[Federal Register: June 24, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 121)]
[Page 42576-42577]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the University of 
California, Davis 2001-2002 Campus Projects, Yolo County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The University of California, Davis (the ``applicant'') has 
applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for 10-year 
incidental take permit for 1 covered species pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The applications address the potential for ``take'' of threatened 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmoncerus californicus dimorphus) 
associated with various development activities within the University of 
California, Davis campus, a 5,300-acre area in portions of Yolo and 
Solano counties. These activities (the ``covered activities'') include 
10.15 acres of planned land development, and management of a mitigation 
site. A conservation program to minimize and mitigate for the covered 
activities would be implemented as described in the University of 
California, Davis Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for 2001-2002 
Campus Projects (Plan), which would be implemented by the applicant.
    The Service requests comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the Plan qualifies as a ``Low-effect'' 
Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible for a categorical exclusion under 
the National Environmental Policy Act. The basis for this determination 
is discussed in Environmental Action Statement, which is also available 
for public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before July 24, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage 
Way, W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825. Written comments may be sent 
by facsimile to (916) 414-6711.

Conservation Planning Division, at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: (916) 414-6600.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, Plan, and 
Environmental Action Statement should immediately contact the Service 
by telephone at (916) 414-6600 or by letter to the Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office [see ADDRESSES]. Copies of the Plan, and Environmental 
Action Statement also are available for public inspection, during 
regular business hours, at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office [see 
ADDRESSES]; University of California, Davis, Office of Resource 
Management and Planning, One Shields Avenue, 376 Mark Hall, Davis, 
California 95616; and, University of California, Davis, Shields 
Library, Reserve Room, Davis, California 95616.

Background Information

    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined 
under the Act as 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). However, under limited circumstances, the 
Service may issue permits to authorize ``incidental take'' of listed 
animal species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as take that 
is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out of an otherwise 
lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for threatened species 
and endangered species, respectively, are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 50 CFR 
    The applicant is seeking permits for take of the federally listed 
threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus 
dimorphus) during the life of the permit. This species is referred to 
as the ``covered species'' in the Plan.
    The project encompasses five different sites; the Genome Launch 
Facility, the Cole Facility Stormwater Improvements, the Center for 
Companion Animal Health, the NEES Facility, and Phase 2B Electrical 
Improvement project. The Genome Launch Facility includes the 
construction of an approximately 21,000 square foot laboratory 
building, including extending utilities along existing utility 
corridors, converting an existing parking area and gravel driveway to 
landscaping, and replacing a paved road with a sidewalk and 
landscaping. The Cole Facility Stormwater Improvements consists of 
implementing stormwater drainage improvements, including installing new 
rain gutters and down spouts on 5 buildings in the Cole Equestrian 
Facility, installing new storm piping to collect rainwater from the 
downspouts of 13 roofs (currently runs onto the ground within animal 
stall areas), and install a new sewer line that will drain an existing 
storm line into the sewer system. The Center for Companion Animal 
Health project includes the construction of an approximately 10,000 
square foot veterinary medicine building and parking lot. The project 
would involve the removal of an existing building and pasture land 
currently located onsite. The NEES Facility project is the construction 
of a 4,720 square foot building. The Phase 2B Electrical Improvement 
project consists of replacing approximately two miles of above ground 
electrical distribution lines, including replacing poles, conductors, 
insulators and other miscellaneous mounting hardware.
    Six elderberry shrubs, containing 130 stems, greater than 1-inch at 
the ground level, at the Genome Launch Facility site will be impacted 
by the project. Four elderberry shrubs, containing 21

[[Page 42577]]

stems greater than 1-inch at the ground level, at the Cole Facility 
Stormwater Improvements site will be impacted by the project. Two 
elderberry shrubs, containing six stems greater than one inch at the 
ground level, at the Center for Companion Animal Health site will be 
impacted by the project. Several shrubs occur within or adjacent to the 
Cole Facility Stormwater Improvements site, NEES Facility, and Phase 2B 
Electrical Improvement project that will not be impacted by the 
proposed projects through implementation of avoidance measures 
described within the Service's 1999 Conservation Guidelines for Valley 
Elderberry Longhorn Beetles. The project sites contain potential 
habitat for the federally-threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle. 
The project sites do not contain any other rare, threatened, or 
endangered species or habitat. No critical habitat for any listed 
species occurs on the project site. Construction of the proposed 
projects would result in the avoidance of 28 elderberry shrubs and the 
removal of 12 elderberry shrubs, with 157 stems greater than 1-inch 
diameter at ground level, which have been determined to be habitat for 
the valley elderberry longhorn beetle. No beetle exit holes were found 
in these 12 shrubs.
    The applicant proposes to avoid, minimize and mitigate the effects 
to the covered species associated with the covered activities by 
implementing their Plan and adhering to the Service's 1999 Conservation 
Guidelines. The purpose of this conservation program is to promote 
biological conservation in conjunction with economic and urban 
development within the campus of University of California, Davis. As 
mitigation, the applicant will transplant 10 of the 12 elderberry 
shrubs, and plant 243 elderberry seedlings and 243 native riparian 
plant seedlings on 2.01-acres of the Russell Ranch conservation area. 
The 158-acre Russell Ranch is owned and managed by the applicant, and 
was established in 1994 for use by the University of California, Davis 
for mitigation from various future projects. In addition to mitigation, 
the Plan also includes measures to avoid and minimize take of the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the Plan, which included measures to 
avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts of the project on the valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle. Three alternatives to the taking of listed 
species under the Proposed Action are considered in the Plan. Under the 
No Action Alternative, no permit would be issued. Under the Alternative 
Site Alternative, new facilities would be built at alternate sites. 
Under the Reduced Project Alternative, the size and scope of the new 
facilities and improvements to existing facilities would be reduced.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the Plan 
qualifies as a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by its Habitat 
Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). Determination of low-
effect Habitat Conservation Plans is based on the following three 
criteria: (1) Implementation of the Plan would result in minor or 
negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species 
and their habitats; (2) implementation of the Plan would result in 
minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; 
and (3) impacts of the Plan, considered together with the impacts of 
other past, present and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated 
projects would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to 
environmental values or resources which would be considered 
significant. As more fully explained in the Service's Environmental 
Action Statement, the Plan qualifies as a ``low-effect'' 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 resulting from development of the 
Genome Launch Facility, Cole Facility, Center for Companion Animal 
Health areas, NEES Facility, and Phase 2B Electrical Improvement 
project, or from the management of the mitigation site on the Russell 
    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 (Floodplain 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.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act. We will evaluate the permit application, the Plan, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, 
the Service will issue a permit to University of California, Davis for 
the incidental take of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle from 
development of the new Genome Launch Facility, Cole Facility, Center 
for Companion Animal Health areas, NEES Facility, and Phase 2B 
Electrical Improvement project, and the management of the mitigation 
site on Russell Ranch. We will make the final permit decision no sooner 
than 30 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: June 14, 2002.
D. Kenneth McDermond,
Deputy Manager, Region 1, California/Nevada Operations Office, 
Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 02-15831 Filed 6-21-02; 8:45 am]