[Federal Register: April 14, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 70)]
[Page 17207-17208]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 17207]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2009-N0077; 81440-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permits, Santa 
Cruz County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application for Incidental Take Permit 
(ITP); availability of proposed low-effect habitat conservation plan; 
request for comment.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application and 
proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We have received these, along with other 
pertinent documents available for review, from the Salvation Army 
(applicant). The applicant anticipates removing an approximate total of 
0.084 acre of Mount Hermon June beetle (Polyphylla barbata)--occupied 
habitat, which includes 0.011 acre occupied by the Ben Lomond 
spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana). Both of these 
species are listed as endangered under the Act. We request comments on 
the ITP application and on our preliminary determination that the 
proposed HCP qualifies as a ``low-effect'' HCP, eligible for a 
categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), as amended.

DATES: We must receive any written comments on or before May 14, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Diane Noda, Field 
Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003. You may 
alternatively send comments by facsimile to (805) 644-3958. To obtain 
copies of draft documents, see ``Availability of Documents'' under 

ADDRESSES), telephone: (805) 644-1766 extension 224.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the ITP application and HCP by contacting 
the HCP Coordinator (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Documents 
will also be available for review by appointment, during normal 
business hours, at the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES), or via the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/ventura.


    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations prohibit the ``take'' of fish or wildlife species listed as 
endangered or threatened. Take of listed fish or wildlife is defined 
under the Act as ``to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, 
trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such 
conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1532). However, under limited circumstances, we 
may issue permits to cover incidental take--i.e., take that is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise 
lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take permits for 
threatened and endangered species are found at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, 
respectively. The Act's take prohibitions do not apply to federally 
listed plants on private lands, unless such take would violate State 
law. In addition to meeting other criteria, actions to be performed 
under ITPs must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed fish, 
wildlife, or plants.

Proposed Project

    We received an application from the Salvation Army for an 
incidental take permit (ITP), along with a proposed habitat 
conservation plan (HCP). The applicant requests a 3-year ITP under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If we approve the ITP, the applicant 
anticipates taking approximately 0.084 acre of Mount Hermon June 
beetle-occupied habitat, which includes 0.011 acre occupied by the Ben 
Lomond spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana), incidental 
to the construction of a suite of infrastructure improvements at Camp 
Redwood Glen, in Santa Cruz County, California (project). The planned 
infrastructure improvements include small building additions, retaining 
walls, parking areas, patios, and paths, all of which are being 
developed primarily to increase the accessibility of the camp 
facilities for disabled persons. The project would occur within parcel 
094-011-20 near the City of Scotts Valley, in Santa Cruz County, 
California. The project area encompasses approximately 4.5 acres within 
the 207-acre parcel, and the footprints of the infrastructure 
improvements would permanently eliminate 0.084 acre of Mount Hermon 
June beetle habitat, while temporarily impacting an additional 0.017 
acre of Mount Hermon June beetle habitat. Approximately 0.012 acre of 
Ben Lomond spineflower plants that co-occur within the Mount Hermon 
June beetle habitat would also be disturbed; 0.011 acre would be 
permanently removed, while less than 0.001 acre would be temporarily 
    The Salvation Army's proposed HCP describes the following 
mitigation and minimization measures to address the effects of the 
project on the Mount Hermon June beetle and Ben Lomond spineflower. To 
mitigate for incidental take of the Mount Hermon June beetle and 
impacts to the Ben Lomond spineflower at the project site, the 
applicant will purchase 0.101 acre of conservation credits at the 
recently approved Ben Lomond Sandhills Preserve of the Zayante 
Sandhills Conservation Bank, operated by PCO, LLC. In addition, the 
applicant will implement a number of minimization measures intended to 
reduce impacts from the proposed project on the Mount Hermon June 
beetle and Ben Lomond spineflower. A summary of the minimization 
measures proposed by the applicant follows: (1) If ground disturbing 
activities are conducted during the Mount Hermon June beetle flight 
season, black plastic will be used to cover exposed soil to prevent 
burrowing of dispersing male Mount Hermon June beetles; (2) larvae and 
adult Mount Hermon June beetles identified during project activities 
will be captured and relocated; (3) night lighting will be minimized to 
prevent disruption of dispersing Mount Hermon June beetles; (4) the use 
of landscaping elements that deter use by Mount Hermon June beetles 
will be minimized; (5) Ben Lomond spineflower seeds will be collected 
from areas that would be disturbed and distributed in appropriate 
habitat; and (6) non-native plants will be removed from the Ben Lomond 
spineflower population that would be disturbed.
    The project is located on soils known as ``Zayante sands.'' These 
soils support the Zayante sandhills ecosystem, which occurs exclusively 
in the Santa Cruz Mountains near the city of Scotts Valley and the 
communities of Ben Lomond, Mount Hermon, Felton, Olympia, Corralitos, 
and Bonny Doon. The Mount Hermon June beetle is restricted to Zayante 
sands soils in the Scotts Valley-Mount Hermon-Felton-Ben Lomond area, 
and is found in association with Zayante sandhills vegetation, which is 
characterized by a mosaic of ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) and 
silverleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos silvicola), and areas that are 
sparsely vegetated with grasses and herbs.

[[Page 17208]]

National Environmental Policy Act

    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on our 
preliminary determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ``low 
effect'' HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.). We explain the basis for this possible determination in our 
draft Environmental Action Statement (EAS) and associated Low Effect 
Screening Form. The draft HCP, Low Effect Screening Form, and EAS are 
available for public review.
    We have made a preliminary determination that the HCP qualifies as 
a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by our Habitat Conservation Planning 
Handbook (November 1996). Our determination that a HCP qualifies as a 
low-effect plan is based on the following criteria: (1) Implementation 
of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally 
listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) 
implementation of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects 
on other environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts of the HCP, 
considered together with the impacts of other past, present, and 
reasonably foreseeable similarly situated projects, would not result, 
over time, in significant cumulative effects to the environmental 
values or resources that would be considered significant. As more fully 
explained in our EAS and associated Low Effect Screening Form, the 
applicant's proposal for the construction of infrastructure 
improvements qualifies as a ``low effect'' plan for the following 
    (1) Approval of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects 
on the Mount Hermon June beetle and Ben Lomond spineflower and their 
habitat. We do not anticipate significant direct or cumulative effects 
to the Mount Hermon June beetle or Ben Lomond spineflower resulting 
from the proposed project.
    (2) Approval of the HCP would not have adverse effects on unique 
geographic, historic, or cultural sites, or involve unique or unknown 
environmental risks.
    (3) Approval of the HCP would not result in any growth-inducing 
impacts and would not result in significant cumulative impacts or 
adverse effects on public health or safety.
    (4) The project does not require compliance with Executive Order 
11988 (Floodplain Management), Executive Order 11990 (Protection of 
Wetlands), or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, nor does it 
threaten to violate a Federal, State, local, or tribal law or 
requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.
    (5) Approval of the HCP would not establish a precedent for future 
actions or represent a decision in principle about future actions with 
potentially significant environmental effects.
    We, therefore, have made a preliminary determination that approval 
of the HCP qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as provided 
by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 516 
DM 6, Appendix 1). Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not 
intend to prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public 
comments in making our final determination on whether to prepare such 
additional documentation.

Public Review and Comment

    If you wish to comment on the Low Effect Screening Form, draft EAS, 
or the proposed HCP, you may submit your comments to the address listed 
in the ADDRESSES section of this document.
    We will evaluate the permit application, HCP, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If we determine that the 
application meets those requirements, we will issue the ITP for the 
incidental take of the Mount Hermon June beetle. We will also evaluate 
whether issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP complies with section 7 
of the Act by conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation. We 
will use the results of this consultation, in combination with the 
above findings, in the final analysis to determine whether or not to 
issue the ITP.

Public Availability of Comments

    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.

    Authority: We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of 
the Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 

    Dated: April 8, 2009.
Diane K. Noda,
Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, Ventura, 
[FR Doc. E9-8474 Filed 4-13-09; 8:45 am]