[Federal Register: February 25, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 37)]
[Page 8733-8735]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-ES-2009-N277; 65411-1112-0000-A2]

Least Chub and Columbia Spotted Frog Candidate Conservation 
Agreement With Assurances; Receipt of Application for Enhancement of 
Survival Permit; Bishop Springs, UT

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an 
application from Herman Young and Sons, Inc. (Applicant), for an 
enhancement of survival permit (permit) under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The permit application includes a 
proposed Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for 
the least chub (Iotichthys phlegethontis) and Columbia spotted frog 
(Rana lutreiventris) between the Applicant, the Utah Division of 
Wildlife Resources (UDWR), and the Service. The CCAA would be 
implemented at the Bishop Springs marsh complex (Bishop Springs) in 
Juab County, Utah. We have made a preliminary determination that the 
proposed CCAA and permit application are eligible for categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). 
The basis for this preliminary determination is contained in an 
Environmental Action Statement. We are accepting comments on the permit 
application, the proposed CCAA, and the Environmental Action Statement.

DATES: We must receive comments no later than March 29, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Address all written comments to Larry Crist, by U.S. mail at 
Utah Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2369 West Orton 
Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, UT 84119; by facsimile to 801-975-
3331; or by e-mail to larry_crist@fws.gov.

Supervisor, 801-975-3330. If you use a

[[Page 8734]]

telecommunications device for the deaf, you may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under a Candidate Conservation Agreement 
with Assurances, participating landowners voluntarily undertake 
management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or 
maintain habitat benefiting species that are proposed for listing under 
the Act, or that are candidates for listing, or may become candidates. 
Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances, and the subsequent 
permits we issue under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.), encourage private and other non-Federal property owners to 
implement conservation efforts for species, by assuring property owners 
that they will not be subjected to increased land use restrictions as a 
result of efforts to attract or increase the numbers or distribution of 
a listed species on their property, if that species becomes listed 
under the Act in the future. Application requirements and issuance 
criteria for permits through the Candidate Conservation Agreement with 
Assurances are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 
17.22(d) and 17.32(d).
    Historically, least chub and Columbia spotted frog inhabited a 
variety of aquatic habitat types throughout the Bonneville Basin in 
Utah. In the West Desert of Utah these species occur in many of the 
same spring complexes, including Bishop Springs. Both species have 
declined to the extent that they have been considered for listing under 
the Endangered Species Act.
    A decline in the distribution and abundance of the least chub was 
first noted in the 1940s and 1950s. Habitat loss and degradation have 
been identified as major causes for this decline. Surveys indicate that 
where nonnative fishes have been introduced, few if any least chub 
    In 1998, the Service, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation, Utah Reclamation 
Mitigation and Conservation Commission, Confederated Tribes of the 
Goshute Reservation, and Central Utah Water Conservancy District signed 
a Least Chub Conservation Agreement and Strategy (LCCAS). The LCCAS is 
a voluntary agreement to ensure the long-term survival of the least 
chub within its historic range and assist in the development of 
rangewide conservation efforts. Significant conservation measures were 
accomplished for the species and several new populations were located 
outside the West Desert ecosystem. The only remaining naturally 
occurring and relatively secure populations of least chub are present 
in five spring complexes in Snake Valley, Utah, one of which is Bishop 
Springs. Groundwater pumping may impact these sites in the future.
    The Columbia spotted frog was removed as a candidate for listing 
under the Act in 1999. Since that time, an interagency team continues 
to manage the species in accordance with Columbia Spotted Frog 
Conservation Agreement and Strategy (SPCAS). Despite this conservation 
agreement, some habitat loss and localized impacts to the spotted frog 
    The proposed CCAA represents another significant milestone in the 
cooperative conservation efforts for these species and is consistent 
with section 2(a)(5) of the Act, which encourages creative partnerships 
among public, private, and government entities to conserve imperiled 
species and their habitats. The CCAA is also consistent with continued 
implementation of the LCAS and SPCAS and addresses known impacts to 
both species at Bishop Springs.
    Conservation efforts in the proposed CCAA will provide perennial 
and legally protected instream flows to Bishop Springs for supporting 
self sustaining populations of least chub and spotted frog. Under the 
proposed CCAA, the UDWR would use a water right, conveyed by the 
Applicant, to maintain instream flow at Bishop Springs to protect and 
maintain approximately 1,020 acres of habitat for the least chub and 
Columbia spotted frog. The Applicant previously used this water right 
to irrigate agricultural lands. The Applicant will agree to: (1) Reduce 
water diversion from Bishop Springs through the use of a more efficient 
irrigation system improved by UDWR; (2) reduce acreage irrigated; and 
(3) not appropriate additional water from Bishop Springs. Certain 
restrictions on the volume and flow of the Applicant's reserved water 
right would allow beneficial use of water for irrigation of 
agricultural lands, while ensuring suitable habitat conditions for both 
    Under certain conditions, such as prolonged drought, a small number 
of individuals of these species could die if they are unable to retreat 
to areas with adequate water. Therefore, the Service proposes to issue 
the permit under this CCAA to provide the Applicant with regulatory 
certainty regarding take prohibitions of section 9 of the Act should 
the species become listed in the future. The proposed duration for the 
CCAA and permit is 99 years.
    When determining whether to issue the permit, we will consider a 
number of factors and information sources, including the project's 
administrative record, any public comments we receive, and the 
application requirements and issuance criteria for CCAAs contained in 
50 CFR part 17.22(d) and part 17.32(d). We will also evaluate whether 
the issuance of the permit complies with section 7 of the Act by 
conducting an intra-Service consultation. The results of this 
consultation, in combination with the above findings, regulations, and 
public comments, will determine whether or not we issue the permit.
    The proposed CCAA also provides the Applicant with regulatory 
assurances, that in the event of unforeseen circumstances, we would not 
require additional conservation measures or the commitment of 
additional land, water, or resource use restrictions beyond the level 
obligated in this Agreement, without the consent of the Applicant and 
    We have made the preliminary determination that the Applicant's 
conservation measures meet the intent of the CCAA policy, based on the 
proposed protection of established populations and habitat for these 
species within their historic range. Habitat conditions within Bishop 
Springs have been evaluated by the Applicant, UDWR, and the Service, 
and are suitable for sustaining and enhancing populations of least chub 
and Columbia spotted frog.
    We have also made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement and permit issuance are eligible for categorical exclusion 
under NEPA. The basis for this determination is in the Environmental 
Action Statement, which is available for public review (see ADDRESSES).
    If you wish to comment on the Agreement and associated documents, 
you may submit your comments to the Service (see ADDRESSES). 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.
    We will evaluate this permit application, associated documents, and 
comments submitted thereon to determine whether the permit application 
meets the requirements of

[[Page 8735]]

section 10(a) of the Act and NEPA regulations at 40 CFR 1506.6. If we 
determine that the requirements are met, we will sign the proposed 
Agreement and issue a permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to 
the Applicants for take of the covered species in accordance with the 
terms of the Agreement. We will not make our final decision until after 
the end of the 30-day comment period, and we will fully consider all 
comments we receive during the comment period.
    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act and 
implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: February 18, 2010.
Larry Crist,
Field Supervisor, Utah Ecological Services Office.
[FR Doc. 2010-3853 Filed 2-24-10; 8:45 am]