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company (Lehigh) (applicant) for a 20year incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Application for the permit requires the preparation of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) with measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of incidental take to the maximum extent practicable. The applicant prepared the draft Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan (draft HCP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The purpose of the screening form is to assess the effects of issuing the permit and implementing the draft HCP on the natural and human environment. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Obtaining Documents: The draft screening form, draft HCP, and any comments and other materials that we receive are available for public inspection at http:// www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2021–0076. Submitting Comments: To submit comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information requests or comments are in reference to the draft screening form, draft HCP, or both. • Internet: Submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2021–0076. • U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R8– ADDRESSES: ES–2021–0076; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. For more information, see Public Comments and Public Availability of Comments, under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531– 1544 et seq.) prohibits the taking of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered. Pursuant to section 4(d) of the ESA, the take prohibition was extended by regulation to certain threatened species, including the California red-legged frog with the exception of take incidental to routine ranching activities on private or tribal lands as described in 50 CFR 17.43(d). Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. For more about the Federal HCP program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esalibrary/pdf/hcp.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 National Environmental Policy Act Compliance The proposed ITP issuance triggers the need for NEPA compliance (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The draft screening form was prepared to analyze the impacts of issuing an ITP based on the draft HCP and to inform the public of the proposed action, any alternatives, and associated impacts, and to disclose any irreversible commitments of resources. Proposed Action Alternative Under the Proposed Action Alternative, the Service would issue an ITP to the applicant for a period of 20 years for certain covered activities (described below). The applicant has requested an ITP for one covered species (described below), which is listed as threatened under the ESA. Habitat Conservation Plan Area The geographic scope of the draft HCP encompasses 10.2 acres of the Lehigh property, which includes 2.52 acres subject to repeated temporary impacts and 0.10 acre permanently lost associated with ongoing operations and maintenance activities that occur near suitable habitat for the California redlegged frog, and a pond to which California red-legged frogs that require removal from maintenance areas would be relocated. The area is located west of the City of Cupertino, in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County, California. Covered Activities The proposed ESA section 10 ITP would allow take of the California redlegged frog from covered activities in the proposed HCP area. The applicant is requesting incidental take authorization for covered activities, including storm water capture/sedimentation basin operation and maintenance; erosion control; material transport and storage; vehicle traffic and equipment operation; road and vegetation maintenance; water quality monitoring; and restoration if emergent cover increases or decreases enough to substantially diminish breeding habitat quality, maintenance, and monitoring of an on-site California red-legged frog breeding pond. The applicant is proposing to implement a number of best management practices, as well as general and species-specific avoidance and minimization measures to minimize the impacts of the covered activities on the listed species, California red-legged frog, and the candidate species, monarch butterfly. E:\FR\FM\28DEN1.SGM 28DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 28, 2021 / Notices Covered Species Public Comments Authority The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), a species federally listed as threatened, is proposed to be included as a covered species in the proposed HCP. We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this notice, the draft screening form, and the draft HCP. We particularly seek comments on the following: 1. Biological information concerning the species; 2. Relevant data concerning the species; 3. Additional information concerning the range, distribution, population size, and population trends of the species; 4. Current or planned activities in the area and their possible impacts on the species; 5. The presence of archeological sites, buildings and structures, historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic preservation concerns, which are required to be considered in project planning by the National Historic Preservation Act; and 6. Any other environmental issues that should be considered with regard to the proposed development and permit action. We publish this notice under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347 et seq.), and its implementing regulations at 40 CFR 1500–1508, as well as in compliance with section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531–1544 et seq.) and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR 17.32(b)(1)(ii). No-Action Alternative Under the No-Action Alternative, the Service would not issue an ITP to the applicant, and routine operations and maintenance activities and pond monitoring and maintenance would not be implemented. The No-Action Alternative is not feasible, based on the purpose and need of the operations and maintenance activities. Without the action, Lehigh would not be able to maintain compliance with applicable water quality and erosion control requirements and operational safety standards. Lehigh is mandated by the State Water Resources Control Board to comply with existing and applicable Clean Water Act permits and Water Quality Certifications; full compliance would not be possible if operations and maintenance activities are not conducted. In addition, not implementing these activities would result in erosion and sedimentation that degrade habitat for the California redlegged frog. Finally, without the Covered Activities, safety of on-site material transport and vehicle travel would be jeopardized. For these reasons, the No-Action Alternative has been rejected. Reduced Project Alternative khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 73797 Under the reduced project alternative, the Service would issue an ITP to the applicant for a period of 20 years for the same covered activities and species described for the Proposed Action Alternative, but within a reduced HCP area. The smaller HCP area would presumably result in reduced probability for take of California redlegged frog. However, the HCP area associated with the Proposed Action Alternative has been minimized to the smallest possible footprint to fulfill requirements of the existing storm water pollution prevention plan and applicable permits associated with quarry operation, and to preserve safe quarry operations. In addition, a reduced HCP area would reduce the extent and effectiveness of erosion and sedimentation control measures, potentially resulting in degradation of California red-legged frog habitat. For these reasons, the Reduced Project Alternative would not accomplish the project’s goals and has been rejected. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:45 Dec 27, 2021 Jkt 256001 Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—might 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. Next Steps Issuance of an incidental take permit is a Federal proposed action subject to compliance with NEPA and section 7 of the ESA. We will evaluate the application, associated documents, and any public comments we receive as part of our NEPA compliance process to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. If we determine that those requirements are met, we will conduct an intra-Service consultation under section 7 of the ESA for the Federal action for the potential issuance of an ITP. If the intra-Service consultation confirms that issuance of the ITP will not jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species, or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we will issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of the covered species. PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Michael Fris, Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. 2021–28124 Filed 12–27–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R3–ES–2021–0139; FXES11140300000–223] Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm, White County, Indiana; Categorical Exclusion Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability of documents; request for comment and information. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm LLC (applicant), for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act, for its Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm (project). If approved, the ITP would be for a 6-year period and would authorize the incidental take of an endangered species, the Indiana bat, and a threatened species, the northern longeared bat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the Indiana bat and northern longeared bat. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP), and on the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as ‘‘low-effect,’’ categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also able for public review. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28DEN1.SGM 28DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 246 (Tuesday, December 28, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73796-73797]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-28124]



[[Page 73796]]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2021-0076; FF08ESMF00-FXES11140800000-212]


Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance, Santa Clara County, 
California; Draft Screening Form and Draft Low-Effect Habitat 
Conservation Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of permit application; request for 
comment.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of a draft low-effect screening form (screening form) 
under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for an incidental 
take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), supported by 
a draft low-effect habitat conservation plan (draft HCP). The Lehigh 
Southwest Cement Company (Lehigh) (applicant) has applied for an ITP 
under the ESA for Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance in Santa 
Clara County, California. The requested ITP, which would be in effect 
for a period of 20 years, if granted, would authorize incidental take 
of the federally threatened California red-legged frog. In accordance 
with NEPA requirements, we have determined that the proposed action 
qualifies for a categorical exclusion as low effect. We invite the 
public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on the 
application. Before issuing the requested permit, 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 January 27, 
2022.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: The draft screening form, draft HCP, 
and any comments and other materials that we receive are available for 
public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R8-
ES-2021-0076.
    Submitting Comments: To submit comments, please use one of the 
following methods, and note that your information requests or comments 
are in reference to the draft screening form, draft HCP, or both.
     Internet: Submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov 
under Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2021-0076.
     U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. 
FWS-R8-ES-2021-0076; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: 
PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    For more information, see Public Comments and Public Availability 
of Comments, under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph Terry, Senior Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, or Ryan Olah, Supervisor, Coast Bay Division, Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, by phone at 916-
414-6600 or via the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of a draft low-effect screening 
form (screening form), prepared pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its 
implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 
CFR 1506.6. This notice also announces the receipt of an application 
from the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company (Lehigh) (applicant) for a 20-
year incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Application for the 
permit requires the preparation of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) 
with measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of 
incidental take to the maximum extent practicable. The applicant 
prepared the draft Permanente Site Operations and Maintenance Low-
Effect Habitat Conservation Plan (draft HCP) pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The purpose of the screening form is to assess 
the effects of issuing the permit and implementing the draft HCP on the 
natural and human environment.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) prohibits the 
taking of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered. Pursuant to 
section 4(d) of the ESA, the take prohibition was extended by 
regulation to certain threatened species, including the California red-
legged frog with the exception of take incidental to routine ranching 
activities on private or tribal lands as described in 50 CFR 17.43(d). 
Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are 
at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. For more about the Federal HCP program, go 
to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/hcp.pdf.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The proposed ITP issuance triggers the need for NEPA compliance (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The draft screening form was prepared to analyze 
the impacts of issuing an ITP based on the draft HCP and to inform the 
public of the proposed action, any alternatives, and associated 
impacts, and to disclose any irreversible commitments of resources.

Proposed Action Alternative

    Under the Proposed Action Alternative, the Service would issue an 
ITP to the applicant for a period of 20 years for certain covered 
activities (described below). The applicant has requested an ITP for 
one covered species (described below), which is listed as threatened 
under the ESA.
Habitat Conservation Plan Area
    The geographic scope of the draft HCP encompasses 10.2 acres of the 
Lehigh property, which includes 2.52 acres subject to repeated 
temporary impacts and 0.10 acre permanently lost associated with 
ongoing operations and maintenance activities that occur near suitable 
habitat for the California red-legged frog, and a pond to which 
California red-legged frogs that require removal from maintenance areas 
would be relocated. The area is located west of the City of Cupertino, 
in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County, California.
Covered Activities
    The proposed ESA section 10 ITP would allow take of the California 
red-legged frog from covered activities in the proposed HCP area. The 
applicant is requesting incidental take authorization for covered 
activities, including storm water capture/sedimentation basin operation 
and maintenance; erosion control; material transport and storage; 
vehicle traffic and equipment operation; road and vegetation 
maintenance; water quality monitoring; and restoration if emergent 
cover increases or decreases enough to substantially diminish breeding 
habitat quality, maintenance, and monitoring of an on-site California 
red-legged frog breeding pond. The applicant is proposing to implement 
a number of best management practices, as well as general and species-
specific avoidance and minimization measures to minimize the impacts of 
the covered activities on the listed species, California red-legged 
frog, and the candidate species, monarch butterfly.

[[Page 73797]]

Covered Species
    The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), a species 
federally listed as threatened, is proposed to be included as a covered 
species in the proposed HCP.

No-Action Alternative

    Under the No-Action Alternative, the Service would not issue an ITP 
to the applicant, and routine operations and maintenance activities and 
pond monitoring and maintenance would not be implemented. The No-Action 
Alternative is not feasible, based on the purpose and need of the 
operations and maintenance activities. Without the action, Lehigh would 
not be able to maintain compliance with applicable water quality and 
erosion control requirements and operational safety standards. Lehigh 
is mandated by the State Water Resources Control Board to comply with 
existing and applicable Clean Water Act permits and Water Quality 
Certifications; full compliance would not be possible if operations and 
maintenance activities are not conducted. In addition, not implementing 
these activities would result in erosion and sedimentation that degrade 
habitat for the California red-legged frog. Finally, without the 
Covered Activities, safety of on-site material transport and vehicle 
travel would be jeopardized. For these reasons, the No-Action 
Alternative has been rejected.

Reduced Project Alternative

    Under the reduced project alternative, the Service would issue an 
ITP to the applicant for a period of 20 years for the same covered 
activities and species described for the Proposed Action Alternative, 
but within a reduced HCP area. The smaller HCP area would presumably 
result in reduced probability for take of California red-legged frog. 
However, the HCP area associated with the Proposed Action Alternative 
has been minimized to the smallest possible footprint to fulfill 
requirements of the existing storm water pollution prevention plan and 
applicable permits associated with quarry operation, and to preserve 
safe quarry operations. In addition, a reduced HCP area would reduce 
the extent and effectiveness of erosion and sedimentation control 
measures, potentially resulting in degradation of California red-legged 
frog habitat. For these reasons, the Reduced Project Alternative would 
not accomplish the project's goals and has been rejected.

Public Comments

    We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this 
notice, the draft screening form, and the draft HCP. We particularly 
seek comments on the following:
    1. Biological information concerning the species;
    2. Relevant data concerning the species;
    3. Additional information concerning the range, distribution, 
population size, and population trends of the species;
    4. Current or planned activities in the area and their possible 
impacts on the species;
    5. The presence of archeological sites, buildings and structures, 
historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic 
preservation concerns, which are required to be considered in project 
planning by the National Historic Preservation Act; and
    6. Any other environmental issues that should be considered with 
regard to the proposed development and permit action.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--might 
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.

Next Steps

    Issuance of an incidental take permit is a Federal proposed action 
subject to compliance with NEPA and section 7 of the ESA. We will 
evaluate the application, associated documents, and any public comments 
we receive as part of our NEPA compliance process to determine whether 
the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. If 
we determine that those requirements are met, we will conduct an intra-
Service consultation under section 7 of the ESA for the Federal action 
for the potential issuance of an ITP. If the intra-Service consultation 
confirms that issuance of the ITP will not jeopardize the continued 
existence of any endangered or threatened species, or destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat, we will issue a permit to the 
applicant for the incidental take of the covered species.

Authority

    We publish this notice under the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347 et seq.), and its implementing 
regulations at 40 CFR 1500-1508, as well as in compliance with section 
10(c) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) and 
its implementing regulations at 50 CFR 17.32(b)(1)(ii).

Michael Fris,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2021-28124 Filed 12-27-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P