[Federal Register: August 14, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 157)]
[Page 48618-48619]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Safe Harbor Agreement for White River Spinedace at Indian 
Springs, White Pine County, NV

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Walter and Carrol Cripps (Applicant) have applied to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival 
permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). The permit application includes a proposed Safe 
Harbor Agreement (SHA) among the Applicant, Nevada Department of 
Wildlife (NDOW), and the Service. The SHA provides for habitat 
protection and the introduction of the White River Spinedace 
(Lepidomeda albivallis) within approximately 3.5 acres of spring, 
stream, and pond habitat on private property in White Pine County, 
Nevada. The proposed duration of the SHA is for 5 years and the permit 
is for 30 years.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
SHA and permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion under 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The basis for 
this determination is contained in an Environmental

[[Page 48619]]

Action Statement, which also is available for public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on September 15, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Robert Williams, Field 
Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial Blvd., 
Suite 234, Reno, Nevada 89502, facsimile number (775) 861-6300 (see 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, Public Review and Comment).

Supervisor, at the above address or by calling (775) 861-6300.



    The primary objective of the proposed SHA is to introduce a refugia 
population of White River spinedace and to protect and maintain desert 
spring and stream habitat at Indian Spring to benefit White River 
spinedace by relieving the landowner, who enters into the provisions of 
the proposed SHA, from any additional section 9 liability under the 
Endangered Species Act beyond that which exists at the time a final SHA 
is signed (``regulatory baseline''). SHAs encourage landowners to 
conduct voluntary conservation activities and assures them that they 
will not be subjected to increased endangered species restrictions 
should their beneficial stewardship efforts result in increased 
endangered species populations. Application requirements and issuance 
criteria for enhancement of survival permits through SHAs are found in 
50 CFR 17.22(c). As long as the enrolled landowner maintains their 
baseline responsibilities, they may make any other lawful use of the 
property during the permit term, even if such use results in the take 
of individual White River spinedace or harm to their habitat.
    The proposed SHA includes (but is not limited to) the following 
actions: (1) NDOW and the Service introduce White River spinedace at 
Indian Spring (approximately 100 spinedace over the course of several 
introductions between the fall of 2003 and spring of 2005); (2) the 
Applicant allows NDOW and the Service access to private property for 
monitoring and maintenance of the White River spinedace at Indian 
Spring; and (3) the Applicant allows habitat maintenance activities to 
ensure White River spinedace survival at Indian Spring.
    The proposed SHA stipulates that the introduced population of White 
River spinedace is secure from various land management activities for a 
period of 5 years, which include: (1) Grazing of livestock upslope of 
or within 91.5 m (300 ft) of Indian Spring sources and the stream, or 
within 7.6 m (25 ft) of the pond; (2) interruption, reduction, or 
elimination of water flow from the spring sources to the pond; (3) 
stocking of exotic fish or amphibian species at Indian Spring sources 
and the stream or pond; (4) removal of vegetation within 91.5 m (300 
ft) of Indian Spring sources and the stream, or within 7.6 m (25 ft) of 
the pond; (5) earthmoving activities within 91.5 m (300 ft) of Indian 
Spring sources and the stream, or within 7.6 m (25 ft) of the pond; (6) 
implementing controlled burning activities within 91.5 m (300 ft) of 
Indian Spring sources and the stream, or within 7.6 m (25 ft) of the 
pond; and (7) draining the pond of more than 25 percent of its 
    After protecting the spring, stream, and pond habitat at Indian 
Spring for the 5-year term, the Applicant may then conduct otherwise 
lawful activities on their property that result in the partial 
elimination of the spring, stream, or pond habitat and the incidental 
taking of White River spinedace as a result of such habitat 
elimination. However, the restrictions on returning the White River 
spinedace to its original baseline condition include: (1) White River 
spinedace may not be captured, killed, or otherwise directly ``taken''; 
(2) the NDOW and the Service will be notified a minimum of 3 months 
prior to the activity and given the opportunity to capture, rescue, 
and/or translocate any White River spinedace, if necessary and 
appropriate; and (3) return to baseline conditions must be completed 
within the 30-year term of the permit issued to the Applicant.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed SHA qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the NEPA, 
as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2, 
Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1) based on the following criteria: 
(1) Implementation of the proposed SHA would result in minor or 
negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species 
and their habitats; (2) implementation of the proposed SHA would result 
in minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or 
resources; and (3) impacts of the proposed SHA, 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. This is more fully explained in our Environmental Action 
    Based upon this preliminary determination, the Service does not 
intend to prepare further NEPA documentation. The Service will consider 
public comments in making its final determination on whether to prepare 
such additional documentation.

Public Review and Comments

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, the 
Environmental Action Statement, or copies of the full text of the 
proposed SHA, including a map of the enrolled land area, legal 
descriptions, and references should contact the office and personnel 
listed in the ADDRESSES section. Documents also will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at this 
office (see ADDRESSES).
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). 
All comments received on the permit application and proposed SHA, 
including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative 
record and may be released to the public. If you wish us to withhold 
your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the 
beginning of your comment. All submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, are 
available for public inspection in their entirety.


    We will evaluate the permit application, the proposed SHA, and 
comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets 
the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act and NEPA regulations. If 
the requirements are met, the Service will sign the proposed SHA and 
issue an enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of 
the Act to the Applicant for take of the White River spinedace 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities of the project. The Service 
will not make a final decision until after the end of the 30-day 
comment period and will fully consider all comments received during the 
comment period.

    Dated: August 8, 2003.
Catrina M. Martin,
Acting Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 03-20789 Filed 8-13-03; 8:45 am]