[Federal Register: June 9, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 112)]
[Page 36709-36711]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit and 
Availability of the Draft Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan/
Draft Environment Impact Statement for Clark County, NV

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Clark County, Nevada; the Cities of Las Vegas, North Las 
Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Mesquite; and the Nevada Department 
of Transportation (Applicants) have 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 30-year permit would authorize the incidental take of 2 
federally threatened and endangered species, and 77 non-listed species 
of concern in the event that these species become listed under the Act 
during the term of the permit, in connection with economic growth and 
development of up to 145,000 acres of non-Federal lands in Clark 
    The Service has assisted in the preparation of the Draft Clark 
County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Multispecies Plan) 
and Implementation Agreement, and has directed the preparation of a 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement addressing the potential effects 
on the human environment that may result from the granting of an 
incidental take permit and other Federal actions associated with 
implementation of the Multispecies Plan.
    The Draft Multispecies Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 
and associated Implementation Agreement, are available for public 
review and comment. All comments received, including names and 
addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be 
made available to the public.

DATES: We must receive your written comments on or before July 24, 

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Mr. Bob Williams, Field Supervisor, Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial 
Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada, 89502; or by facsimile to (775) 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bob Williams, Field Supervisor, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno, Nevada, at (775) 861-6331; or Ms. 
Janet Bair, Assistant Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Las 
Vegas, Nevada, at (702) 647-5230.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: You may request a copy of the document on 
CD-ROM by calling Ms. Sandy Helvey, Administrative Secretary, Clark 
County Department of Comprehensive Planning, at (702) 455-4181. To view 
the document, you will need access to an IBM or Macintosh computer with 
the capacity to read CD-ROMs.
    Alternatively, you may view the document at the following Internet 
website: www.clark.co.nv.us. Click on ``Health and the Environment,'' 
then click on ``Environmental Planning'', and finally click on 
``Habitat Conservation.''

[[Page 36710]]

    In addition, you may review paper copies of the document at the 
following government offices and library:
    Government Offices--Fish and Wildlife Service, Southern Nevada 
Field Office, 1510 North Decatur Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108, 
tel: (702) 647-5230; Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada 
89502, (775) 861-6300; Bureau of Land Management, Las Vegas Field 
Office, 4765 Vegas Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108, (702) 647-5000; U.S. 
Forest Service, 2881 South Valley View Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 
89102, (702) 873-8800; National Park Service, Lake Mead National 
Recreation Area, 601 Nevada Highway, Boulder City, Nevada 89005, (702) 
293-8946; Nevada Department of Transportation, Environmental Services 
Division, 1263 South Stewart Street, Room 104A, Carson City, Nevada 
89712, (775) 888-7889; Clark County Deparatment of Comprehensive 
Planning, 500 South Grand Central Parkway, Third Floor, Las Vegas, 
Nevada 89155, (702) 455-3859; Clark County Northeast Office, Moapa 
Community Center, 320 North Moapa Valley Boulevard, Overton, Nevada 
89040, (702) 397-6475; City of Las Vegas, Department of Public Works, 
731 South Fourth Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101, (702) 229-6541; City 
of North Las Vegas Public Works, 2266 Civic Center Drive, North Las 
Vegas, Nevada 89030, (702) 633-1225; City of Henderson, 240 Water 
Street, Henderson, Nevada 89015, (702) 565-2474; City of Boulder City, 
City Hall, 401 California Avenue, Boulder city, Nevada 89005, (702) 
293-9200; and the City of Mesquite 10 East Mesquite Boulevard, 
Mesquite, Nevada 89027, (702) 346-2835.
    Library--Clark County Public Library, Main Branch, 833 Las Vegas 
Boulevard North, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101, (702) 382-3493.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. That is, no one 
may harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or 
collect listed animal species, or attempt to engage in such conduct (16 
USC 1538). ``Harm'' is defined by regulation to include significant 
habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures 
wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Under certain 
circumstances, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental'' take of listed animal species (defined by the Act as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of 
an otherwise lawful activity). The taking prohibitions of the Act do 
not apply to listed plants on private land unless their destruction on 
private land is in violation of State law. The Applicants have 
considered plants in the Multispecies Plan and request permits for them 
to the extent that State law applies. Regulations governing permits for 
threatened and endangered species, respectively, are at 50 CFR 17.32 
and 50 CFR 17.22.
    On July 11, 1995, the Service issued an incidental take permit, 
effective August 1, 1995, to Clark County; the Cities of Las Vegas, 
North Las Vegas, Henderson, Mesquite, and Boulder City; and the Nevada 
Department of Transportation for the Clark County Desert Conservation 
Plan (Desert Conservation Plan). This plan provides conservation 
measures for the threatened desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). In 
Clark County. The associated permit authorizes incidental take of the 
desert tortoise in Clark County consistent with the long-term viability 
of the species in this portion of its range.
    The Desert Conservation Plan includes provisions for a proactive 
approch to conservation planning for multiple species in Clark County. 
The intent was to reduce the likelihood of future listings of plants 
and wildlife as threatened or endangered under the Act. the 
Multispecies Plan is the direct outgrowth of the provisions of the 
Desert Conservation Plan. If approved by the Service, The Multispecies 
Plan will supercede the Desert Conservation Plan and will provide 
stand-alone conservation measures for species included in the plan. We 
anticipate that implementation of the conservation measures in the 
Multispecies Plan will be a cooperative effort among the Applicants, 
the Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National 
Park Service, Nevada Division of Wildlife, and other Federal and State 
land managers and regulators.
    Clark County and the Cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, 
Henderson, Mesquite, and Boulder City are seeking a 30-year permit for 
the incidental take of federally threatened and endangered species, and 
other non-listed species of concern in the event that these species 
become listed under the Act during the term of the permit, in 
connection with the development of non-Federal lands within Clark 
County, Nevada. In addition, the Nevada Department of Transportation 
has joined as an Applicant for the permit to allow the incidental take 
of desert tortoise within desert tortoise habitat below 5,000 feet in 
elevation and south of the 38th parallel in Nye, Lincoln, Mineral, and 
Esmeralda Counties, Nevada, and the incidental take of other non-listed 
species of concern within Clark County in connection with the 
construction and maintenance of roads, highways, and material sites.
    The permit to the Applicants would authorize incidental take of 79 
species on no more than 145,000 acres of land potentially available for 
development in Clark County. This acreage includes non-Federal lands 
that currently exist and non-Federal lands which result from sales or 
transfers from the Federal government after issuance of the permit. 
This acreage excludes existing development, the Boulder City 
Conservation Easement established under the current Desert Conservation 
Plan for the desert tortoise, and State lands managed for resource 
values. The 79 species proposed for incidental take coverage under the 
Multispecies Plan (covered species) include 2 listed species (the 
desert tortoise and the southwestern willow flycatcher, Empidonax 
traillii extimus), 1 candidate for listing (Blue diamond cholla, 
Opuntia whipplei var. multigeniculata), and 76 unlisted species 
comprised of 4 mammals, 7 birds, 14 reptiles, 1 amphibian, 10 
invertebrates, and 40 plants.
    To minimize and mitigate the impacts of take, the Applicants 
propose to impose a $550 per-acre development fee and maintain an 
endowment fund that will provide up to $4.1 million per biennial period 
to fund conservation measures for covered species and to administer the 
Multispecies Plan. The plan includes measures to implement a public 
information and education program; purchase grazing allotments and 
interest in real property and water; maintain and manage allotments, 
land, and water rights which have been acquired; construct barriers to 
wildlife movement along linear features such as roads; translocate 
displaced desert tortoises; participate in and fund local habitat 
rehabilitation and enhancement programs; and develop and implement an 
adaptive management process that allows for responses to new 
    The underlying purpose of the Multispecies Plan is to achieve a 
balance between (1) long-term conservation of natural habitat and 
native plant and animal diversity that are an important part of the 
natural heritage of Clark County, and (2) the orderly and beneficial 
use of land in order to promote the economy, health,

[[Page 36711]]

well-being, and custom and culture of the growing population of Clark 
County, Nevada.
    On March 3, 1997, th eService published a notice in the Federal 
Register (62 FR 9443) announcing that we would take the lead in 
preparing an Environmental Impact Statement addressing the Federal 
actions associated with the Multispecies Plan. This notice invited 
comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement. Our 
consideration of comments received is reflected in the Draft 
Multispecies Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement made available 
for comment through this notice.
    The Draft Multispecies Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
analyzes the potential environmental impacts that may result from the 
Federal action requested in support of the proposed development of up 
to 145,000 acres of non-Federal land in Clark County. The document 
identifies various alternatives, including the No Action Alternative, 
the Proposed Multispecies Plan, a Low-Elevation Ecosystems Multispecies 
Plan, a Permit Only for Threatened or Endangered and Candidate Species, 
and Alternative Permit Durations for the Multispecies Plan. 
Alternatives considered but not advanced for further analysis include a 
Permit to Include the Entire Mojave Desert Ecosystem, a Permit to 
Mitigate Impacts Only on Non-Federal Lands, and a High-Elevation 
Ecosystems Multispecies Plan.
    The analysis provided in the Draft Multispecies Plan/Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement is intended to accomplish the following: 
inform the public of the proposed action and alternatives; address 
public comment received during the scoping period; disclose the direct, 
indirect, and cumulative environmental effects of the proposed action 
and each of the alternatives; and indicate any irreversible commitment 
of resources that would result from implementation of the proposed 
    The Service invites the public to comment on the Draft Multispecies 
Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement during a 45-day comment 
period. All comments received will become part of the public record and 
may be released. This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of 
the Endangered Species Act and regulations for implementing the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: May 31, 2000.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, Region 1, California/Nevada Operations Office, 
Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 00-14099 Filed 6-8-00; 8:45 am]