[Federal Register: April 23, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 78)]
[Page 20021-20022]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for the Pueblo of 
Santa Ana, Sandoval County, New Mexico

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability, receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The Pueblo of Santa Ana (Applicant), Sandoval County, New 
Mexico, has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for 
an enhancement for survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of 
the Endangered Species Act (Act). The Applicant has been assigned 
permit number TE-049290-0. The permit request is for a period of 25 
years. The permit application includes a proposed Safe Harbor Agreement 
(SHA) for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow (Hybognathus 
amarus), the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax 
traillii extimus), and the threatened bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
    Based upon guidance in the Service's June 17, 1999, Final Safe 
Harbor Policy, if a SHA and associated permit are not expected to 
individually or cumulatively have a significant impact on the quality 
of the human environment or other natural resources, the Agreement/
permit may be categorically excluded from undergoing National 
Environmental Policy Act review. The Service has made a preliminary 
determination that this proposed action is eligible for categorical 
exclusion and this notice is provided pursuant to Section 10(c) of the 
Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). 
The Service explains the basis for this preliminary determination in an 
Environmental Action Statement, which is also available for public 
    We, the Service, announce the opening of a 30-day comment period 
and request comments from the public on the Applicant's enhancement of 
survival permit application, the accompanying proposed SHA, and the 
environmental action statement. All comments received will become part 
of the administrative record and may be released to the public.

DATES: Written comments on the application, proposed SHA, or 
environmental action statement should be received on or before 30 days 
from date of publication in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Field Supervisor, New Mexico 
Ecological Services Field Office, 2105 Osuna Road, Albuquerque, New 
Mexico 87113 (505/346-2525). Please refer to permit number TE-049290-0. 
You may obtain copies of the documents from the field office address 
above or by calling 505-346-2525.

Ecological Services Field Office, 2105 Osuna Road, Albuquerque, New 
Mexico 87113; telephone: (505) 346-2525, facsimile (505) 346-2542.



    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating property owners 
voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to 
enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefitting species listed under 
the Act. Safe Harbor Agreements encourage private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species by 
assuring property owners they will not be subjected to increased 
property use restrictions if their efforts attract listed species to 
their property or increase the numbers or distribution of listed 
species already on their property. Application requirements and 
issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits through Safe 
Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32.
    The proposed SHA would cover the natural resource programs of Santa 
Ana Pueblo, Sandoval County, New Mexico, including: ecosystem 
restoration, range/wildlife, and water resources. The Applicant's 
ecosystem restoration program proposes to restore riparian, wetland, 
and riverine habitat along the Rio Grande and the Rio Jemez within the 
boundaries of the Pueblo. Restoration activities include replacing non-
native plant species and restoring native wildlife habitat. The range/
wildlife program proposes to improve the health of rangeland on Santa 
Ana Pueblo by continuing to exclude livestock from some riparian areas, 
conducting fish and wildlife surveys, and developing fire management 
plans. Activities conducted under the water resources program propose 
to develop water quality standards, water rights establishment, 
municipal wellhead protection, and planning and implementing projects 
through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's section 319 program.
    The Applicant is proposing to conduct ecological restoration 
projects along the Rio Grande and Rio Jemez corridors. We anticipate 
this proposed SHA will result in the following benefits: (1) 
Construction of two additional gradient restoration facilities, which 
are sloping rock structures that provide river channel stabilization 
while maintaining fish passage; (2) prevention of further channel 
degradation within Santa Ana Pueblo by creating river reaches with low 
velocity flow; (3) replacement non-native vegetation with native willow 
(Salix sp.) and cottonwood (Populus spp.); (4) re-engineering of the 
river channel and lower adjacent river bars to widen the channel and 
encourage overbank flooding; (5) creation of backwater habitat, 
including a healthy riparian zone; (6) continuation of livestock 
exclusions from various riparian areas; and (7) encouragement of 
recruitment of native riparian habitat, including the regeneration of 
mature cottonwood stands. The conservation provided by this proposed 
25-year SHA is intended to improve habitat conditions by maintaining 
and enhancing habitat, reducing the likelihood that the river channel 
will become narrower and deeper, increasing the opportunities for 
overbank flooding and a higher water table.

[[Page 20022]]

    Consistent with the Safe Harbor Agreement policy and implementing 
regulations, we propose to issue a permit to the Applicant authorizing 
them to incidentally take these endangered and threatened species, 
which occur on the enrolled lands, as a result of lawful activities on 
enrolled lands, so long as baseline conditions are maintained and terms 
of the Agreement are implemented. Future activities of the Applicant 
could result in a return to the baseline condition.
    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and 
pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). We will 
evaluate the proposed SHA, associated documents, and comments submitted 
thereon to determine whether the requirements of section 10(a) of the 
Act and NEPA regulations have been met. If we determine that the 
requirements have been met, we will sign the SHA and issue an 
enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to 
Santa Ana Pueblo in accordance with the terms of the Agreement and 
specific terms and conditions of the authorizing permit. We will not 
make our final decision until after the end of the 30-day comment 
period and will fully consider all comments received.

Susan MacMullin,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 03-9979 Filed 4-22-03; 8:45 am]