[Federal Register: October 18, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 201)]
[Page 61501-61502]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Schwisow 
Development in Adams County, ID

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Duane and Darlene Schwisow 
(Applicants) have applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
for an incidental take permit (ITP), pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The requested 25-
year permit would authorize the incidental take of the threatened 
northern Idaho ground squirrel (Spermophilus brunneus brunneus) 
(``squirrels''), on 13.9 square meters (150 square feet) of suitable 
but unoccupied habitat associated with the development of a residence 
in Adams County, Idaho.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on whether 
the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) qualifies as a ``low 
effect'' HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. We explain the 
basis for this possible determination in a draft Environmental Action 
Statement (EAS), which is also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on November 17, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Jeri Wood, Biologist, Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Snake River Fish and Wildlife Office, 1387 
Vinnell Way, Suite 368, Boise, Idaho 83709, (telephone number (208) 
378-5243; fax number (208) 378-5262). For further information and 
instruction on the reviewing and commenting process, see Public Review 
and Comment section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeri Wood, at the above address, or 
telephone (208) 378-5243.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, proposed HCP, or 
EAS, should contact the Service by telephone (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT) or by letter (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the 
subject documents also are available for public inspection during 
regular business hours at the Snake River Fish and Wildlife Office (see 


    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations prohibit the ``take'' of a fish or wildlife species listed 
as endangered or threatened. Take of federally listed fish and wildlife 
is defined under section 3 of the Act as including to ``harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect, or to 
attempt to engage in such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1538). The Service may, 
under limited circumstances, 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 permits for threatened 
species and endangered species, respectively, are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 
50 CFR 17.22. The Applicants are seeking a permit for the incidental 
take of the northern Idaho ground squirrel during the 25-year term of 
the permit.
    Applicants propose to develop and carry out construction activities 
on the proposed covered lands, comprising 2.0 hectares (5 acres), as a 
residence with a septic system, well and utility lines. Of the proposed 
covered area's 2.0 hectares (5 acres), approximately 1.2 hectares (3 
acres) will be set aside as a Protected Area. The Protected Area is 
currently occupied habitat for the northern Idaho ground squirrel. 
Incidental take of the northern Idaho ground squirrel would be 
authorized for the remaining 0.81 hectare (2 acres) Project Area in 
unoccupied but suitable habitat for northern Idaho ground squirrels. 
The 0.81 hectare (2 acres) site will be developed for a 13.9 square 
meter (150 square feet) development pad for a residence, a septic 
system, underground utility lines, and well. Therefore, Applicants seek 
a Permit for the 0.81 hectares (2 acres) of the proposed covered area.
    The proposed minimization and mitigation measures include avoidance 
of all ground disturbing activity in the 1.2 hectare (3 acre) Protected 
Area; and to mitigate for the temporary loss of suitable habitat due to 
the development of utility lines, a septic system and well in the 0.81-
hectare (2-acre) Project Area, Applicants will replant these disturbed 
areas with native plants. Monitoring of the northern Idaho ground 
squirrel and its habitat would occur throughout the 2.0 hectares (5 
acres) of proposed covered lands[w1].
    Approval of the HCP may qualify as a categorical exclusion under 
NEPA, as provided by the Departmental Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 
516 DM 6, Appendix 1) and as a ``low effect'' plan

[[Page 61502]]

as defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (Service, 
1996). Determination of low effect HCPs is based upon the plan having: 
minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, or candidate 
species and their habitats; minor or negligible effects on other 
environmental values or resources; and, impacts that considered 
together with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably 
foreseeable similarly situated projects would not result, over time, in 
cumulative effects to the environmental values or resources which would 
be considered significant. If the proposed Schwisow HCP is found to 
qualify as a low-effect HCP, further NEPA documentation would not be 

Public Review and Comment

    If you wish to comment on the permit application, draft 
Environmental Action Statement, or the proposed HCP, you may submit 
your comments to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this 
document. We will evaluate this permit application, associated 
documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the 
permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act 
and NEPA regulations. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their home address from the record, which we will honor to the 
extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we 
would withhold from the record a respondent's identity, as allowable by 
law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. Anonymous 
comments will not be considered. All submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, are 
available for public inspection in their entirety. If we determine that 
the requirements are met, we will issue an incidental take permit under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to the Applicants for take of the 
squirrels, incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance with 
the terms of the permit. We will not make our final decision until 
after the end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all 
comments received during the comment period.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: September 11, 2006.
Jeffery L. Foss,
Field Office Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise, Idaho.
[FR Doc. E6-17280 Filed 10-17-06; 8:45 am]