[Federal Register: December 18, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 243)]
[Page 77506-77507]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment and Receipt of 
an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for The Meadows, Douglas 
County, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

[[Page 77507]]

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: Castle Rock Development Company and Castle Rock Land Company 
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 permit would 
authorize the incidental take of Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus 
hudsonius preblei) (``Preble's''), federally listed as threatened, and 
loss and modification of its habitat associated with construction and 
use of a portion of The Meadows property in the Town of Castle Rock, 
Colorado. The permit would be in effect for 30 years from the date of 
    We announce the receipt of the applicants' incidental take permit 
application that includes a combined proposed Habitat Conservation Plan 
(HCP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Preble's at The 
Meadows. The proposed HCP/EA is available for public comment. It fully 
describes the proposed project and the measures the applicants would 
undertake to minimize and mitigate project impacts to Preble's.
    The Service requests comments on the Plan for the proposed issuance 
of an Incidental Take Permit. We provide this notice pursuant to 
section 10(c) of the Act and National Environmental Policy Act 
regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). All comments on the Plan and permit 
application will become part of the administrative record and will be 
available to the public.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application, Habitat Conservation 
Plan, and Environmental Assessment should be received on or before 
February 18, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the permit application and HCP/EA should 
be addressed to LeRoy Carlson, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Colorado Field Office, 755 Parfet Street, Suite 361, Lakewood, 
Colorado 80215.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Linder, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Colorado Field Office, telephone (303) 275-2370.


Document Availability

    Individuals wishing copies of the HCP/EA and associated documents 
for review should immediately contact the above office. Documents also 
will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal 
business hours at the Lakewood, Colorado, Field Office (see ADDRESSES 


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of a species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under 
the Act, in part, as to kill, harm, or harass a federally listed 
species. However, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' of listed species under limited circumstances. 
Incidental take is defined under the Act as take of a listed species 
that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an 
otherwise lawful activity under limited circumstances. Regulations 
governing permits for threatened species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
    The applicants plan to develop portions of The Meadows in Douglas 
County, Colorado, that may constitute habitat for the Preble's. Such 
development would include commercial parcels, water well construction 
and a recreational trail extension. The planning area for the permit 
application is approximately 194 hectares (480 acres) and is located 
west of Interstate Highway 25 (I-25), within the corporate boundaries 
of the Town of Castle Rock. The area subject to the permit application 
straddles the East Plum Creek drainage and is entirely contained within 
two major railway lines, with the exception of one small parcel. An 
existing bridge spans East Plum Creek and carries The Meadows Parkway 
as it crosses the property on the southern (upstream) portion of the 
property. The project would permanently alter a total of 3.5 hectares 
(8.6 acres) of vegetation within the riparian corridor and would 
temporarily alter an additional 10.06 hectares (24.87 acres) of 
vegetation. As discussed below, the applicants propose a number of 
measures to mitigate possible impacts of the proposed action.
    Alternatives considered in addition to the proposed action were: 
alternative site design based on land use plans approved by the Town of 
Castle Rock, alternative site location, wait for a regional 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit, and no action. None of these alternatives eliminated potential 
take of Preble's.
    Only one federally listed species, the threatened Preble's, occurs 
onsite and has the potential to be adversely affected by the project. 
To mitigate impacts that may result from incidental take, the HCP 
provides that mitigation will include the dedication of 17.5 hectares 
(43.3 acres) of additional open space (in addition to 98.6 hectares 
(243.7 acres) already designated as open space), enhancement of habitat 
within 4 hectares (10 acres) of existing open space, segregation of 
commercial areas and riparian areas with barriers, revegetation of 
areas of temporary disturbance with native vegetation, limitations on 
project sizes, limitations on access, elimination of cattle grazing, 
and regulation of trail use and location. All efforts will be made to 
minimize the temporary disturbance during construction of water wells 
and water delivery systems and impacts to in-stream flows. All 
construction will be initiated between October 15 and April 30 to 
minimize and avoid impacts to Preble's.
    The Applicants are committed to providing the necessary funding to 
support the mitigation. The Applicants will place the necessary funds 
into an escrow or similar type account that will limit use of the funds 
to mitigation activities.
    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)(1)(B) of the Act. If it is determined that those 
requirements are met, a permit will be issued for the incidental take 
of the Preble's in conjunction with the construction and use of The 
Meadows. The final permit decision will be made no sooner than 60 days 
from the date of this notice.

    Dated: December 4, 2002.
Ralph O. Morgenweck,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 02-31773 Filed 12-17-02; 8:45 am]