[Federal Register: February 15, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 30)]
[Page 7754-7755]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Monument 
Creek Interceptor Tie-In Along Jackson Creek, El Paso County, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Triview Metropolitan 
District and Forest Lakes Metropolitan District (Applicant) have 
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 (ESA) 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 habitat it periodically 
uses for foraging, breeding and/or hibernation, associated with 
construction of a new sanitary sewer line extension connecting to an 
existing sewer line, a nonpotable water reuse line, a secondary sewer 
line, and a new dirt access road into the Upper Monument Creek 
Wastewater Treatment Facility (Facility) on Jackson Creek, El Paso 
County, Colorado. The duration of the permit would be 20 years from the 
date of issuance.
    We announce the receipt of the Applicant's incidental take permit 
application, which includes a Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan 
(LEHCP) for Preble's on Jackson Creek within the Facility. The LEHCP 
fully describes the proposed project and the measures the Applicant 
would undertake to minimize and mitigate project impacts to Preble's.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the LEHCP is 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 LEHCP 
and associated Low-Effect Screening Form, which are available for 
public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before April 18, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Comments 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) 275-2371.

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


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the LEHCP 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 ESA and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' 
of a species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under 
the ESA, 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 ESA 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 
    The project site is on Forest Lakes, LLC property located south of 
the Town of Monument, along Jackson Creek, El Paso County, in the State 
of Colorado. The property site is 96.6 hectares (238.6 acres), but the 
proposed project will directly impact a maximum of 0.2 hectare (less 
than 0.6 acre), according to the Service's definition of Preble's 
habitat. Of the total amount of impacted acreage, 0.2 hectare (0.5 
acre) will be temporarily disturbed and revegetated, and 0.03 hectare 
(0.07 acre) will be permanently disturbed.
    In addition to the Proposed Action, consisting of the issuance of 
the incidental take permit and implementation of the LEHCP, other 
alternatives considered included are--(a) No action, (b) an alternative 
construction design for the nonpotable water line, and (c) waiting for 
the El Paso County Regional HCP to be approved.
    To mitigate impacts that may result from incidental take, the LEHCP 
provides a conservation plan that will likely provide a net benefit to 
the Preble's and other wildlife by enhancing the Jackson Creek corridor 
on site and its associated riparian areas through revegetation efforts 
and protection of mitigation habitat from any future development by 
deed restriction in perpetuity. Following the brief construction period 
(4 weeks), 0.2 hectare (0.5 acre) of temporarily disturbed uplands will 
be replanted with native grasses and shrubs. Enhancement of 0.4 hectare 
(1.1 acres) of existing upland and riparian habitat will consist of 
native shrub planting and installation of a visual barrier (two-strand 
wire fence). In addition, noxious weeds in the enhancement area will be 
controlled with an herbicide at least 4 weeks prior to any native grass 
seeding efforts. Measures will be taken during construction to minimize 
impact to the habitat, including monitoring, worker education/awareness 
of Preble's habitat, and the use of silt fencing to reduce the amount 
of sediment from construction activities that reaches the creek. All of 
the proposed mitigation area is within the boundaries of the Facility, 
all of which is included in the drainage basin of Jackson Creek.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the LEHCP 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 LEHCPs is based on the following three criteria--(1) Implementation 
of the LEHCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally 
listed, proposed, and

[[Page 7755]]

candidate species and their habitats; (2) implementation of the LEHCP 
would result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental 
values or resources; and (3) impacts of the LEHCP, 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 
    Based on this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination whether to prepare such additional 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the LEHCP, and comments submitted 
therein to determine whether the application meets the requirements of 
section 10(a) of the ESA. If the requirements are met, a permit will be 
issued for the incidental take of the Preble's in conjunction with the 
construction of the sanitary sewer line and nonpotable water reuse line 
extensions and new access road. The final permit decision will be made 
no sooner than 30 days after the date of this notice.

    Dated: January 31, 2005.
Richard A. Coleman,
Acting Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 05-2850 Filed 2-14-05; 8:45 am]