[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 188 (Thursday, September 27, 2012)]
[Pages 59414-59415]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-23783]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2012-N177; FF08E00000-FXES11120800000F2-123-F2]

Application From Marys River Ranch, Elko County, NV, for an 
Enhancement of Survival Permit; Safe Harbor Agreement

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: In response to an application from Marys River Ranch 
(applicant), the Fish and Wildlife Service (we, the Service) is 
considering issuance of an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(ESA). The enhancement of survival permit application includes a 
proposed safe harbor agreement (SHA) between the applicant and the 
Service. The proposed SHA provides for voluntary habitat restoration, 
maintenance, or enhancement activities to facilitate the repatriation 
and recovery of Lahontan cutthroat within the enrolled property. The 
proposed duration of both the SHA and permit is 50 years. The Service 
has made a preliminary determination that the proposed SHA and permit 
application are eligible for categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The basis for this 
determination is contained in an environmental action statement, which 
also is available for public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on October 29, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be sent to Edward D. Koch, State 
Supervisor, by U.S. mail; or hand delivered to the Nevada Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1340 Financial 
Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, NV 89502; or faxed to 775-861-6301 (for 
further information and instructions on the reviewing and commenting 
process, see Availability of Documents section below).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chad Mellison, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the address shown above or by telephone at 775-861-6300. 
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the 
Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, the 
environmental action statement, or the full text of the proposed SHA, 
including a map of the proposed permit area, references, and 
description of the proposed permit area, should contact the office and 
personnel listed in the ADDRESSES section. Documents also will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at this office (see ADDRESSES).

Background Information

    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 ESA (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 ESA, 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

[[Page 59415]]

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 the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.22(c) and 17.32(c). An enhancement of 
survival permit allows any necessary future incidental take of species 
above the mutually agreed upon baseline conditions for the species, as 
long as the take is in accordance with the terms and conditions of the 
permit and accompanying agreement.

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for Lahontan cutthroat trout

    The primary objective of this proposed SHA is to encourage 
voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance, or enhancement activities 
to benefit Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi). 
The SHA would cover conservation activities to create, maintain, 
restore, or enhance habitat for Lahontan cutthroat trout and achieve 
species' recovery goals. These actions, where appropriate, could 
include (but are not limited to): (1) Restoration of riparian habitat 
and stream form and function; (2) variation of stocking rates for 
livestock (number/density of animals per unit area); (3) repair or 
installation of fences to protect existing or created habitat from 
livestock disturbance; (4) control of nonnative fish species; and (5) 
installation of screens on irrigation diversions as well as 
facilitation of the implementation of other objectives recommended by 
the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Plan (Service 1995). The overall 
goal of the SHA is to produce conservation measures that are mutually 
beneficial to the applicant and the long-term existence of Lahontan 
cutthroat trout. Based upon the probable species' response time for 
Lahontan cutthroat trout, the Service estimates it will take 5-10 years 
of implementing the planned conservation measures to fully reach a net 
conservation benefit; some level of benefit would likely occur within a 
shorter time period. After maintenance of the restored/created/enhanced 
Lahontan cutthroat trout habitat on the property for the agreed-upon 
term, the applicant may then conduct otherwise lawful activities on the 
property that result in the partial or total elimination of the habitat 
improvements and the taking of Lahontan cutthroat trout. However, the 
restrictions on returning a property to its original baseline condition 
include: (1) The applicant must demonstrate that baseline conditions 
were maintained during the term of the SHA and the conservation 
measures necessary for achieving a net conservation benefit were 
carried out; and (2) the Service will be notified a minimum of 60 days 
prior to the activity and given the opportunity to capture, rescue, 
and/or relocate any Lahontan cutthroat trout.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed SHA qualifies for a categorical exclusion under NEPA (23 
CFR 771.117), as provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM 
2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). We explain the basis for this 
determination in an environmental action statement that is available 
for public review. Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not 
intend to prepare further NEPA documentation. The Service will consider 
public comments in making its final determination on whether to prepare 
such additional documentation.

Public Review and Comments

    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public on the proposed Federal action of issuing a permit, including 
the identification of any aspects of the human environment not already 
analyzed in our environmental action statement. Further, we 
specifically solicit information regarding the adequacy of the SHA as 
measured against our permit issuance criteria found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    Before including your address, phone number, email 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 provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
ESA and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). 
We will evaluate the permit application, the proposed SHA, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA and NEPA regulations. If the 
requirements are met, the Service will sign the proposed SHA and issue 
an enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA 
to the applicant for take of the Lahontan cutthroat trout incidental to 
otherwise lawful activities of the project. The Service will not make a 
final decision until after the end of the 30-day comment period and 
will fully consider all comments received during the comment period.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this document is 
available from the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

    Dated: September 4, 2012,
Edward D. Koch,
State Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, Reno, Nevada.
[FR Doc. 2012-23783 Filed 9-26-12; 8:45 am]