Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California, 2174-2176 [2022-00623]

Download as PDF 2174 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 9 / Thursday, January 13, 2022 / Notices activities with endangered or threatened species for scientific purposes that promote recovery or for enhancement of propagation or survival of the species. These activities often include such prohibited actions as capture and collection. Our regulations implementing section 10(a)(1)(A) for these permits are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.22 for endangered wildlife species, Permit Applications Available for Review and Comment Proposed activities in the following permit requests are for the recovery and enhancement of propagation or survival of the species in the wild. The ESA requires that we invite public comment before issuing these permits. Accordingly, we invite local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies and the public to submit written data, views, or arguments with respect to these applications. The comments and recommendations that will be most useful and likely to influence agency decisions are those supported by quantitative information or studies. Application number Applicant, city, state Species Location Take activity ES012136 ....... Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Hillsboro, OR. Pacific Rim Conservation, Honolulu, HI. Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus), Shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris). Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), O1ahu ‘elepaio (listed in 50 CFR 17 as Oahu elepaio (Chasiempis ibidis)). Oregon .......... Harass by capture, handle, collect physical metrics, release, and salvage. Hawaiian petrel: Harass by survey, monitor, capture, handle, collect physical metrics, biosample, band, translocate, captive propagate, release, and deploy social attraction system. O1ahu ‘elepaio: Harass by survey, monitor, capture, band, collect physical metrics, biosample, attach transmitters, and release. ES67121B ...... Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the administrative 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 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 If we decide to issue a permit to an applicant listed in this notice, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register. Authority jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 50 CFR 17.32 for threatened wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.62 for endangered plant species, and 50 CFR 17.72 for threatened plant species. We publish this notice under section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act of VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:18 Jan 12, 2022 Jkt 256001 Hawaii ........... 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Katherine Norman, Assistant Regional Director–Ecological Services, Pacific Region. [FR Doc. 2022–00622 Filed 1–12–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR [Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2021–0169; FXES11140800000–223–FF08ECAR00] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California 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 application from the Ramona Municipal Water District (applicant) for a 4-year incidental take permit for the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat and arroyo toad pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the preliminary determination that the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Renew. Amend. proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) qualifies as a ‘‘low-effect’’ HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The basis for this determination is discussed in the environmental action statement and the associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for public review. We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before February 14, 2022. ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: Electronic copies of the documents this notice announces, along with public comments received, will be available online in Docket No. FWS–R8–ES– 2021–0169 at https:// www.regulations.gov. Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Online: https:// www.regulations.gov. Search for and submit comments on Docket No. FWS– R8–ES–2021–0169. • By hard copy: Submit comments by U.S. mail to Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R8– ES–2021–0169; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: PRB/ 3W; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jonathan Snyder, Assistant Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 760– DATES: Fish and Wildlife Service Permit action E:\FR\FM\13JAN1.SGM 13JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 9 / Thursday, January 13, 2022 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 431–9440. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), 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 Ramona Municipal Water District (applicant) for a 4-year incidental take permit for two covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The application addresses the potential ‘‘take’’ of the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat and arroyo toad in the course of activities associated with installation of a 20-inchdiameter effluent pipeline in San Diego County, California. A conservation program to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for project activities would be implemented as described in the habitat conservation plan (HCP) prepared by the applicant. We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the preliminary determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ‘‘loweffect’’ HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. The basis for this determination is discussed in the environmental action statement (EAS) and associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for public review. Background Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under the Act 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). ‘‘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). However, under section 10(a) of the Act, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the Act as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species, respectively, are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. The applicant requests a 4-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If we approve the permit, Stephens’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:18 Jan 12, 2022 Jkt 256001 kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi) may be taken as a result of temporary impacts to 8.61 acres (ac) of habitat the species uses for breeding, feeding, and sheltering. Because potential incidental take is unlikely to be observed in burrows, the take limit will be set by habitat, and we estimate the number of individuals taken based on estimated density. Within 8.61-acre area, average Stephens’ kangaroo rat density is categorized as low to trace (0–5 individuals per acre). In addition, arroyo toads {a. southwestern t. [Anaxyrus californicus (Bufo microscaphus c.)]} may be taken within the 11.59-acre project impact area. No arroyo toad breeding habitat will be impacted, but some individuals may be aestivating (a prolonged period of dormancy) within the project area. Any individual arroyo toads observed within the project area will be translocated to nearby suitable habitat. The take would be incidental to the applicant’s activities associated with installation of a 20-inchdiameter effluent pipeline in San Diego County, California. The project includes in-perpetuity preservation and management of 8.61 ac of Stephens’ kangaroo rat habitat within a 79-ac preserve managed for the species, and invasive species management in support of the arroyo toad. The proposed project will temporarily impact 11.59 ac of land through trenching and placement of the pipeline, including 8.61 ac of Stephens’ kangaroo rat habitat. Arroyo toads have been observed in wetland habitat near the proposed project site, and individual arroyo toad(s) may be aestivating underground within the project area and may be impacted during construction. To minimize the effects of project construction on the Stephens’ kangaroo rat, the proposed HCP includes fencing of the work area as well as trapping and relocation of individual Stephens’ kangaroo rats prior to construction impacts. The applicant proposes to mitigate for permanent impacts to 8.61 ac of occupied Stephens’ kangaroo rat habitat through preservation of 8.61 ac of occupied Stephens’ kangaroo rat habitat within a nearby conservation easement and funding of long-term management to benefit the species. To minimize take of arroyo toad, the proposed HCP includes measures to install arroyo toad exclusionary fencing around the work area and trap and relocate any arroyo toads in the work area prior to construction impacts. To mitigate impacts to arroyo toad, the applicant’s proposed HCP includes measures to eliminate invasive species that prey upon arroyo toads in a nearby PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2175 pond that is known to support arroyo toad breeding. Proposed Action and Alternatives The proposed action consists of the issuance of an incidental take permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, which includes measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the Stephens’ kangaroo rat and arroyo toad. If we approve the permit, take of Stephens’ kangaroo rat and arroyo toad would be authorized for the applicant’s activities associated with the pipeline installation project. In the proposed HCP, the applicant considered the No Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, no incidental take of Stephens’ kangaroo rat or arroyo toad would occur, and no long-term protection and management would be afforded to the species. Under this alternative, the applicant would not be able to meet the growth and development needs of San Diego County. Our Preliminary Determination The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of the proposed HCP qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1) and as a ‘‘low-effect’’ plan as defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). We base our determination that an HCP qualifies as a low-effect plan on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) Impacts of the HCP, considered together with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to environmental values or resources that would be considered significant. Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional documentation. Next Steps We will evaluate the proposed HCP and comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. E:\FR\FM\13JAN1.SGM 13JAN1 2176 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 9 / Thursday, January 13, 2022 / Notices 1531 et seq.). We will also evaluate whether issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit would comply with section 7 of the Act by conducting an intra-Service consultation. We will use the results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue a permit. If the requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) are met, we will issue the permit to the applicant for incidental take of Stephens’ kangaroo rat and arroyo toad. Public Comments If you wish to comment on the permit application, proposed HCP, and associated documents, you may submit comments by any of the methods noted in the ADDRESSES section. Public Availability of Comments 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 may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Scott Sobiech, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, California. [FR Doc. 2022–00623 Filed 1–12–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Reclamation [RR04093000, XXXR4081G3, RX.05940913.FY19400] Public Meeting of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group Bureau of Reclamation, Interior. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 AGENCY: In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is publishing this notice to announce that a Federal Advisory Committee meeting of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) will take place. SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:18 Jan 12, 2022 Jkt 256001 The meeting will be held virtually on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. (MST); and Thursday, February 10, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m. (MST). ADDRESSES: The meeting on Wednesday, February 9 will be held virtually and can be accessed at: https:// rec.webex.com/rec/j.php?MTID= m2c4bb5a96cb62db32dbc28e2f608767e, Meeting Number: 2764 737 4054, Password: Feb9. The meeting on Thursday, February 10 will be held virtually and can be accessed at: https://rec.webex.com/rec/ j.php?MTID=md4caa110511fe90f209f9 c96705fa4c6, Meeting Number: 2764 343 6382, Password: Feb10. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Lee Traynham, Bureau of Reclamation, telephone (801) 524–3752, email at ltraynham@usbr.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP) was implemented as a result of the Record of Decision on the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam Final Environmental Impact Statement to comply with consultation requirements of the Grand Canyon Protection Act (Pub. L. 102–575) of 1992. The AMWG makes recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior concerning Glen Canyon Dam operations and other management actions to protect resources downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, consistent with the Grand Canyon Protection Act. The AMWG meets two to three times a year. Agenda: The AMWG will meet to receive updates on: (1) Current basin hydrology and water year 2022 operations; (2) experiments considered for implementation in 2022; (3) the status of threatened and endangered species; (4) long-term funding considerations; and (5) science results from Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center staff. The AMWG will also discuss other administrative and resource issues pertaining to the GCDAMP. To view a copy of the agenda and documents related to the above meeting, please visit Reclamation’s website at https://www.usbr.gov/uc/ progact/amp/amwg.html. Meeting Accessibility/Special Accommodations: The meeting is open to the public. Individuals requiring special accommodations to access the public meeting should contact Ms. Lee Traynham (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) at least (5) business days prior to the meeting so appropriate arrangements can be made. Public Disclosure of Comments: Time will be allowed on both days for any DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 individual or organization wishing to make extemporaneous and/or formal oral comments. To allow for full consideration of information by the AMWG members, written notice should be provided to Ms. Lee Traynham (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) prior to the meeting. Depending on the number of persons wishing to speak, and the time available, the time for individual comments may be limited. Any written comments received will be provided to the AMWG members. 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. Authority: 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2. Lee Traynham, Chief, Adaptive Management Group, Resources Management Division, Upper Colorado Basin—Interior Region 7. [FR Doc. 2022–00507 Filed 1–12–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4332–90–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Inv. No. 337–TA–1289] Certain Knitted Footwear; Institution of Investigation U.S. International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that a complaint was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission on December 8, 2021, under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, on behalf of Nike, Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 based upon the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain knitted footwear by reason of infringement of certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,918,511 (‘‘the ’511 patent’’); U.S. Patent No. 9,743,705 (‘‘the ’705 patent’’); U.S. Patent No. 8,266,749 (‘‘the ’749 patent’’); U.S. Patent No. 7,814,598 (‘‘the ’598 patent’’); U.S. Patent No. 9,060,562 (‘‘the ’562 patent’’); and U.S. Patent No. 8,898,932 (‘‘the ’932 patent’’). The complaint further alleges that an industry in the United States exists as required by the applicable Federal SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13JAN1.SGM 13JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 9 (Thursday, January 13, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2174-2176]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-00623]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2021-0169; FXES11140800000-223-FF08ECAR00]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take 
Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application from the Ramona Municipal Water District 
(applicant) for a 4-year incidental take permit for the endangered 
Stephens' kangaroo rat and arroyo toad pursuant to the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are requesting comments on 
the permit application and on the preliminary determination that the 
proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) qualifies as a ``low-effect'' 
HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The basis for this 
determination is discussed in the environmental action statement and 
the associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for 
public review.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
February 14, 2022.

ADDRESSES:  Obtaining Documents: Electronic copies of the documents 
this notice announces, along with public comments received, will be 
available online in Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2021-0169 at https://www.regulations.gov.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
     Online: https://www.regulations.gov. Search for and submit 
comments on Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2021-0169.
     By hard copy: Submit comments by U.S. mail to Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2021-0169; U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: PRB/3W; Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jonathan Snyder, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); 
telephone: 760-

[[Page 2175]]

431-9440. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), 
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 Ramona Municipal Water 
District (applicant) for a 4-year incidental take permit for two 
covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The 
application addresses the potential ``take'' of the endangered 
Stephens' kangaroo rat and arroyo toad in the course of activities 
associated with installation of a 20-inch-diameter effluent pipeline in 
San Diego County, California. A conservation program to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate for project activities would be implemented as 
described in the habitat conservation plan (HCP) prepared by the 
applicant.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ``low-
effect'' HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. The basis for this 
determination is discussed in the environmental action statement (EAS) 
and associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for 
public review.

Background

    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations 
prohibit the ``take'' of animal species listed as endangered or 
threatened. Take is defined under the Act 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). 
``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). However, under section 10(a) of the Act, the Service may 
issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. 
``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as take that is incidental 
to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. 
Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and 
endangered species, respectively, are found in the Code of Federal 
Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32.
    The applicant requests a 4-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Act. If we approve the permit, Stephens' kangaroo rat (Dipodomys 
stephensi) may be taken as a result of temporary impacts to 8.61 acres 
(ac) of habitat the species uses for breeding, feeding, and sheltering. 
Because potential incidental take is unlikely to be observed in 
burrows, the take limit will be set by habitat, and we estimate the 
number of individuals taken based on estimated density. Within 8.61-
acre area, average Stephens' kangaroo rat density is categorized as low 
to trace (0-5 individuals per acre). In addition, arroyo toads {a. 
southwestern t. [Anaxyrus californicus (Bufo microscaphus c.)]{time}  
may be taken within the 11.59-acre project impact area. No arroyo toad 
breeding habitat will be impacted, but some individuals may be 
aestivating (a prolonged period of dormancy) within the project area. 
Any individual arroyo toads observed within the project area will be 
translocated to nearby suitable habitat. The take would be incidental 
to the applicant's activities associated with installation of a 20-
inch-diameter effluent pipeline in San Diego County, California. The 
project includes in-perpetuity preservation and management of 8.61 ac 
of Stephens' kangaroo rat habitat within a 79-ac preserve managed for 
the species, and invasive species management in support of the arroyo 
toad.
    The proposed project will temporarily impact 11.59 ac of land 
through trenching and placement of the pipeline, including 8.61 ac of 
Stephens' kangaroo rat habitat. Arroyo toads have been observed in 
wetland habitat near the proposed project site, and individual arroyo 
toad(s) may be aestivating underground within the project area and may 
be impacted during construction.
    To minimize the effects of project construction on the Stephens' 
kangaroo rat, the proposed HCP includes fencing of the work area as 
well as trapping and relocation of individual Stephens' kangaroo rats 
prior to construction impacts. The applicant proposes to mitigate for 
permanent impacts to 8.61 ac of occupied Stephens' kangaroo rat habitat 
through preservation of 8.61 ac of occupied Stephens' kangaroo rat 
habitat within a nearby conservation easement and funding of long-term 
management to benefit the species.
    To minimize take of arroyo toad, the proposed HCP includes measures 
to install arroyo toad exclusionary fencing around the work area and 
trap and relocate any arroyo toads in the work area prior to 
construction impacts. To mitigate impacts to arroyo toad, the 
applicant's proposed HCP includes measures to eliminate invasive 
species that prey upon arroyo toads in a nearby pond that is known to 
support arroyo toad breeding.

Proposed Action and Alternatives

    The proposed action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, which includes measures 
to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the Stephens' kangaroo rat 
and arroyo toad. If we approve the permit, take of Stephens' kangaroo 
rat and arroyo toad would be authorized for the applicant's activities 
associated with the pipeline installation project. In the proposed HCP, 
the applicant considered the No Action Alternative. Under the No Action 
Alternative, no incidental take of Stephens' kangaroo rat or arroyo 
toad would occur, and no long-term protection and management would be 
afforded to the species. Under this alternative, the applicant would 
not be able to meet the growth and development needs of San Diego 
County.

Our Preliminary Determination

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed HCP qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 
and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1) and as a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by the 
Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996).
    We base our determination that an HCP qualifies as a low-effect 
plan on the following three criteria:
    (1) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible 
effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their 
habitats;
    (2) Implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources; and
    (3) Impacts of the HCP, considered together with the impacts of 
other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated 
projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to 
environmental values or resources that would be considered significant.
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional 
documentation.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the proposed HCP and comments we receive to 
determine whether the permit application meets the requirements and 
issuance criteria under section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C.

[[Page 2176]]

1531 et seq.). We will also evaluate whether issuance of a section 
10(a)(1)(B) incidental take permit would comply with section 7 of the 
Act by conducting an intra-Service consultation. We will use the 
results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, 
in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue a permit. If 
the requirements and issuance criteria under section 10(a) are met, we 
will issue the permit to the applicant for incidental take of Stephens' 
kangaroo rat and arroyo toad.

Public Comments

    If you wish to comment on the permit application, proposed HCP, and 
associated documents, you may submit comments by any of the methods 
noted in the ADDRESSES section.

Public Availability of Comments

    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 may 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Scott Sobiech,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2022-00623 Filed 1-12-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P