[Federal Register: April 14, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 71)]
[Page 18442-18443]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt of 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Hord Residential 
Development Project, in Los Osos, San Luis Obispo County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Joe and Cindy Hord have applied for an incidental take permit 
from the Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Hords are 
requesting a 10-year permit to allow the incidental take of the 
federally endangered Morro shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta 
walkeriana) associated with a proposed 4.2-acre residential development 
project in the community of Los Osos, San Luis Obispo County, 
California. The permit application includes a Habitat Conservation Plan 
and an Implementation Agreement, both of which are available for public 
review and comment. The Service also announces the availability of an 
Environmental Assessment for the proposed issuance of the incidental 
take permit. All comments on the Assessment and permit application will 
become part of the administrative record and may be released to the 

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before May 14, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Diane Noda, Field 
Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, 
Ventura, California 93003; facsimile (805) 644-3958.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Symonds, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address or telephone (805) 644-1766.


Document Availability

    If you would like copies of the documents for review, please 
contact the office listed above immediately. Documents also are 
available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours 
at the above address.


    Under Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act and its implementing 
regulations, taking of threatened and endangered wildlife species is 
prohibited. Under the Act, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, capture or collect listed wildlife, 
or attempt to engage in such conduct. Harm includes habitat 
modification that kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering. Under limited circumstances, the Service may issue permits 
to take threatened or endangered wildlife species if such taking is 
incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. 
Regulations governing permits for threatened and endangered species are 
found at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32.
    The Hords need an incidental take permit because the proposed 
construction of their residential development project would result in 
the permanent loss of 1.5 acres of habitat that supports the Morro 
shoulderband snail within the 4.2-acre project site. The Hord's permit 
application includes a Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) that

[[Page 18443]]

addresses impacts to the Morro shoulderband snail associated with the 
proposed project and that provides for implementation of measures to 
minimize and mitigate adverse impacts to the snail. The Hords propose 
to dedicate the remaining 2.7 acres of high quality Morro shoulderband 
snail habitat within the project site that is not proposed for 
residential development. Snail habitat would be conserved through a 
perpetual open space conservation easement in favor of the County of 
San Luis Obispo or another entity approved by the Service. The Hords 
would ensure that the site is managed in perpetuity in a manner that 
would be consistent with the Plan's conservation goals for the snail. 
This action would compensate for the loss of habitat resulting from the 
project and would benefit the long-term conservation of the snail. The 
Hord's permit application includes an Implementation Agreement that 
defines the responsibilities of all of the parties under the Plan.
    The Habitat Conservation Plan, Implementation Agreement, and 
Environmental Assessment are available for public review and comment. 
The Plan and the Environmental Assessment consider four alternatives to 
the proposed residential development project: the No Residential 
Development Alternative, the Alternate Site Alternative, the Alternate 
Building Location Alternative, and the Reduced Intensity Alternative. 
The first two alternatives are no action (i.e., no permit) 
    Under the No Residential Development Alternative, housing would not 
be developed on site. The Service would not issue a section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit because there would be no take of the Morro shoulderband snail. 
This alternative would not adversely affect biological resources 
occurring on this site; therefore, impacts would be less than those of 
the proposed project. This alternative assumes the continuation of the 
site as an undeveloped area. Habitat for the snail would degrade over 
time without active management. This alternative would not 
substantially benefit the Morro shoulderband snail because no permanent 
onsite habitat conservation area would be established, managed, and 
monitored under this alternative.
    The Alternate Site Alternative involves the use of another site for 
the Hord's residential development project that does not support any 
listed species. An incidental take permit would not be needed. This 
alternative would not meet the project purpose and need and was 
considered economically unfeasible by the Hords. Although this 
alternative would result in no impact at the proposed construction 
site, it would not result in establishment of a permanent open space 
easement that is expected to have long-term benefits for the snail.
    Under the Alternate Building Location Alternative, the proposed 
4.2-acre parcel would be surveyed for snail presence and the proposed 
residential buildings and accessory structures would be arranged or 
sited within the 4.2-acre parcel to avoid and minimize disturbance to 
areas of the site occupied by the snails. The project might require 
issuance of an incidental take permit if some acreage of Morro 
shoulderband snail habitat would be affected. The Hords did not select 
the Alternate Building Location Alternative because it would not meet 
the project purpose and need as well as the Proposed Project 
Alternative and, upon analysis, would not provide greater habitat 
benefit to the snail.
    Under the Reduced Intensity Alternative, the Hords would construct 
a residential development within the same 4.2-acre parcel but within a 
reduced construction area, so as to cause less physical disturbance to 
onsite Morro shoulderband snail habitat. The project could require 
issuance of an incidental take permit if some acreage of Morro 
shoulderband snail habitat would be affected. Compared to the Proposed 
Project Alternative, the Reduced Intensity Alternative would result, at 
best, in only a minor addition of undeveloped acreage. This 
contribution to the overall habitat requirements of the Morro 
shoulderband snail would not be significant.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act and Service regulations for implementing the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (40 CFR 1506.6). In determining 
whether the application meets the requirements of law, the Service will 
evaluate the application, its associated documents, and comments 
submitted by the public. If the Service determines that the 
requirements are met, a permit will be issued for the incidental take 
of the Morro shoulderband snail. A final decision on permit issuance 
will be made no sooner than 30 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: April 7, 1999.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1, 
Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 99-9274 Filed 4-13-99; 8:45 am]