[Federal Register: November 30, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 229)]
[Page 66927-66928]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 66927]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of a Habitat Conservation Plan and Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Ox Yoke Road 
Development, Shasta County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability and Receipt of Application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that William Schmitt 
(applicant) 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 the construction of 
approximately 140,000 square feet of industrial warehouse space just 
west of the Anderson City limits in Shasta County. The permit would be 
in effect for 10 years.
    The Service announces the receipt of the applicant's incidental 
take permit application that includes the proposed ``Low-Effect Habitat 
Conservation Plan for the Incidental Take of the Valley Elderberry 
Longhorn Beetle at the Ox Yoke Road Development, Shasta County, 
California.'' The proposed habitat conservation plan (Plan) is 
available for public comment. The Plan describes the proposed project 
and the measures the applicant would undertake to minimize and mitigate 
project impacts to the valley elderberry longhorn beetle. The Service 
has made a preliminary determination that the applicant'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 should be received on or before December 30, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Mr. Wayne White, Field 
Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W2605, 
Sacramento, California 95825-1826. Comments may be sent by facsimile to 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kirsten Tarp or Jim Browning, staff 
biologists, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office; telephone (916) 414-


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 review by appointment, during normal business hours at 
the above address.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened, 
respectively. Take of listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act 
to include kill, harm, or harass. The Service may, under limited 
circumstances, issue permits to authorize ``incidental take.'' 
Incidental take is defined by the Act as take that is incidental to, 
and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful 
activity. Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened 
and endangered species are found in 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, 
    The applicant proposes to construct 140,000 square feet of 
commercial warehouse space on approximately 10 acres of a 19-acre site. 
The remaining 9 acres of the project site lies in the 100-year 
floodplain of Spring Gulch and will not be developed. Instead, this 
area will be improved by removing asphalt, wood, and other debris that 
has been dumped there over the years. Riparian vegetation will be 
allowed to colonize this area. Mature valley oaks and other riparian 
vegetation located along the southeastern property line will be 
    The project site is located on the northeast corner of State 
Highway 273 and Ox Yoke Road in Shasta County, California. The proposed 
project consists of an industrial development comprising 12 lots. The 
building site, which consists of approximately 10 acres on the eastern 
portion of the 19-acre site would be graded and leveled. Earthwork on 
the 10 acres would involve approximately 11,000 cubic yards of cuts, 
19,000 cubic yards of fill, and 8,000 cubic yards of imported earthen 
material. Land adjacent to the site is zoned for commercial use.
    In 1998, biologists surveyed the proposed project area for special-
status wildlife and plant species that could be affected by the 
project. Based upon the surveys, only one federally listed species, the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle, has the potential to occur on site 
and to be directly impacted by the proposed project. The applicant 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 plants would be conducted according to the Service's 
Mitigation Guidelines for the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle, dated 
July 9, 1999; (2) two affected elderberry bushes would be transplanted 
to a mitigation site at the proposed Stillwater Mitigation Bank located 
approximately 4 miles northeast of the proposed project site; (3) six 
additional elderberry cuttings (4 stems at a 1:1 ratio and one stem at 
a 2:1 ratio) and six associated native plants (1:1 ratio) would be 
planted to compensate for any adverse impacts to valley longhorn beetle 
habitat resulting from the proposed project; and (4) the mitigation 
area would be managed for the purpose of long-term protection of the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle habitat.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the Plan, which includes measures to 
minimize and mitigate impacts of the project on the valley elderberry 
longhorn beetle. An alternative to the taking of listed species under 
the Proposed Action is considered in the Plan. Under the No Action 
Alternative, no permit would be issued. The two elderberry shrubs would 
remain on the project site and development would be planned around the 
shrubs. Because this is an industrial site, it is likely that large 
buildings would be constructed near the elderberry shrubs, thereby 
reducing their suitability as valley elderberry longhorn beetle 
habitat. Additionally, all other vegetation would be removed, leaving 
the two elderberry shrubs isolated from other riparian vegetation.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the 
applicant's Plan qualifies as a ``low-effect'' habitat conservation 
plant 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, 
proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; and (2) minor or 
negligible effects on other environmental values or resources. The Ox 
Yoke Road Development 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 valley elderberry longhorn beetle and its habitat. The Service 
does not anticipate significant direct or cumulative effects to the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle

[[Page 66928]]

resulting from construction of the warehouse.
    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 (Flood plain 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. We 
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 in conjunction with implementation of the Ox Yoke 
Road Development project. We will make the final permit decision no 
sooner than 30 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: November 22, 1999.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 99-31006 Filed 11-29-99; 8:45 am]