[Federal Register: July 10, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 131)]
[Page 37539-37540]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Application From the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, Nye County, Nevada 
for an Enhancement of Survival Permit for the Railroad Valley 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability, receipt of application


SUMMARY: The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe (Applicant) has applied to the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival 
permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). The permit application includes a proposed Safe 
Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the Applicant and the Service. The SHA 
provides for voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance, and 
enhancement activities to implement the reintroduction and long-term 
recovery of Railroad Valley Springfish (Crenichthys nevadae) within Nye 
County, Nevada. The proposed duration of both the SHA and permit is 25 
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
SHA and permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion under 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The basis for 
this determination is contained in an Environmental Action Statement 
and low-effect screening form, which are also is available for public 

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on August 9, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Robert D. Williams, Field 
Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, 
Suite 234, Reno, Nevada, 89502, facsimile number (775) 861-6301 (see 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, Public Review and Comment).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bridget Nielsen, Conservation 
Partnerships Coordinator for the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, at 
the above address or by calling (775) 861-6300.



    The primary objective of this SHA is to encourage the 
reintroduction activities and voluntary maintenance of previously 
implemented habitat restoration activities, to benefit the Railroad 
Valley springfish by relieving the Applicant, who enters into the 
provisions of the Safe Harbor Agreement with the Service, from any 
additional Section 9 liability under the Endangered Species Act beyond 
that which exists at the time the Safe Harbor Agreement is signed 
(``regulatory baseline''). A SHA encourages landowners and tribes to 
conduct voluntary conservation activities and assures them that they 
will not be subjected to increased listed species restrictions should 
their beneficial stewardship efforts result in increased listed species 
populations. Application requirements and issuance criteria for 
enhancement of survival permits through SHAs are found in 50 CFR 17.22 
and 17.32(c). As long as the Applicant allows the agreed upon 
conservation measures to be completed on their property and maintain 
their baseline responsibilities, they may make any other lawful use of 
the property during the permit term, even if such use results in the 
take of individual Railroad Valley springfish or harm to their habitat.
    The Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, located within Nye County, Nevada has 
suitable aquatic habitat for the reintroduction and long-term recovery 
of the Railroad Valley springfish which may be enrolled under the SHA. 
The Safe Harbor Agreement will include: (1) A map of the property and 
its legal location; (2) a description of the existing biological 
community including nonnative aquatic species and sensitive or 
protected species if any; (3) the portion of the property to be 
enrolled and its acreage; (4) a description of the habitat types that 
occur on the portion of the property to be enrolled including an 
accurate description of ponds or other aquatic habitats and their 
characteristics; and (5) current land-use practices and existing 
development, and the characteristics of water supplies to aquatic 
    The Applicant is committed to the long-term recovery of the 
Railroad Valley springfish and in so doing; an elevated baseline was 
negotiated for Big Warm Spring. In order to meet recovery objectives, 
at least 21,000 adult Railroad Valley springfish must be present within 
the 6 springs identified for recovery, with each population containing 
at least 1,000 adults and documented annual reproduction and 
recruitment for 5 consecutive years. Considering Big Warm Spring is 
currently not populated with of Railroad Valley springfish, the 
regulatory baseline would be zero however, the

[[Page 37540]]

Applicant voluntary offered to maintain an elevated baseline of a 
minimum of 3,000 Railroad Valley springfish in order to achieve the 
recovery goals stated in the Service's Railroad Valley Springfish 
Recovery Plan.
    The Applicant, as the Permittee, will be responsible for annual 
monitoring and reporting related to implementation of the SHA and 
fulfillment of its provisions. The Service will also assist the 
Applicant with monitoring and training of tribal staff in order to 
achieve annual monitoring and reporting goals as part of the 
partnership. As specified in the SHA, the Applicant will issue yearly 
reports to the Service related to implementation of the program.
    The SHA will cover conservation activities to create, maintain, 
restore, or enhance habitat and reintroduce a self-sustaining 
population of Railroad Valley springfish while achieving species' 
recovery goals. Management activities that are undertaken through this 
SHA will result in the reintroduction and re-establishment of a self-
sustaining population of Railroad Valley springfish within designated 
critical habitat at Big Warm Spring. The overall goal of this SHA is to 
systematically achieve recovery goals and conservation measures for the 
Railroad Valley springfish while ensuring that tribal economic, 
agricultural and cultural interests are preserved and protected.
    Given the probable species response time of Railroad Valley 
springfish to the planned conservation measures the Service estimates 
it will take 2 years of implementing the SHA to fully reach a net 
conservation benefit. Although some level of benefits will likely occur 
within a shorter time period.
    After maintenance of the restored/created/enhanced habitat and 
reintroduction of Railroad Valley springfish habitat on the property 
for the agreed-upon term, the Applicant may then conduct otherwise 
lawful activities on their property that result in the direct take of 
Railroad Valley springfish. However, the restrictions on returning a 
property to the elevated baseline condition include: (1) The Applicant 
must demonstrate that elevated baseline conditions were maintained and 
the conservation measures necessary for achieving a net conservation 
benefit were carried out; (2) the Service will be notified a minimum of 
30 days prior to the activity and given the opportunity to capture, 
rescue, and/or relocate any Railroad Valley springfish; and (3) return 
to elevated baseline conditions must be completed within the 25-year 
term of the permit issued to the Applicant.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
this SHA qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 
516 DM 6, Appendix 1) based on the following criteria: (1) 
Implementation of the SHA would result in minor or negligible effects 
on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their 
habitats; (2) implementation of the SHA would result in minor or 
negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) 
impacts of the SHA, 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. This is more fully 
explained in our Environmental Action Statement.
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. The Service will consider public 
comments in making its final determination on whether to prepare such 
additional documentation.

Public Review and Comments

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, the 
Environmental Action Statement, or copies of the full text of the SHA, 
including a map of the proposed permit area, references, and legal 
descriptions of the proposed permit area, should contact the office and 
personnel listed in the ADDRESSES section. Documents will also be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at this office (see ADDRESSES).
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). 
All comments received on the permit application and SHA, including 
names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and 
may be released to the public. If you wish us to withhold your name 
and/or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of 
your comments. 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.


    We will evaluate the permit application, the SHA, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act and NEPA regulations. If the 
requirements are met, the Service will sign the proposed SHA and issue 
an enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act 
to the Applicant for take of the Railroad Valley springfish incidental 
to otherwise lawful activities of the project. The Service will not 
make a final decision until after the end of the 30-day comment period 
and will fully consider all comments received during the comment 

    Dated: July 3, 2007.
Robert D. Williams,
Field Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, Reno, Nevada.
[FR Doc. E7-13356 Filed 7-9-07; 8:45 am]