[Federal Register: February 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 39)]
[Page 10537-10539]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of a Habitat Conservation Plan and Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Tributary Point 
Parcel 9 Development Project, Sacramento County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The Weyerhaeuser Venture Company has applied to the Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). The Service proposes to issue a 2-year permit to the 
Weyerhaeuser Venture Company that would authorize take of the 
threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus 
dimorphus) incidental to otherwise lawful activities. Such take would 
occur as a result of development on the Tributary Point Parcel 9 
Project area in Sacramento County, California. Development would result 
in the loss of up to 2 elderberry plants with 6 stems that provide 
habitat for the valley elderberry longhorn beetle.

[[Page 10538]]

    We request comments from the public on the permit application, 
which is available for review. The application includes a Habitat 
Conservation Plan (Plan). The Plan describes the proposed project and 
the measures that the Weyerhaeuser Venture Company would undertake to 
minimize and mitigate take of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle.
    We also request comments on our preliminary determination that the 
Plan qualifies as a ``low-effect'' Habitat Conservation Plan, eligible 
for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy 
Act. The basis for this determination is discussed in an Environmental 
Action Statement, which is also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before March 29, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Mr. Wayne White, Field Supervisor, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-2605, Sacramento, 
California 95825-1846. Comments may be sent by facsimile to 916-414-

Conservation Planning Division, at the above address or call (916) 414-


Availability of Documents

    Please contact the above office if you would like copies of the 
application, Plan, and Environmental Action Statement. Documents also 
will be available for review by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the above address.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened, 
respectively. Take of listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act 
to include kill, harm, or harass. The Service may, under limited 
circumstances, issue permits to authorize incidental take; i.e., take 
that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an 
otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take 
permits for threatened and endangered species are found in 50 CFR 17.32 
and 17.22, respectively.
    The proposed project area is Parcel 9 of the Tributary Point 
development, which corresponds to an unsectioned portion of Township 9 
North, Range 7 East of the ``Folsom, California'' topographic 
quadrangle (United States Geological Survey, Photorevised 1980). The 
Tributary Point Parcel 9 development is located west of Hazel Avenue, 
south of Folsom South Canal, and north of U.S. Highway 50 in the 
unincorporated area of Rancho Cordova in Sacramento County, California.
    Weyerhaeuser Venture Company, the owner of Parcel 9, is requesting 
an incidental take permit to authorize take for 2 years.
    Parcel 9 is a 1.39-acre vacant lot which has been graded and 
supports utilities. The entire Tributary Point development consists of 
14 improved lots. The applicant has sold all but two lots, and 
construction of retail, residential and office uses has occurred on 
eight lots. Current uses include a 216-unit apartment village, a 70,000 
square foot, 3-story office building, 2 furniture stores, 2 fast-food 
restaurants and 2 gas station/convenience marts. Two additional lots 
have been sold to an extended stay hotel operator. A furniture store 
operator has expressed interest in Parcel 9.
    Two elderberry shrubs, containing six stems greater than 1 inch in 
diameter at ground level, occur on the project site within the impact 
area as potential habitat for the federally-threatened valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle. The project site does not contain any other 
rare, threatened, or endangered species or habitat. No critical habitat 
for any listed species occurs on the project site. Construction of the 
proposed project would result in the removal of the two elderberry 
shrubs on site. No beetle exit holes were found in these two shrubs.
    Under the Plan, mitigation for impacts to the valley elderberry 
longhorn beetle would conform to the Service's 1999 Mitigation 
Guidelines. The two elderberry shrubs affected by the proposed project 
would be transplanted to the Conservation Resources Laguna Creek 
Mitigation Bank, a Service-approved mitigation site, prior to or on 
March 31, 2000. Typically, a 1:1 ratio would be required as mitigation 
if transplantation occurs by February 15th, but because transplantation 
would occur past this deadline, a 2:1 ratio (or 12 elderberry plants to 
mitigate for impacts to six stems) is required. To fully comply with 
the Service's mitigation guidelines for the transplantation of 
elderberry shrubs past the typical February 15th deadline, the 
applicant has purchased 3 valley elderberry longhorn beetle mitigation 
units at the Laguna Creek Mitigation Bank. Purchase of these units will 
result in the planting of 15 elderberry plants to mitigate for impacts 
to six stems. The purchase of these mitigation units has been 
consummated with an agreement for sale of valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle units dated February 9, 2000, between Weyerhaeuser Venture 
Company and Conservation Resources, LLC.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the Plan, which includes measures to 
minimize and mitigate impacts of the project on the valley elderberry 
longhorn beetle. Two alternatives to the Proposed Action were 
considered in the Plan. Under the No Action Alternative, no permit 
would be issued. However, the No Action Alternative is inconsistent 
with local development goals and would result in the undisturbed 
elderberry shrubs being left on the site in an isolated patch of open 
space with little habitat value. Another alternative would result in 
the development of another site instead of the described project site. 
The proposed project is an infill project and has minor or negligible 
environmental effects. The development of the present site is 
considered more desirable than the construction of the project on an 
open site in a less-developed area because the use of an alternative 
site may result in greater environmental effects.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the Plan 
qualifies as a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by its Habitat 
Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). Determination of low-
effect for a habitat conservation plan is based on the following three 
criteria: (1) implementation of the Plan would result in minor or 
negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species 
and their habitats; (2) implementation of the Plan would result in 
minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; 
and (3) impacts of the Plan, considered together with the impacts of 
other past, present and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated 
projects would not result, over time, in cumulative effects to 
environmental values or resources which would be considered 
significant. As more fully explained in the Service's Environmental 
Action Statement, the Tributary Point Parcel 9 Project Plan qualifies 
as a ``low-effect'' plan for the following reasons:
    1. Approval of the Plan would result in minor or negligible effects 
on the valley elderberry longhorn beetle and its habitat. The Service 
does not anticipate significant direct or cumulative effects to the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle resulting from development of the 
Parcel 9 Project area.
    2. Approval of the Plan would not have adverse effects on unique 
geographic, historic or cultural sites, or involve unique or unknown 
environmental risks.
    3. Approval of the Plan would not result in any cumulative or 
growth inducing impacts and, therefore, would

[[Page 10539]]

not result in significant adverse effects on public health or safety.
    4. The project does not require compliance with Executive Order 
11988 (Floodplain Management), Executive Order 11990 (Protection of 
Wetlands), or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, nor does it 
threaten to violate a Federal, State, local or tribal law or 
requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.
    5. Approval of the Plan would not establish a precedent for future 
action or represent a decision in principle about future actions with 
potentially significant environmental effects.
    The Service therefore has preliminarily determined that approval of 
the Plan qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act, as provided by the Department of the Interior 
Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). Based upon this 
preliminary determination, we do not intend to prepare further National 
Environmental Policy Act documentation. The Service will consider 
public comments in making its final determination on whether to prepare 
such additional documentation.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act. We will evaluate the permit application, the Plan, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10 (a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, 
the Service will issue a permit to the Weyerhaeuser Venture Company for 
the incidental take of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle from 
development of the Parcel 9 Project area. We will make the final permit 
decision no sooner than 30 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: February 18, 2000.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 00-4564 Filed 2-25-00; 8:45 am]