[Federal Register: October 6, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 193)]
[Page 54350-54351]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the A. Teichert and Son 
Esparto Mining Project, Yolo County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: A. Teichert and Son, a subsidiary of Teichert, Inc. 
(Applicant) has applied for an incidental take permit from the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Service proposes to 
approve the Applicant's Habitat Conservation Plan and issue an 
incidental take permit for take of the valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle (beetle), a federally listed threatened species, as a result of 
aggregate mining activities on a 98-acre site in Yolo County, 
California. Mitigation and minimization measures outlined in the 
Habitat Conservation Plan would offset impacts to a small, isolated 
stand of beetle habitat, four elderberry shrubs, by transplanting the 
shrubs to an existing large habitat block that is specifically managed 
and monitored for the species' long-term survival. This notice advises 
the public that the Service has opened the comment period on the permit 
application and the draft Environmental Assessment. The permit 
application includes the Applicant's Habitat Conservation Plan. The 
Service will evaluate the application, associated documents, and 
comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets 
the requirements of National Environmental Policy Act regulations and 
section 10(a) of Endangered Species Act. If it is determined that the 
requirements are met, the requested permit will be issued for the 
incidental take of beetles subject to the provisions of the Applicant's 
Habitat Conservation Plan. The final National Environmental Policy Act 
and permit determinations will not be completed until after the end of 
a 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments received. 
The Service will also evaluate whether the issuance of the requested 
permit complies with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by 
conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation. The resulting 
section 7 biological opinion, in combination with the above types of 
evaluation requirements, will be used in the final analysis to 
determine whether or not to issue the requested permit.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before November 5, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Wayne White, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, 
Sacramento, California 95821-6340. Comments may also be sent via 
facsimile to (916) 414-6714.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ellen Berryman, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address; telephone (916) 414-6600.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing to obtain copies of the application or 
Environmental Assessment for review should immediately contact the 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office at the address above. Documents 
will also be available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
normal hours at the above address.


    Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act and Federal regulations 
prohibit the ``taking'' of a species listed as endangered or 
threatened. However, the Service may, under limited circumstances, 
issue permits to take listed species incidental to, and not the purpose 
of, otherwise lawful activities. Regulations governing permits for 
threatened species are promulgated in 50 CFR 17.32; regulations 
governing permits for endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
    As specified by the Endangered Species Act, permitted take must be 
``incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an 
otherwise lawful activity.'' In order to obtain an incidental take 
permit, the applicant must submit, in part, a conservation plan 
specifying ``the impact which will likely result from such taking; what 
steps the applicant will take to minimize and mitigate such impacts; 
and the funding that will be available to implement such steps; what 
alternative actions to such taking the applicant considered and reasons 
why such alternatives are not being utilized; and such other measures 
the Secretary (of the U.S. Department of the Interior) may require as 
being necessary or appropriate for purposes of the plan.'' These 
requirements are addressed in the Habitat Conservation Plan.
    The Applicant seeks coverage for take of the federally listed 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle incidental to mining activity for the 
Esparto Mining Project in Yolo County, California. The proposed 
incidental taking would occur on a 98-acre site in Yolo County 
California. The site supports four blue elderberry shrubs, which 
constitute beetle habitat, that could potentially be occupied by this 
species. The proposed take would be incidental to the lawful activities 
of aggregate extraction and associated activities (e.g., material 
conveyance, maintenance, and reclamation).
    To mitigate for impacts that would result from the removal of the 
four valley elderberry shrubs, Teichert proposes to transplant the four 
elderberry shrubs to an existing

[[Page 54351]]

mitigation site along Cache Creek in Yolo County. Additionally, 
Teichert will achieve a 2:1 mitigation ratio, consistent with Service 
mitigation guidelines, by designating, maintaining, and monitoring 22 
elderberry replacement seedlings with associated native plants. The 
habitat at the mitigation site is contiguous with a large habitat block 
along Cache Creek that is known to support the beetle, and is likely to 
be able to support this species on a long-term basis. Additional 
information on the mitigation site is included in the Habitat 
Conservation Plan.
    The proposed action addressed in the Environmental Assessment is 
the issuance of a permit by the Service to allow the incidental take of 
beetles incidental to the Esparto Mining Project. The Environmental 
Assessment focuses on the potential impacts on the beetle that may 
result from issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit and implementation 
of the Habitat Conservation Plan. Impacts on other resources (geology, 
hydrology, cultural resources, land use and socioeconomics, traffic, 
air quality, and noise) are discussed in detail in the Environmental 
Impact Report for the Esparto Mining Project and are summarized in this 
Environmental Assessment. The mining project would be able to proceed 
and would have similar environmental impacts to resources other than 
beetles regardless of whether the incidental take permit is issued. The 
Proposed Action would result in cumulatively significant impacts to 
beetles, but these impacts would be fully offset through the mitigation 
measures described above.
    Two alternatives were considered in the Environmental Assessment: 
the proposed action of issuance of an incidental take permit and a no 
action alternative. In the no action alternative, no incidental take 
permit would be issued and the elderberry shrubs would be avoided 
during mining operations. No off-site alternatives were considered in 
the Environmental Assessment because Yolo County has already approved 
the Esparto Mining Project and Phase I mining has already commenced.
    All interested agencies, organizations, and individuals are urged 
to provide comments on the permit application and Environmental 
Assessment. All comments received by the closing date will be 
considered in finalizing National Environmental Policy Act compliance 
and permit issuance or denial. The Service will publish a record on its 
final action in the Federal Register.

    Dated: September 27, 1999.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 99-25926 Filed 10-5-99; 8:45 am]