[Federal Register: January 20, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 12)]
[Page 2726-2727]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for Fender's Blue Butterfly and 
Kincaid's Lupine in the Dallas Oak Savanna, Polk County, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (we, the Service) has received 
an application from Clem and Barbara Starck (Applicants) for an 
enhancement of survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA). The permit application 
includes a proposed Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) between the 
Applicants and the Service that allows for management and conservation 
of the endangered Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi) 
and the threatened Kincaid's lupine (Lupinus sulphureus kincaidii) on 
approximately 20 acres (ac) of land owned and managed by the 
Applicants. The Agreement is intended to facilitate the implementation 
of conservation measures for the species and to support on-going 
efforts to reintroduce Kincaid's lupine into areas where it 
historically occurred and where Fender's blue butterfly will be 
encouraged to colonize. The Applicants propose to introduce Kincaid's 
lupine onto their lands and conduct related monitoring activities with 
the assistance of the Institute for Applied Ecology. Although the 
Fender's blue butterfly does not currently occur on the property, 
restoration of its native habitat might encourage colonization over 
time. If natural colonization appears to be unlikely, introduction of 
the butterfly to the restored habitat would be considered.
    The proposed Agreement and ESA survival enhancement permit may be 
eligible for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). This is evaluated in an Environmental Action 
Statement, which is also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by close of business on 
February 19, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Kemper McMaster, State 
Supervisor, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 
100, Portland, Oregon 97266, facsimile number (503) 231-6195 (see 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, Public Review and Comment).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Szlemp, Fish and Wildlife 
Service Biologist, at the above address or by calling (503) 231-6179.


Public Review and Comment

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, the 
Environmental Action Statement, or copies of the full text of the 
proposed Agreement should contact the office and personnel listed in 
the ADDRESSES section above. 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 
ESA and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). 
All comments received on the permit application and proposed Agreement, 
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 
companies, or from individuals representing organizations or companies, 
are available for public inspection in their entirety.


    Fender's blue butterfly is one of about a dozen subspecies of 
Boisduval's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides). Boisduval's blue 
butterfly is found in western North America; the subspecies, fenderi, 
is restricted to the Willamette Valley, Oregon. This subspecies was 
thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in Benton County in 1989. 
Kincaid's lupine is a subspecies of the sulfur lupine (Lupinus 
sulphureus), which occurs on upland prairie habitats in western North 
America from British Columbia to California. Kincaid's lupine is the 
primary larval food plant for Fender's blue butterfly.
    Past conversion of land to agriculture, urban development, fire 
suppression, and other factors have reduced upland prairie to 
approximately 988 ac, which is approximately 0.01 percent of its former 
range. Of this remaining prairie habitat, Fender's blue butterfly 
occupies approximately 408 ac and Kincaid's lupine occupies about 370 
ac. The threat of habitat loss in remnant prairies continues through 
habitat destruction or degradation due to agriculture, urban 
development, forestry, grazing, roadside maintenance, and commercial 
Christmas tree farming. Sites not threatened by habitat destruction are 
threatened by herbivory, competition by nonnative species, and plant 
succession. Over half of the sites occupied by Fender's blue butterfly 
and Kincaid's lupine are privately owned, necessitating conservation 
actions on non-Federal lands to recover the species.
    The Applicants, in partnership with the Service through the 
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, propose to enter into an 
agreement to restore approximately 20 ac of upland prairie oak savanna 
habitat (Agreement 13420-1-J134). The project area had been a 
hay field and horse pasture and was covered with a variety of hay 
grasses and weeds, including Himalayan blackberry and Queen Anne's 
lace. The project site consists of two fields, both of which have large 
Oregon white oaks growing along the edges. The site was determined to 
be suitable for introduction of Kincaid's lupine and may eventually 
support Fender's blue butterfly.
    As described in the proposed Agreement, the Applicants and the 
Service would agree to carry out management activities that would 
restore 20 ac of oak savanna habitat for Kincaid's lupine and Fender's 
blue butterfly. The Applicants will maintain the habitat for a period 
of 15 years by controlling invasive plant species via bi-annual 
perimeter mowing, burning, or other means. In return for these 
voluntary conservation commitments, an ESA 10(a)(1)(A) permit, if 
approved, would extend assurances to the Applicants, including 
authorization to return the property to its original baseline condition 
at the end of the 15-year term of the Agreement.

[[Page 2727]]

    The Service would be responsible for annual compliance monitoring 
related to implementation of the proposed Agreement and fulfillment of 
its provisions. The Institute for Applied Ecology, per the Partners for 
Fish and Wildlife Program contract, will monitor effectiveness of the 
introduction and survivorship of Kincaid's lupine seeds and seedlings.
    We will evaluate the permit application, the proposed Agreement, 
and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application 
meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act and applicable 
regulations. If the requirements are met, the Service will sign the 
proposed Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival permit under 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to the applicant for take of Fender's 
blue butterfly as a result of activities incidental to otherwise lawful 
activities of the project. Kincaid's lupine would be included on the 
permit in recognition of the conservation benefits provided to it under 
the Agreement as a result of restoration and recovery activities. The 
Service will not make a final decision without full consideration of 
all comments received during the comment period.

    Dated: December 22, 2003.
David Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 04-1095 Filed 1-16-04; 8:45 am]