[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 207 (Friday, October 25, 2013)]
[Pages 64001-64002]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-25167]

[[Page 64001]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0061]; [FXES11120200000F2-145-FF02ENEH00]

Finding of No Significant Impact for the Renewal and Amendment to 
the Barton Springs Pool Habitat Conservation Plan, City of Austin, 
Travis County, Texas

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and final decision.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), make 
available the final Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No 
Significant Impact (FONSI), and the final amendment to the Barton 
Springs Pool Habitat Conservation Plan (BSP HCP) under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The City of Austin (applicant) 
applied for a renewal of their existing Endangered Species Act 
incidental take permit, with a major amendment to add the Austin blind 
salamander as an additional covered species; to increase the amount of 
take for Barton Springs salamander; and to extend the permit term for 
an additional 20 years.

DATES: We are issuing the Finding of No Significant Impact with this 

ADDRESSES: Reviewing Documents:
    You may obtain copies of the FONSI, final EA, and final BSP HCP at 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (search 
for Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0061), as well as on the Service's Web 
site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas. The BSP HCP is 
also available on the City of Austin's ftp site at ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/wre/BSHCP.
    Alternatively, you may obtain a CD-ROM with electronic copies of 
the FONSI, final EA, and final BSP HCP by writing to Mr. Adam 
Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 
Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758; calling 512-490-0057; or 
faxing 512-490-0974. A limited number of printed copies of the final 
documents are also available, by request, from Mr. Zerrenner. Copies of 
the FONSI, final EA, and final BSP HCP are also available for public 
inspection and review at the following locations, by appointment and 
written request only, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:
     Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Library, 
1849 C. St. NW., Washington, DC 20240.
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 500 Gold Avenue SW., Room 
6034, Albuquerque, NM 87102.
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 
200, Austin, TX 78758.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, 
by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin Ecological 
Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758-
4460; or by telephone at 512-490-0057.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the requirements of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.), we advise the public that:
    1. We gathered the information necessary to determine impacts and 
formulate alternatives for the EA related to potential issuance of a 
renewed incidental take permit (ITP) with a major amendment to the 
    2. The applicant developed an amended habitat conservation plan 
(BSP HCP) as part of the application for an ITP, which describes the 
measures the applicant has agreed to take to minimize and mitigate the 
effects of incidental take of covered species to the maximum extent 
practicable pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); and,
    3. We have a finding of no significant impact; therefore,
    4. We issued the ITP to the applicant on September 12, 2013.
    The applicant applied for a renewed ITP (TE-839031), with a major 
amendment that will be in effect for an additional 20 years, and 
authorizes incidental take of two animal species (covered species), the 
endangered Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum) and the Austin 
Blind salamander (Eurycea waterlooensis). As described in the BSP HCP, 
the anticipated incidental take will occur in four spring sites within 
Zilker Park, Travis County, Texas (permit area), and will result from 
activities associated with otherwise lawful activities, including the 
operations and maintenance of Barton Springs Pool (covered activities). 
The final EA considers the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of 
implementation of the HCP, including the measures that will be 
implemented to minimize and mitigate such impacts to the maximum extent 


    The applicant originally held an ITP (TE-839031) for the Barton 
Springs salamander that would have expired on October 2, 2013. 
Opportunity for public review of the original permit application, the 
environmental assessment, and the habitat conservation plan was 
provided in the Federal Register on March 16, 1998 (63 FR 12817), and 
July 15, 1998 (63 FR 38191). Activities included in the existing and 
2013 BSP HCP include, but are not limited to, recreation, operations, 
maintenance, and restoration at Barton Springs Pool, Old Mill Spring, 
Eliza Spring, and Upper Barton Spring.
    The application for amendment to the ITP included adding Austin 
Blind salamander as a covered species, increasing the amount of take 
authorized for Barton Springs salamander, and an extension of the 
permit term for an additional 20 years to 2033.

Other Alternatives Considered

    We considered one alternative to the proposed action.
    1. No Action--No renewal of the ITP with a major amendment would be 
issued. Under this alternative, maintenance of the Barton Springs Pool 
would continue only until the current permit expires. When the current 
permit expires, the applicant would halt all maintenance activities 
that may cause take of listed species. As routine and post-flood 
cleaning is critical to maintaining Barton Springs Pool for 
recreational activities, use of the Pool would likely be restricted 
until a new incidental take permit could be issued. The applicant would 
continue to be subject to the take prohibitions of the Act. Where 
potential impacts could not be avoided, and where a Federal nexus 
exists, measures designed to minimize and mitigate for the impacts 
would be addressed through individual formal or informal consultation 
with the Service.

Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will not consider anonymous 
comments. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of

[[Page 64002]]

organizations or businesses, will be made available for public 
disclosure in their entirety.


    We issued an ITP to the City of Austin for implementation of the 
preferred alternative as it is described in the BSP HCP. Our decision 
is based on a thorough review of the alternatives and their 
environmental consequences. Implementation of this decision entails 
issuance of the ITP by the Service and full implementation of the BSP 
HCP by the City of Austin, including minimization and mitigation 
measures, monitoring and adaptive management, and complying with all 
terms and conditions in the ITP.


    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act and its 
implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA and its 
implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 2013-25167 Filed 10-24-13; 8:45 am]