[Federal Register: September 8, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 175)]
[Page 54539-54540]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of Applications for Incidental Take Permits and 
Availability of an Environmental Assessment Associated With an 
Amendment to the Ocean Trails Habitat Conservation Plan, City of Rancho 
Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Ocean Trails, L.P. and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes 
(Applicants) have applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service for approval 
of an amendment to the Ocean Trails Habitat Conservation Plan and for 
issuance of incidental take permits pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act, 1973, as amended (Act). In 1997, the 
Service issued incidental take permit PRT-799348 to the Palos Verdes 
Land Holdings Company and the Zuckerman Building Company for incidental 
take of the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila 
californica californica) and other species associated with the Ocean 
Trails Project in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
    Subsequently, the original permittees formed the Ocean Trails, 
Limited Partnership, a new legal entity that proposes to assume the 
responsibilities of the original permitees. Since permit issuance, a 
landslide and road damage have occurred within habitat areas that were 
established as mitigation for the Ocean Trails Project. Both Applicants 
now seek permits for a period of 10 years that would authorize 
incidental take of the coastal California gnatcatcher associated with 
landslide and road repair proposed under the amendment to the Habitat 
Conservation Plan. In addition, Ocean Trails, L.P. seeks to transfer 
permit PRT-799348 to itself and to add the endangered Palos Verdes blue 
butterfly (Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesenis) to this amended 
permit in the event that this species colonizes the planning area.
    The Service seeks public comment on the permit applications, which 
include an Assumption Agreement for Ocean Trails L.P., as well as 
amendments to the original Habitat Conservation Plan and to the 
Implementation Agreement that defines the responsibilities of the 
parties under the Plan. We also seek comment on an amendment to the 
Environmental Assessment for our proposed permit actions. All comments 
will become part of the administrative record and may be released to 
the public.

[[Page 54540]]

DATES: We must receive your written comments on or before November 7, 

ADDRESSES: Please address comments to the Field Supervisor, Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2730 Loker Avenue West, Carlsbad, California 92008. 
You also may send comments by facsimile to telephone (760) 431-9624.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Mary Beth Woulfe, Branch Chief, at 
the above address or call (760) 431-9440.

Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the documents for review by calling the 
Service's Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office at the above referenced 
telephone number. Documents also are available for public inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the above address.


    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing regulations prohibit the 
``take'' of threatened or endangered species. 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 
U.S.C. 1538). Harm may include significant habitat modification where 
it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, and 
sheltering (50 CFR 17.3(c)). The Service, however, may issue permits to 
take endangered and/or threatened wildlife species incidental to, and 
not the purpose of otherwise lawful activities. Regulations governing 
permits for endangered and/or threatened species are found at 50 CFR 
17.22 and 17.32.
    We propose to transfer permit PRT-799348 to Ocean Trails, L.P. and 
to amend this permit to authorize incidental take of the Palos Verdes 
blue butterfly and coastal California gnatcatcher from L.P.'s proposed 
activities as described in the amendment to the Habitat Conservation 
Plan. We also propose to issue a separate permit to the City of Rancho 
Palos Verdes to authorize incidental take of the coastal California 
gnatcatcher from proposed City road repairs within Shoreline Park.
    The amended Habitat Conservation Plan describes alternatives to the 
action and provisions for minimization, mitigation, and monitoring of 
impacts. These proposed actions would compensate for both the temporary 
and permanent loss of habitat resulting from the proposed Projects and 
would benefit the long-term conservation of the coastal California 
gnatcatcher and the Palos Verdes blue butterfly.
    The City of Rancho Palos Verdes would restore and conserve 1.68 
acres of sage scrub habitat for both temporary and permanent impacts 
that would be caused by road repair within Shoreline Park. Ocean 
Trails, L.P. would plant the larval host plant of the Palos Verdes blue 
butterfly, grown from local seed, in several of its revegetation areas 
and may also allow for the species to be relocated to the Project site. 
In addition, Ocean Trails, L.P. would restore 26.96 acres of sage scrub 
habitat on both the reconstructed and stabilized landslide area and 
within the Shoreline Park conservation area. Ocean Trails, L.P. also 
would relocate the 10-acre revegetation site from the Switchback area 
to Shoreline Park. These sites are being managed in perpetuity for the 
conservation of the species covered by the Ocean Trails Habitat 
Conservation Plan.
    The amendment to the Habitat Conservation Plan and the amendment to 
the Environmental Assessment considers three alternatives to each of 
the four aspects of the proposed Project:
    A. Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly: (1) Under the No Project 
alternative, the Palos Verdes blue butterfly would not be added as a 
covered species under the Ocean Trails Habitat Conservation Plan; (2) 
Under the second alternative, partial replanting of the Palos Verdes 
blue butterfly host plant would take place on the Project site; and (3) 
Under the Proposed Project alternative, the Palos Verdes blue butterfly 
would be added as a covered species under the Ocean Trails Habitat 
Conservation Plan and the host plant would be planted in all of the 
Project's revegetation areas.
    B. Landslide Remediation: (1) Under the No Project alternative, the 
Service would not approve the amendment and the landslide would not 
repaired; (2) Under the second alternative, there would be complete 
landslide removal and replacement; and (3) Under the Proposed Project 
alternative, there would be partial landslide removal and replacement 
along with both onsite and offsite revegetation.
    C. Location of the 10-Acre Switchback Mitigation Site: (1) Under 
the No Project alternative, revegetation would remain in the Switchback 
area without irrigation; (2) Under the second alternative the habitat 
restoration required by the Habitat Conservation Plan and by this 
amendment would be installed at the White Point Preserve in San Pedro; 
and (3) Under the Proposed Project alternative the habitat restoration 
required by the Habitat Conservation Plan and by this amendment would 
be installed in the southern half of Shoreline Park adjacent to the 
existing revegetation efforts in the northern half of the park.
    D. Road Repair: (1) Under the No Project alternative, the amendment 
would not be approved and the road would not be repaired and would 
continue to deteriorate, causing a significant danger to public health 
and safety; (2) Under the second alterative, the road would be 
excavated down to the base of the slope and reconstructed with properly 
compacted fill; and (3) Under the Proposed Project alternative, the 
road would be repaired by excavating down a maximum of 20 feet below 
the road surface and adding drainage improvements, impacting a maximum 
of 0.43 acre of sage scrub habitat
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act and Service regulations for implementing the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the 
permit applications, the amended Habitat Conservation Plan, amended 
Environmental Assessment, the associated documents and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the applications meet the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act. If we 
determine that the requirements are met: (1) We will transfer permit 
PRT-799348 to Ocean Trails, L.P. and amend it to authorize incidental 
take of the Palos Verdes blue butterfly and coastal California 
gnatcatcher from L.P.''s proposed activities; and (2) we will issue a 
separate permit to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to authorize 
incidental take of the coastal California gnatcatcher from proposed 
City road repairs. We will make a final decision on these permit 
actions no sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: August 30, 2000.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 00-23035 Filed 9-7-00; 8:45 am]