[Federal Register: June 4, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 108)]
[Page 31876-31877]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2008-N0109; 80221-1112-0000-F2]

Tehachapi Uplands Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, 
the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), advise the public of our 
intent to gather information necessary to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) on the Tehachapi Uplands Multi-species Habitat 
Conservation Plan (MSHCP). Tejon Ranch is preparing the MSHCP to apply 
for a 50-year incidental take permit under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, (Act). The permit 
is needed to authorize the incidental take of threatened and endangered 
species that could occur as a result of activities covered by the plan.
    The Service provides this notice to (1) describe the proposed 
action and possible alternatives; (2) advise other Federal and State 
agencies, affected Tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an 
EIS; (3) announce the initiation of a public scoping period; and (4) 
obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to be 
included in the EIS. Similar Notices of Intent were published on June 
25, 2004 (69 FR 35663) and March 26, 2008 (73 FR 16052). This notice is 
being published to clarify the proposed action, to correct a previous 
ADDRESSES error, and to allow additional public input.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before July 7, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Written comments submitted to Mary Grim, Section 10 Program 
Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, 
Sacramento, CA 95825. Comments may also be sent by e-mail to tu--hcp--
eis@fws.gov. Comments previously received during previous public 
scoping periods will also be considered.

Service, at 916-414-6464.



    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' 
of wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened (16 U.S.C. 
1538). The Act

[[Page 31877]]

defines the term ``take'' as: to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed species, or to attempt to 
engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532). Harm includes significant 
habitat modification or degradation that actually kills or injures 
listed wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral 
patterns, including breeding, feeding, and sheltering [50 CFR 17.3(c)]. 
Pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, the Service may issue 
permits to authorize ``incidental take'' of listed animal 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. All 
species included on an incidental take permit would receive assurances 
under the Service's ``No Surprises'' regulation [50 CFR 17.22(b)(5) and 
    Species proposed for coverage in the HCP are species that are 
currently listed as federally threatened or endangered or have the 
potential to become listed during the life of this MSHCP and have some 
likelihood to occur within the project area. Should any of the unlisted 
covered wildlife species become listed under the Act during the term of 
the permit, take authorization for those species would become effective 
upon listing. Six plant species and 28 animal species are known to 
occur within the area and are proposed to be covered by the MSHCP. 
Species may be added to or deleted from the list of proposed covered 
species during the course of the development of the MSHCP based on 
further analysis, new information, agency consultation, and public 
comment. Currently, the MSHCP would include the following federally 
listed animal species: California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), 
least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), southwestern willow 
flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), Valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle (Democerus californicus dimorphus), and Western yellow-billed 
cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis). The MSHCP would also include 
the following State listed and unlisted species: Tehachapi slender 
salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi), bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus), American peregrine falcon (Falco peregrines anatum), 
little willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii brewsteri), golden eagle 
(Aquila chrysaetos), white-tailed kite (Elanus leucorux), ringtail 
(Bassariscus astutus), tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor), 
California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis), Tehachapi 
pocket mouse (Perognathus alticolus inexpectatus), burrowing owl 
(Athene cunicularia), yellow-blotched salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzi 
croceater), western spadefoot (Spea hammondii), purple martin (Progne 
subis), northern goshawk (Accipiter gentalis), coast horned lizard 
(frontale and blainvilli populations) (Phrynosoma coronatum), Cooper's 
hawk (Accipiter cooperii), yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens), 
prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), 
long-eared owl (Asio otus), two-striped garter snake (Thamnophis 
hammondii), round-leaved filaree (Erodium macrophyllum), Fort Tejon 
woolly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum var. hallii), Kusche's sandwort 
(Amenaria macradenia var. kuschei), Tehachapi buckwheat (Eriogonum 
callistum), American badger (Taxidea taxus), striped adobe lily 
(Fritillaria striata), and Tejon poppy (Eschscholzia lemmonii ssp. 
    Activities proposed to be covered by the MSHCP include limited 
private development; livestock grazing and range management; film 
production; maintenance and construction of underground utilities; 
recreation with the exception of hunting; existing commercial and 
residential improvements; farming and irrigation systems; repair, 
maintenance, and use of roads; and existing mineral extraction 
facilities. The MSHCP would not cover hunting, nor would it cover the 
lethal take of California condors. The MSHCP will propose a 
conservation strategy to minimize and mitigate to the maximum extent 
possible any impacts that would occur to covered species as the result 
of the covered activities.

Environmental Impact Statement

    The EIS will consider the proposed action (i.e., the issuance of a 
section 10(a)1(B) permit under the Act), no action (no section 10 
permit), and a reasonable range of alternatives. A detailed description 
of the proposed action and alternatives will be included in the EIS. 
The EIS will also identify potentially significant impacts on 
biological resources, land use, air quality, water resources, 
transportation, and other environmental resource issues that could 
occur directly or indirectly with implementation of the proposed action 
and alternatives. Different strategies for avoiding, minimizing, and 
mitigating the impacts of incidental take may also be considered.
    Environmental review of the EIS will be conducted in accordance 
with the requirements of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other applicable 
regulations, and Service procedures for compliance with those 
regulations. This notice is being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR 
Section 1501.7 and 1508.22 to obtain suggestions and information from 
other agencies and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives 
to be addressed in the EIS. The primary purpose of the scoping process 
is to identify important issues raised by the public related to the 
proposed action. Written comments from interested parties are invited 
to ensure that the full range of issues related to the permit 
application is identified. Comments will only be accepted in written 
form. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become 
part of the official administrative record and may be made available to 
the public.
    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 may 
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.

    Dated: May 29, 2008.
Ken McDermond,
Deputy Regional Director, California Nevada Region, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. E8-12426 Filed 6-3-08; 8:45 am]