[Federal Register: June 17, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 116)]
[Page 35292-35294]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Application From the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Humboldt 
County, NV, for an Enhancement of Survival Permit

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: In response to an application from the Nevada Department of 
Wildlife (Applicant), the Fish and Wildlife Service (we, the Service) 
is considering issuance of an enhancement of survival permit pursuant 
to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (ESA). The permit application includes a proposed programmatic 
Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the Applicant and the Service. The 
proposed SHA provides for voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance, 
enhancement, or creation activities to enhance the reintroduction and 
recovery of the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout 
(Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) within the Northwest Distinct Population 
Segment. The proposed duration of both the SHA and permit is 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 Action Statement, 
which also is available for public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on July 18, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Please address comments to Robert D. Williams, Field 
Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, 
Suite 234, Reno, Nevada, facsimile number (775) 861-6301.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Heki, Program Manager for the 
Lahontan Fish Hatchery Complex, (see ADDRESSES), telephone (775) 861-


Document Availability

    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 proposed permit area, references, 
and legal descriptions of the proposed permit area, 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).
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public on the proposed Federal action of issuing a permit, including 
the identification of any aspects of the human environment not already 
analyzed in our Environmental Action Statement. Further, we 
specifically solicit information regarding the adequacy of the SHA as 
measured against our permit issuance criteria found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their identity from the administrative record. We will honor such 
requests to the extent allowed by law. Respondents wishing us to 
withhold their identity (e.g., individual name, home address and home 
phone number) must state this prominently at the beginning of their 
comments. We will make all submissions from organizations, agencies or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives of officials of such entities, available for public 
inspection in their entirety.


    The primary objective of this proposed SHA is to encourage 
voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance or

[[Page 35293]]

enhancement activities to benefit Lahontan cutthroat trout by relieving 
a landowner who enters into the provisions of a Cooperative Agreement 
with the Applicant from any additional Section 9 liability under the 
Endangered Species Act beyond that which exists at the time the 
Cooperative Agreement is signed and Certificate of Inclusion issued 
(``regulatory baseline''). A SHA encourages landowners to conduct 
voluntary conservation activities and assures them that they will not 
be subjected to increased listed species restrictions should their 
beneficial stewardship efforts result in increased listed species 
populations. Application requirements and issuance criteria for 
enhancement of survival permits and SHAs are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c). 
As long as enrolled landowners allow the agreed-upon conservation 
measures to be completed on their property and agree to maintain 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 Lahontan cutthroat trout or harm to this species' 
    As proposed in the SHA, landowners within the Northwest Distinct 
Population Segment, as identified by the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout 
Recovery Plan, may be enrolled by the Applicant under the SHA. 
Landowners, as Cooperators, would receive a Certificate of Inclusion 
when they sign a Cooperative Agreement. The Cooperative Agreement would 
include: (1) A map of the property; (2) delineation of the portion of 
the property to be enrolled and its stream mileage/feet; (3) the 
property's baseline and biological assessment which would include a 
thorough stream analysis (with photos) of the enrolled stream miles/
feet; (4) a description of the specific conservation measures to be 
completed; and; (5) the responsibilities of the Cooperator and the 
    The Applicant would provide draft copies of the Cooperative 
Agreement to the Service for an opportunity to review and concur with 
the recommended management activities and conservation measures. The 
Service would have a period of 15 business days in which to make 
comments on the Cooperative Agreement. If no comments were made within 
15 business days, the Applicant would proceed to finalize the 
Cooperative Agreement. The Applicant, as the Permittee, would be 
responsible for annual monitoring and reporting related to 
implementation of the SHA and Cooperative Agreements and fulfillment of 
provisions by the Cooperators. As specified in the proposed SHA, the 
Applicant would issue yearly reports to the Service related to 
implementation of the program.
    Each Cooperative Agreement would cover conservation activities to 
create, maintain, restore, or enhance habitat for Lahontan cutthroat 
trout and achieve species' recovery goals. These actions, where 
appropriate, could include (but are not limited to): (1) Restoration of 
riparian habitat and stream form and function; (2) control of stocking 
rates for livestock (number /density of animals per unit area; (3) 
repair or installation of fences to protect existing or created habitat 
from human disturbance; (4) establishment of riparian buffers; and (5) 
installation of screens on irrigation diversions as well as 
facilitation of the implementation of other objectives recommended by 
the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Plan. The overall goal of 
Cooperative Agreements entered into under the proposed SHA is to 
produce conservation measures that are mutually beneficial to the 
Cooperators and the long-term existence of Lahontan cutthroat trout.
    Based upon the probable species' response time for Lahontan 
cutthroat trout to the planned conservation measures, the Service 
estimates it will take 5 years of implementing the proposed SHA to 
fully reach a net conservation benefit; some level of benefit would 
likely occur within a shorter time period. Each Cooperative Agreement 
would stipulate that the conservation measures be implemented to 
support a networked population requiring: 1 year to construct a 
temporary barrier, 2 years to treat the area behind the barrier to 
remove undesired fish species, and at least 2 years to repopulate or 
reintroduce Lahontan cutthroat trout and remove the temporary barrier. 
Most Cooperative Agreements under the proposed SHA are expected to have 
at least 10 years' duration.
    After maintenance of the restored/created/enhanced Lahontan 
cutthroat trout habitat on the property for the agreed-upon term, 
Cooperators may then conduct otherwise lawful activities on their 
property that result in the partial or total elimination of the habitat 
improvements and the taking of Lahontan cutthroat trout. However, the 
restrictions on returning a property to its original baseline condition 
include: (1) The Cooperator must demonstrate that baseline conditions 
were maintained during the term of the Cooperative Agreement and the 
conservation measures necessary for achieving a net conservation 
benefit were carried out; (2) the Applicant and the Service will be 
notified a minimum of 30 days prior to the activity and given the 
opportunity to capture, rescue, and/or relocate any Lahontan cutthroat 
trout; and (3) return to baseline conditions must be completed within 
the 30-year term of the permit issued to the Applicant. Cooperative 
Agreements could be extended if the Applicant's permit is renewed and 
that renewal allows for such an extension.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
this proposed SHA qualifies for categorical exclusion under NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 
516 DM 6, Appendix 1) based on the following criteria: (1) 
Implementation of the SHA would result in minor or negligible effects 
on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their 
habitats; (2) implementation of the SHA would result in minor or 
negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) 
impacts of the 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 Statement.
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do 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.


    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
ESA and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). 
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 ESA 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 ESA 
to the Applicant for take of the Lahontan cutthroat trout 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.

[[Page 35294]]

    Dated: May 23, 2005.
Alexandra Pitts,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 05-11971 Filed 6-16-05; 8:45 am]