[Federal Register: November 3, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 212)]
[Page 62315-62316]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel Programmatic Candidate 
Conservation Agreement With Assurances

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, this notice 
advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), 
in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and 
the Idaho Governor's Office of Species Conservation, intends to gather 
information necessary to prepare an environmental document 
(environmental assessment and/or environmental impact statement) 
regarding a proposed Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel Programmatic 
Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) and enhancement 
of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The IDFG is the proposed permit 
    The Service is furnishing this notice in order to: (1) Advise other 
Federal and State agencies, affected tribes, and the public of our 
intentions; (2) announce the initiation of a 21-day public scoping 
period; and (3) to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of 
issues to be addressed in the environmental document.

DATES: Written comments from all interested parties must be received on 
or before November 24, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Carmen Thomas, Project 
Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Room 
368, Boise, Idaho 83709; facsimile: (208) 378-5262.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carmen Thomas at the above address or 
telephone: (208) 378-5243.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Candidate Conservation Agreements with 
Assurances contain a strategy for covered lands and activities that 
constitute an applicant's contribution to avoid listing or remove the 
need to list a covered species as threatened or endangered under the 
ESA. In return, an applicant receives assurances that it will not be 
required to provide additional conservation measures if any of the 
covered species become listed under the ESA in the future.
    The proposed CCAA planning document would cover approximately 
1,000,000 acres in Adams, Washington, Payette, and Gem Counties, Idaho; 
within this area, individual non-Federal landowners could voluntarily 
enroll lands under the proposed CCAA. It is unknown how many landowners 
would participate and enroll lands under the CCAA, however, we expect 
the acreage of enrolled lands to be substantially less than 1,000,000 
    The primary goal of the proposed CCAA would be to implement habitat 
and population conservation measures on non-Federal lands enrolled 
under the CCAA for the southern Idaho ground squirrel (Spermophilus 
brunneus endemicus). Habitat conservation measures would focus on 
restoration or protection of native plant communities, including shrub/
steppe habitat, or other habitat management measures to benefit this 
species. Other conservation measures could include: minimization of 
impacts from land use activities in southern Idaho ground squirrel-
occupied habitat to conserve ground squirrel populations; prohibition 
of shooting, trapping, and poisoning of

[[Page 62316]]

southern Idaho ground squirrels; reintroduction of southern Idaho 
ground squirrels into unoccupied suitable habitat; and authorization 
for Service and IDFG personnel to access enrolled lands for purposes of 
monitoring southern Idaho ground squirrel populations and habitat. 
Potential covered activities include: crop cultivation and harvesting, 
livestock grazing and production, farm equipment operation, and 
recreational activities (e.g., hunting, fishing, camping, dog training, 
and use of recreational vehicles on and off established roads).
    The Service will conduct an environmental review of the proposed 
CCAA and prepare an environmental document. The review will analyze the 
CCAA, as well as a full range of reasonable alternatives, and the 
associated impacts of each. Should information become available that 
indicates significant environmental impacts from the proposed CCAA, an 
Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared. Comments and 
suggestions are invited from all interested parties to ensure the full 
range of issues related to this proposed action are identified. 
Comments or questions should be addressed to the Service at the address 
or telephone number provided above. See ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER 
    The environmental review of this proposed project will be conducted 
in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), National 
Environmental Policy Act Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other 
applicable Federal laws and regulations, and policies and procedures of 
the Service for compliance with those regulations.

    Dated: October 23, 2003.
William F. Shake,
Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 03-27547 Filed 10-31-03; 8:45 am]