[Federal Register: September 22, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 185)]
[Page 57366-57367]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 57366]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Final Clark County Multiple Species Habitat 
Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Clark County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public of the availability of the 
Final Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan 
(Multispecies Plan) and Environmental Impact Statement. Clark County, 
Nevada; the Cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder 
City, and Mesquite; and the Nevada Department of Transportation 
(Applicants) have 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 proposed 30-year 
permit would authorize the incidental take of 2 federally-listed 
threatened and endangered species, and 77 non-listed species of concern 
in the event these species become listed under the Act during the term 
of the permit, in connection with economic growth and development of up 
to 145,000 acres of non-Federal lands in Clark County.
    The Service has assisted in the preparation of the Final 
Multispecies Plan and an Implementation Agreement (legal contract). We 
also have directed the preparation of a Final Environmental Impact 
Statement addressing the potential effects on the human environment 
that may result from the granting of an incidental take permit and 
other Federal actions associated with implementation of the 
Multispecies Plan.

DATES: We will issue a Record of Decision and make a permit decision no 
sooner than October 23, 2000.

ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for addresses of locations 
where you may review copies of the documents.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bob Williams, Field Supervisor of 
the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office in Reno, at (775) 861-6331; or Ms. 
Janet Bair, Assistant Field Supervisor of the Southern Nevada Field 
Office in Las Vegas, at (702) 647-5230.


Availability of Documents

    Copies of the Final Multispecies Plan/Environmental Impact 
Statement, and associated Implementation Agreement, are available for 
review at the following government offices and libraries:
    Government Offices--Fish and Wildlife Service, Southern Nevada 
Field Office, 1510 North Decatur Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108, 
(702) 647-5230; Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada 89502, (775) 
861-6300; Bureau of Land Management, Las Vegas Field Office, 4765 Vegas 
Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108, (702) 647-5000; U.S. Forest Service, 
2881 South Valley View Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102, (702) 873-
8800; National Park Service, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, 601 
Nevada Highway, Boulder City, Nevada 89005, (702) 293-8946; Nevada 
Department of Transportation, Environmental Services Division, 1263 
South Stewart Street, Room 104A, Carson City, Nevada 89712, (775) 888-
7889; Clark County Department of Comprehensive Planning, 500 South 
Grand Central Parkway, Third Floor, Las Vegas, Nevada 89155, (702) 455-
3859; Clark County Northeast Office, Moapa Community Center, 320 North 
Moapa Valley Boulevard, Overton, Nevada, 89040, (702) 397-6475; City of 
Las Vegas, Department of Public Works, 731 South Fourth Street, Las 
Vegas, Nevada 89101, (702) 229-6541; City of North Las Vegas Public 
Works, 2266 Civic Center Drive, North Las Vegas, Nevada 89030, (702) 
633-1225; City of Henderson, 240 Water Street, Henderson, Nevada 89015, 
(702) 565-2474; City of Boulder City, City Hall, 401 California Avenue, 
Boulder City, Nevada 89005, (702) 293-9200; and the City of Mesquite, 
10 East Mesquite Boulevard, Mesquite, Nevada 89027, (702) 346-2835.
    Library--Clark County Public Library, Main Branch, 833 Las Vegas 
Boulevard North, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101, (702) 382-3493.
    Alternatively, you may view the Final Multispecies Plan/
Environmental Impact Statement at the following website: 
www.co.clark.nv.us. Click on ``Health and the Environment,'' then click 
on ``Environmental Planning,'' and finally click on ``Habitat 
    A CD-ROM copy of the document is also available by calling Ms. 
Sandy Helvey, Administrative Secretary, Clark County Department of 
Comprehensive Planning, at (702) 455-4181. To view the document, you 
will need access to an IBM or Macintosh computer with the capacity to 
read CD-ROMs.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation prohibit the ``take'' 
of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. The Act defines 
``take'' as: To harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture or collect listed animal species, or attempt to engage in such 
conduct (16 USC 1538). ``Harm'' is further defined by regulation as any 
act that kills or injures wildlife including significant habitat 
modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife 
by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Under certain 
circumstances, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental'' take of listed animal species (defined by the Act as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of 
an otherwise lawful activity). The taking prohibitions of the Act do 
not apply to listed plants on private land unless their destruction on 
private land is in violation of State law. The Applicants have 
considered plants in the Multispecies Plan and request permits for them 
to the extent that State law applies. Regulations governing permits for 
threatened and endangered species, respectively, are at 50 CFR 17.32 
and 50 CFR 17.22.
    On July 11, 1995, the Service issued an incidental take permit, 
effective August 1, 1995, to Clark County; the Cities of Las Vegas, 
North Las Vegas, Henderson, Mesquite, and Boulder City; and the Nevada 
Department of Transportation for the Clark County Desert Conservation 
Plan (Desert Conservation Plan). This plan provides conservation 
measures for the threatened desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), in 
Clark County. The associated permit authorizes incidental take of the 
desert tortoise in Clark County consistent with the long-term viability 
of the species in this portion of its range.
    The Desert Conservation Plan includes provisions for a proactive 
approach to conservation planning for multiple species in Clark County. 
The intent was to reduce the likelihood of future listings of plants 
and wildlife as threatened or endangered under the Act. The 
Multispecies Plan is the direct outgrowth of provisions of the Desert 
Conservation Plan and will provide stand-alone conservation measures 
for species included in the plan. We anticipate that implementation of 
the conservation measures in the Multispecies Plan will be a 
cooperative effort among the Applicants, the Service, Bureau of Land 
Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Nevada Division 
of Wildlife, and other Federal and State land managers and regulators.

[[Page 57367]]

    Clark County and the Cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, 
Henderson, Mesquite, and Boulder City are seeking a 30-year permit for 
the incidental take of federally-listed threatened and endangered 
species, and other non-listed species of concern in the event that 
these species become listed under the Act during the term of the 
permit, in connection with the development of non-Federal lands within 
Clark County, Nevada. In addition, the Nevada Department of 
Transportation has joined as an Applicant for the permit to allow the 
incidental take of desert tortoise within desert tortoise habitat below 
5,000 feet in elevation and south of the 38th parallel in Nye, Lincoln, 
Mineral, and Esmeralda Counties, Nevada, and the incidental take of 
other non-listed species of concern within Clark County in connection 
with the construction and maintenance of roads, highways, and material 
    The permit to the Applicants would authorize incidental take of 79 
species on no more than 145,000 acres of land potentially available for 
development in Clark County. This acreage includes non-Federal lands 
that currently exist and non-Federal lands which result from sales or 
transfers from the Federal government after the issuance of the permit. 
This acreage excludes existing development, the Boulder City 
Conservation Easement established under the current Desert Conservation 
Plan for the desert tortoise, and State lands managed for resource 
values. The 79 species proposed for incidental take coverage under the 
Multispecies Plan (covered species) include 2 listed species (the 
desert tortoise and the southwestern willow flycatcher, Empidonax 
traillii extimus), 1 candidate for listing (Blue Diamond cholla, 
Opuntia whipplei var. multigeniculata), and 76 unlisted species 
including 4 mammals, 7 birds, 14 reptiles, 1 amphibian, 10 
invertebrates, and 40 plants.
    To minimize and mitigate the impacts of take of species, the 
Applicants propose to impose a $550-per-acre development fee and 
maintain an endowment fund that will provide up to $4.1 million per 
biennial period to fund conservation measures for covered species and 
to administer the Multispecies Plan. The plan includes measures to 
implement a public information and education program; purchase grazing 
allotments and interest in real property and water; maintain and manage 
allotments, land, and water rights which have been acquired; construct 
barriers to wildlife movement along linear features such as roads; 
translocate displaced desert tortoises; participate in and fund local 
habitat rehabilitation and enhancement programs; and develop and 
implement an adaptive management process that allows for responses to 
new information.
    The underlying purpose of the Multispecies Plan is to achieve a 
balance between (1) long-term conservation of natural habitat and 
native plant and animal diversity that are an important part of the 
natural heritage of Clark County, and (2) the orderly and beneficial 
use of land in order to promote the economy, health, well-being, and 
custom and culture of the growing population of Clark County, Nevada.
    On March 3, 1997, the Service published a notice in the Federal 
Register (62 FR 9443) announcing that the we would take the lead in 
preparing an Environmental Impact Statement addressing the Federal 
actions associated with the Multispecies Plan. The notice invited 
comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement. Our 
consideration of the comments received were reflected in the Draft 
Multispecies Plan/Environmental Impact Statement made available for 
comment (65 FR 36709).
    The Draft Multispecies Plan/Environmental Impact Statement analyzed 
the potential environmental impacts that may result from the Federal 
action requested in support of the proposed development of up to 
145,000 acres of non-Federal land in Clark County, and identified 
various alternatives, including the No Action Alternative, the Proposed 
Multispecies Plan, the Low Elevation Ecosystems Multispecies Plan, a 
Permit Only for Threatened or Endangered and Candidate Species, and 
Alternative Permit Durations for the Multispecies Plan. Alternatives 
considered but not advanced for further analysis included a Permit to 
Include the Entire Mojave Desert Ecosystem, a Permit to Mitigate 
Impacts Only on Non-Federal Lands, and a High Elevation Ecosystems 
Multispecies Plan.
    The analysis provided in the Final Multispecies Plan/Environmental 
Impact Statement is intended to accomplish the following: Inform the 
public of the proposed action and alternatives; address public comment 
received during the scoping period; disclose the direct, indirect, and 
cumulative environmental effects of the proposed action and each of the 
alternatives; and indicate any irreversible commitment of resources 
that would result from implementation of the proposed action.

    Dated: September 14, 2000.
Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Deputy Manager, Region 1, California/Nevada Operations Office, 
Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 00-24199 Filed 9-21-00; 8:45 am]