[Federal Register: March 16, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 52)]
[Page 14311-14312]
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 Prairie City Crossing 
Project, Folsom, Sacramento County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Regency Realty 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 Regency Realty that would 
authorize take of the threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle 
(Desmocerus californicus dimorphus; beetle) incidental to otherwise 
lawful activities. Such take would occur as a result of development of 
a supermarket, parking lot, and service station on the Prairie City 
Crossing Project site in Folsom, Sacramento County, California.
    The application includes a Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan). The 
Plan describes the proposed project and the measures that Regency 
Realty would undertake to minimize and mitigate take of the beetle, as 
required in section 10(a)(2)(B) of the Act. Development would result in 
the loss of 1 elderberry plant with 4 stems that provide habitat for 
the beetle. We request comments on the Plan.
    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.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and 
National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). The Plan 
and the Environmental Action Statement are available for review and 
comment by other agencies and the public. All comments received, 
including names and addresses, will become part of the public record 
and will be available for review pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act.

DATES: Written comments must be received no later than April 17, 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-


Document Availability

    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.

[[Page 14312]]


    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 mean harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, 
collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. However, 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 Prairie City Crossing Project is located at the 
northwest corner of Prairie City and Iron Point roads in the City of 
Folsom, Sacramento County, California, which corresponds to Township 9 
North, Range 7 East of the ``Folsom, California'' topographic 
quadrangle (United States Geological Survey, Photorevised 1980). 
Regency Realty is requesting a 2-year incidental take permit to 
authorize take of the beetle on the project site.
    The Prairie City Crossing Project consists of the proposed 
construction of a Safeway supermarket, parking lot, and service station 
on an 11-acre parcel. The entire project area has been disturbed by 
prior mining activities that occurred during the early 1900s. The 
existing habitat on the site consists of dredger tailings, annual 
grassland, and pockets of foothill pine/oak woodland within the 
    One elderberry shrub, containing three stems that are between 1 and 
3 inches in diameter and one stem that is greater than 5 inches in 
diameter at ground level, occurs on the project site within the impact 
area as potential habitat for the federally-threatened beetle. A single 
adult beetle exit hole was found in this shrub. Construction of the 
proposed project would result in the removal of the elderberry shrub. 
The project site does not contain any riparian habitat. 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.
    Under the HCP, mitigation for impacts to the beetle would conform 
to the Fish and Wildlife Service's 1999 Mitigation Guidelines. The 
single elderberry shrub affected by the proposed project would not be 
transplanted because it is located at the bottom of a cobble ravine, 
surrounded by dredger tailings, and access by heavy equipment is 
extremely difficult. Prior to undertaking transplantation, considerable 
grading would have to be completed in order to construct an access road 
that could be used by heavy equipment. A vermeer spade could not be 
used because of the rocky nature of the site. In addition, if this 
elderberry shrub were to be transplanted, its survival would be 
questionable because much of the rootball probably would be destroyed 
during the transplanting process. Therefore, Regency Realty proposes to 
purchase 5 beetle mitigation credits at the Wildlands Mitigation Bank, 
a Service-approved mitigation site. Purchase of these credits would 
result in the planting of 24 elderberry plants and 16 associated native 
tree species to mitigate for impacts to 4 stems.
    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 beetle. One 
alternative to the taking of listed species under the Proposed Action 
is 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 shrub being left on the site in an isolated patch of open 
space with little habitat value.
    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 Habitat Conservation Plans 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 Prairie City Crossing 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 beetle and its habitat. The Service does not anticipate 
significant direct or cumulative effects to the beetle resulting from 
development of the Prairie City Crossing 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 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 Regency Realty for the incidental 
take of the beetle from development of the Prairie City Crossing 
Project site. The final permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 
days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: March 8, 2000.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 00-6487 Filed 3-15-00; 8:45 am]