[Federal Register: November 2, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 213)]
[Page 65876-65877]
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 Application for a Road Project in 
the City of Highland, San Bernardino County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The City of Highland, California (the Applicant) has applied 
to the Fish and Wildlife Service for an incidental take permit pursuant 
to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended. The Service proposes to issue a 5-year permit to the Applicant 
that would authorize take of the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat 
(Dipodomys merriami parvus) incidental to otherwise lawful activities. 
Such take would occur during the construction of new roadway surfaces, 
sidewalks, pedestrian walkways, and storm drains. Project construction 
would be performed by the Metropolitan Water District during 
construction of their Inland Feeder Project across Boulder Avenue and 
Base Line Street in the City of Highland. This project would 
permanently eliminate 0.046 acres of occupied habitat for the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat.
    We request comments from the public on the permit application and 
Environmental Assessment, which are available for review. The permit 
application includes the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and 
an Implementing Agreement (legal contract). The Plan describes the 
proposed project and the measures that the Applicant would undertake to 
minimize and mitigate take of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6). All comments received, including names and addresses, will 
become part of the official administrative record and may be made 
available to the public.

DATES: We must receive written comments on or before January 2, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Mr. Jim Bartel, Assistant 
Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 2730 Loker Avenue West, 
Carlsbad, California 92008. You also may send comments by facsimile to 
(760) 431-5902.

Supervisor, at the above address or call (760) 431-9440.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of these documents for review by contacting 
the above office. Documents also will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 
address and at the City of Highland Offices, the Highland Branch 
Library, and the Highland Police Station.


    Section 9 of the Endangered Species 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 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 has proposed roadway and storm drain improvements to 
Base Line Street and Boulder Avenue in the City of Highland, 
California. Typical land uses in the area surrounding the project site 
include several residential developments, commercial centers, and 
undeveloped alluvial fan sage scrub areas in City Creek.
    Biologists surveyed the project sites for special status plants and 
wildlife in 1994, 1998, and 1999. Based on these surveys and previous 
knowledge of the area, the Service concluded that the project may 
result in the take of one federally listed species, the endangered San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat.
    The Applicants propose to implement the following measures to 
minimize and mitigate take of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat: (1) 
Exclude animals from the construction area by means of pre-construction 
trapping, relocation, and construction of a barrier fence; (2) monitor 
all project activities by a Service-approved biologist during clearing 
of sage scrub vegetation; (3) restrict contractor movements, prohibit 
pets on-site, and install temporary fencing to protect the adjacent 
biological resources during construction; (4) use the previously-
permitted Metropolitan Water District construction staging area for 
staging during this project; (5) reduce the width of the pedestrian 
parkway on Boulder Avenue adjacent to occupied habitat from 20 to 12 
feet in width and eliminate the 6-foot-wide pedestrian walkway on the 
south side of Base Line Street; (6) recontour and revegetate 0.023 
acres of alluvial fan sage scrub habitat and control weeds in the 
revegetation area for 2 years; (7) shield all lights to direct night-
time lighting away from occupied habitat; (8) install signs along 
sidewalks and trails in the vicinity of occupied habitat that notify 
the public of endangered species habitat and the necessity to stay on 
designated trails and sidewalks; and (9) mitigate the loss of 0.046 
acres of alluvial fan sage scrub habitat by purchasing 1 acre of San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat at the CalMat Mitigation Bank in San 
Bernardino County, California.

[[Page 65877]]

    The Environmental Assessment considers the environmental 
consequences of the Proposed Action and two alternatives. The Proposed 
Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take permit and 
implementation of the Plan and its Implementing Agreement, which 
include measures to minimize and mitigate impacts of the project to the 
San Bernardino kangaroo rat. Alternative 2 (Modification of the Site 
Design) would also require a Habitat Conservation Plan and issuance of 
an incidental take permit. This alternative assumes a 6-foot wide 
graded dirt parkway on the north and south sides of Base Line Street 
and a 20-foot wide graded dirt parkway on the east side of Boulder 
Avenue. This alternative would result in a total of 1.6 acres of 
disturbance to occupied San Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat, a 1.55-
acre increase over the Proposed Action. Under the No Action 
Alternative, the Service would not issue a permit, the existing roadway 
conditions would remain unchanged, pedestrian traffic would continue 
along the unpaved shoulders of Base Line Street, and non-native, 
invasive plant species would not be managed at the site. The two 
alternatives would result in less habitat value for the San Bernardino 
kangaroo rat than the off-site mitigation proposed under the Proposed 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the application, 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations and section 10(a) of the 
Endangered Species Act. If we determine that those requirements are 
met, then we will issue a permit to the Applicants for incidental take 
of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat. Our final permit decision will be 
made no sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: October 26, 2000.
John Engbring,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 00-28070 Filed 11-1-00; 8:45 am]