[Federal Register: December 21, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 243)]
[Page 67897-67899]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2009-XXXXX; 81420-1113-0000-F3]

Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the Sacramento 
River Conservation Area Forum in Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Glenn, Colusa, 
Yolo, and Sutter Counties, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Sacramento River 
Conservation Area Forum (Applicant) has applied to

[[Page 67898]]

the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an Enhancement of 
Survival Permit under 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 valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus 
dimorphus) and the Federally threatened giant garter snake (Thamnophis 
gigas) (collectively referred to as the Covered Species). The Agreement 
is available for public comment.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
January 20, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Ms. Kathy Brown, via U.S. Mail at U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage 
Way, W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825; or via facsimile to (916) 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Kathy Brown, 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 the Service and the Applicant. The 
Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum is a non-profit organization 
that evolved from 1986 State of California legislation (SB1086). The 
legislation called for a management plan to protect, restore and 
enhance the fisheries and riparian habitat along the Sacramento River 
from Keswick Dam down river to Verona, California. This effort is 
cooperative in nature and works to ensure that habitat restoration and 
management addresses not only the dynamics of riparian ecosystems, but 
also the realities of local agricultural and recreational issues 
associated with land use changes occurring along the Sacramento River.
    The Agreement is expected to promote the recovery of the Covered 
Species on non-Federal properties within the Sacramento River 
Conservation Area within Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Yolo, 
and Sutter Counties. The proposed duration of the Agreement and the 
associated Enhancement of Survival permit are 30 years. 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 agricultural lands management; minor flood 
risk 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 30-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.
    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 take of 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 to return to baseline conditions if desired. 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 

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.

[[Page 67899]]

    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).

    Dated: December 14, 2009.
Susan K. Moore,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. E9-30207 Filed 12-18-09; 8:45 am]