[Federal Register: August 28, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 166)]
[Page 44378-44379]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2008-N0341; 81420-1113-0000-F3]

Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the California 
Rangeland Conservation Coalition in Butte, Glenn, Shasta, and Tehama 
Counties, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the California Cattlemen's 
Association (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-
endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), the 
threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), the 
endangered Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), the 
threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus 
dimorphus), the threatened giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas), the 
threatened California red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytonii), the 
threatened Hoover's spurge (Chamaesyce hooveri), the endangered Butte 
County meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica), the 
endangered hairy Orcutt grass (Orcuttia pilosa), the threatened slender 
Orcutt grass (Orcuttia tenuis), and the endangered Greene's tuctoria 
(Tuctoria greenei) (collectively referred to as the Covered Species). 
The Agreement is available for public comment.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 28, 

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 also 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 document for review by contacting the 
individual named above. You may also make an appointment to view the 
document 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) and 17.32(c). These 
permits allow any necessary future incidental take of covered species 
above the mutually agreed upon baseline conditions for those species in 
accordance with the terms and conditions of the permits and 
accompanying agreements.
    This Agreement was developed by members of the California Rangeland 
Conservation Coalition (CRCC), including the Applicant, the Service, 
the California Department of Fish and Game, the Natural Resources 
Conservation Service, the California Farm Bureau Federation, 
Environmental Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and Sustainable 
Conservation. In addition, the CRCC met with recognized species experts 
and private cattle ranchers in development of the Agreement. The 
Agreement is expected to promote the recovery of the Covered Species on 
non-Federal properties within Butte, Glenn, Tehama, and Shasta 
Counties. The proposed duration of the Agreement and the associated 
Enhancement of Survival permit are 50 years.
    The Agreement was also prepared in conjunction with the California 
Department of Fish and Game's Voluntary Local Program, which is roughly 
equivalent to the Federal Safe Harbor Program. The California 
Department of Fish and Game will cover a variety of State-listed 
species through this joint-Agreement.
    The proposed Enhancement of Survival permit would authorize the 
incidental taking of the Covered Species associated with: the 
restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of suitable habitat for the 
Covered Species; routine activities associated with rangeland and some 
agricultural lands management; and the potential future return of any 
property included in the Agreement to baseline conditions. Under this 
Agreement, individual landowners (Cooperators) may include their 
properties by entering into a Cooperative Agreement with the Applicant. 
Each Cooperative Agreement will specify the restoration and/or 
enhancement, and management activities to be carried out on that 
specific property and a timetable for implementing those activities. 
All Cooperative Agreements will be reviewed by the Service to determine 
whether the proposed activities will result in a net conservation 
benefit for the Covered Species and meet all required standards of the 
Safe Harbor Policy (64 FR 32717). Upon Service approval, the Applicant 
will issue a Certificate of Inclusion to the Cooperator. Each 
Certificate of Inclusion will extend the incidental take coverage 
conferred by the Enhancement of Survival permit to the Cooperator. 
Certificates of Inclusion will be valid for a period of 10 years and 
are renewable during the 50-year term of the Enhancement of Survival 
permit. Specific determinations for which species will be covered under 
each Cooperative Agreement will be determined by the Service on a case 
by case basis and will depend on the type of habitat present and the 
restoration and/or enhancement activities that will be implemented by 
the Cooperator.

[[Page 44379]]

    Baseline levels for the Covered Species will be determined by 
completing the Baseline Habitat Worksheet (Attachment 4 of the 
Agreement), which will be completed by a person approved by the 
Service. The Service will review each baseline determination prior to 
the Applicant issuing a Certificate of Inclusion to the Cooperator. The 
Agreement also contains a monitoring component that requires the 
Applicant to ensure that the Cooperators are in compliance with the 
terms and conditions of the Agreement and maintaining baseline levels 
of habitat for the Covered Species. Results of these monitoring efforts 
will be provided to the Service by the Applicant in an annual report.
    Upon approval of this Agreement, and consistent with the Service's 
Safe Harbor Policy (64 FR 32717), the Service would issue an 
Enhancement of Survival permit to the Applicant. This permit will 
authorize Cooperators issued a Certificate of Inclusion to take the 
Covered Species incidental to the implementation of the management 
activities specified in the Agreement, incidental to other lawful uses 
of the property including normal, routine land management activities, 
and incidental to return to baseline conditions if desired. Although 
take of listed plant species is not prohibited under the Act, and 
therefore cannot be authorized under an enhancement of survival permit, 
plant species may be included on a permit in recognition of the net 
conservation benefit provided to them under a safe harbor agreement. An 
applicant would receive assurances under our ``No Surprises'' 
regulations (50 CFR 17.22(c)(5) and 17.32(c)(5)) for all species 
included in the Enhancement of Survival permit. In addition to meeting 
other criteria, actions to be performed under an Enhancement of 
Survival permit must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed 
fish, wildlife, or plants.

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.
    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.
    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 Covered Species 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).

    August 21, 2009.
Susan K. Moore,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. E9-20747 Filed 8-27-09; 8:45 am]