[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 128 (Thursday, July 3, 2014)]
[Pages 38057-38058]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15702]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2014-N068; FXES11120800000F2-145-FF08ECAR00]

Incidental Take Permit Application and Draft Environmental 
Assessment for the Proposed West Valley Habitat Conservation Plan, City 
of Colton, San Bernardino County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application for an 
incidental take permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), from the City of 
Colton (City), San Bernardino County, California. The Service, in 
cooperation and coordination with the City, has prepared a draft 
environmental assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) for the City's permit application and proposed West Valley 
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). We have prepared the draft EA to 
analyze the impacts of the Service's proposed issuance of the requested 
permit for incidental take of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. The 
draft EA considers the environmental effects associated with the City's 
implementation of the proposed West Valley HCP, as well as the measures 
the City will undertake to minimize and mitigate the effects of 
incidental take to the maximum extent practicable. We provide the 
analysis in the draft EA to inform the public of the proposed action, 
alternatives, and associated impacts; and to disclose the direct, 
indirect, and cumulative environmental effects of the proposed action 
and each of the alternatives. We request public comment on the draft EA 
and proposed West Valley HCP for the City's proposed activities.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
September 2, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may use one of the methods below to 
request printed copies or a CD-ROM of the documents. Please send your 
requests or comments by any one of the following methods, and specify 
``West Valley HCP'' in your request or comment.
    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments or requests for copies 
or more information by one of the following methods.
     Email: fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov. Include ``West Valley 
HCP'' in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Palm Springs 
Fish and Wildlife Office, Attn: Mr. Kennon A. Corey, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 208, Palm Springs, CA 
     In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Telephone 760-322-
2070 to make an appointment during regular business hours to drop off 
comments or view received comments at the address identified above.
     Fax: Mr. Kennon A. Corey, Assistant Field Supervisor, 760-
322-4648, Attn: West Valley HCP.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Jenness McBride, Division Chief, 
Coachella and Imperial Valleys, 777 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 
208, Palm Springs, CA 92262, telephone 760-322-2070. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339 to contact the person 
identified above during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 
hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the 
person identified above. You will receive a reply during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of our draft EA for the City of 
Colton's proposed West Valley HCP, in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; 
NEPA), and NEPA implementing regulations in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6, as well as the availability of the 
City's 10(a)(1)(B) permit application in compliance with section 10(c) 
of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.). The draft EA considers the environmental effects associated 
with issuing the City's requested incidental take permit and 
implementation of the proposed West Valley HCP, including impacts to 
the endangered Delhi Sands flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus 


    Section 9 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations at 50 CFR part 17 prohibit the ``take'' of fish and 
wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take of listed 
fish and wildlife is defined under the Act as to ``harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed 
animal species, or to attempt to engage in such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 
1538). Harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation 
that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly 
impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, 
or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Under limited circumstances, we may issue 
permits to authorize incidental take of listed wildlife species, which 
the Act defines as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, 
the carrying out of otherwise lawful activities.
    Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and 
endangered species are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, respectively. In 
addition to meeting

[[Page 38058]]

other criteria, activities covered by an incidental take permit must 
not jeopardize the continued existence in the wild of federally listed 
wildlife or plants. The incidental take permit, if issued, would confer 
assurances to the City regarding the endangered Delhi Sands flower-
loving fly under the Service's ``No Surprises'' regulation at 50 CFR 
17.22(b)(5). Take authorization for the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly 
would become effective upon permit issuance.
    We are considering issuing a 30-year permit to the City that would 
authorize take of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly incidental to 
activities described in the City's proposed West Valley HCP. Based on 
the results of focused surveys, we consider undeveloped portions of the 
proposed West Valley HCP area, which contain habitat of varying 
suitability, as occupied by the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. 
Therefore, we have determined that the City's proposed activities would 
result in incidental take of that species. No other federally listed 
species are known to occupy the West Valley HCP area. The permit, if 
issued, would authorize incidental take of the Delhi Sands flower-
loving fly associated with proposed urban development on approximately 
79.4 acres, and with proposed habitat restoration and management of 
approximately 50.4 acres of on-site conservation areas, located in the 
City of Colton, San Bernardino County, California.
    The West Valley HCP covers an approximately 416.3-acre area in the 
City of Colton, generally located south of San Bernardino Avenue, north 
of Valley Boulevard, west of Hermosa Avenue, and east of the City of 
Colton boundary with the City of Rialto. The West Valley HCP also 
covers an approximately 5.8-acre portion of East Slover Avenue south of 
Interstate 10 and west of Pepper Avenue.
    Within the West Valley HCP area described above, the City has 
proposed certain urban development projects as Covered Activities for 
which the City would receive incidental take authorization under the 
Service's section 10(a)(1)(B) permit, provided those activities are 
otherwise lawful. Implementation of covered activities would result in 
the incidental take of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly on 
approximately 79.4 acres of suitable habitat. The City's proposed 
Covered Activities include the following projects:
    (1) New commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural and/
or horticultural development.
    (2) Redevelopment programs and projects.
    (3) Construction of public or public use facilities and structures, 
such as public roadways to their ultimate width as identified in the 
City's General Plan; improvements identified in adopted Transportation 
Improvement Programs; public utility infrastructure; trails and public 
access facilities; and other public facilities and projects identified 
in the City's General Plan.
    (4) Ongoing operation, use, and maintenance of public and private 
facilities in the City.
    (5) Restoration, monitoring, and management of existing and 
proposed conservation areas.
    (6) Abandonment of a portion of East Slover Avenue to prevent 
illegal off-highway vehicle use in adjacent habitat.
    (7) Activities undertaken in response to law enforcement and other 
    To minimize and mitigate incidental take of the Delhi Sands flower-
loving fly resulting from Covered Activities, the City proposes to set 
aside approximately 50.4 acres of suitable habitat in four permanent, 
on-site conservation areas for the species. The City would fund the 
restoration and management of the conservation areas through 
development fees and an agreement with the Riverside Land Conservancy, 
a non-profit land trust. We consider the conservation and management of 
50.4 acres would offset the direct impacts of development on 79.4 acres 
of suitable habitat because the habitat placed in conservation would 
include the majority of high quality habitat occupied by the Delhi 
Sands flower-loving fly within the West Valley HCP area. In addition, 
the configuration of the four proposed conservation areas includes two 
large, connected blocks of occupied habitat, conservation of habitat 
contiguous to existing conserved habitat, and connectivity to existing 
conserved habitat immediately west of the HCP area.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act and Service 
regulations for implementing NEPA. We have prepared a draft EA for the 
proposed action and have made it and the City's permit application 
available for public inspection (see ADDRESSES). NEPA requires that a 
range of reasonable alternatives, including the proposed action, be 
described. The draft EA analyzes three alternatives, which we developed 
in coordination with the City. The alternatives addressed include (1) 
the proposed action, which is permit issuance for incidental take 
associated with covered activities and establishment of on-site 
conservation areas; (2) an alternative for permit issuance with off-
site conservation at the Colton Dunes Conservation Bank; and (3) the 
no-action alternative, which is no permit issuance and no comprehensive 
City-initiated HCP or conservation areas.

Public Review

    The Service invites the public to comment on the permit 
application, including the proposed West Valley HCP and draft EA, 
during the public comment period. Copies of the documents will be 
available during a 60-day public comment period (see DATES). If you 
wish to comment, you may submit your comments to the address listed in 
ADDRESSES. 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 may 
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.

Next Steps

    Issuance of an incidental take permit is a Federal proposed action 
subject to compliance with NEPA. We will evaluate the application, 
associated documents, and any public comments we receive to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of NEPA regulations and 
section 10(a) of the Act. If we determine that those requirements are 
met, we will issue a permit to the Applicant for the incidental take of 
Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. We will make our final permit decision 
no sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: June 27, 2014.
Alexandra Pitts,
Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2014-15702 Filed 7-2-14; 8:45 am]