Fish and Wildlife Service December 2020 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Review for the Northern Long-Eared Bat
Document Number: 2020-28415
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-23
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are initiating a 5- year status review under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, for the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). A 5- year status review is based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, we are requesting submission of any such information that has become available since the last review for the species to determine whether the listed species should be delisted or reclassified.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Alaska Guide Service Evaluation
Document Number: 2020-28260
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-22
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines
Document Number: 2020-28259
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-22
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of an Incidental Take Permit Application for the California Condor; Availability of Draft Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment; Manzana Wind Power Project, Kern County, California
Document Number: 2020-28253
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-22
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Manzana Wind LLC for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit would authorize take of the federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) incidental to otherwise lawful activities associated with operation of the existing Manzana Wind Power Project. We invite comments on the draft conservation plan and the draft environmental assessment, which we have prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. We will take comments into consideration before deciding whether to issue an incidental take permit.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Recovery Permit Applications
Document Number: 2020-28180
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-22
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
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.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for the Ozark Hellbender
Document Number: 2020-28172
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-22
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the draft recovery plan for the Ozark hellbender, a salamander species. We request review and comment on this draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal agencies, and the public.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat
Document Number: 2020-28033
Type: Rule
Date: 2020-12-18
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS or Service), amend portions of our regulations that implement section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The revisions set forth a process for excluding areas of critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, which mandates our consideration of the impacts of designating critical habitat and permits exclusions of particular areas following a discretionary exclusion analysis. These regulations outline when and how the Service will undertake an exclusion analysis, including identifying a non-exhaustive list of categories of potential impacts that we will consider. This rule, reflects agency experience, codifies some current agency practices, makes some modifications to current agency practice, and responds to applicable Supreme Court case law. The intended effect of this rule is to provide greater transparency and certainty for the public and stakeholders.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; North American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey
Document Number: 2020-27889
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-18
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Establishment of Annual Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons
Document Number: 2020-27887
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-18
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection.
Notice of Receipt of Right-of-Way Application for Natural Gas Pipeline Crossing San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge
Document Number: 2020-27752
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-17
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received two applications for 30-year right-of-way permits from Baymark Pipeline LLC and South Texas NGL Pipeline LLC, respectively. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will open the National Wildlife Refuge System lands, allowing for this infrastructure, under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requests public comment on the permit applications and associated documents.
Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Draft Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan, and Draft NEPA Compliance Documentation, for the Gamebird Substation Expansion in Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada
Document Number: 2020-27705
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-17
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the receipt and availability of an application for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and an associated draft low- effect habitat conservation plan (HCP). Additionally, consistent with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we have prepared a draft low-effect screening form and environmental action statement supporting our preliminary determination that the proposed permit action qualifies for a categorical exclusion under NEPA. GridLiance West, LLC has applied for an ITP under the ESA for the Gamebird Substation Expansion in Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada. The ITP would authorize the take of one species incidental to the development and construction of the project. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on the permit application, proposed low-effect HCP, and NEPA categorical exclusion determination documentation. Before issuing the requested ITP, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for the Monarch Butterfly
Document Number: 2020-27523
Type: Rule
Date: 2020-12-17
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the monarch butterfly as an endangered or threatened species is warranted but precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. We will develop a proposed rule to list the monarch butterfly as our priorities allow. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information relevant to the status of the species or its habitat at any time.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulations for Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat
Document Number: 2020-27693
Type: Rule
Date: 2020-12-16
Agency: Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the ``Services'' or ``we''), add a definition of ``habitat'' to our regulations that implement section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This rulemaking responds to Supreme Court case law regarding the designation of critical habitat and provides transparency, clarity, and consistency for stakeholders.
Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit, Bluff Point Wind Energy Center, Jay and Randolph Counties, Indiana
Document Number: 2020-27667
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-16
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from NextEra Energy Bluff Point LLC (applicant), for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for its Bluff Point Wind Energy Center (project). If approved, the ITP would be for a 30-year period and would authorize the incidental take of an endangered species, the Indiana bat, and a threatened species, the northern long-eared bat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan (HCP) that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat. We also announce the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment (DEA), which has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We request public comment on the application, the DEA, and associated documents.
Draft Amendment to the Environmental Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan Previously Associated With the 440-acre Schlumberger Property for Concordia University, Texas
Document Number: 2020-27582
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-15
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
Concordia University has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an amended incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The requested amended ITP, if granted, would authorize incidental take of the Jollyville Plateau salamander, in addition to the already existing ITP for golden-cheeked warbler. The proposed incidental take would result from activities associated with otherwise lawful activities, including construction, operation, and maintenance of Concordia University, that result in water quality and habitat degradation. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, we invite public comment on the draft environmental assessment on the proposed amended habitat conservation plan and application.
Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council Meetings for 2021
Document Number: 2020-27568
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-15
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
The Federal Subsistence Board (Board) announces the public meetings of the 10 Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils (hereafter, Councils or RACs) for the winter and fall cycles of 2021. The 10 Councils each meet approximately twice a year to provide advice and recommendations to the Federal Subsistence Board about subsistence hunting and fishing issues on Federal public lands in Alaska.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Texas Hornshell
Document Number: 2020-27542
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-15
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of our draft recovery plan for Texas hornshell, a medium sized freshwater mussel that is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This species is native to the Rio Grande drainage in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. We provide this notice to seek comments from the public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for the Northern Spotted Owl
Document Number: 2020-27198
Type: Rule
Date: 2020-12-15
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that reclassification of the northern spotted owl from a threatened species to an endangered species is warranted but precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. We will develop a proposed rule to reclassify the northern spotted owl as our priorities allow. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information relevant to the status of the subspecies or its habitat at any time.
Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Rosewater Wind Farm, White County, Indiana; Categorical Exclusion
Document Number: 2020-27102
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-10
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from Rosewater Wind Farm LLC (applicant), for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), for its Rosewater 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 long- eared 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 long-eared 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.
Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records
Document Number: 2020-27156
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-09
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is issuing a public notice of its intent to rescind two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Privacy Act systems of records, INTERIOR/FWS-19, Endangered Species Licensee System, and INTERIOR/FWS-34, National Conservation Training Center Training Server System, from its existing inventory. These systems of records notices have been superseded by a Department- wide system of records notice or a FWS system of records notice. This rescindment will eliminate unnecessary duplicate notices and promote the overall streamlining and management of DOI Privacy Act systems of records.
Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities; Proposed Incidental Harassment Authorization for Polar Bears in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Document Number: 2020-26747
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-08
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received a request under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 from the Kaktovik I[ntilde]upiat Corporation (KIC), for authorization to take by harassment small numbers of polar bears incidental to seismic survey and associated activities scheduled to occur between January 21, 2021, and September 30, 2021. KIC has requested this authorization for incidental take of polar bears that may result from three-dimensional (3D) seismic surveys in the Marsh Creek East Program Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The project will consist of activities such as over-flights for aerial infrared surveys in January 2021 and February 2021 to look for maternal polar bear dens; staging and mobilization of vehicles and equipment; small crew surveys for hazards, ice integrity, and snow depth assessment; seismic surveys via a sled camp with rubber-tracked vibrator trucks; camp setup and mobilization; aerial activities for crew and supply transport; digital elevation modeling for river-crossing slope analysis; and cleanup activities during the summer of 2021. We estimate that this project may result in the nonlethal incidental take of up to three polar bears. This proposed authorization, if finalized, will be for take of three polar bears by Level B harassment only. No take by injury or death to polar bears is likely and therefore such take is not included in this proposed authorization.
Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit, Meadow Lake Wind Resource Area, White and Benton Counties, Indiana
Document Number: 2020-26667
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-04
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from six wholly owned subsidiaries of EDP Renewables North America LLC collectively known as Meadow Lake Group (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act, for its Meadow Lake Wind Resource Area wind project. If approved, the ITP would be for a 29-year period and would authorize the incidental take of the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan (HCP) that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the species. We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment (DEA), which has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. We request public comment on the application and associated documents.
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Applications and Reports-Native Endangered and Threatened Species
Document Number: 2020-26614
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-03
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are proposing to renew an information collection with revisions.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Recovery Permit Applications
Document Number: 2020-26605
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-03
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
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 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.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Eleven Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species
Document Number: 2020-26139
Type: Rule
Date: 2020-12-03
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce findings that eleven species are not warranted for listing as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that it is not warranted at this time to list the Doll's daisy, Puget Oregonian, Rocky Mountain monkeyflower, southern white-tailed ptarmigan, tidewater amphipod, tufted puffin, Hamlin Valley pyrg, longitudinal gland pyrg, sub-globose snake pyrg, the Johnson Springs Wetland Complex population of relict dace, or Clear Lake hitch. However, we ask the public to submit to us at any time any new information relevant to the status of any of the species mentioned above or their habitats.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species Status for Pinus albicaulis (Whitebark Pine) With Section 4(d) Rule
Document Number: 2020-25331
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2020-12-02
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to list whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), a high-elevation tree species found across western North America, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend the Act's protections to this species. We also propose a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act that is necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the species. We have determined that designation of critical habitat for the whitebark pine is not prudent at this time.
Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit, High Prairie Wind Energy Facility, Schuyler and Adair Counties, Missouri
Document Number: 2020-26520
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-01
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from TG High Prairie, LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), for its High Prairie Wind Energy Facility. If approved, the ITP would be for a 6-year period and would authorize the incidental take of covered species, including the endangered Indiana bat, threatened northern long-eared bat, and the little brown bat, currently under discretionary review. While the ITP is for 6 years, the wind energy project is scheduled to be operational for thirty years and intensive monitoring conducted during this permit term will inform the need for future avoidance or a new long-term ITP that will comply with a new NEPA analysis and habitat conservation plan (HCP). The applicant has prepared a HCP that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the covered species for the first 6 years. We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment, which has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant's proposed HCP, the Service's draft environmental assessment, prepared pursuant to NEPA and associated documents. We provide this notice to seek review and comment from the public and Federal, Tribal, State and local governments.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for the Peppered Chub and Designation of Critical Habitat
Document Number: 2020-25257
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2020-12-01
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the peppered chub (Macrhybopsis tetranema) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The peppered chub is a freshwater fish historically found in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, and is now extirpated in all but approximately 6 percent of its historical range. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the peppered chub is warranted due to a dramatic reduction in the species' range (a loss of all but one population) and the low resiliency level of the remaining population. The primary stressors affecting the peppered chub are habitat fragmentation and degradation resulting from several sources, as discussed in this document and its supporting materials. Because we have found the species is at risk of extinction, we propose to list the peppered chub as an endangered species under the Act. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would add this species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and extend the Act's protections to the species. We also propose to designate critical habitat for the peppered chub under the Act. The proposed critical habitat designation includes approximately 1,068 river miles (1,719 river kilometers) in four units in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. We announce the availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation.