[Federal Register: May 15, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 93)]
[Page 28048-28049]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Environmental Assessment, Draft Habitat Conservation Plan, 
and Receipt of Application for Incidental Take Permits for Cedar City 
and the Paiute Tribe for the Cedar City Golf Course and Paiute Tribal 
Lands, Utah

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: Cedar City and the Paiute Tribe of Utah (Applicants) have 
applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for incidental 
take permits pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species 
Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. The requested permits, which are for a 
period of 20 years, would authorize incidental take of the Utah prairie 
dog (UPD) (Cynomys parvidens), a species federally-listed as 
threatened. The proposed take would occur as a result of maintenance of 
the Cedar City Golf Course and Paiute Tribal recreational grounds in 
Cedar City, Utah.
    We also announce the availability of a draft Environmental 
Assessment (EA) and a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for public 
review and comment. The Service requests comments from the public on 
the permit application, EA, and HCP. The permit application includes 
the proposed HCP and associated draft Implementation Agreement. The HCP 
describes the proposed action and the measures the Applicants will 
undertake to minimize and mitigate to the maximum extent practicable 
the take of UDP. All comments on the EA, HCP, and permit application 
will become part of the administrative record and will be available to 
the public. A determination of whether jeopardy to the species will 
occur, a Finding of No Significant Impact, and/or issuance of the 
incidental take permits, will not be made before 60 days from the date 
of publication of this notice. This notice is provided pursuant to 
section 10(c) of the ESA and National Environmental Policy Act 
regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES: Written comments on the permit application, EA, and HCP must be 
received on or before July 14, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the permit application, EA, and HCP 
should be addressed to Henry Maddux, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2369 West Orton Circle 50, West Valley City, 
Utah 84119. Comments also may be submitted by facsimile to (801) 975-
3331. Persons wishing to review the permit application, EA, or HCP may 
obtain a copy by writing to the above office. Documents will be 
available for public inspection by written request, or by appointment 
only, during business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the above address. 
The EA and HCP also will be posted on the Internet at http://mountainprairie.fws.gov/species/mammals/utprairiedog/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Henry Maddux, Field Supervisor, at the 
above address or telephone (801) 975-3330.



    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 Applicants have submitted an application to the Service for 
permits to incidentally take UPDs, pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the ESA, in association with maintenance of the Golf Course and Tribal 
recreational lands. The permits would allow the Cedar City Golf Course 
and the Paiute

[[Page 28049]]

Tribal Lands to be managed free of UPDs. Details of this alternative 
are found in the Cedar City Golf Course and Paiute Tribal Lands draft 
HCP. Proposed minimization and mitigation for the action are described 
in the HCP and include translocation of UPDs to restored Federal lands 
and the restoration and protection in perpetuity of 123 hectares (303 
acres) of privately owned lands occupied by UPDs. The proposed permits 
would be in effect for 20 years. Authorized take would include harm, 
harassment, and direct mortality of UPDs. However, if the Service 
determines that the obligations of the ESA section 10(a)(1)(B) permits 
are not being met (e.g., unauthorized taking or permit violations by 
the cooperators is occurring), the permits may be revoked if remedial 
actions are not immediately implemented to alleviate such violations.
    The HCP associated with the permits would be carried out in two 
phases. In the first phase, 123 hectares (303 acres) known as Wild Pea 
Hollow would be acquired, protected in perpetuity, and managed for 
UPDs. Upon protection of the property, the permits would authorize 
intensive live-trapping of prairie dogs for two consecutive seasons at 
the Cedar City Golf Course. These animals would be translocated to 
identified translocation sites on public lands.
    The second phase of the HCP will be initiated with the enhancement 
of approximately 47 hectares (115 acres) at Wild Pea Hollow to increase 
potential habitat. Once the restoration has been completed, the Paiute 
Tribe may begin live-trapping UPD for two consecutive seasons. These 
animals also will be translocated to identified translocation sites on 
public lands.
    On both the Cedar City Golf Course and the Paiute Tribal Lands, 
once intensive live-trapping has been undertaken for 2 consecutive 
years and the success criteria of the HCP have been met, the applicants 
may manage their lands free of UPD through the use of conibear traps.
    Take of occupied UPD habitat will not exceed that identified in the 
HCP. Take of individual animals will depend on unpredictable factors 
such as weather and plague events but will depend on trapping success.
    The Cedar City Golf Course and the Paiute Tribal Lands are located 
in the center of Cedar City, Utah, and are surrounded by development. 
Private lands surrounding these lands are covered by the Iron County 
HCP and will soon be developed. It is unlikely that the animals on the 
Cedar City Golf Course or the Paiute Tribal Lands contribute to long-
term viability of the species due to this isolation.
    A no-action alternative to the proposed action was considered. This 
alternative would result in a small number of UPD being live-trapped 
and translocated to restored Federal lands under the current Iron 
County HCP but would not address the continued safety concerns and 
damage to equipment. An additional alternative considered was to 
mitigate the loss of habitat and animals in the roughs of the Cedar 
City Golf Course. This alternative would be difficult to accomplish and 
would be unlikely to address safety concerns.
    We will evaluate the application, associated documents, and 
comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets 
the requirement of National Environmental Policy Act regulations and 
section 10(a) of the ESA. If we determine that those requirements are 
met, we will issue permits to the Applicants for the incidental take of 
UPD. We will make our final permit decisions no sooner than 60 days 
from the date of this notice.

    Dated: April 28, 2006.
James J. Slack,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 6.
[FR Doc. E6-7318 Filed 5-12-06; 8:45 am]