[Federal Register: August 14, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 157)]
[Page 48617-48618]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for George 
Shimboff, Solano County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Mr. George Shimboff (Applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (we, Service) for a 1-year incidental take permit 
for one covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The application 
addresses the potential for ``take'' of the threatened valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmoncerus californicus dimorphus) 
associated with construction of a swimming pool and perimeter fence, 
removal of an interior fence, and landscaping within the remaining area 
of a 0.16-acre partially developed parcel located on Christine Drive, 
Vacaville, Solano County, California. A conservation program to 
minimize and mitigate for the project activities would be implemented 
as described in the proposed Shimboff Low Effect Habitat Conservation 
Plan (proposed Plan), which would be implemented by the Applicant.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the proposed Plan qualifies as a ``Low-
effect'' Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible for a categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 
as amended. The basis for this determination is discussed in the 
Environmental Action Statement (EAS), which is also available for 
public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 15, 

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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Laura Valoppi, Conservation 
Planning Branch, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); 
telephone: (916) 414-6600.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, proposed Plan, and 
EAS should immediately contact the Service by telephone at (916) 414-
6600 or by letter to the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. Copies of 
the proposed Plan and EAS also are available for public inspection 
during regular business hours at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see ADDRESSES).


    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations 
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 section 
10(a) of the Act, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental 
take of listed species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an 
otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take 
permits for threatened and endangered species, respectively, are found 
in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32
    The Applicant is seeking a permit for take of the valley elderberry 
longhorn beetle during the life of the permit. This species is referred 
to as the ``covered species'' in the proposed Plan.
    The project encompasses construction of a swimming pool and new 
perimeter fence, removal of an existing interior fence, and landscaping 
of the remaining area within the 0.16-acre project site. The resident 
elderberry shrub would be removed to accommodate the new swimming pool, 
fencing, and landscaping. The project site contains habitat (e.g., 
elderberry shrubs) for the federally threatened valley elderberry 
longhorn beetle, although no evidence of use by the valley elderberry 
longhorn beetle has been detected. Construction of the proposed project 
would result in the removal of one elderberry shrub, with two stems 
greater than 1 inch in diameter at ground level, which have been 
determined to be habitat for the beetle. The project site does not 
contain any other rare, threatened, or endangered species or habitat. 
No critical habitat for any listed species occurs on the project site.
    The Applicant proposes to minimize and mitigate the effects to the 
covered species associated with the covered activities by fully 
implementing the Plan. The purpose of the proposed Plan's conservation 
program is to promote the biological conservation of the valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle. The Applicant will minimize and mitigate 
the impacts of taking the valley elderberry longhorn beetle by removing 
the single elderberry shrub that is currently on the project site and 
by purchasing two credits at a Service-approved conservation bank. Each 
credit includes an established ratio of elderberry seedlings and native 
riparian plant seedlings.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the proposed Plan, which includes measures 
to minimize and mitigate impacts of the project on the valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle. Three alternatives to the taking of the 
listed species under the Proposed Action are considered in the proposed 
Plan. Under the No Action Alternative, no permit would be issued and no 
construction or landscaping would occur. Under the Reduced Take 
Alternative 1, the elderberry shrub would remain onsite and 
activities would be modified. Under the Reduced Take Alternative 
2, the elderberry shrub would remain onsite and be 
incorporated within the landscaping. Stems under 5 inches in diameter 
would be removed and the remaining stem would be pruned.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the Proposed Plan qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 
and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1) and as a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by 
the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). 
Determination of Low-effect Habitat Conservation Plans is based on the 
following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the proposed Plan would 
result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, 

[[Page 48618]]

candidate species and their habitats; (2) implementation of the 
proposed Plan would result in minor or negligible effects on other 
environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts of the proposed 
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.
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the proposed 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, 
we will issue a permit to Mr. George Shimboff for the incidental take 
of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle from development of the 
Applicant's parcel on Christine Drive, Vacaville, California.

    Dated: August 8, 2003.
Catrina M. Martin,
Acting Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 03-20790 Filed 8-13-03; 8:45 am]