[Federal Register: February 25, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 37)]
[Page 10049-10050]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

FWS-R8-ES-2008-N0001; ABC Code: 81420-1113-0000-F3]

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for Serpentine Endemic Species 
Located on Tulare Hill in Santa Clara County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Pacific Gas and Electric 
Company (Applicant) has applied to the U.S. 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 
(Agreement) between the Applicant and the Service for the federally-
threatened bay checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis), the 
federally-endangered Metcalf Canyon jewelflower (Streptanthus albidus 
albidus), and the federally-threatened Santa Clara Valley dudleya 
(Dudleya setchellii). The Agreement is available for public comment.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before March 26, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Mr. Rick Kuyper, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage 
Way, W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825. Written comments may be sent 
by facsimile to (916) 414-6713.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Kuyper, Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: (916) 414-6600.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the documents for review by contacting the 
individual named above. You may also make an appointment to view the 
documents at the above address during normal business hours.


    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating landowners voluntarily 
undertake management activities on their property to enhance, restore, 
or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.). Safe Harbor Agreements, and the subsequent enhancement 
of survival permits that are issued pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of 
the Act, encourage private and other non-Federal property owners to 
implement conservation efforts for listed species by assuring property 
owners that they will not be subjected to increased property use 
restrictions as a result of their efforts to attract listed species to 
their property, or to increase the numbers or distribution of listed 
species already on their property. Application requirements and 
issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits through Safe 
Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    The Service has worked with the Applicant to develop the proposed 
Agreement for the conservation of the bay checkerspot butterfly, the 

[[Page 10050]]

Canyon jewelflower, and the Santa Clara Valley dudleya on Tulare Hill 
(Enrolled Property) in Santa Clara County, California. The 45-acre 
Enrolled Property subject to this Agreement is located on serpentine 
soil. In order to benefit the bay checkerspot butterfly for the 
duration of this Agreement, the Applicant proposes to allow cattle 
grazing on the Enrolled Property. The Service expects that the proposed 
grazing activities will result in an increase in host plants for the 
bay checkerspot butterfly throughout the Enrolled Property thus 
resulting in a net conservation benefit for the bay checkerspot 
butterfly. Grazing may impact the Metcalf Canyon jewelflower and the 
Santa Clara Valley dudleya. The Agreement includes a monitoring 
component that will aid managers in selecting grazing management 
strategies that maintain bay checkerspot butterfly habitat while not 
adversely affecting these two listed plant species.
    This Agreement provides for the restoration, enhancement, and 
management of serpentine habitat suitable for the bay checkerspot 
butterfly, the Metcalf Canyon jewelflower, and the Santa Clara Valley 
dudleya on the Enrolled Property. The proposed duration of the 
Agreement is 5 years, and the proposed term of the enhancement of 
survival permit is 30 years. When fully implemented, the Agreement and 
requested enhancement of survival permit will allow the Applicant to 
return to baseline after the end of the 5-year term of the Agreement 
and prior to the expiration of the 30-year permit, if so desired by the 
Applicant. The Agreement fully describes the management activities to 
be undertaken by the Applicant, and the net conservation benefits 
expected to the bay checkerspot butterfly, the Metcalf Canyon 
jewelflower, and the Santa Clara Valley dudleya.
    Upon approval of this Agreement, and consistent with the Service's 
Safe Harbor Policy published in the Federal Register on June 17, 1999 
(64 FR 32717), the Service would issue a permit to the Applicant 
authorizing take of the bay checkerspot butterfly incidental to the 
implementation of the management activities specified in the Agreement, 
incidental to other lawful uses of the Enrolled Property including 
normal, routine land management activities, and to return to pre-
Agreement conditions (baseline). The Service does not authorize 
incidental take for federally-listed plant species in accordance with 
the Act, and only renders a jeopardy/non-jeopardy determination in the 
biological opinion.
    The Applicant proposes to set the baseline level for the covered 
wildlife species (the bay checkerspot butterfly) with two measures. The 
first will be simply whether the property is grazed or not grazed, as 
grazing is recognized as an effective management tool for serpentine 
grasslands (USFWS 1998). The second will be based on a 2006 vegetation 
cover assessment of the Enrolled Property. Because of inherent 
variation in the annual occupancy rates and structure of the bay 
checkerspot butterfly metapopulation, baseline conditions may be best 
described in terms of available habitat. Baseline conditions for the 
Santa Clara Valley dudleya are defined as the number of individual 
occurrences based on the 2006 data. Baseline levels for the Metcalf 
Canyon jewelflower will be set at zero because there are no recent 
records of this species on Tulare Hill.

Public Review and Comments

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement and permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). We explain 
the basis for this determination in an Environmental Action Statement 
that is also available for public review.
    Individuals wishing copies of the Environmental Action Statement, 
and/or copies of the full text of the Agreement, including a map of the 
proposed permit area, should contact the office and personnel listed in 
the ADDRESSES section above.
    If you wish to comment on the Agreement, you may submit your 
comments to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this 
document. Comments and materials received, including names and 
addresses of respondents, will be available for public review, by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the address in the 
ADDRESSES section above and will become part of the public record, 
pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. Individual respondents may 
request that the Service withhold their home address from the record, 
which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also may be 
circumstances in which the Service would withhold from the record a 
respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish the Service to 
withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at 
the beginning of your comment. Anonymous comments will not be 
considered. 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.
    The Service will evaluate this permit application, associated 
documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the 
permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act 
and NEPA regulations. If the Service determines that the requirements 
are met, we will sign the proposed Agreement and issue an enhancement 
of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to the 
Applicant for take of the bay checkerspot butterfly incidental to 
otherwise lawful activities in accordance with the terms of the 
Agreement. The Service will not make our final decision until after the 
end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments 
received during the comment period.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: January 24, 2008.
Susan K. Moore,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Sacramento, 
 [FR Doc. E8-3420 Filed 2-22-08; 8:45 am]