[Federal Register: February 27, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 39)]
[Page 9365-9366]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Environmental Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Eagle's 
Nest Open Space, Larimer County, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Larimer County Parks and 
Open Lands Department (Applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as 
amended. The proposed permit would authorize the incidental take of the 
Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) (Preble's ), 
federally listed as threatened, through loss and modification of its 
habitat associated with construction of a trail, river access area, 
spring development and bridge replacement on the North Fork Cache La 
Poudre River in Larimer County, Colorado. The duration of the permit 
would be 30 years from the date of issuance.
    We announce the receipt of the Applicant's incidental take permit 
application, which includes a combined Environmental Assessment/Habitat 
Conservation Plan (EA/HCP) for the

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Preble's at Eagle's Nest Open Space. The proposed EA/HCP is available 
for public review and comment. It fully describes the proposed project 
and the measures the Applicant would undertake to minimize and mitigate 
project impacts to the Preble's.
    The Service requests comments on the EA/HCP and associated 
documents for the proposed issuance of the incidental take permit. All 
comments on the EA and permit application will become part of the 
administrative record and will be available to the public. We provide 
this notice pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and the National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES: Written comments on the permit application and EA/HCP should be 
received on or before April 27, 2004 to be considered.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the permit application and EA/HCP should 
be addressed to Susan Linner, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Colorado Field Office, 755 Parfet Street, Suite 361, Lakewood, 
Colorado 80215. Comments also may be submitted by facsimile to (303) 

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


Document Availability

    Individuals wishing copies of the EA/HCP 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 above address.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations 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 
    Eagle's Nest Open Space is located south of Red Feather Lakes Road 
(CR 74), along the North Fork of the Cache La Poudre River, south of 
the Town of Livermore, Larimer County, Colorado. The project site is 
107 hectares (264 acres), but the proposed project will directly impact 
a maximum of 1.4 hectares (3.4 acres) that may result in incidental 
take of the Preble's. Of the total amount of impacted acreage, 0.3 
hectare (0.7 acre) will be temporarily disturbed and will be 
revegetated. An HCP has been developed as part of the preferred 
alternative. The proposed HCP will allow for the incidental take of the 
Preble's by permitting bridge replacement, spring development and 
construction of a multiple-use trail in an area that may be 
periodically used as foraging, breeding or hibernation habitat.
    In addition to the Proposed Action, alternatives considered 
included--(a) develop the site more intensively with less avoidance of 
Preble's habitat, (b) no action, and (c) look for an alternative open 
space property. The draft EA analyzes the onsite, offsite, and 
cumulative impacts of the proposed project and all associated 
development and construction activities and mitigation activities on 
the Preble's, and also on other threatened or endangered species, 
vegetation, wildlife, wetlands, geology/soils, land use, water 
resources, air and water quality, and cultural resources. The 
Applicant, using the Service's definition of Preble's habitat, has 
determined that the proposed project would impact approximately 1.4 
hectares (3.4 acres) of potential Preble's habitat. The mitigation will 
likely provide a net benefit to the Preble's mouse and other wildlife 
by planting additional shrubs and revegetating an old road with a 
native grass mix.
    Only one federally listed species, the threatened Preble's, occurs 
on site and has the potential to be adversely affected by the project. 
To mitigate impacts that may result from incidental take, the HCP 
provides mitigation for the development of the proposed trail and 
associated facilities by protecting and enhancing 2.8 hectares (7.0 
acres) of existing or potential Preble's habitat through reduced and 
managed grazing, planting native shrubs and grasses. Approximately 0.3 
hectare (0.7 acre) of temporarily disturbed habitat will be reseeded 
with a native seed mix and planted with native shrubs where appropriate 
and approximately 107 hectares (264 acres) will be protected on 
perpetuity as open space by Larimer County as well as via a deed 
restriction. Measures will be taken during construction to minimize 
impact to the habitat, including monitoring, worker education/awareness 
of Preble's habitat and the restricted construction period during 
daylight hours and between mid-September and mid-May when Preble's is 
inactive. All of the proposed mitigation area is within the boundaries 
of the Eagle's Nest Open Space property.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the EA/HCP, and comments 
submitted therein to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) 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 development of the 
proposed trail, associated facilities, river access, and ongoing 
management of the Eagle's Nest Open Space property. The final permit 
decision will be made no sooner than 60 days after the date of this 

    Dated: January 27, 2004.
John A. Blankenship,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 04-4351 Filed 2-26-04; 8:45 am]