[Federal Register: February 2, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 21)]
[Page 5067-5068]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of a Habitat Conservation Plan and Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the La Rue Housing/Bowley 
Center Projects, Yolo County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability and Receipt of Application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the University of 
California, Davis (University), has applied to the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) for an incidental take permit pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The proposed permit would authorize the incidental take of the valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), 
federally listed as threatened, and modification of its habitat during 
construction of a new student housing facility and a greenhouse/
education facility on the University campus in Yolo County, California. 
The permit would be in effect for 10 years.
    The Service announces the receipt of the University's incidental 
take permit application which includes the proposed ``Low-Effect 
Habitat Conservation Plan for the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle at 
the La Rue Student Housing and Bowley Center Projects, University of 
California, Davis.'' The proposed habitat conservation plan (Plan) is 
available for public comment. The Plan fully describes the proposed 
project and the measures the University would undertake to minimize and 
mitigate project impacts to the valley elderberry longhorn beetle. The 
Service has made a preliminary determination that the University's Plan 
qualifies as a ``low-effect'' habitat conservation plan eligible for 
categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act. We 
explain the basis for this determination in an Environmental Action 
Statement, which is also available for public review. This notice is 
provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application and Plan should be 
received on or before March 4, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the permit application or the Plan should 
be addressed to Wayne White, Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 3310 El Camino Avenue, 
Suite 130, Sacramento, California 95821-6340. Comments may be sent by 
facsimile to (916) 979-2744.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Brian Twedt or Mr. William Lehman, 
Fish and Wildlife Biologists, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office; 
telephone (916) 979-2129.


Document Availability

    Individuals wishing copies of the Plan and associated documents for 
review should immediately contact the above office. Documents also will 
be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal 
business hours at the above address.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of a species listed as endangered or threatened, respectively (take is 
defined under the Act, in part, as to kill, harm, or harass a federally 
listed species). However, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' (defined by the Act as take that is incidental to, 
and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful 
activity) of listed species under limited circumstances. Regulations 
governing permits for threatened species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
17.32; regulations governing permits for endangered species are 
promulgated in 50 CFR 17.22.
    The La Rue Student Housing Project would be located in the western 
portion of the University's Central Campus and composed of four or more 
``neighborhoods.'' Approximately 16 studio, 40 one-bedroom, 64 two-
bedroom, 52 three-bedroom, and 20 four-bedroom units would be divided 
among the ``neighborhoods.'' Buildings would range from one to three 
stories in height. This project would provide housing for between 550 
and 750 students.
    The Bowley Center would consist of a Plant Science Teaching Center 
and would include laboratories, greenhouses, offices, and a lecture 
room. This facility would be located in the western portion of the 
Central Campus. It would integrate lecture, greenhouse, field, and dry 
lab facilities in a single site, allowing for a more efficient use of 
    In May, 1997, the proposed project area was surveyed for potential 
habitat for rare, threatened, or endangered species and other 
biological features that could be affected by the project. Only one 
federally listed species, the threatened valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle (beetle), has the potential to occur on the project site and to 
be directly impacted by the proposed project. The University has agreed 
to implement the following measures to minimize and mitigate impacts 
that may result from incidental take of the beetle: (1) mitigation and 
monitoring of transplanted elderberry shrubs and supplemental plantings 
would be conducted according to the Service's Mitigation Guidelines for 
the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle, dated September 19, 1996; (2) 14 
affected elderberry shrubs would be transplanted to a mitigation site 
along Putah Creek on Russel Ranch, on property owned by the University; 
(3) 336 additional elderberry cuttings would be planted to compensate 
for any adverse impacts to the 14 elderberry shrubs resulting from the 
proposed project; and (4) the mitigation area would be managed for the 
purpose of long-term protection of valley elderberry longhorn beetle 
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the 
University's Plan qualifies as a ``low-effect'' habitat conservation 
plan as defined by the Service's Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook 
(November 1996). Low-effect habitat conservation plans are those 
involving: (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed and 
candidate species and their habitats; and (2) minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources. The La Rue Housing/
Bowley Center Plan qualifies as a low-effect habitat conservation plan 
for the following reasons:
    1. Approval of the Plan would result in minor or negligible effects 
on the beetle and its habitat. The Plan may, in fact, result in a 
beneficial effect to the

[[Page 5068]]

beetle, since the fourteen affected shrubs would be transplanted from a 
relatively disturbed area to a protected environment. The Service does 
not anticipate significant direct or cumulative effects to the beetle 
resulting from construction of the new student housing or greenhouse/
educational facilities.
    2. Approval of the Plan would not have adverse effects on unique 
geographic, historic or cultural sites, or involve unique or unknown 
environmental risks.
    3. Approval of the Plan would not result in any cumulative or 
growth inducing impacts and, therefore, would not result in significant 
adverse effects on public health or safety.
    4. The project does not require compliance with Executive Order 
11988 (Floodplain Management), Executive Order 11990 (Protection of 
Wetlands), or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, nor does it 
threaten to violate a federal, state, local, or tribal law or 
requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.
    5. Approval of the Plan would not establish a precedent for future 
action or represent a decision in principle about future actions with 
potentially significant environmental effects.
    The Service therefore has preliminarily determined that approval of 
the Plan qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act, as provided by the Department of the Interior 
Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). Based upon this 
preliminary determination, we do not intend to prepare further National 
Environmental Policy Act documentation. The Service will consider 
public comments in making its final determination on whether to prepare 
such additional documentation.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. The 
Service will evaluate the permit application, the Plan, and comments 
submitted therein to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If it is determined that 
those requirements are met, a permit will be issued for the incidental 
take of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle in conjunction with 
implementation of the La Rue Student Housing and Bowley Center 
projects. The final permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 days 
from the date of this notice.

    Dated: January 26, 1999.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Region 1, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 99-2376 Filed 2-1-99; 8:45 am]