[Federal Register: April 21, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 77)]
[Page 20716-20717]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the County of 
San Bernardino, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The County of San Bernardino (Applicant) has applied to the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for a 10-year incidental take 
permit for one covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The application 
addresses the potential for ``take'' of the endangered Delhi Sands 
flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis) associated with 
the proposed realignment of the intersection of Valley and Pepper 
Avenues in the City of Colton, San Bernardino County, California. A 
conservation program to mitigate for the project activities would be 
implemented as described in the proposed Valley/Pepper Realignment Low 
Effect Habitat Conservation Plan (proposed Plan), which would be 
implemented by the Applicant.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the proposed Plan qualifies as a ``Low-
effect'' Habitat Conservation Plan, 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 
Environmental Action Statement (EAS) and the associated Low Effect 
Screening Form, which are also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 22, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden 
Valley Road, Carlsbad, California 92011.

[[Page 20717]]

Written comments may be sent by facsimile to (760) 918-0638.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen Goebel, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); 
telephone: (760) 431-9440.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, proposed Plan, and 
EAS should immediately contact the Service by telephone at (760) 431-
9440 or by letter to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. Copies of 
the proposed Plan and EAS also are available for public inspection 
during regular business hours at the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office 


    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations 
prohibit the take of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. 
Take is defined under the Act as harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture or collect listed animal species, or attempt 
to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1538). However, under section 
10(a) of the Act, the Service may 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 incidental take 
permits for threatened and endangered species, respectively, are found 
in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32
    The Applicant is seeking a permit for take of the Delhi Sands 
flower-loving fly during the life of the permit. This species is 
referred to as the ``DSF'' in the proposed Plan.
    The Applicant proposes to relocate the current Valley Boulevard/
Pepper Avenue intersection approximately 76 meters (250 feet) north. 
Pepper Avenue would be widened to six lanes in the segment between San 
Bernardino Avenue and Interstate 10. The improvement limits on Valley 
Boulevard are 246 meters (811 feet) west and 284 meters (938 feet) east 
of Pepper Avenue. Valley Boulevard would retain two through lanes in 
each direction with turn lanes at the intersection with Pepper Avenue. 
A signalized street connection approximately 152 meters (500 feet) west 
of Pepper Avenue would be developed to include a frontage road and cul-
de-sac. An access road would be constructed to permit southbound Pepper 
Avenue traffic direct access to local business. We anticipate that all 
DSF would be lost within approximately 1.84 acres of DSF occupied 
habitat within the project footprint. The project site does not contain 
any other rare, threatened or endangered species or habitat. No 
critical habitat for any listed species occurs on the project site.
    The Applicant proposes to mitigate the effects to the DSF 
associated with the covered activities by fully implementing the Plan. 
The purpose of the proposed Plan's conservation program is to promote 
the biological conservation of the DSF. The County proposes to mitigate 
impacts to the DSF either through acquisition and conservation of a 
2.04-acre parcel adjacent to the proposed project or purchase of 5 
acres of credit within the Vulcan Materials Inc. Colton Dunes 
Conservation Bank.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the proposed Plan, which includes measures 
to mitigate impacts of the project on the DSF. Two alternatives to the 
taking of the listed species under the Proposed Action are considered 
in the proposed Plan. Under the No Action Alternative, no permit would 
be issued, and no construction would occur. Under the Modified Project 
Alternative, incidental take of DSF would be authorized, but the 
impacts would be reduced.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed Plan 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 Low-effect Habitat Conservation Plans is based on the 
following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the proposed Plan would 
result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, 
and candidate species and their habitats; (2) implementation of the 
proposed Plan would result in minor or negligible effects on other 
environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts of the proposed 
Plan, 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.
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the proposed Plan, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, 
we will issue a permit to the County of San Bernardino for the 
incidental take of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly from realignment 
of the intersection of Valley and Pepper avenues in the City of Colton, 
San Bernardino County, California.

    Dated: April 17, 2006.
Jim A. Bartel,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, California/Nevada 
Operations Carlsbad, California.
 [FR Doc. E6-5988 Filed 4-20-06; 8:45 am]