[Federal Register: June 7, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 109)]
[Page 31602-31603]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Union
Pacific Railroad Alhambra Subdivision, City of Colton, County of San
Bernardino, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Union Pacific Railroad (applicant) has applied to the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for a 5-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 double-tracking and rail and drainage improvements 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 Union Pacific Railroad Alhambra Subdivision
Project Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan (proposed HCP), which
would be implemented by the applicant.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the
preliminary determination that the proposed HCP 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 July 9, 2007.

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. 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 HCP, 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 HCP 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 to 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 HCP.
    The applicant proposes to construct a new mainline track segment on
1.72 acres of land located east of Pepper Avenue in the City of Colton,
California. The purpose of constructing this new mainline segment is to
reduce the curve angle of the track to increase the speed and safety
for trains moving through

[[Page 31603]]

this area. We anticipate that all DSF would be lost within the 1.72
acres of DSF-occupied habitat. 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 HCP.
The purpose of the proposed HCP's conservation program is to promote
the biological conservation of the DSF. UPRR proposes to mitigate
impacts to the DSF through purchase of 3 acres of credit within the
Colton Dunes Conservation Bank in the City of Colton, San Bernardino
County, California.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take
permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, 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 HCP. Under the Curve Reduction Alternative, additional
incidental take of DSF would be authorized and additional construction
would be required. Under the No Action Alternative, no permit would be
issued, and no construction would occur.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of
the proposed HCP 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 HCP would result in
minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and
candidate species and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the
proposed HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on other
environmental values or resources; and (3) Impacts of the proposed HCP,
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
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be
able to do so.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We
will evaluate the permit application, the proposed HCP, 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 Union Pacific Railroad for the incidental
take of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly from double tracking and rail
and drainage improvements in the City of Colton, San Bernardino County,

     Dated: June 1, 2007.
Jim A. Bartel,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad,
 [FR Doc. E7-10975 Filed 6-6-07; 8:45 am]